Happiness for Yourself or Happiness as a Link in the Chain of Life

Pathwork Guide Lecture No. 5 | May 06, 1957

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Greetings in the name of God. I bring you God’s blessings.

My dear ones, God’s spirit world would want nothing more than to help you grow spiritually—into happiness, harmony, and light. God’s spirits try continually to extend their helping hand to bring you over those hurdles where you are struggling with the difficulties in your spiritual development on this path toward perfection. We can only help, however:  we cannot force. First you will have to want to reach perfection, and open the door through wanting it. Only then will you perceive this help as a palpable reality. This, in turn, will increase your feelings of security and deepen your trust in the reality and truthfulness of God’s spirit world. Yet it is only too often that humans will pay no attention to the heavenly spirits around them and so will not see, hear, and feel those who offer their help. Even if they believe in principle in the existence of God and His spirit world, they do not think that this has an effect on their personal lives with all their problems. Thus they close the door and may continue walking on a wrong path. Going in the wrong direction often begins with a seemingly trivial choice, but the more one moves away from the point of choice, the farther one will stray into a dead-end street from where it will be ever more difficult to find the way out.

Even when people love God and want the good, they so often do not see in themselves that which is the determining factor in their development and fulfillment. What appears to be an unimportant detail is often the root of all unhealthy currents in the soul. You, however, do not recognize it because you are unwilling to awaken to the inspiration coming from the divine spirits. For it is always more comfortable to stay in the old way. The result is sadness or dissatisfaction with life; you do not understand why, but this is very often the reason, my dear friends.

It is my task to give you hints, to awaken you. May each of you hear what applies to you personally—but even for this the willingness has to be there. Only when you feel it can you absorb and assimilate this material.

Whenever human beings set themselves a goal, whether consciously or just emotionally, and this goal is a selfish one, they will often not be able to reach that which they want. Even if they reach it, its effect and the satisfaction it gives will be a fleeting one; it will dry out, become shallow, and eventually dissolve. If you want happiness just for yourself, then you will not become happy. Most likely you will say, “But of course I do not want happiness only for myself. I will be very glad to see my fellow human beings also happy.”  But it makes a great difference whether this is just an occasional and rather superficial thought, formed out of a sense of duty, or whether the wish penetrates your whole being. Each one of you can look inside to ascertain how deep the wish really is. For here too you may deceive yourself; here too you can want something with your mind, having already learnt one thing or another, but another part of your personality, which I call the lower self, pulls your emotions into quite a different direction. This part does not really care for the other person—not emotionally—though in your mind you may indeed wish him or her well—that is, as long as it does not cost you personal sacrifice or any great effort—and this is the crux of the matter. Almost anybody, unless still on a very low level of development, will in theory feel glad when good things happen to another. But even quite developed people, if honest, often detect in themselves some envy, or a slightly malicious joy over the misfortune of others.

How far along is any individual in this respect?  Is anyone willing to give something up for the sake of another?  Ask yourself:  “Do I want happiness for my own sake, or is this the second consideration?”  Can you address God and say, “Of course I cannot fool you, just as I cannot fool myself. True, I want to be happy. But also when I obtain this happiness, I want to maintain it by becoming a connecting link. What I receive from you I wish to convey to others in some form, even if I have to make a sacrifice—perhaps to renounce my ego-gratification. Please show me how I can give out to others all that I have received from you.”  If you immerse yourself again and again into this thought, until it takes root in your soul, until it becomes such a powerful spiritual form that it penetrates your entire being on the deepest level of your feelings, then you will have fulfilled the conditions. Then the particular spiritual law can manifest through you, and then you will be truly happy, exactly because your own happiness is no longer the ultimate goal of your endeavors. That is, the “I” will give up its self-importance for the sake of the “Thou.”  Then you seek happiness not only because you want it; on the contrary, the goal will be to give happiness to the other, to others, and your own happiness will merely be a way station, so to speak.

Your happiness will be given to you so that you can pass it on. Then you will indeed become a link in the chain, which is the sole requisite to keep the stream of happiness alive and flowing. In this way it will never dry out. Whatever the person who serves as such a link gives out will be reciprocated a hundredfold. God will always show you how, in what form, your love and knowledge and happiness can be passed on to others, but first you must have the readiness to do so. Indeed, today, tomorrow, next week, and every day you have to make the resolution to be in readiness; you must consciously conquer your resistance. Do not push it into unconsciousness. Then you must try to translate the readiness into action. And so the spiritual law can begin to fulfill itself in you.

Let each and every one of you now think about what particular blessings you enjoy; it may be good health, or spiritual strength, or the happiness and security of a loving relationship; it is different with each one of you. Everybody has received a special treasure from God. And once you have decided, “I will no longer want to be the ultimate goal, but rather a link in the chain,” it will be shown to you how you can pass on that which you have received, and you will also be richly rewarded, for that is the law.

At the same time you will not take your gifts and treasures for granted—which is always a sign of spiritual desiccation and causes the gifts you possess to lose their luster because the law of giving and receiving has been violated. If you are a living link in the chain, every one of your gifts will regain its shine, and the joy and pleasure that you had lost will be restored to you.

As with happiness in general, so it is with every one of its components that a person may desire:  love, strength, health, freedom—everything. Whatever one wants for one’s own sake will dissolve, wither away; whatever is sought for the sake of the other, as a link in the chain, will blossom and flourish—for yourself and for the other.

Take, for instance, the many people who are preoccupied with becoming free. They avoid anything that could bind them. But the same law applies here also:  Those who desire freedom for its own sake will find themselves bound on the inner level. On the other hand, one who desires freedom to become a link in the chain, to effect some special task for God’s Plan of Salvation and for fellow human beings, will blossom in freedom without being bound inside. Giving energy to further the upward development of human consciousness, this person will be free not only on the outer level, but inwardly also. Those who lust for freedom out of pure egoism, elevating themselves above God and claiming freedom from the spiritual laws, become less and less free; the vaunted freedom will turn into bondage, and ultimately they will find themselves in fetters. Those who ally themselves with God and His laws will continually increase their freedom and their independence. This is the immutable law, which cannot be overthrown. God’s laws were created in wisdom and love, and those who revolt against them out of defiance and ignorance—either because they cannot as yet understand them or because they do not want to comprehend them for unhealthy emotional reasons—must become increasingly unhappy with the resulting tight inner bondage.

Many people who revolt against human injustice cannot comprehend that God is just and that in spirit infallible justice reigns. Spiritual justice makes use of human injustice in order to bring about ultimate justice.

My dear ones, this may appear contradictory to some of you. Nevertheless, it is not; the equation balances out. I will give you an example. Let us suppose that a criminal who has committed several crimes has gotten away with it every time. He laughs into his beard, both at the stupidity of people and at the lack of justice, which seems to be to his advantage. Then one day he is arrested for a crime he did not commit. You will find that it is exactly this kind of person who will scream loudest about the injustice in this world. He went scot free all those other times and now, when he is innocent, he is forced to pay. The more obstinate such a person is, the less will he recognize the great justice prevailing over the minor injustice. He will not want to see this. But this is how he is being tested. For it would be all too easy to recognize spiritual justice with all its ramifications if the connection between crime and punishment were always so evident. The imperfection which human beings have created for themselves must be the remedy, so to speak, through which they can regain the lost perfection.

If complete justice reigned on earth—and this in itself is an impossibility, since the imperfection came into being out of free will and has to be overcome through free will—then it would be too simple for you humans:  earth would not be a testing ground, and it would be meaningless to strive for the attainment of a higher consciousness. The attaining of a higher state of consciousness is the utmost grace, to which the door must be opened by the entity itself. So you are tested as to whether or not you are willing to see farther, even if this means giving up self-will, spite, self-righteousness, and other negative currents. The magnitude and glory of God’s creation lies exactly in the fact that imperfection is used as a means to attain perfection, that human injustice is used to bring about divine justice.

The example I just used is a crass one; nevertheless it applies in one way or another to everybody. If you really want to find out whether this is so in your case, the insight will be given to you, though of course it is not easy to meet yourself so honestly. You often have to pay for something that you have not committed—but what you are really paying for lies buried in the past. What it is can be found out only by summoning the inner will in meditation. And even if the action for which you have to pay now was committed in a past life, the insight can come, provided you follow this path of development and purification. Helpful insights are given by heaven as a token of appreciation for your honest endeavors, for your humility and goodwill.

It can also happen that you are not asked to account for a series of smaller trespasses. The spirit world is willing to wait and see whether you will conclude on your own that something in your character needs to be improved. But if you do not search in this direction, the effect of all the neglected deviations will descend upon you, as it were, in one fell swoop; you will have to pay off all the little things. This may make it easier to awaken you to the fact that you have to change something in yourself. And here again your attitude will be tested. Will you say, “I never did anything wrong enough to justify all that is coming to me now,” or will you assume that God cannot be unjust and therefore begin to explore whatever it is in you that needs to be uncovered. This is always the question, and your answer makes all the difference as to whether you are passing the test or not; it will determine the direction of your development.

It is a special grace—and I purposely choose this word—when you can pay off your violations of spiritual law in the same life and not in the next, since it is so much easier to see the connecting threads and thus recognize ultimate justice, even when it comes in a roundabout way. Such experiences will make you feel that there is safe ground under your feet and establish your permanent trust in God. But, as I said, the grace of recognition can be given to you even if what you pay off reaches back into a previous incarnation, provided you are absolutely determined to choose self-awareness and purification. In this way it will be easier for you to harmonize your relationship to God. And harmony with God brings about your happiness. It is not, as often believed, that finding God is giving to Him. I tell you all this so that you can think about your difficulties and find out whether you are paying for something that you caused in this life or in a previous one. Whichever it is, you can still find the seed in you; it must be a special fault which has to be recognized and dealt with.

When humans shed their body and enter the realm of spirit, most of what you call the unconscious is open and accessible. Not one of you, my dear ones, not even those who have already progressed on this path or who are actually in a state of healing, have even the remotest idea of the reality of this unconscious, which is so often deeply split into opposing currents and works against the conscious mind. Some of those who are in healing may have caught a glimpse of it. Encountering these previously unconscious currents and tendencies feels as if you met a total stranger who leads his own life. It requires work, discipline, and training to feel into these currents and recognize precisely what they are. The encounter with this stranger is a sign of great progress; you have every reason to rejoice. Sing “Glory Hallelujah,” for the first battle is won, the first step toward the unification of your personality has been taken. Do not get depressed. It is extremely important for anyone who hopes to accomplish in one life as much as possible not to postpone encountering the unconscious, but to face it right now. For the unknown part of the personality has tremendous power, and this power lies in its being unconscious, so that only the widespread effects are visible. You see the symptoms and not what causes them. These undercurrents cannot be controlled as long as you are not aware of them.

It is a great mistake to believe that if you do not look at the undercurrents, their effect will be less severe. It is, of course, possible to exert some control over their outward manifestations, in crises and conflicts, but this is not sufficient. You know by now that all thoughts and feelings create spiritual forms of the greatest reality, even if you cannot see them. These forms have far-reaching effects:  in ever-spreading circles, actions create reactions, which again have consequences, so that a long chain reaction ensues. You may control some of the outermost manifestations of the long chain, but, as I said, this is not enough. Disturbed soul currents cannot be set on a right course until one penetrates deeply into their origin in the unconscious.

The conscious mind wants the good and wants to act right;  one part of the unconscious, the higher self, also strives upward. But in every human being another part of the personality wants what is evil and false—yet this evil or falsehood does not have to be of the criminal kind; all depends on the person’s development. A higher developed individual’s negative traits weigh as heavily as the criminal tendencies of a less highly evolved being. Blind, impossible demands may rub him sore, so to speak. They cannot be fulfilled, partly because they are not realizable, and partly because they run contrary to what the higher self desires. The opposing tendencies clash and exhaust the soul; they create disharmony and sometimes illness. Above all, they prevent spiritual growth, or at least hinder maximum development. Therefore I cannot urge you enough to devote all your attention to the discovery of the unconscious:  get to know the unconscious, make it conscious in meditation, in prayer, in all your striving. Without this there can be no significant progress, and you will have to experience the open and unhindered manifestation of your unconscious currents when you shed your body. Then the conflict must be entered.  This will be a disappointment, for people, until they face themselves, believing that they are far more developed than they actually are, assume that only their actions count; yet their feelings are also actions and have just as tangible consequences. Also, the development of the personality takes incomparably longer and is much more difficult to accomplish in the spirit world. God has arranged life on earth in such a way that your spiritual ascent is speeded up in the surroundings of imperfection, in the diversity of developmental stages. Yet it often happens that more incarnations are used than strictly necessary to set the imperfect, blind, unconscious currents right; some future earthly lives could be avoided by a stronger commitment to development in the present.

Human development has advanced so far that at least a certain number of people are ready to approach the hidden soul currents; today more people have the maturity necessary for such a search. Therefore God has allowed humanity to make discoveries about the psyche, the unconscious. Though the knowledge is still scant, more and more will be found out about it. Not all people are ready, of course; many still have to learn to adapt their external actions to God’s laws. They will not be led to such a path as this. It is not an accident when someone experiences guidance at certain moments.

Many people find their way to a psychiatrist, but only when their inner conflicts have become so great that they tear the person apart, so that they feel miserable and utterly lost. Those who are already on a higher level—or think they are—should walk their path without getting caught in major crises, that is, in a completely voluntary manner, kindled by the knowledge that the self-search cannot be avoided. What seems to be difficult here will be even more difficult and more time-consuming in the spirit world. The earlier you start, the easier it will be. Do not persuade yourself that what I say may not be true and that then you may have taken all the trouble in vain. No, my dear ones, nothing that anyone achieves spiritually is ever in vain. These are the only lasting values which will never fade; they will be yours eternally.

The more you postpone the purification of your soul, the more the unhealthy currents will get entangled in the unconscious, and the more difficult it will be to disentangle them. For as long as one has not looked at these currents in the light of one’s consciousness, one will continue daily, even hourly, to push the same emotional reactions into the unconscious, piling the new upon the old. Think about all this, and liberate yourself from your feelings of resistance, which will certainly emerge, at least in the beginning. Do not believe the voice of resistance; it offers nice explanations to the intellect, which are, in reality, nothing but subterfuges to avoid self-search. Use your critical faculties to detect the excuses you make only too easily, or the intention to dismiss the whole problem. Observe your reaction when you hear these words. How do you feel as you listen to them?  Do you feel a slight discomfort, perhaps in a deeply hidden place, or even quite obviously?  Do you want to shrug these reactions off with a vague gesture as if you did not need to do the work?  Look into yourselves, my friends. Those who are truly willing to make the decision to purify their souls will be helped to do so. The helping hand will be there. The healing of the soul does not have to, and should not, proceed in the same way for each individual; therefore the way will be smoothed for everyone so that all can find what is best for their path.

Now I want to switch to a subject which has been discussed on some occasions and seems to puzzle some of you:  How and why is it possible that there are so many different religious concepts on earth?  You think, “Everybody says something different, much of it is contradictory; therefore none of them can be in truth.”  My dear friends, there is only one truth. Let me explain why there are differences in the human concepts and how they should be viewed—and here I exclude errors which have slipped into the concepts through faulty transmissions. As everything has form and gestalt in spirit, so does truth, that is, the true state of things. The form is unchangeable and yet in constant flux, since everything in the spirit is in continuous, ever-vibrating, circular motion. Nothing is static, neither feelings nor circumstances, nothing at all. Imagine a wheel, unchangeable in its basic form, but constantly turning. At various places and at different times, after fulfilling certain conditions, people occasionally lift the veil that covers it and see a small segment of the huge wheel. One person, at one particular time, sees one detail behind the veil; another, at another time, or in another place, sees something quite different. Their observations may occasionally coincide, but often they do not, since the wheel is turning and whoever lifts the veil may see just then something different. What they see may sometimes appear contradictory, because the connection between the parts of the whole cannot be seen through the veil. If the whole wheel were visible, the seemingly contradictory parts would be seen as belonging to a whole. So humanity is fighting because their various interpretations sound like contradictions. In reality this is not so. Even when a religious concept contains definite errors, one can find the grain of truth on which it is based.

People often approach this whole area with a wrong attitude. They believe that there cannot be such a thing as absolute truth, only relative truth, a conclusion they base on their various glimpses behind the veil. They purport that everything connected with God and Creation is more or less a matter of personal opinion or taste. Each belief contains something beautiful and noble, they say, and therefore all these matters of belief are subjective and not absolute or objective. The conclusion, based emotions, is that there is no absolute spiritual truth. Instead of trying to find the truth that can be found in each religious concept, people dismiss everything, at least emotionally, as illusion, imagination, and a matter of preference. This means that the entire concept of the absolute, which can only exist in spirit, becomes predicated on human perception with is errors, elevating it above all else. By embracing this error, you become passive, you are unable to lift the veil and to personally experience the truth. This is only possible when a person is convinced that there must be an absolute truth above relative human truth, and when you are careful not to transpose the relative human truth onto the absolute spiritual truth. That would necessarily close the door to personally experiencing the truth.

In this respect people can be divided into two groups. One clings dogmatically to a set of beliefs without much thinking or examining their feelings about them. They will never know what it is to have a deep personal experience of truth. The other group is the one I mentioned before. Today it is especially numerous, mostly consisting of intellectually advanced people. They claim that their views are particularly unbiased, that they have “freed” themselves. But they throw the immutable, eternally moving, absolute, divine truth into one basket with human dogma, and thus they lose the solid ground from under their feet. Both groups represent extremes; both are in untruth and miss the point. The second group is just as far away from the truth as is the first one, yes, often even more so. With all their superficial, intellectual knowledge, they are actually the ones who are the searchers. But they can find only if they first open a door within themselves, perhaps a door to their unconscious.

What is “religion?”  There is so much misunderstanding about this, and you are often anxious to assure yourself and others that you are not “religious.”  You make the mistaken assumption that being religious means to adhere to some sect and blindly accept a set dogma. Religion means “re-connection with God,” and everybody wants this, whether knowingly or not. All unfulfilled longing is basically nothing else but the wish to return to God, that is, to “religion.”  The more a person is aware of this wish, the more peacefully and harmoniously the soul currents will flow. People may even find their way back to God through a sectarian community, if the instructions received there activate their soul force and open the door to self-search and through that to higher perception. This is the essence of religion that people can discover also by adhering to a religious sect. Then the minor errors or deviations do not matter; in this case they are only details. Such details become important only when they hinder the individual’s progress, whether directly or indirectly. This, however, depends largely on the individual.

For other people, the way back to God does not lead through joining a religious sect; they must be shown another road. But whatever the way, everyone needs help from the outside; this outside help constitutes the material with which they must build their own house. But “religion,” that is, “reconnection with God,” is essential for all. God is absolute, God is truth, and therefore the truth beyond human error is also absolute. Humans will receive as much of the truth as they are able to understand and assimilate, according to their development. There are many, however, to whom more could be given than what they are receiving—but they do not want it. They are too lazy, or they are not fulfilling the requirements for some other reason. But to those who truly knock, the door will be opened.

QUESTION:  You spoke to us before about giving our happiness to others, that is, to give something to another. If, for instance, I can make somebody happy with a small gift, but I can give this gift to only one person, to whom should I give it?  Should I give it to a stranger or to someone I love, or to a relative?  If I can only give it to one person, who should have the preference?

ANSWER:  What you have in mind is a material object which you can give to only one person. In this case, you should very quietly think about who might need this thing most, where this thing would do the most good. If you follow your love feelings, you would certainly give it to the person you love most. Such a choice however might easily be too selfish. On the other hand, if you were affected by some guilt complex, you might choose to give it to a person to whom you find it most difficult to give. Both of these solutions might be wrong in a specific case. What the right answer is cannot be found by rules. God has surrounded you with his spirit helpers who will help you in all your problems; when you have liberated yourselves from your compulsive ego will, from all distortions, you will be ready to be inspired and led even in the smallest things. Sometimes your answer will correspond to what your emotions desire:  however, in that case, you would not have followed blindly your emotions, but comprehended the will of God by honest self-examination. Another time the answer might be very different from what your emotions would like to hear.

What I meant by giving happiness was much more than giving material things. Such giving is not always possible and, I can confidently say, is not very important. Of course, if someone has plenty of possessions and never gives anything to anybody, that is a fault. For someone who is very avaricious, material giving would be a helpful practice to overcome the fault. Yet, generally, people are more easily inclined to make some material sacrifice with which to buy their way out. They are much less likely to undertake spiritual sacrifice. That is much more difficult.

What I mean about giving happiness is this:  When you yearn for happiness and love, fill yourselves with thoughts about how you can pass on whatever you have or desire, how you can view all you long for as something to be passed on to others. Once you have the intention, the heavenly spirits will help you and show you the way. Test yourselves how much you want happiness, harmony, light, love, freedom. Then see that until now, in your emotions, you wanted these things for yourselves alone, because you wanted to be happy. Again, in your emotions, until now you considered yourselves number one, the most important person. Now perhaps you can change these emotional attitudes.

Of course you cannot make yourselves desire not to be happy, that would be impossible, but your feelings should learn not to attribute so much importance to yourselves. Your feelings should learn that the whole movement of Creation is directed to the fulfillment of the Plan of Salvation, to the return of all beings from the darkness back to God, into happiness. Those who use the happiness that they hope to attain or have already attained to contribute to the Plan of Salvation, will act according to the law and become a link in the chain, instead of an end in themselves. You may not have a very clear idea of how the transmission could take place, but when you are open and ready it will be shown to you and you will be led to certain tasks.

For instance, one person may be required to give a little time. Many people have more time than they need, so that they can give of it—not in the way they want to, but as God wills. And that is always much more wonderful. So you must open yourself to the will of God. For many, the first offering would be to heal themselves so that as free and emotionally healthy people they may be able to really give and truly become links in the chain. Such self-healing requires at the beginning a seemingly great sacrifice:  the overcoming of resistance to see oneself in truth, to open oneself, to give up faults. If you do not do it only for yourself, then becoming a happier person will be a means to make others happier, to give and love more. If you have such an intention, the spirit world will give you every possible help to overcome the difficulties on your path. You can only help others truly when you become so healthy that your inner harmony will affect people positively not only on the outer, but also on the unconscious level.

To make other people joyful, to give them love, warmth, consolation, and deep understanding when they are unhappy, and to help them spiritually to find the right way is only possible when, in a deeply felt way, the ego is no longer the center of your awareness. As long as you want your own happiness without being a link in the chain, you still put your ego in the first place even if you are not conscious of doing so. All of you must first heal the wounds in your own souls, remove the crust with which you protect your hurt, and only then can you be a real help to others. By doing this work of self-healing, one incorporates oneself into one’s proper place, and is led into harmony with the spiritual laws. Even before you are completely healed, certain ways will open to you to become a useful and active participant in the Plan of Salvation. But the initial desire will have to come from you. What the task will be, you can leave to God. It will be a task which is suited best to your capabilities and will make you happiest. You will then become a light, a support and an example to others. You will be all this only if you do not do it merely as an outer action, but out of a deep inner commitment to purify yourselves, to love better, understand and help others. Whoever can awaken and cultivate these higher feelings within the soul will truly come alive and enjoy a deep, intimate contact with God’s spirit world, will never be alone, abandoned or embittered. Such a person will obtain true abundance and riches which cannot ever be taken away.

Let yourself be led by God entirely; open yourself to His will alone, so that your way can be shown to you step by step. God is a generous giver, my dear ones. You will realize that when you see that what comes to you through Him is more wonderful than anything you can imagine for yourself. The initial difficulty is only to entrust yourself to God. No, the question is not the giving of some material thing; this would be much easier, much more convenient. You have to give yourself. For, if you can give yourself in the right way, you can give to everyone with whom you come into contact. However, before you can give yourself, you must have gained yourself. You cannot give what you do not have.

Few people truly possess their own selves, because they do not know themselves well enough and so are more or less lost to themselves. To the extent you recoil from your own imperfections you do not possess yourself. Then you do not stand on solid ground. Almost all of you human beings are still slaves to your faults and negative feelings. Only by accepting yourself as you are can you master these and therefore yourself. That is how transformation and purification begins. However much outer freedom you may have, you are enslaved as long as you recoil in embarrassment from each inner imperfection and outer exposure. As a slave you cannot possess yourself and therefore cannot really give yourself. A consequence of this state is that you are very dependent on this or that outer happening and therefore cannot live in harmony. Harmony can only be created when you no longer depend on things that are beyond your control.

Those who have found themselves on this most beautiful path, the path of light, no longer have to give some specific thing. Such people can give themselves totally, not only to a loved one, but also to any situation in life where God has placed them. They can give themselves with their whole soul and with their whole being.