Greetings, all my friends here. Blessings for every one of you. May these words be more than meaningless phrases. May you be able to feel into their deeper meaning, so as to be strengthened and enlightened by the reality of the force that is flowing into you. If you are dull to it, you cannot feel it; it cannot penetrate you.
The same principle exists in human life. Whenever you notice and respond only to the outer manifestations of life, you cannot feel at home within yourself and, therefore, in life. Such alienation is a direct result of unawareness of the inner reality of human life. A deliberate tuning into deeper, more sensitive layers of experience is required to cultivate and increase this awareness. A very deliberate, yet relaxed attempt must be made to feel the underlying causes of the outer results in your life. All sorrow and unhappiness, all emptiness and unfulfillment, all frustration and suffering are caused by being disconnected — as you know and I so often say — from the causes within yourself.
This lecture is a direct continuation of the last one and will best be understood when you follow the sequence. Some of my words must be repeated in order not to lose the thread. As I mentioned in the last lecture, and also occasionally before, you produce whatever you experience. Unhappiness does not actually mean that you have — through your errors, misconceptions and destructive feelings and behavior patterns — created these unpleasurable experiences. That is not really the bad thing. The bad thing is not knowing this, so that on one level you want something and on another level you deny it. Not knowing that you deny what you consciously wish is the greatest pain because you are pulled in opposite directions. Whenever you get closer to the fulfillment of your conscious wish, your unconscious shrinks away from it in terror. The resulting frustration confuses you, frightens you, and makes you feel hopeless about life. It causes you to put up all your most destructive defense mechanisms, which increase the unconscious denial, destructiveness and conscious frustration. The soul movements in two opposite directions make you feel literally torn apart. The pain of not understanding what goes on increases the inner tension. The more hopeless it all seems, the more the conscious self strives and grasps. Such tense motion — even toward the desired goal — defeats it, for tension arises from hopelessness, doubt, and an urgency which works counter to the smooth movements of the universal flow.
The division is the real pain. One who is aware of the division and experiences it consciously is blessed indeed, for in that moment a great deal of tension disappears. I would like to discuss this a little further tonight, since it is all-important. It is absolutely impossible for you to find your home within yourself, to feel at home in life, if you do not perceive that layer within that says no to what you most strenuously say yes to on the surface.
It is not easy to get to this. The first step would be to think about this principle and make room for its reality in your mind by strengthening your will to find that in you that pulls in the opposite direction from where you outwardly and consciously move. The will to find the part of you that says no must be continuously strengthened and encouraged. Yet, even those of you, my friends, who are on this path most successfully, and perhaps for the longest time, again and again forget. When you are unhappy you automatically blame someone or something else, at least emotionally. The moment you do this, further damage sets in. It then becomes more and more difficult to extricate yourself from this pattern of inner behavior. Blaming brings in its wake other destructive attitudes: stubbornness, blind resistance, the desire to punish those who one thinks are responsible for one’s unhappiness, and even some form of deliberate self-destruction as a way of punishing them. This is a prevalent pattern that, to some degree, exists in everyone. It is most deadly, most poisonous when it is still unconscious and rationalized.
Therefore I say to all of you, my friends: whenever you are unhappy, look first for that side of you that says no, for whatever reason. Then look for the side that blames others even if only subtly, indirectly and secretly. Look at your emotions where you make a case against someone or something — against life at large, perhaps. Then see this particular displacement, where you shift. Because no matter how wrong others may be, they can never be responsible for your suffering, no matter what the appearances are.
If you do not blame anyone, but overly blame yourself in a very destructive attitude that does not find a way out, then you are doing exactly the same. For this kind of self-blame is only a disguise for violent hate and blame of others. In this kind of attitude that does not permit the self to lift up its head and go on from there lies a similar streak of vindictiveness, only less direct.
If you wish to connect yourself with the causes of your suffering and truly remove these causes, this must be the process: really wanting to see where you say no to what you want most — no matter how impossible this may seem offhand. Question your emotions extremely carefully, and look at them when it comes to practical reality. Notice how you act contrary to what you imagine you want so much.
When you find this basic knot in the soul substance, you will become aware of emotional tensions that prohibit the free-flowing feeling of the life force. This free-flowing feeling can only affect you when you are in harmony with the laws of life. Denying the truth of your saying no and then blaming others — and denying the blame as well — is a violation of the laws of life. For the laws of life are not only truth, but they also mean seeking all causes in the self, where they really are. Displacing them outward brings a total distortion of reality. One then deals continually with half-truths, which are much more confusing and difficult to extricate yourself from then untruths. Therefore various negative emotions, tensions and distortions of concepts come into existence.
The next step in this connection is the detached observation of the movements of the soul — the inner atmosphere in which you live and which inexorably emanates from you and affects everything around you. When you become very quiet and listen into yourself, you will feel it. You will know what it is that moves and motivates you, no matter how subtle it may be. It is always a complexity of interacting chain-reactions producing contradictory feelings and concepts, one overlapping the other, all mysteriously connected.
When you are in harmony with life because you are connected with your own causes and effects, your position toward the forces of life can be compared to that of a swimmer. You float on the water. The water carries you. Yet you move, you are not passive. If you were entirely passive you could not be sustained by the water for long. But if you are too active — moving too much, too tensely and anxiously — there is no pleasure in swimming, nor is it safe. The water will control you, rather than support you. You must move in a rhythmic, relaxed, confident way — confident in the power of the water to carry you, and confident in your own ability to move smoothly and purposefully. The more rhythmic, relaxed and harmonious your movements are, the less strenuous moving is. Movement becomes effortless and self-perpetuating. A very secure and pleasurable relationship exists between the water and the body. There is a wonderful balance between the active and passive forces of the person swimming, which determines the harmonious relationship, or balance, between the human body and the body of water. In spite of the justified trust that the water carries the body, the person does not deny his or her responsibility and participation in the act of swimming, or even of floating.
This is a very apt analogy to your position in the universe and relation to the universal forces. Your ego must be active in a healthy and relaxed way. You must not abdicate, or negate, the participation of the ego in the act of living. Nevertheless, you fully trust and allow yourself to float on other forces. The floating movement, the sensation of being carried by life, is a byproduct of the path you are on. The more you face your inner difficulties and the true causes of your suffering, the more you will develop the ego and allow the universal force to establish itself. This will happen in a way that is both relaxed and strong. You will feel floating, being carried, yet actively participating and self-determining.
This is a wonderful way of being. It is the way of being. Nothing can replace it. No substitute solution you seek or hope for can ever equal the true feeling of selfhood — of your own powers, your own strength — when you connect with that in you which causes your negative experiences. Only then can you resolve the problems that cause these experiences.
This step is not easily taken. Everyone who approaches this path resists finding the causes within. If all goes well, this attitude diminishes as the person progresses. But the beginner clings to the unconscious hope of finding the causes of his or her suffering outside of the self. They do not realize that nothing would be gained by this, even if it were possible. They would still be unable to change their fate since they cannot change others. In their blind fear of imperfection and concomitant pride they overlook this fact. Thus the struggle to pin the fault outside the self goes on and on. The greatest step a human being can undertake is to say, “With all my heart and all my might I wish to recognize the cause within.” The more this thought is cultivated, the more something happens inside. Therein lies all hope and the salvation one looks for. It must be done at one point or another.
Now I will come to the next step. At first, it may seem even more difficult than the previous one, but actually it is not. All these difficulties are illusory. Your unconscious fear about finding the cause of unhappiness within the self is an illusion. Anyone who has ever found the cause within will confirm that this brings relief, safety, and confidence in life. It is only pride that keeps you from fully wanting to find the cause within. And it is pride that makes the next step seem so difficult.
The next step is to understand that whenever you get to the basic causes which make you deny the thing you most wish for, fear, pride, and self-will are always involved. Years ago I said that these are the three basic faults and evils of humanity. Fear is a fault because it implies distrust; it arises out of hate. Fear must always exist to the degree the person is unhappy about his or her own character. Otherwise it could not exist. As I outlined in the last lecture, the fears that accrue from self-dislike breed fear of the life processes: fear of life, fear of death, fear of pleasure, fear of letting go, fear of self, fear of change, fear of the unknown, fear of being imperfect — any fear whatever. They are all illusion.
You cannot overcome a fear unless you go through it. This is the second, seemingly so difficult step. If people shy away from finding the causes of suffering within the self, they shy away even more from this step. All their energies are geared to circumvent that which they fear. That must always prove a way of error and disappointment.
You cramp up against that which you fear. The more you cramp up against it the more you alienate yourself from the center of your being from which all good must come. You become more and more contracted, a state in which it is impossible to float. Imagine a swimmer in such a physical state of constriction and contraction. He must sink — and so it is with humans in life.
The constrictions create all sorts of knots in the personality — physically, mentally, and emotionally. These knots cause a disconnection from the soul substance — from and through which all solutions, all wisdom, all well-being spring forth. How can an illusion be exposed as such if it is not ever tested? You can find out the truth only when you penetrate the illusion. Without that it is impossible to meet the fear of that which you want most — life, pleasure, fulfillment, realization of your potentials, success in every way, meaningful living, health, love, companionship, that is, being connected with the real processes of life. None of this can come when you are in fear. How are you supposed to get out of fear? Do you still expect an omnipotent, benign authority to remove it from the outside? Could this ever really solve anything and reassure you for good? Certainly not. The only genuine reassurance is knowing your capacity to meet and deal with what you fear, intelligently and realistically. This can only be done by fully going into it, not by evasion. The courage to accept what is inevitable strengthens the capacity to find genuine and meaningful ways of avoiding unnecessary feared events.
Make a list of fears. I said this years ago, but now that you know much more of your innermost self such a list will be more profound. Look at your fears. To what extent are they caused by pride? To what extent are they a result of a rigid selfwill — unwilling to bend, change, flow with the stream of ever-changing life? Fears must be met. In order to be met, they must be ascertained. They must truly be faced up to — painstakingly and specifically — not glossed over in a general way. That will never do. It is essential that you name the fear concisely and think it through.
This makes the next step possible. Look the fear squarely in the face. Have the integrity and courage to go through it if it cannot be helped. The self-respect and self-like that come from such an attitude are more important than anything else. Everything depends on that. Thus you will become capable of alleviating that which is not really necessary. Some undesirable events come to you because you set their effects in motion a long time ago and the causes cannot be eliminated. Thus the effects must be borne. By doing so you can avoid setting new undesirable results in motion. Such strength and ability grows from direct, head-on facing, not treating the fear as if it were a phantom or ghost — which you cannot grasp or touch and, because of that, inordinately fear. In this way you breed more terror.
The unification of the tremendously painful division within you — of wanting the thing you fear and fearing the thing you want — can only mend when you look for the cause of this split of desire and motivation. Face the fears squarely. Face your pride squarely, which makes you so perfectionistic that you must fear falling off the self-erected pedestal. Many fears will dissolve when you are willing to give up your pride. Then you will see the unfairness that exists when you blame life, or other people, for what is really in yourself, no matter how imperfect and wrong others also are. When you deny the cause of your suffering within and place it outside yourself, you always commit an unfairness; you are never in truth. It is always pride that makes facing fear impossible.
When you reverse the old habit pattern of blaming others and circumventing what you fear, something quite extraordinary will begin to happen. Little by little and, as always, with relapses at first your soul substance will begin to change. Your experience will, at first, be the following: After you become concisely aware of the climate you live in within your personality, it automatically loses a certain binding power. You become more detached by the very act of seeing yourself in the grip of it. As this goes on for a while, you will begin to sense — underneath the level on which you are tortured, anxious, numb, hopeless, and twisted in pain — another reality. This level of reacting — where you fluctuate between twisted anxiety, torture and hopelessness, on the one hand, and numbness, lifelessness, on the other — is assumed by most of humanity to be the natural state of being, existing, functioning. Generally, people do not conceive of any other inner state, because they are not even aware that this is their state. Therefore, when you see yourself in this state, you come much closer to sensing another state — behind this one, as it were.
At first, this will occur only occasionally. Later, it will become more frequent. Underneath the tortured level a new way of being evolves. You will simultaneously experience both. I venture to say that some of my friends on this path have already experienced this new level of reality. They will readily confirm the truth of what I say. The feeling is one of immense safety and well-being, of vibrancy, peace and aliveness; of a flowing feeling of utter confidence. It is a feeling of being carried, yet deeply knowing that the power exists within to govern life in the best possible way.
As I said, this experience will first come simultaneously with the usual anxious, hopeless, unhappy state. It is a gradual transition in the course of which the old and new are experienced together, side by side, or one superimposed over the other. The new is as yet only a vague feeling deep inside the self. But gradually it becomes more predominant until it takes over and replaces the old. The old hopeless feeling recurs as rarely now as the experience of the true inner reality did before. To function at two levels of your being simultaneously is, in itself, a good experience, for it brings the split into full focus.
This simultaneity of two levels is a very distinct experience on the path. It should be expected, not come as a surprise. It should greet you with the confirmation that you are indeed on the right way. When these two conflicting states are experienced at the same time — wracking anxiety, anguish, depression and a deep peace and well-being — the former no longer has any power. You see it for what it is. However, this will not remain that way. It will alternate, fluctuate. You will lose what you found and, occasionally, wonder whether it was real. When you regain it you will know that nothing could be more real. Again and again, you have to battle your way through periods where you are thrown back into the old state without being in the new one. Each battle indicates another milestone that makes the attainment of the real state of life more secure and permanent. It will be lost less and less often, until total self-realization is attained. Then it becomes the normal state of being.
What I wish to stress here is perhaps somewhat confusing at first, since words are so limited. In the peaceful state of self-realization all intensity vanishes. This statement is confusing only when you associate intensity with depth, involvement, delight and ecstasy. I mentioned this once before in a different context. It is very important to understand this principle. People are habitually not only tense, but tense because of an intensity that is directly related to the state of duality — through believing in something very good versus something very bad. The duality makes a painful cramp inevitable. Anything you do not want, you intensely push away. Anything you desire you intensely grasp. You grasp for the good because you fear the bad and fear not attaining the good. Anything you intensely avoid you must fear.
The peaceful, secure state I mentioned — the only state in which total pleasure exists — is completely free from the cramped intensity in either grasping or avoiding. One grasps because one fears not getting, and one avoids because one fears getting. Thus they are both the same in soul movement. How is deep pleasure possible in such a condition? This is why it is such folly to believe pleasure is possible in only an intense state. The “good” in the duality is illusion; it never fulfills. The reconciliation of all duality is the fearless pleasure supreme that comes from the floating state I mentioned earlier. In this state all is welcome, all is good, even though one may have preferences. This may sound like indifference and shallowness of experience, which are distortions of the state I have described. This misunderstanding often occurs about spiritual philosophies, particularly the eastern ones.
It is untrue that in the state of self-realization one is so detached that one cares about nothing and is indifferent to pleasure. The pleasure — that is the opposite of pain you are used to — must become less intense, just as the pain will become less intense when you learn to go through what you fear. Going through the fear mends the split of the duality. It lessens the intensity of both pleasure and pain. It enables the soul to go through anything and remain in a flowing state of experiencing life as it really is. It creates a shift and brings the soul onto a new level of experience — the healing of the split — where all is one.
Anyone on such a path eventually notices that when one no longer fights, struggles against, avoids and fears the pain, it becomes increasingly less intense, until it ceases to be pain at all. By the same token, the old, immature pleasures cease to be attractive and no longer yield satisfaction. New, deeper pleasures arise that are not the opposite of anything. They are, by themselves and in themselves, an oppositeless reality — infinite and inexorable.
The idea that pain and pleasure become more “similar” may sound impossible and preposterous. I admit that it is difficult to explain or describe to anyone who has not gone through certain experiences on such a path. But anyone of you who has been near such an experience will feel what I mean. You will then comprehend the misery in your soul forces when you grasp on the one side and ward off on the other. The courageous attitude of going through what is self-produced and inevitable must not be confused with masochism, deliberate self-destruction, or hopeless resignation. It requires an unexaggerated honesty to face up to what is within. This begins to take the hard edge off emotions and makes them bearable. It is the beginning of unification. In this attitude any painful feeling loses its terror because it no longer seems the final fate. It is known to be temporary, and experienced as such.
The experience of pain turning into pleasure and the two thus becoming one does not have to wait for a faraway future or mystical state when you are much further advanced in your development. Anyone on this Path can experience it any time they truly face up to themselves. Quite a few of you have, for example, experienced how anxiety can loosen up as you fully face and understand it, as you express it directly and convert it into its component parts of other emotions you had denied — perhaps rage, hurt, sadness. When these emotions are fully experienced in body and soul — and honestly expressed without acting out against any scapegoat — the torturous feelings turn into warmth and pleasure. The feeling of alive peace accompanies this experience. Your body and soul are streaming in pleasure currents when you no longer run away from feared emotions. This happens invariably and inevitably when you are deep within your self where no duality exists, where all is one, where your own causes and salvation must be found. Then no matter what the experience, it must become pleasurable. Such pleasure is of an entirely different nature than the pleasure that is opposed to pain in the dualistic state. On the level of duality, pleasure is feared as annihilation while, at the same time, one fears to lose it and fall into its opposite. The completeness, the wholeness, of the unitive pleasure may also be intense, but in a very different way than ordinary intensity. It knows no fear, no cramp. It involves the total personality.
In order to come to this level, my friends, go through these steps with your helpers. In your approach to yourselves, through meditation, make up your mind, again and again: “I want to face the cause of the evil in my life, that which causes my suffering. I truly want to look, with courage and honesty, at all the truth in me and around me.” The more you do this, the more this path will help you by its self-perpetuating forces that are thus activated. Each successive step must become easier.
Now, my friends, are there any questions connected to this topic?
QUESTION: Does the coming together of pleasure and pain happen when you experience pain as a feeling? Is the common denominator that the self experiences both as feelings, when even the feeling of pain becomes pleasurable because it is experienced?
ANSWER: You are quite right. I would put it this way: The moment the personality ceases to struggle against a feeling, the pain ceases and becomes pleasurable. This is why a person who can say, “I am intensely angry” experiences anger in a totally different way from struggling against the anger and letting it out in a haphazard way. Feeling the anger, one accepts, faces, and ceases to fight what is. There is no denial, no attempt to negate. The same applies to any emotion. The moment it is fully acknowledged, one begins to see it for what it is. It then dissolves, for it is always illusion.
Feelings reconvert themselves into their original substance. Anyone not having experienced this may misunderstand and confuse acceptance with condoning and finality. Acceptance merely means stopping the struggle against what is, a struggle always motivated by pride, fear and selfwill.
Often you are unaware of your struggle against what is in you. You disclaim it, professing to accept willingly what is, but unable to find it. Let this be proof to you that you have not accepted what is in you, that you fight yourself somewhere and thus put yourself in a painful state, whether you are aware of it or not. Rather than denying the struggle, let your mood, your inner feeling, be the determining factor that tells you where you are within yourself.
QUESTION: Would the same apply to the fear of death? That the moment one accepts the experience of it, it ceases to be frightening?
ANSWER: Absolutely. This is quite true.
QUESTION: Recently I have come to the realization that all my anger and sarcasm are displaced positive feelings, especially overwhelming feelings of love. I am terrified of expressing these enormous feelings in certain instances. Could you help me with that? I am afraid of the consequences.
ANSWER: Yes, this is a wonderful step. First of all, ascertain concisely what it is you are afraid of. Much of it is pride. Furthermore, there is also a certain amount of greed involved here, in the sense of refusing to accept a possible frustration or denial. If you were to express your desire, it seems absolutely unbearable to you that your love, your tenderness, might not be reciprocated. It would seem like annihilation. This, of course, is not true. As you know from your own experience, the present state you are in — which is more or less the state in which most individuals find themselves — you do not necessarily refuse to respond because you find the other person unlovable. Mostly it is because you are frightened of the experience. When you give up the self-centeredness of the infant — and, at the same time, the greed of the infant that cannot brook denial — it will no longer be the end of the world if you are not assured of reciprocation. You will then automatically develop the intuition to know when and how to express your feelings.
Sometimes the expression of feelings may be frightening for those who are still immature. They recoil, not because they do not appreciate you as an individual, but because they cannot handle the feelings. Only when you are not a child yourself will you see it in that way. Then you will regulate your expression — not in a miserly, self-centered, vain way, not due to lack of generosity and feeling, not out of pride, fear and selfwill, but out of the wisdom and intuition that recognizes who is ready and how a person is able to receive what you have to give. In other words, you will be able to allow these wonderful feelings, whether or not it is possible to express them in a direct way, whether or not the other person is at all times able to take them. The very fact that you have these feelings is in itself the most precious treasure, the most wonderful experience, for it makes you alive and streaming with pleasure. It gives you true security. To the extent you can acknowledge and allow these feelings — to the extent you can express them or simply have them, as the case may be — to that extent you will automatically attract the kind of individuals who will be as able as you are to feel, to receive and give good feelings. Or you will be able to help those you are involved with to become that way, if they are at all willing to grow.
No problem can be so severe that it cannot be helped and solved — provided you truly want to go to the roots of it, to look at whatever truth is in you and be ready to change where it is indicated. No problem can be so insignificant that it doesn’t seem hopeless if this attitude is lacking. If you are willing to face the fact that, at one point, you have denied your good feelings and deliberately turned them into bad ones, you will come out of the pain of self-hate.
Be blessed all of you, be in peace, be in God.