Another great misunderstanding is the mistaken idea that to follow the path I am showing you means neglecting your life in other ways. You see, my dear friends, I can observe the forms of your thoughts and feelings. I can see your lower self that fights constantly against the right decisions, delivering all sorts of excuses and pretexts, while you remain unaware of why you have these thoughts and what is really behind them. Some of you may believe that a certain amount of time and effort for your spiritual development will take too much time away from your daily struggle for livelihood; you think you may not have enough strength left for your professional efforts and thus fear that your finances may suffer. Another may believe that not enough time remains to enjoy life, and so on. But this way of thinking is so very wrong because spiritual development in general, and this path in particular, is not an extra activity in your life that you simply add on to your other activities, thus diminishing the strength, time, effort, and zest that would otherwise be available to you for all your other duties and pleasures. Actually, it is quite the contrary, my friends.
Pathwork Lectures 1996 Ed.
The 1996 Edition, which contains 258 lectures, some of which were transcribed from question and answer sessions, has been edited to simplify the complex language structure in which the original lectures were created. Eva’s native tongue was German and her sentence structure reflected this, sometimes resulting in awkward English usage. This edition also eliminates what can be seen as sexist terminology, common in the period of transmission of the material but not accepted in practice today and, in general, simplifies the language where to do so will not interfere with the meaning of the lecture itself.
Oh yes, the outer conflicts are always noticed, but you all know the outer conflict is only a reflection of the inner one. Yet people so often have the wrong attitude; in a very subtle way they think if they are trying to advance in a certain way, the outer conflict will eventually cease and they somehow expect conditions to change according to their own ideas, the preconceived ideas they have formed because of this wrong basic attitude. So you overlook the simple fact that first your ideas have to change before the vexing conditions have a chance to change too. Thus you find yourself at a certain crucial point on this path in a vicious circle: you wait for a change in your conditions, while the conditions wait for you to change your ideas.
It is the same way with love. If love of another human being is sought with the current that is destined for the love of God, it will always leave you with a feeling of emptiness, dissatisfaction, or even frustration. So if God is not truly the basis of your life and if instead you seek worldly substitutes, the latter will never really satisfy you. However, you may certainly also feel love for and from other human beings—and indeed you should. But this love will have its proper value; it will not be your sole anchor, and you will never feel your life to be meaningless if for some reason you lose a human love as long as God has his rightful place in your heart.
There are twelve basic active forces and twelve basic passive forces or principles in the universe. According to the scheme of the “Pistis Sophia,” these forces are concentrated in the highest realm of light and conducted by respective entities; each one is a representative or a personification of one active or passive principle. They are all perfect in their own way. The whole universe is penetrated by these forces and an infinite variety and combination of them is possible. In the “Pistis Sophia” the expression “twenty-four invisibles” refers to the principles as well as to the entities. They are invisible in all spheres below the highest realm of light. But in the latter sphere, the principles or forces as well as their personified entities are visible in the form of rays or fine threads running through the atmosphere. They are noticeable not only by various colors and shades, but also by scent and tone and other qualities that are unknown to human sense-perception.
In the first place, we may again clarify that there is a distinct difference between self-will and free will. To make sure that you understand it clearly in this connection, I will repeat that free will can be used for good or for bad; this is important.
There is a right kind and a wrong kind of shame. The right kind of shame is true repentance. Without this kind of shame, there could never be an incentive for self-development. Without it, no one would ever undergo the noble fight, my friends, against one’s lower self; no one would take the path of purification if this shame did not exist within. True repentance is therefore constructive and very positive. But there is also shame of the wrong kind. Human beings so often confuse the two kinds of shame that now I want to devote some of our time together to this subject.
“All things work together for the good for those who love God.” Let us examine this statement of the Scriptures to find its deeper meaning. The words, “those who love God” do not mean merely that you believe in God or that you profess to love Him or that you recite some prayers. As you know, the true love of God means to work spiritually, to develop, and to get to know Divine Law in all its psychological aspects as they pertain to you personally. You have to get to know yourself so thoroughly that not only are your deeds, your words, and your thoughts in conformity with spiritual law, but also your emotions. You must come to love God in your emotions. To achieve that is, of course, a lengthy process.
Many good, kind and even spiritual people say, when hearing these lectures, that it is not good to think so much about the self. They feel it would be better to think more about other people. They say, occupation with the self leads to selfishness. Of course, it depends entirely on how the occupation with the self is done or in what way one thinks about other people. It is wrong to think about yourself in a destructive way filled with self-pity, complaining about your fate, and brooding unproductively about things you may have missed in life and about things you cannot control and therefore cannot change. Whoever leans toward this sort of preoccupation should not only heed the advice of shifting the emphasis from the self to others, but should also learn to channel the self-occupation into a different direction, namely a productive one.
As promised, I shall speak tonight about the process of birth. I have received permission to do so from higher authority. My dear friends, let me first tell you that whatever I will say can only explain a very small and limited part of this extremely complicated procedure for which the human understanding cannot possibly be adequate. So please understand that my words can only give you a rough outline. They have to be squeezed into the limitations of human language and understanding.
Many people seek God in the wrong way. I will try to explain what I mean. On this earth sphere there is a considerable amount of disappointment. Sometimes human beings turn to God only because contact with other human beings proves to be unsatisfactory. Perhaps not enough love is forthcoming; perhaps fear and caution cloud the expression of the innermost divine spark. Contact with other human beings can be experienced as hazardous, not bringing the blessings you seek. You may be hurt. The person in frustration often turns to God. The feeling is, “God will not disappoint me. God has enough love. God is far away and intangible: I risk nothing by loving Him. From human beings I experience only disappointment and hurt.”
Now what is prayer? Many people have no questions about it; they just take it for granted. Many others cannot understand prayer. They say—in their own way and not without logic—why should God grant a human being help or grace simply in response to prayer? Why should someone else who works but fails to pray not receive it? This argument seems, at first sight, logical. But the simple fact is that a person who does not pray will never be able to act or experience fulfillment like the person who has learned what proper prayer is and practices it. I will now try to explain this to you.
What is a wholehearted decision for God? It always involves giving up something. It may mean letting go of an opinion, a desire, perhaps a way of life. Yet in reality you do not give up anything, but the act of “giving up,” which is how this surrender appears to you, must be carried out. Only after you have proven your willingness and taken this step will you find that you actually receive much more than you have given up: you find that you have given up nothing! This paradox is veiled in a cloud of unknowing, which automatically disappears when a person has proven the willingness to sacrifice something important for God.
My dear friends, it is important to realize that over the course of a lifetime, usually even in earliest childhood or infancy, every personality forms certain impressions due to environmental influences or to sudden, unexpected experiences. These impressions or attitudes usually take the form of conclusions in the mind of the person. Most of the time these conclusions are wrong. You see and experience something unfortunate, one of the unavoidable hardships of life, and you then make generalizations from them. These generalizations later establish themselves as preconceived ideas.
The conclusions are not thought out; rather they are emotional reactions, general attitudes toward life. They are not completely devoid of a certain logic, albeit limited and erroneous. As the years go by, these conclusions and attitudes sink more and more into the unconscious. From there, they mold the life of every person to some extent. We call each such conclusion an “image,” since we spirits see the whole thought process as a spiritual form—or image.
I promised you that tonight I would continue my discussion of image-finding. A few facts are important for pursuing a diligent search. What I say here will not mean very much to those who still feel reluctant about embarking on this path and who merely listen to these words. Perhaps they will gain a little more understanding of the Pathwork principles. These glimpses may eventually open the door for the active, personal search so necessary for complete purification, to voluntarily step across the threshold from the darkness into the light. I beg any of you who has not started yet, but is willing, to ask one of the people of the inner group to work with you, for it cannot be done alone. Arrangements will be made; guidance will come. Anyone truly desirous of spiritual growth will find help; of that you can be sure.
In the two previous lectures I started to indicate how the images can be found. This cannot be an easy process, for what dwells in the unconscious is hidden from conscious awareness. I have given you methods to bring these unconscious images to the surface. This, my friends, is the only way to control your life to some extent.
I am continuing this series about the images in the human soul, for there is no person who does not have them. Such inner impressions are formed in young years, and from those impressions wrong conclusions were drawn. These very images are responsible for your suffering, for the phantoms you carry about decade after decade, and often incarnation after incarnation.
There is a right and proper kind of self-love. Cowardice is nothing but self-pampering, self-pitying self-concern. Courage ascribes as much importance to a cause, to an issue, or to another person as to the self. Therefore courage and love, in the last analysis, are inseparable. Think about that, my dear ones. You will not only better understand Christ’s life and death, but you will also be able to better understand and evaluate yourself, which means that you will be more successful in the process of purification. In the light of the work you have done so far, it should not be difficult for you to see where you are courageous and where you lack courage. And where you do lack courage, you will always find that you must lack love as well.
There are three basic types of human personality. The first type governs his or her life and reactions mainly with reason. The second type does so mainly with emotion, and the third does so with the will. In other words, the three personality types are dominated by reason, by emotion, and by will. In your self-search it will be useful for you to find out which type you are. A personality is never completely one-sided; every person is a mixture of types, but one is always predominant. In some cases, the predominance is obvious; in others, the mixture is more complicated, and therefore the predominant type is more difficult to detect.
The erotic force is one of the most potent forces in existence and has tremendous momentum and impact. It is supposed to serve as the bridge between sex and love, yet it rarely does. In a spiritually highly developed person, the erotic force carries the entity from the erotic experience, which in itself is of short duration, into the permanent state of pure love. However, even the strong momentum of the erotic force carries the soul just so far and no farther. It is bound to dissolve if the personality does not learn to love, by cultivating all the qualities and requirements necessary for true love. Only when love has been learned does the spark of the erotic force remain alive. By itself, without love, the erotic force burns itself out. This of course is the trouble with marriage. Since most people are incapable of pure love, they are also incapable of attaining ideal marriage.
Your unconscious desires often deviate from your conscious ones. I think you all understand by now that this is one of the main reasons for your conflicts and frustrations. You often create similar conflicts and unfulfillments, while ignoring their full significance. The fact is that your conscious desires and aims that guide your actions are in accord with the goals of your higher self, but simultaneously lower and selfish aims are also present in your motivation. These lower aims find justification in the higher aims, which serve very well to hide their existence. It is very important to find this fact out, my dear friends. Although your actions are worthy and good as such, although the high and noble motives truly exist in you, they lose their splendor if you cannot see the lower motives coexisting with the higher ones in the very same goal. Even long before you can purify yourself to such an extent that these selfish, proud, vain, and fearful motives cease to exist in you, the fact that you simply recognize their existence purifies you to a considerable degree and therefore also purifies your right action.
Authority is the very first conflict for a growing child when it reaches a certain degree of consciousness. Elders, parents or parent-substitutes, and later on teachers represent authority for the child. This authority denies the child many a wish fulfillment. Therefore, authority seems hostile. No matter how much love, warmth and affection a child is given, no matter how necessary the prohibition is at times, it represents the first hurdle of life. The child’s attitude toward authority is carried over into adult life. The often unconscious reactions to authority indicate whether this hurdle has become a stepping stone toward maturity or not. If the grown person can adjust to authority maturely and freely, another milestone has been reached in the overall development of the soul.
The more you learn self-honesty, the deeper can the truth penetrate into the core of the soul. But it takes a lot of doing before the core is reached. Wherever the conscious emotions, opinions, thoughts, conclusions, and desires are separated from those which are unconscious, we can see a wall in the human soul. You all know that thoughts and feelings create forms of subtle matter which are of a substance every bit as real as your material substance. So this wall is a reality and, alas, often a greater reality than your matter. For your matter is much easier to destroy than some of these walls. This side of the wall is what you face and know. Behind the wall you store all that which is unpleasant to face. You store not only your faults and weaknesses, but also all things that confuse and frighten you. Due to an unconscious wrong conclusion, you continue to fear all that is locked behind the wall and prevent yourself from facing it.
An inanimate object is petrified life force. A beautiful idea, a truth, is flowing life force. Life force is eternal and therefore all life is eternal. Death is but an illusion. An inanimate object you call dead is only so temporarily. All life, in whatever way it manifests, must exist eternally, for non-eternal life is no life and therefore a meaningless contradiction. The life force contains all divine attributes. It is, it has not come into existence, it does not do, it does not work or have. It simply is. Try to understand the significance and the distinction of these words. Life force is all around you and within you.
Identifying and analyzing your images and wrong conclusions will lead you finally to the recognition of their common denominator: The constructive attitude is: “In my ignorance I believe—perhaps unconsciously so far—that selfishness will bring me reward, will protect me from hurt. In what way have I been selfish? In what way has my conclusion been wrong from this viewpoint? What is the right conclusion?” If you will consider your inner problems from this angle—after you have found hitherto hidden emotions, reactions, and tendencies—you will be able to make a change in your personality that will eventually change your life.
Tonight I shall discuss one of the vicious circles that is very common among human beings. To some degree it operates in every human soul. Most of the time it lives in the subconscious, although some parts of this circle may be conscious. It is important in this work that you follow the circle until you uncover it in its entirety, for otherwise you cannot dissolve it. My words are not addressed so much to your conscious mind, to your intellect, but to the level of your emotions where this vicious circle exists.