QUESTION: What is the difference between an emotionally mature and an immature person? How can you recognize it?
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.
The subject tonight will be self-confidence. What is self-confidence? When your real being, your real self, your intuitive nature manifests, there is no uncertainty in you, no doubt about your right reaction or action, and no wavering. Your instant and spontaneous reaction is of such a nature that you know deep down, “This is right, this is so.”
QUESTION: You mentioned an “inner psychological law.” Would you explain that, please?
QUESTION: What is the meaning of the Way of the Cross, its principles and its course of actions? How is it comparable to the Eastern concept, the one that follows the Buddha?
I will, however, discuss two preliminary stages in the evolution toward union. These two stages do exist on your plane of existence and consciousness. They are, at the lower level, cooperation, and, at a higher level, communication. No living creature can exist without cooperation and communication. Even on the material level humanity could not survive without them. Food, drink, shelter — all that you need for your physical survival — depend on cooperation and communication,
Having to choose between everyday alternatives that confront you often generates confusion. These alternatives are not crassly “good” or “bad”; they both stem from the same basic struggle in the human soul.
A spiritual teaching, often misunderstood, says that one must rise above pleasure and pain. This is of course true in the ultimate sense. However, it cannot come about by flight from the unpleasantness of the duality. Instead, the transcendence of pleasure and pain happens only by accepting and fully facing the duality: life and death. Those who misunderstand the meaning of rising above pleasure and pain do so because they wish to avoid rather than go through those deep experiences.
I have occasionally used the term mask self in the past. The mask self and the idealized self-image are really one and the same. The idealized self masks the real self.
The attitudes of submissiveness, aggressiveness, and withdrawal are the distortions of love, power, and serenity. I would now like to speak in detail about how they work in the psyche, how they form a supposed solution, and how the dominant attitude creates dogmatic, rigid standards that are then incorporated in the idealized self-image.
The instinct of survival — or self-preservation — aims at gaining, maintaining, and improving life. By its very nature it works against anything that destroys or endangers life. Just as the body needs health to live, so the soul needs health to live most constructively. In order to live, one needs to be safe from destruction and damage.
Growth, development, maturity and the healing of distorted soul forces lie in eliminating the pseudo-solution and replacing it with truth, which is always flexible and knows no rules. It alone can provide true security, although the personality going through the process feels acute insecurity and anxiety when called upon to give up the pseudo-solutions.
Some of you have wondered why at the beginning my talks were of a more spiritual nature, while lately the emphasis has been more psychological. Although you all realize by now that true spiritual development cannot occur without clearing up distorted emotions, your knowledge is still largely theoretical and not yet conducive to a true understanding.
Obedience to authority has been encouraged by exponents of religion under the half-true and only partly valid argument that humanity was too much enslaved by its passions to be let free. Therefore obedience had to be stressed in order to protect society.
But why is the emotional nature generally neglected? There are good reasons for that, my friends. To gain more clarity, let us first understand the function of the emotional nature in human beings. It includes, first of all, the capacity to feel. The capacity to experience feeling is synonymous with the capacity to give and receive happiness. To the degree you shy away from any kind of emotional experience, to that extent you also close the door to the experience of happiness.
Once you stop repressing your emotions, you will find not only definite individual negative emotions, such as hostility, resentment, aggressiveness, and envy, but also certain psychological conditions. It is important to recognize their existence and their significance. Are they real? Are they mature? When you ask these questions, you will understand how they breed the negative emotions about which, consciously or unconsciously, you feel so guilty.
QUESTION: In a previous lecture about emotional growth and its function, a question was asked as to how to handle very wild emotions at a time when one has no helper available. But what does one do if the emotions are so deep-seated, so deeply buried and repressed, for such a long time, that they simply will not come out to the degree one would like?
Among the needs of the idealized self are, for instance, the need for glory, the need to triumph, the need to satisfy vanity or pride. In order to understand this particular process, you have to review how the idealized self-image came into existence.
The child in you resists growth, desires to remain immature, and is burdened with unworkable wrong conclusions and destructive defense mechanisms. Without the pseudo-solutions and defenses, a part of you believes itself lost and endangered. To let go of that which seems to you the very protection you seek causes the psyche to resist. Yet such states of struggle are not due entirely to the resistance to growth and change and to the fear of letting go of familiar, although defective, behavior patterns.
Now let us try to determine the difference between your genuine, true self and the superficial self. Whenever you act out of your real self, you are in complete unity with yourself. There is no doubt, no confusion, no anxiety, and no tension. You are not concerned with the appearance of your act in the eyes of others, or about principles or rules. You are concerned with the effect of your action on others and on yourself and with its consequences; and you choose this particular alternative because, even though you recognize its imperfections, it still seems better to you than another alternative. It corresponds to your innermost nature. This does not apply, of course, to destructive actions of a crass nature.
Let us first understand the human struggle as such. The very state of being human is a problem because you find yourself in an in-between state. You have awakened from a lower state, a plant or animal form where you were in a state of being and in harmony, but without awareness. You have not yet reached a state of being in harmony with awareness. This in-between state is the human struggle, . . .
We discussed some of the symptoms of self-alienation such as: not relating to yourself and to others as you and they are in your true selves; not experiencing yourself in your true strength; not identifying with yourself and your deep inner reality but instead with the superimposed layers of your personality; relying on public opinion rather than on your own convictions, on pseudo-solutions and defense-mechanisms that you have laboriously built up over the course of years.
There are many indications of true selfhood. Take for instance the capacity to experience and to give joy. You cannot give joy if you are not a joyful person. How can you become joyful living in a very imperfect world?
From our vantage point, we see you barricading yourselves behind a wall of separateness. This wall is a useless and illusory form of self-protection. In the last analysis it is simply a barricade against happiness and freedom. So, my friends, realize for all time that the goal of dissolving your obstructions is to enable you to enter the great flow of the eternal current. The ultimate reason for living is to make your life meaningful, but without being merged into this current this cannot happen.
Once again, let us talk about love. Let us remember that anyone without love is withering away. The love you receive is not the most important, you need the love force in your heart; it is your spiritual life-blood. This is the driving force — in a good and healthy sense — that gives meaning to life. Without the love-capacity your life will be empty, meaningless, shallow.
First, let us briefly recapitulate. To begin with, the child suffers from imperfections in the parents’ love and affection. It also suffers from not being fully accepted in its own individuality. By this I mean the common practice of treating a child as a child, rather than as a particular individual. You suffer from this, although you may never be aware of it in these terms or in exact thoughts. This may leave as much of a scar as the lack of love or attention. It causes as much frustration as the lack of love, or even cruelty.