Greetings, my friends. God bless all of you, every one of you. We in the spirit world are so happy when we have the opportunity to help human beings. And there is really only one help and no other. It is helping you to find in yourself that which obstructs your own happiness and to find the law of the Divine.
Many human beings smile at the idea of the existence of the forces of evil, even more than they smile at the idea of God. Why they do is hard to say, for evil or the anti-divine is, unfortunately, a reality in your world. Closing your eyes to reality is unreasonable. Of course, when you look for evil outside of yourself, you will easily recognize its existence in others. If you fight it there, you fight it in the wrong place. And if you seek the Divine outside of yourself, you will have a difficult time finding it. So the only place to seek either evil or the Divine is within yourself.
When you hear the word “evil” or “the satanic forces,” you automatically picture something very specific and often drastic. Let us establish what belongs in the category of the forces of darkness or evil. It is not only all the manifest cruelty and wickedness in their extreme forms. It is all ignorance, all error, all deviation from truth in every possible form. For truth is God.
On this path, in the work you are doing, you find in your images a rigidity, an obstruction. You rightly call this an immaturity. In this part of your personality you have remained a child. Because of your lack of knowledge and mature insight, the forces of evil could take a hold on you without any deliberate intention on your part of being “bad.” Evil and destruction can work in you through the basic misconception that self-centeredness will protect you from hurt or bring you a reward. If you can detect this basic error in your images, you will make a great step forward. It is not easy, because you are unaware of your emotional self-centeredness. You may be aware of your fears without realizing that they come from being over concerned with your own person and your fear of being hurt. You withhold from others your outgoing love and feelings, which always seem to involve a personal risk.
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.
Without exception, there are common traits in all images. Only the relative proportions of the traits vary from individual to individual. In every image you will find inferiority feelings, guilt feelings, hostility, hate, aggression, ignorance, resentment, childish selfishness, fear, and a few other obstructive forces. More primitive persons manifest these traits outwardly and direct them toward the outer world. As human beings develop from incarnation to incarnation, they finally realize that others consider such feelings bad and wrong and that it is a disadvantage to show them openly. Thus they hide the destructive impulses and thereby create obstructions and conflicts way down in the depth of their being—in contrast to the surface manifestations of more primitive persons.
When errors of selfishness and egotism exist on the surface, the repercussions occur outwardly and directly. The destructive forces are directed openly toward the other person and therefore bring an open result. However, when the destructive forces are kept under lock and key, they fall back upon the self and affect others only indirectly, thereby bringing an indirect consequence. You unconsciously choose the latter alternative, recognizing that the open and direct way is wrong but not yet recognizing that the other way is equally wrong and brings results equally disadvantageous. The only solution is to learn gradually to rid yourself of selfishness. This happens first by recognizing where, deep below the surface of your consciousness, your emotions are self-oriented in a way that is completely wrong. Then you need to learn how harmful selfishness is—harmful not only to people you come in contact with, but harmful to yourself. And selfishness is no less harmful if hidden and covered by surface reactions that appear as quite the opposite.
So long as you try to push the deeper feelings away because of an outer or inner “must,” you cannot succeed. This “must” indicates not only a forcing of yourself—and, as you know, emotions do not respond to compulsion—but also an impure motive. You want to do away with undesired and unadmired tendencies quickly because they make you appear in an unflattering light. Such a motive is proof of the very selfishness that you want to eliminate and therefore it cannot succeed, even apart from the forcing element. But if you want to rid yourself of self-centeredness because you sincerely consider the other person, because you wish to bring happiness and love into your surroundings regardless of your own possible hurts, then the motive is pure and you will eventually succeed. With the help of God you will truly free yourself from the chains of error caused by the egotism that is so destructive. You will not bury the selfish emotions and look away from them but rather uncover them and take a good look.
I know all this has been said many times before, but I am addressing myself now to the emotional levels you are uncovering through self-search and not to your intellectual surface knowledge. Try to apply all this to the recognitions you have made and are continuing to make, to an emotional reaction of yours that at first glance seems to have nothing to do with all this, to something you have found out about yourself on this road.
Two types of stumbling blocks may confront you when you come across new recognitions and you lift from your unconscious mind an emotional reaction that is creating conflicts in your soul and in your life. Such recognitions are obviously unpleasant to face at first. The two obstacles seem to contradict one another, yet you may experience both. The first is the tendency to dismiss a recognition of something within yourself because—on a surface level—you have known the same thing all along. You are tempted to put it away quickly, saying, “I know this already. It is nothing new.” Beware of this danger, my friends. The majority of your findings will deal with trends and tendencies you already know in a vague way.
If your search shows you again a trend you already know, it means that you have not used this knowledge properly. You have not yet applied it to all levels of your being. You have not assimilated it completely. You have not made connections between this knowledge and other trends. You have not realized the full significance, meaning, and consequences of this trend. Therefore, you need to continue working with the recognition. You have to discover it afresh, as though you were dealing with something you have never known. Only then will you be able to understand the chain reaction this wrong attitude has caused within you, eventually also harming your relationships to other persons and thus recoiling upon you from both inside and outside.
So beware of the reaction, “Oh, but I know this already.” If diligent search confronts you with a recognition you already know, treat it as though you had discovered it for the first time. If this is what you find, it is what you need to find all over again. Coming up from your own unconscious this particular trend tells you, “You will find me as often as is necessary. If you can find me again, it means you have not used this knowledge to the full extent.”
The other obstacle to progress on this path is the exact opposite. Through the years, you have formed a certain picture of yourself. You are known to yourself and to your friends and family as a person with certain predominant qualities and faults. You may find in your unconscious a few traits so completely contrary to what you otherwise are that you dismiss them, saying, “This is all nonsense, this cannot be true.” You are so convinced of being the opposite of what you discovered that it simply does not make sense. You overlook the fact that both can be true. It is difficult for you to accept the revolutionary news within your soul because you are used to thinking in terms of “either/or.” If you are what the recognition shows you to be, you believe the outer and known trend must be unreal. Therefore, you cannot accept the new finding. But you should understand deeply that it is possible to be split in a particular tendency: you can in some realms of your being have the quality already known to you; and in other realms—where there are obstructions—have the exact opposite quality.
Let us assume that one of your foremost qualities is generosity. You know how generous you are. All who have ever been in contact with you know it. Yet all of a sudden you find a stinginess, an avarice, in you, emotionally if not factually. And if you ask your friends who know you best, “Is it true? Am I stingy?” they will of course say, “No, you are quite the opposite.” And they do not say so to be polite. They really know you as a very generous person. You have displayed your generosity in all your actions. Yet deep down there is this one corner where you are most ungenerous. So both are true. For another example, let us assume you are known to be a very courageous person. It may be your outstanding quality, one that you manifest in many realms of your life. You are convinced that there is no trace of cowardice in you. So that when you do come across a streak of cowardice in yourself, you may reject the discovery because it seems to you to make no sense.
So beware of both obstacles to progress, my dear friends. Your reactions to your own recognitions are of utmost importance. For only from your reactions can you determine your progress and success.
Another point I should like to discuss tonight is your reaction to your guilt feelings. As I said before, everybody has guilt. Every image is interwoven with guilt. It is important to understand that there are two kinds of guilt—unjustified guilt and justified guilt. Often you unconsciously use an absurd, unjustified guilt as a shield and hide the true guilt behind it. Why? Because deep down you know that the unjustified guilt is ridiculous. It is as though you wanted to say, “You see, I declare myself guilty, but I have no real reason to do so.” You cannot get rid of the gnawing voice of that which should really be acknowledged, faced, and changed. Yet you do not want to face it, hence you look unconsciously for something you cannot be blamed for. Thus you argue with your inner voice of absurd guilt, trying to convince it that it has no reason to bother you. Of course, all this happens unconsciously. Ironically, the true guilt may be infinitely smaller than the absurd guilt you use as a wall to hide behind.
What are absurd guilts? They are most of all the guilts you feel because you are not perfect. It is commendable to want to become perfect. It cannot be recommended enough that you try to replace hatred, resentment, aggression with love and unselfishness. But before you can do that, you must first acknowledge and accept your present state of development—your present inability to feel different than you do—instead of wanting to immediately become more than you are now. If you feel guilty because you are still what you are, you obstruct the very goal you want to attain. I know, my friends, that I repeat many things many times, but I must do so. I want to stress that it is an unjustified guilt feeling when you blame yourself for not being perfect now. Such unjustified guilt extends into all areas of the human personality. If all of you who work on this path go through your images from this viewpoint, you will find where your guilts are unjustified.
Another unjustified guilt—fueled by a mass-image—is your reaction to your sexual drive. Each one of you feels guilty about it, if not on the surface, where you have been affected by intellectual influences, then certainly way down deep in your emotions. Guilt about the sexual drive is unjustified, absurd guilt. It may be true that your sexual energy does not flow in the right channel because it does not merge with love. That it does not is precisely because you have felt guilty about it and suppressed awareness of it as much as you could. Hence your sexual drive could not mature with the rest of your personality and integrate with warm, loving, giving, unselfish feelings. Instead, it has remained childish in its self-directedness and egotism. Your unconscious sexual fault, therefore, lies in the misdirection and separateness of your sexual drive rather than in its existence as such. Its existence is no reason for feeling guilty. You act on a misunderstanding when you attempt to eliminate that which seems sinful to you, and then feel guilty because you cannot do so. The remedy is not to eliminate the sexual drive but to cease to be afraid of love—to relinquish a fear that is selfish in nature. If you allow yourself to love, your sexual drive will merge with your love, and there will no longer be any reason to feel guilty about sex. Try to understand that, my dear friends. Try to understand how confused your unconscious thinking is. You feel guilty about a God-given force instead of feeling guilty about your fear of loving, which is born of selfishness and separateness. Combine your sexual drive with the one and only reality and remedy in the universe—love. You can combine love and sexual energy only by developing your soul by the very path you are taking.
So here we have a few very common unjustified guilts. What, on the other hand, is justified guilt? When you hurt other people in your ignorant belief that selfishness is your protection—whether you hurt them actively or passively, by commission or omission—then your guilt is justified. Differentiate clearly, my dear friends, between the guilt of being imperfect at this stage and the guilt of hurtful self-will. Being imperfect should not in itself make you feel guilty. But the guilt for hurts you inflict on others—no matter how unintentional—out of your imperfection, blindness, and ignorance is justified guilt that you should meet squarely and courageously. There is a world of difference, although fine and subtle, between the two types of guilt I have described. Please think about this. It is so important.
What should your attitude be toward justified guilt? What would be healthy and constructive? It would be to say to yourself, “I could not help it in the past. I was ignorant and blind and selfish. I was too much of a coward to dare to love and forget my own little ego. I admit that I have hurt other people by this attitude and I am now willing to learn exactly how I hurt them. It makes no difference whether I inflicted the hurt by deed, word, thought, or emotional reaction; by what I have done or left undone. I truly want to change. With the help of God I will succeed. In order to do so, I must clearly see the direct or indirect hurts my attitude has inflicted upon others.” Then, think about the hurts you inflicted on other people. Ask God to give you the insight to understand. Have the courage to shoulder your responsibility without the pride of destructive wrong guilt feelings that make you exaggerate your own “badness” and lead you to feel hopeless about yourself.
There are three possible wrong reactions as you recognize the hurts you have inflicted on others: hopelessness about yourself—the negative, destructive guilt feelings that make you despair of yourself; self-justification—the blaming of others for real or imagined wrongs that “forced” you to react that way; or denial—the fearful refusal to look at imperfection which may not fit into the picture you have of yourself. At different times you may experience any one of these reactions. Beware of each! Find the right way: Feel with the person you have hurt, take the justified guilt upon yourself, wish to become different, desire to give up your fear of loving. This attitude is healthy and constructive. The hurt you feel when you realize the hurt you have unwittingly inflicted—unintentional hurt because it was committed out of your wrong image conclusions—is healthy: it will give you the incentive to lose your fear and your selfishness.
My advice, dear friends, is that when you have a basic understanding of your images and image conclusions, for your own clarification separate the unjustified from the justified guilts. Find where you might have hurt others by your wrong conclusions, directly or indirectly, in fact or in intent. If you have the courage to be truly sorry for the hurts you have unwittingly inflicted on others, if you can take that justified guilt upon yourself and face it, it will give you more strength than you realize. It will foster a healthy and constructive attitude. It will set the life force in motion in your soul. For, among many other things, life force is truth and courage. Accepting justified guilt is being in truth and it takes courage. The life force will then seep through all your devious channels and affect them, so that slowly but surely you will dissolve all the destructiveness of the forces of evil that rage in you due to your ignorance and emotional immaturity.
Are there any questions on this subject?
QUESTION: The first question refers to the last expression you used. Would you kindly define emotional maturity?
ANSWER: Emotional maturity is, foremost, the capacity to love. Many people imagine they have it. Of course, emotional maturity is a matter of degree. But wherever fear of being hurt, fear of disappointment, or fear of life’s risks exists, emotional maturity does not exist. Emotional maturity knows no selfishness. This is relative on earth, of course; it cannot be absolute as yet in your sphere of existence. The more selfish you are, the more immature you are. You may be extremely unselfish in the little outer things but the outer unselfishness can camouflage your emotional selfishness or ego-centeredness. You may give away your possessions, but you are afraid to love or risk being hurt, and thus you withhold love from others. Therefore, you are emotionally immature, although you may have reached intellectual maturity. Emotional maturity means being unafraid to pay the price of living. And the price of living includes an occasional hurt or disappointment. The mature person knows this, expects and accepts it, and realizes its worth. When you withdraw into seclusion and become egocentric, you thwart not only others but yourself. Emotional maturity also means being unafraid of your own emotions: if you have negative emotions, fear of them will not make them disappear. On the contrary, only by facing those negative emotions can you understand their origin, their reason. Only then can you gain real control over them, rather than the false control of suppressing them. In emotional maturity you will no longer fear your positive feelings, either, because you will accept an occasional hurt. You will risk expressing your positive feelings rather than withholding them from others, because enveloping the other with warmth, comfort, and tenderness is more important than what might happen to you later.
Emotional maturity means being able to make a full decision and to accept that you cannot have your cake and eat it too. Unconsciously, most people constantly want to have it both ways, which brings them into conflict with themselves and their surroundings. The emotionally mature person knows that there is always a price to pay. Emotional maturity or emotional health means knowing what you want, wanting what you can have, and being willing to pay the price for it. To give up egotism on all levels of your being, to reach into the depths of your unconscious reactions—which may be so contrary to your outward ones—and come to know them fully is to attain true emotional maturity.
These are universal truths, taught in all religions and philosophies of any value. Humanity has tried for a long, long time to live up to these ideas. Yet people have largely ignored the danger of self-deception, they have ignored their habit of using the many layers of consciousness to hide reactions that do not accord with these truths. So you will often find people who act outwardly according to the universal truths, yet you feel that their behavior is not quite genuine. Inwardly they are hiding many reactions that are contrary to the universal spiritual truths.
The path on which I have the privilege of leading you will avoid these dangers; your outer and inner reactions will become one. So let us be clear about our aim. We want to find that part in you where you are still undeveloped, where you are primitive in your selfish reactions. Your selfishness may come as a shock at first because it is so different from your sincerely felt outer reactions. Whether these outer reactions are really sincere, that is, the best you can do, or whether they are an almost conscious hypocrisy, the outer mask must be dissolved in order to look into your soul. There you will find many trends and feelings diametrically opposed to your conscious beliefs about yourself.
Your mask has not brought you the gratification you thought to obtain through it. Finally, this made you angry. When you unconsciously assumed the mask of goodness you may have bent over backwards trying to hide what was behind it. Now you feel abused, taken advantage of, without realizing that it was not true goodness that was so unrewarding but rather false and compulsive “goodness.” Drawing the wrong conclusion, you may now be tempted to go to the other extreme and act out the part you discover behind the first mask of unselfishness, believing that now at last you are true to yourself. Yes, this part exists in you, and you have to acknowledge it. But recognize that the rebellion and anger too form only a superficial layer and look behind them. Find in you that which knows how to keep the proper balance. Your true self is neither as good as it appears to be on the surface nor as “bad”—as full of hate, aggression, rebellion, and anger—as you are behind your mask. All your negative reactions are essentially one reaction to your puzzlement at life, the outcome of your wrong emotional conclusions. Acknowledge your anger and rebellion, experience what you have suppressed for so long, but do not consider it the final truth of your self, as if you were the person who would act and live out all these unruly feelings. Discover the difference between suppressing these emotions and accepting them as a symptom of your not knowing the answer to your life, of not yet having found the key to your being.
Try to understand this approach, my dear ones, and you can avoid unnecessary pitfalls. To find the answer to your life, you must exercise the courage to admit the negative second layer of yourself without remaining in it. You must recognize its falseness as you have already recognized the falseness of the mask layer you have built on wrong conclusions. Then you can be true to yourself without exaggerating the new layer that you discover. You will grasp that your former “unselfishness” was ineffective because it was false, not because unselfishness as such is ineffective. This approach will lead you safely into emotional maturity. It will make you truly men and women. I say this advisedly, I do not say human beings now, I say men and women. For no one can be truly a man or a woman who does not have emotional maturity.
QUESTION: Would you please explain the reason for the tiredness of many people, especially in spring?
ANSWER: Tiredness is always a sign that the life force has been misused in the organism of the soul. Tiredness results from suppressing the destructive forces of the soul, barring them from the light of consciousness which can direct them into the right channels until they finally dissolve. If hostility and aggression are suppressed, if fears are suppressed and not faced, if hatred is ignored because hate does not correspond to your ideal and makes you feel guilty, the self is destroyed. The self-destruction takes different forms and creates different symptoms in different organisms. Tiredness is one such symptom.
Spring is the season when nature revives. The life force penetrates everything that grows: plants, trees, grass, flowers, fruits, vegetables, the animal world, even the mineral world. And it should be the same in the human being. When a human being is in tune with the universe, when the soul is growing rather than stagnating, spring revives and strengthens. But it cannot do so where obstructions exist. An obstruction is created by an element foreign to the divine life force. Self-deception amounts to untruth, and untruth is hostile to the life force. Suppression is always self-deception; therefore, when self-deception or suppression exists, the life force cannot regenerate you. On the contrary, it will affect you adversely because something like a short circuit occurs when two opposing forces clash in the soul. The life force wants to come into you—and also out of you, for deep down in your soul exists the whole universe, and therefore a fountain of life force. But the life force cannot fill your being, because the opposing forces bottle it up.
Without suppression and self-deception, spring would revive you. Fatigue is a symptom that you are suppressing knowledge and recognitions from yourself. Let fatigue be an incentive to redoubling your intention and effort to break down your resistance to facing yourself. For only then can you truly become whole and healthy in body, soul, and spirit, in your feelings and in your mind. Be grateful for any symptom that shows your inner state.
QUESTION: My question is about Job. For what failures or shortcomings in his life was he made to suffer so much?
ANSWER: For lack of self-recognition and for self-deception out of pride and fear. There was in him an impatience to be already perfect—an impatience connected with spiritual pride. He used his desire for good to suppress basic instincts rather than facing them with courage and sincerity.
QUESTION: Is it true, as some interpreters have it, that he played himself up as the patriarch who deserved all the grace of God—in other words, that he was self-righteous?
ANSWER: Yes, that is pride. There was pride in this respect, but also in other respects. And he manifested extreme self-will. His self-will wanted to be already at a point that only hard labor and the humility of self-recognition can attain.
QUESTION: Would you kindly repeat what you have said previously about expectation, especially in the form of “positive thinking” as opposed to acceptance?
ANSWER: Each of these basic religious attitudes has a healthy form, which become distorted when you embrace its extreme. Rightly understood, positive thinking means knowing that everything must turn to good, finally, because the divine power is the absolute truth and cannot be conquered by destructive forces. But that does not mean that you can simply do away with the effects of your own past and present errors. On whatever level of your personality the effects exist, you must accept and go through them. The most constructive attitude is a positive acceptance of yourself and life’s risks. It includes the humility of accepting yourself as you are now—without expecting a perfect life when you are not yet perfect—and the courage to face yourself and to face life as it is.
Positive thinking, when abused, avoids facing that which is now. It can be successful only where a basic inner perfection already exists to some degree. Otherwise it must fail and therefore bring disappointment. It tends to be in a hurry believing one can whisk away deep-rooted personality problems—problems that require patience and perseverance to dissolve—by resorting to a mere formula.
Acceptance also can be abused and misinterpreted. In its healthy form, acceptance helps to shoulder one’s imperfections and their consequences, recognizing that one cannot change all at once by a mere act of will. It shows the humility and patience to take any unpleasant result as a healthy medicine. However, it does not mean being pessimistic or looking forward to negative happenings if they are unnecessary. In its sick sense, acceptance fosters masochistic tendencies, hopelessness, and the self-deception of indulging in resignation that is not only unnecessary but sickly. It fosters wrong guilt feelings and seeks to punish the self for them.
You must differentiate between the right and wrong forms of both these basic religious attitudes. The wrong kind of positive thinking is self-willed and impatient. The wrong kind of acceptance fosters “martyrdom,” seeing oneself as the victim. One extreme always creates another. Thus the healthy way is the middle path: accepting the effects of one’s imperfections and going through them in a spirit of courage and humility. By paying the price you will find happiness and peace. Bearing your cross, which you always make yourself, will give you peace. Accept that you cannot change your emotions in a hurry, which the wrong interpretation of positive thinking tries to do. Eventually your emotions will begin to change, but only after you have accepted them.
QUESTION: In other words, one’s expectation of failure or success in an undertaking has no bearing whatsoever? It doesn’t matter whether or not one goes into an undertaking with an attitude of hopelessness?
ANSWER: One’s attitude always has a bearing, but you cannot say that an optimistic attitude brings a good result and a pessimistic outlook a bad one. As long as you are not clear about yourself, you can have a positive and optimistic attitude consciously, but unconsciously you can also have the opposite. This can happen for various reasons, one being that you do not quite know what you really want. Since you do not understand the reasons, when this conflict results in a negative outcome, you become disappointed and lose courage. At the other extreme, some people constantly assume a negative attitude because they are so afraid of disappointment; they try to avoid the disappointment by shielding themselves with the negative attitude. So underneath both the positive and negative attitudes something else may be hidden.
The important point is not so much what you consciously think. It is much more important to learn to become aware of what you unconsciously feel. A mere thinking formula can never be truly effective in getting what you consciously want. You need to understand your inner self, your unconscious reactions, your inner conflicts and problems. Only through such understanding will you finally find the right attitude toward a forthcoming venture, a hope, or anything else in your life.
Until you gain the right understanding, the recommended attitude is neutrality: let go of your self-will without being either optimistic or pessimistic. Just wish to learn from anything that happens to you. Let whatever happens be an indication of where you are and what problems to tackle. You can consider any happening as a reflex of your unconscious reactions. If you observe your emotions, you will finally break through into yourself and get the recognitions you need for a more thorough self-understanding. Whatever happens to you now is mostly a repetitive pattern created by your image conclusions. Focusing your attention on recognizing the inner roots of outer events will give you the key to your life. So far, the whole personality may have battled against such recognitions.
There is no miracle key. Nothing can be truly solved unless you understand your unconscious motives and trends. Outer measures may sometimes seem effective, but truly, your life problem can be solved only when you overcome your resistance to looking into yourself—when you let down your inner walls of defense. What do you defend? Why do you have to defend yourself? Ask yourself such questions when you feel this resistance and this battle in you. I speak to all of you now, my friends. Then you will not need an external, forceful rule to find the right attitude for different situations in life. Such rule is a crutch.
Once you know your unconscious mind, you will just naturally be; you will take life as it comes. And you will have success and failure. Life should bring both, and you will be equipped to meet both. Both will make you strong. If a person is so concerned to have the proper attitude to guard against failure or disappointment, it is an indication that failure and disappointment are greatly feared. And if you fear them so, you lack healthy resistance. I mean resistance in the positive sense, as when you resist disease, and not the resistance that should disappear when you are on the path of searching into yourself. Fear is a disease.
Now, my dearest friends, God’s love and forces of truth are given unto you. They stream to you. They penetrate and fill your heart. Rejoice in truth, learn the joy of discovering truth that you have feared and that may not be flattering. For this is a great joy. Learn this healthy activity. Become strong in it and meet life as you should. For in this way you will become loving men and women. Be in peace. Be blessed. Be in God.