These obstacles arise from the blindness in which you are encased and from your lack of understanding of the blindness of others. The blindness of others hurts you, and in your own blindness you are unaware of how much and how often you hurt the other person. If you can keep this mutual blindness in mind, my dear ones, it will constitute the basic steppingstone for proceeding further.
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.
Children experience their first conflict with authority at an early age. I have talked at length about this. They also learn that God is the highest authority. Therefore it is not surprising that children project their subjective experiences with authority on their imaginings about God. An image is formed, and whatever the child’s, and later the adult’s, relationship to authority is, his or her attitude toward God will, most probably, be colored and influenced by it.
Tonight I should like to discuss the subject of self-love. You all know — I have said it again and again — that each truth can be distorted into an untruth. This is, perhaps, the most powerful weapon of evil. Complete untruth is not dangerous. But when something that may be true in some circumstances is misapplied in others, distorted and rigidly set up as an inflexible rule, that is the danger of evil. The truth and meaning of any concept or idea can be distorted to the extreme point of nullification.
QUESTION: The first is from someone who is not here. It concerns the Holy Ghost. It reads: May I ask the cosmic sense and the human meaning attributed to the power of the Holy Ghost? In some religions and philosophies the Holy Ghost is considered as a future leader and messenger to humanity. In our life and work can we or should we be so devoted to and helped by the Holy Ghost as we are supposed to be devoted to and helped by Jesus?
It is appropriate that we start the new season with a subject that deals with three cosmic principles existing in the entire universe. They are the expanding, the restricting, and the static principles. They manifest in nature; they govern and influence everything that has ever been created and ever will be created. There is no branch of human science where these principles cannot be found. They penetrate and form the human soul as well. In other words, they exist on all levels and in all forms, from the most subtle to the coarsest. They exist in their pure form as well as in deviation and distortion.
First of all, let us determine the difference between the healthy and unhealthy motives in desires. We will not concern ourselves with the motives of desires which are obviously unhealthy because they are destructive. Instead, we will delve into the deeper regions of the mind and soul where the deviations are very subtle and unobtrusive.
Such a universal mass image is the following: “If I receive attention or approval or admiration, all my worth is established not only in the eyes of the world but in my own eyes. If I cannot get it, then I am inferior.” Needless to say that this is a wrong conclusion and not a conscious thought, but an unconscious emotional attitude. None of you will fail to verify this emotion within yourself.
The desire for happiness is already in existence when the human entity is born. It exists in the small infant. The infant’s idea of happiness is fulfillment of all its desires instantly and in exactly the way it wants it. Regardless of how adult a person may be, a remnant of this infant remains with him for the rest of his life.
QUESTION: Where is the borderline between compulsion and very strong desire?
At times I have described the path you are taking by depicting landscapes as you know them on earth. There are shrubs and thickets, narrow ledges and cliffs. At times the going is rough and tedious, the way steep and stony. At other times you find yourselves on a meadow of rest and light until you are ready to tackle the next hurdle. All this is not merely symbolic. These forms truly exist. They are the product of your inner attitudes and convictions, thoughts and emotions. Many of these create obstacles through which you have to grope your way.
QUESTION: Is the total number of spirits incarnated and discarnated finite, and if so, does that number remain constant or are there additions and subtractions?
The original spirit as first created was male and female in one. When the development of all the fallen beings will have been completed, male and female shall be one again. As one of the byproducts of the Fall, the original being separated and split. I have stated this before at various times. The lower the development of the entities that have been involved in the fall, the more the original being is now split into a greater number of separate parts. The development of humanity has reached a stage where the split is twofold. It manifests in the existence of the two sexes: man and woman.
QUESTION: I would like to ask something about self-responsibility. Would not self-responsibility lead to irresponsibility toward others? If I am responsible for just myself, how then am I my brother’s keeper? Wouldn’t it lead to selfishness, being responsible only for my own life and well-being? I would look for that which is best and most suitable for me first, and only then consider the other person. Although I would give the other equal rights, I would consider myself first.
Tonight we will discuss willpower. One often hears that with the proper application of willpower practically anything can be achieved. Yet you all have had the experience that you wish very much for something, but in vain. This is due not only to unconscious contrary will-currents that divide your will, but also to something that is vastly overlooked. It is the fact that two different kinds of will exist: the inner will and the outer will. This is very important for you to understand.
QUESTION: I have two questions in connection with the last lecture. The first is: I understood that the inner will you spoke of stems from the super-conscious. It was not clear to me whether the outer will then comes from a combination of the conscious and the subconscious?
Strangely enough, people are just as ashamed of their faculties of love, humility, generosity — the very best they have to offer — as they are of the small, selfish and ungiving part of their nature. Let us consider what causes this inner tragedy, this senseless struggle. One main factor is responsible, which varies in extent, detail and manifestation with every individual.
QUESTION: In the last lecture you said in connection with raised consciousness that we will no longer be frightened of bad people. But how can I not be frightened of murders, hold-ups, and all such doings? This is still reality. We still feel the effect of all this.
You may think it makes no sense to suppress positive aspects since only the negative is unpleasant to face and therefore only that needs to be suppressed. But this is not so. Just as frequently as you suppress the more unpleasant, you also suppress the most creative, the most constructive aspects in you, those that would lead you to personal growth as befits your individual personality.
First of all, I should like to discuss a subject about which a few of my friends are quite confused, namely the results that your work on this path are supposed to bring. Many of my friends consciously believe or vaguely feel that when they have worked on themselves for a few months or years, no difficulties or life problems would come to them any longer. This is completely unrealistic. It just is not so. True, certain outer manifestations of your inner problems might be alleviated to some degree. It is erroneous, however, to measure your progress by whether or not life’s ups and downs continue to manifest for you.
QUESTION: In your answer to my question after the last lecture, about the right way toward the love we all desire, you described the work process of realizing, observing, and finally abandoning the wrong way in order to clear the path for the right way. You ended with the sentence: “Then you are on the road upward.” I would now like to ask you to describe that road upward, the right way, the healthy approach that should follow the work of letting go of the compulsive wrong way.
By becoming aware of the unreality within yourself — that is, by seeing how untrue your concepts have been and perhaps still are — you may glean a momentary recognition of reality, of its totally different quality and steadfast character.
We now know that those who cannot love are immature. Immaturity causes unreality. Unreality, being untrue, must perforce, cause unhappiness and conflict, darkness and ignorance. Thus, maturity is really the ability to love. We also discussed that the child in you requires an unlimited amount of love. The child is as unreasonable, as void of understanding, as demanding and one-sided as all immature creatures are. Its impossible wants are: to be loved by all, to be loved totally, to have every wish gratified instantly, and to be loved in spite of its unreasonableness and selfishness. This is why you are afraid of loving.
Since children so seldom receive sufficient mature love and warmth, they continue to hunger for it throughout life unless this lack and hurt is recognized and properly dealt with. If not, as adults they will go through life unconsciously crying out for what they missed in childhood. This will make them incapable of loving maturely. You can see how this condition continues from generation to generation.
I cannot emphasize too strongly that you need first to find out exactly what the confusion is. Whenever something bothers you, be it merely a mood, an unpleasant inner reaction, or an actual outer happening apparently caused by other people, try to find out how you are confused; how your thoughts are muddled; how you are not clear about an idea, a supposedly right reaction, about a principle of general conduct. Ascertain if there is a contradiction of right principles. Put this confusion down concisely, in writing: “I am confused because I do not know…” whatever it may be. Break it down into several questions. The more concise your questions are, the more aware you will become of exactly what your confusion is.
Now comes a third major phase on this path. For those of you who have already gained an overall understanding about your inner problems, it will become necessary to now evaluate your hidden images and complexes with a focus on your faults that are embedded in them. You may rediscover the very same faults you had found at the very beginning of your work and which you thought you had overcome, or perhaps variations of them, deeply hidden within your innermost conflicts