Perfectionism Obstructs Happiness—Manipulation of Emotions

Pathwork Guide Lecture No. 97 | February 02, 1962

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Greetings, my dearest friends. God bless each one of you. Blessed is this hour. Blessed is your work.

Many people in all sincerity endeavor to find God. However, if they were asked exactly what the search meant, how they imagined it to take place, it would be difficult for them to give a meaningful answer. In such vague hopes and endeavors people, often unconsciously, find themselves in an illusion, hazily imagining something that they cannot name.

Yet, of course, there is such a thing as “finding God.”  In reality and in health, this is a very concrete process. There is nothing hazy, unrealistic, or illusory about it. When speaking of “finding God,” people think of many different things. What finding God actually means is finding the real self. If you find your self to some degree, you are in comparative harmony. You understand and perceive the laws of the universe. You are capable of loving and relating, and experiencing joy. You are truly self-responsible. You have the integrity and courage to be yourself, even at the expense of giving up approval. All of this signifies your having found God — by whatever name the process may be designated. It might also be called “coming home from self-alienation.”

There are many indications of true selfhood. Take for instance the capacity to experience and to give joy. You cannot give joy if you are not a joyful person. How can you become joyful living in a very imperfect world?

People’s conscious or unconscious concepts of a joyful life are always connected with a perfect life. One cannot enjoy life if one is imperfect; neither can one if one’s neighbors, life situation, and relationships are imperfect as well. This is the cause of one of humanity’s great inner conflicts and confusions. Intellectually, you all know that there is no perfection in this life. This is why you often repress your reactions to an imperfect situation — and repression causes the conflict and confusion to increase rather than to decrease. It is one thing to profess a certain knowledge on the surface, and it is quite another to experience it emotionally. In the course of this work, you have often come across discrepancies of this sort, but you are still unaware of your inner demand for perfection.

I have discussed this subject in many connections in the past, but consider it necessary to connect it now to the theme of self-alienation and the denial of joy in life through perfectionism. I venture to say, my friends, that none of you, no matter how much progress you have made, are quite aware to what extent your need for perfection alienates you from your true self and at the same time prohibits a joyful life. I do not mean a life of one hundred percent joy, no, but a life in which you live fully and derive the joy of experience, of growth, of feeling, to a much greater extent than you do now.

Strange as this may seem, the more you accept imperfection, the more joy you will give and receive. Your capacity for happiness depends on your capacity to accept imperfection — not in words or theories, but in your emotional experience. As you well know, these are two very different matters. It takes a great deal of self-search, systematic work, and the utter will to be candid with yourself to uncover the discrepancy in you and to accept it even for the moment.

Only in accepting, let us say, an imperfect relationship — and this by no means implies the unhealthy submissiveness that is born out of fear of loss or disapproval — will you derive and give joy in the relationship. Only through accepting your own imperfection can you begin to grow and experience the joy that comes from your own individuality. This is so because your demands are incompatible with reality as you know it.

Most of the time you are not even aware of what falls short of perfection in your own perception. This makes it impossible for you to grow enough to be able to accept imperfection. You repress your lack:  your unfulfillments, your frustrations. You are not fully aware of them. You vaguely skip over them, knowing that perfection cannot be had. You do not realize how great a destructive energy you generate by being unaware of your unfulfillment.

The repression is harmful for two reasons: first, if you had chosen awareness you would see that much frustration is unnecessary and can be eliminated by changing the patterns responsible for such frustrations. Second, when you repress you cannot accept what is impossible to change — namely, imperfection as such. You must be aware in order to discriminate between changing to obtain more fulfillment and simply wishing to accept the status quo because this is the easier way. Deep inside, you often rebel against whatever is unchangeable in your world merely because no perfection can ever exist. At the same time, your spiritual growth stagnates because your perfectionism keeps you from changing to inner patterns which would bring you much more fulfillment.

An important step is to allow yourself the luxury of facing your desires, unfulfillments, longings, your complaints against life or fate or others or yourself. Find in what respect you feel shortchanged. You resent that something in your life is imperfect, yet to fully accept imperfection, you must first become fully aware of your resentment against it. Only when you fully face the resentment against imperfection can you begin to accept it. And only when you accept imperfection can you lead a joyful life and derive enjoyment from your relationships. But as long as you unconsciously strive for a perfection that does not exist on your earth, you cannot accept what is, and therefore your life and your relationships will be spoiled. You cannot grow, and thus change whatever is changeable and could be much better, even though never perfect.

To be capable of joy only if you accept imperfection, and to be capable of growth only if you accept your own imperfection seems paradoxical. But if you really think about it, you will see that this is so. The task sounds easy to accomplish, but in practice it is often difficult because you are so unaware of your reactions and feelings. You have so many subterfuges, so many hidden crevices in your soul, that becoming aware of them demands your full attention and focused inner will. Yet once you have made a certain progress, the task will become the simplest thing in the world because it is based on truth.

Again, the reality, or truth, of your world is imperfection. And the reality, or truth, of your personal state of soul is non-acceptance of imperfection. You will not have a sound foundation from which to proceed, unless you face the reality of both truths — one in the world and the other in your soul.

Even your progress in the pathwork is permeated with this perfectionistic attitude, be it ever so subtle. Listen to its voice:  “I should have resolved my problems already. I cannot be happy as long as my problems are unresolved; therefore, I must be impatient, compulsive, and restless about it. I cannot live in the present, but must somehow always look for and live in the future, when I hope to be perfect, and finally experience perfect happiness, perfect love, and perfect relationships.”  This attitude is never conscious, never formulated with such clarity; nevertheless, if your emotions were translated, they would often convey just that. Whenever it dawns on you that you will never resolve all your problems in this life, you have a tendency to be discouraged or even to feel, “What is the use?  Why then should I face all these truths about myself?”  Such reaction indicates exactly the attitude of perfectionism about your spiritual growth. Your unconscious expectation is complete perfection, and not step-by-step growth.

You do not have to be problem-free. You cannot be. You do not have to be already perfect to live fully, to increase your awareness, to grow steadily in your capacity for full emotional experience. All you have to do is to see into yourself and evaluate what you see, then make inner choices, which entail the flexibility of change. In accepting imperfection, you become less imperfect. For without doing so you can never really be flexible enough to change. Your haste, and your shame for not being perfect, create a rigid wall that makes growth and change impossible.

The trouble is that people are so often hindered by the either/or attitude. They feel either that they must strive for immediate perfection, negating their still existing imperfection, or that they must give up striving for progress entirely. To accept imperfection would then mean to stagnate and not even attempt any growth and change. These two extremes are interdependent, as are all extreme attitudes. Only by letting go of both attitudes can the healthy, constructive, and productive attitude become an integral part of one’s being.

There is another subtle deviation in the wrong attitude of perfectionism; it is your unconscious emphasis on becoming perfect according to standards imposed on you by the world, by religion, by rules — in other words, by outer authority. This effort, be it ever so subtle, causes and leads to further self-alienation. The productive approach is to make conscious what you feel, desire, fear, and then to find your own innermost goal, the goal of your real self.

If your focus is on growth rather than on perfection, you will live in the now. You will dispense with superimposed values and find your own. You will dispense with subtle pretenses and superimpositions and with the hidden but nevertheless present attitude that you do what you do for appearance’s sake, rather than for yourself. Finding your own values leads to selfhood and away from self-alienation. This will bring you to a state of harmony with yourself; it will anchor you in yourself.

Many of you will quickly say, “Oh, I do not pretend; I do not do anything for appearance’s sake.”  Of course I do not refer to a crass outer way, but to the inner subtleties of your emotional striving, from which not one human being is entirely free.

So accept the imperfection, for only then can you grow. The very existence of your perfectionism stunts growth, causes rigidity and inner extremism.

You are so conditioned to manipulate your emotions that it will take considerable time and attention on your part to gradually realize how you are actually doing so. Again, perfectionism leads you to do this. Since you recognize many of your conscious feelings as imperfect, you try to forcefully superimpose inauthentic emotions over them. How can you be your real self when your emotional life cannot function naturally and organically, unhampered by superimposed commands?  The real self always dares to be spontaneous. Spontaneity is out of the question when emotions are hampered. It becomes a task in itself, possible only after much progress in this work, to observe how your feelings are not allowed to function naturally.

Tampering with the free flow of feelings can happen in many subtle ways. A forceful overemotionalism, overdramatization, exaggeration, talking yourself into stronger feelings than you actually have, is an example. You might even deceive yourself that you are not directing the flow of your emotions at all. We will look at this phenomenon in the light of self-alienation to understand why this seemingly harmless process is so damaging.

But first let us look at another way you manipulate your emotions:  by prohibiting their full force, and stultifying their intensity. Both procedures tamper with the natural flow; the emotional life is not trusted to function organically and not encouraged to grow. A wrong kind of caution, an unrealistic fear, and a forceful will — the forcing current — play a role in establishing this pattern. Both ways can be, and most of the time are, adopted by the same person. Which particular way you resort to depends on many factors, such as your personality structure, your pseudo-solutions, your life problems, and so on.

The forcing current comes from your strong repressed needs, all the more forceful because you are unaware of them, or, at least, of their intensity. The moment you are fully aware of a need and understand all its aspects, the urgency recedes, as does the compulsiveness, which, at least in part, is responsible for your tampering with your genuine emotions. The urgency of unrecognized needs causes you to build up your emotions out of all proportion. The unconscious reasoning is:  “If my emotions are strong enough, I will be gratified.”  Or, if you happen to be a more fearful and pessimistic character, you will not admit their existence at all, let alone their urgency, and thus you will squeeze these emotions out of existence — out of your awareness that is.

In neither instance do you afford yourself the luxury of letting the emotions flow, observing them, learning from them and recognizing the true state of affairs within you. Making your emotions stronger or weaker than they actually are is a forceful tampering that cripples their functioning. Your intuitive, creative, and spontaneous capacities cannot unfold. You substitute other faculties for the emotional ones and thus discrepancies and disharmonies come into existence. The richness of feeling is prohibited and thus you impoverish yourself. You live on the periphery, which is the shallow living I discussed earlier.

Full awareness of what you really feel and want is your first aim. Sit back, so to speak, and allow your feelings to reach the surface of your consciousness. This does not necessarily mean to act on them, but when the feelings show themselves in their natural intensity, or their lack of intensity compared to what you thought you felt before, you will get a good inkling of what it means to be your real self. This practice will give you a very different outlook on certain problems in yourself and in your life.

You recurrently ask the question:  “How can I tell what my real self is?  I am so used to all these false levels, these superimposed, defensive layers, that they have become second nature, and I can no longer tell which is the real me and which is a protective defense mechanism.”  By observing emotional exaggeration versus repression you will finally see how the real self reacts, often in-between the two high or low points, and how your real feelings, when they are not manipulated by unconscious needs, will create a very different inner situation and therefore eventually a different outer situation.

This is not exactly the kind of work you can do in your personal work sessions. It may, and will, come up for discussion, but such awareness can be reached only by quiet observation when you are alone. Of course, the whole process of this work, privately and in your groups, enables you to become more aware of what really goes on in you.

The actual discovery of your genuine feelings, as opposed to the manipulated emotions, will come when you relax by yourself and allow your true feelings to surface. When you review how you reacted to certain incidents, you will be able to ask yourself whether your fears, desires, or the ingrained principles you think you have to adhere to are responsible for overplaying or underplaying your emotions. Is one of your “shoulds,” regarding the other person or yourself, responsible for your tampering with your natural genuine feelings?  The truth about your feelings cannot ever be ascertained by anyone but yourself. As you condition yourself to observe your real feelings without manipulation one way or another, a new strength, a new certainty will arise out of you, because these real feelings, unmanipulated, come from your real self. But this happens only after you have gone through the maze of experiencing all sorts of other emotions that are superimposed by your pseudo-solutions and defense mechanisms. If you dare not experience these painful emotions — perhaps because you shy away from feeling a slight pain, or you think you should already be above all that, being already perfect — how can you discover what is responsible for them and come to know the greater depth of the reality of your being?  How then can you convince yourself of the utter truth that all these painful emotions — whether exaggerated or repressed — are illusions, and that you really do not feel that way at all, even though you are now in the throes of destructive, painful emotions?  You have conditioned yourself into them, but that does not make them real.

The discovery of their unreality is a tremendous relief, but you cannot come to it if you are not willing to sit back and let your feelings come to the fore and ask yourself pertinent questions. Dare to feel what you feel, regardless of right or wrong, of what you think you should feel, of what you think you are expected to feel, or, if you overdramatize, what you think another person should feel or do. For this is usually the main reason for exaggerating the intensity of your feelings. It is a measure of forcing another.

So observe this, my friends. All of you have both these ways of manipulating your emotions. The overdramatization is connected with the pseudo-solution of power. The repression of feelings is connected with the pseudo-solution of withdrawal, false serenity, escape from living and experiencing. Both alternatives lead to shallowness, and not to real experiences. Offhand, you may say that the one who exaggerates his feelings and makes them stronger than they actually are does, in fact, experience very acutely. And I say, my friends, that everything that is not genuine is conducive to, and results in, self-alienation, and therefore shallowness. Even if you seem to thrive on emotionalism, this is not the real experience of your soul. You put on the overemotionalism, perhaps because, quite unconsciously, you thus wish to bend life, and others, to your needs. It is, in the true sense, a manipulation. As for choosing withdrawal, which is connected with underplaying what you really feel, the outcome is obvious.

Do concentrate on this now, my friends. It will yield most important results. Ask yourself what you really and truly feel. Seeing it may sometimes not be so easy, because you may skip over an incident, leaving it vague and not registering any particular reaction. In reality, there is a reaction on your part. This process of ignoring your true reactions is a universal phenomenon that causes diminished awareness of life and self, as well as self-alienation. Awareness of life and of others can come only as a result of self-awareness. And self-awareness is just the process of recognizing how you really and truly react. Perhaps your outward reaction is not that different from your inner reaction, your feelings are simply dulled and you react in a state of half-sleep. It takes time, effort, concentration, and training to wake up and become acutely aware; it does not happen overnight.

Once you get started on this particular segment of your path, you will often find that you become aware of a certain reaction on your part perhaps only a few days after the event. Your first impulse will be to be angry at yourself for noticing only so much later what you “should” have been aware of instantly. This indicates progress, however, because until now you might never have become aware of your real reaction. You might have passed it by in utter blindness. Delayed reaction is certainly progress compared with no conscious reaction. In this respect, too, only if you accept your imperfection — that you cannot, all at once, become perfectly aware — will you rejoice in your growing process and thus proceed further to shorten the interval between the incident and the awareness of your reaction. The synchronization of these two factors can come only after a step-by-step development. Only with the awareness that most of the time you are blind to your own reactions can the blindness gradually vanish. And as you become more aware of what is really going on in you, you will become aware of the unconscious, still-existing perfectionism that makes it impossible for you to accept people, yourself, relationships, and life for what they are. Therefore, you cannot cope with any real situation and are bound to make the worst of it. Thus you make it impossible to derive joy from an imperfect situation, be it a relationship, or your own inner state which you otherwise could have enjoyed.

QUESTION:  If you have an aggressive feeling and you don’t like it, but it is very strong, your common sense is telling you that you shouldn’t feel this way. You understand with your mind that perhaps the person with whom you are angry has problems himself, but that doesn’t help. How do you handle that?

ANSWER:  The first step is the realization that you cannot yet feel differently. Here, perfectionism comes in, because something in you says, “I should not have these feelings of aggression. I should know better because he acts out of his own unresolved problems.”  All this may be true, yet in it is contained the “I should not” of perfectionism. However, if you say to yourself, “I cannot help feeling this way because I grope in the dark, and I, as a human being, often grope in the dark. I do not know many answers. I do not understand other people,” then you are in truth. But because somehow you all feel, “I really should understand everyone, everyone else should understand me, and I should know all the answers concerning my life and my personal human relationships,” you express the very attitude that makes it so difficult. Only by accepting your human limitations will the aggressiveness and hostility vanish; because underneath you will discover and become aware of being hurt, of feeling rejected. Your shame and fear of these emotions make you superimpose the hard and much more unpleasant feelings of aggressiveness. Once you become aware of the hurt, which is a more genuine element, it is easier to cope with your feelings, and soon the hurt will dissolve and make room for even more genuine feelings which are still closer to the real you. But first of all, you have to accept your human limitations; you have to dispense with the expectation that you, as well as others, should always understand and know. If you can own up to groping in the dark, you might be able to pinpoint in your mind what it is that you are unclear about. Accept that the lack of clarity may remain, or it may even clear up by itself, simply because your resistance against it has disappeared. Accept also your still existing aggressiveness, asking yourself whether it is not a distortion of hurt. Then own up to the hurt. This way you may find the answer much sooner than through the cramped and compulsive drive that says that you already “should not have aggressiveness.”  Do you understand that?

QUESTIONER:  Yes.

QUESTION:  Isn’t this kind of joyful acceptance of lack of perfection conducive to a loss of ambition for further development?

ANSWER:  Not at all. I spoke about this, I believe, quite extensively in this lecture. When you reread it, you will understand. Let me only repeat:  Distinguish between perfection and growing. If you wish to grow, and if you realize that you can only grow a step at a time, while still being far away from perfection, you cannot stagnate. Acceptance of imperfection does not mean the wish to remain static. It means only that you know that you never become perfect in this life, but wish with all your heart to grow and change wherever it is possible. This is a decided difference. As I said, this is the only way you can grow. However, being perfectionistic is such a strain, leads to such discouragement and rigidity and pretense, that growth becomes impossible. You already know this to some extent. Wherever you have found your great idealized self-image, with all its tyrannical demands upon you, with all the shoulds and musts, you can now see that where this image ruled you is exactly where you have not grown. You have only grown where your idealized self did not govern you. Perfectionism makes for pretense and rigidity — and this excludes growth and development, as well as change. Only when you can be relaxed about your imperfections and do not need to pretend in order to hide them, only then do you grow, only then is the soil fertile for growth.

QUESTION:  May I ask about this subject too?  To differentiate between goal-direction and compulsion, would you explain how the latter falls into the circle of pride, self-will, and fear?

ANSWER:  Where there is perfectionism, which prohibits growth rather than encourages it, all three are present:  pride, self-will, and fear. There is the pride of wanting and needing to be perfect. And since a part of you knows that you are not perfect, you pretend. Again, I emphasize:  this does not concern the whole of you. There may be many sides to your being where you are quite relaxed and free, and do not pretend. But there are other areas in which, emotionally if not intellectually, you feel you cannot admit certain things. What may appear an imperfection to you may not appear as such to another person, and vice versa. You may be ashamed of not always winning in certain areas of life, and therefore pretend that you don’t care, while you do not pretend in others. This pretense is not a crass outer falsification, but a much more subtle inner strain. Rejection or failure may subjectively constitute imperfection of which you are ashamed — and where there is such shame, there must be pretense. All this implies a fierce pride.

The self-will says,  “I have to be perfect already.”  Since one knows quite well that this is not true, one tries to adhere at least to a superficial perfection. Again, this is pretense. Both pride and self-will lead to pretense. Or, to put it in other words, they lead away from truth. All this is so subtle that it is almost impossible to understand if you do not live this pathwork and have not come across areas of your emotions that used to be hidden from sight and awareness. If you do not make it your goal to uncover them, and are not involved in this process of self-finding, these will merely be words which do not mean very much. Or if they do, they mean something at the moment, but will be forgotten in no time. This even happens to you who work on this path.

The fear must exist in a double way. On the one hand, it exists because you fear that “If I am not perfect, I will be unhappy, or disapproved of, or not loved.”  Or, the fear is, “If the other person is imperfect, he or she will prohibit my happiness.”  You try to push this constant fear away by self-will and by the pride of pretense. Then there is the second fear which is a particularly poisonous one, the fear of exposure that you are not as perfect as you think you should be, that your pretense may be shown up. In order to guard against exposure, you invest valuable energies and soul forces into the superstructure, which impoverishes your life, your capacity to experience real feelings, and necessitates repression and self-deception.

QUESTION:  In a previous lecture you mentioned secondary reactions and primary reactions. Am I correct in assuming that secondary reactions are the ones that come from manipulating emotions, while the primary reactions are from the real self?

ANSWER:  Yes, you are quite right. But it is not quite the same in that we are now on a much deeper level. Secondary reactions are a result of what we discussed tonight. They are the effect of the cause now under discussion. We have now reached the level in our work where we begin to see causes, while in the past we dealt much more with effects. But you are quite right in seeing a connection. You see, secondary reactions, or the lack of primary ones, are due to inhibition, lack of spontaneity — and this is due to manipulation.

QUESTION:  It is a very subtle thing I want to ask and it is very hard to explain. I went through a long time of deep depression and then I found that I had failed in everything I wanted. After I realized that, and also what you were talking about — my complex of perfectionism — I finally accepted my mistakes. It took me a long time, but anyway I now faced my failure and was at first very unhappy about it. Some days later I accepted the failures, the mistakes and everything. I felt a wonderful revelation and relief. This kept on, somehow, but I don’t know how. Sometimes I have the feeling my heart is still crying about all I’ve lost. And then I don’t know whether I cover it up, or whether it is real or not.

ANSWER:  Yes, you have made an important step forward, but you have not continued. You have remained there and have not seen what follows. I hope you will see it, because even if I tell you, as you know from previous experience, this will not help very much if you do not discover it for yourself. However, I will tell you. You see, the failures are exaggerated because you tend very much toward building up emotions out of all proportion. It would be important for you to investigate this and become aware that this is so, as well as why it is so. For there is a great exaggeration about such complete failure of everything you wanted. There are things you did want and which you attained, so that you are not a failure there. You see only what you wanted and did not get, and forget that you also wanted what you now have.

But there is also something else responsible for your present uncertainty. Investigate the motivations, both healthy and unhealthy, and ask yourself why you desired what you failed in. Superficially this may seem obvious, yet it is not that simple. You will find a curious mixture of the healthy and unhealthy. You will find that, partly, your motivations in wanting something that in itself was perfectly all right were governed by superimposed, immature reasons, crutches, rather than the reality of your own being. On the other hand, you will find that the healthy motivations you did not allow to function were put aside due to your perfectionism. You prohibited your own creative unfoldment just because of your perfectionism, so that both the healthy and the unhealthy motivations contributed to the unfulfillment, or the “failure.”  You chose the goal out of partly unhealthy motives, and you prohibited yourself from reaching the goal entirely out of unhealthy motives. This may appear like a paradox, but do you follow what I mean?

QUESTIONER:  A hundred percent!  It is so right!

ANSWER:  Now, if you investigate and analyze that fully, you will come across a new insight, finding, contrary to your present emotions, that it is never too late. The same factors, if transposed into healthy currents, can still give you fulfillment, perhaps not exactly in the same way, but not any less. You know that now, in your intellect, but emotionally you cannot accept it. You will not be able to accept it until and unless you completely understand what I am indicating here.

QUESTIONER:  Yes, I understand that entirely.

QUESTION:  You were speaking about our true self and our fulfillment, our closeness to God. Can you say a word about an individual making progress along this path by just doing the work that is his to do?  The village blacksmith — I don’t know how deeply he has to probe. He makes good horseshoes. He has unhappiness in his life. He seems to be quiet. Brother Lawrence in the kitchen. The surgeon may come home and say, “I skipped a stitch.”  But he saved a man’s life. He did good surgery. Is it necessary for a person to proceed in this rather deep and involved search of the subconscious when he feels he is doing God’s work and has fulfillment on that level?

ANSWER:  The human entity is a deep, involved, complex being. Therefore, in order to be undivided and unified, these levels have eventually to be reached by some process or method. It is entirely possible that someone is fulfilled in one way, while another aspect of his being waits for unfoldment and growth that cannot be reached merely by doing good work. Yet, a number of people on this earth may not be spiritually mature enough for such deep probing. In their life work and in meeting their daily problems as best as they can, without the awareness of their deeper feelings, they do the most they can. On the other hand, there are isolated beings who are spiritually and emotionally so mature that in their own way they follow such a path, even though it may appear different in method and organization, but the end result is the same. But for those who are somewhere in-between on the scale, it is necessary to become aware of what goes on in the deep, involved, and complex levels of their soul, in order to attain the maximum development in all areas of their personality, not only in one or two aspects of life. For this, a certain help is necessary, some sort of organized method, for working alone one is usually too involved to see clearly. Overemphasis on those aspects of the personality that function smoothly may lead the person to overlook what is not in order yet and what could be brought out.

However, the work should never be approached in a spirit of “God demands it of me.”  Then it would be compulsive and indicate, somewhere in the psyche, a wrong approach to God, to universal law, and to the self. It should not be done in a spirit of fulfilling a superimposed duty. The more you grow into life and into yourself, the more you will realize that you wish to do it in order to live a fuller and happier life, and thus give more happiness. You will wish to override your resistance to facing that which you suspect is there but wish that it were not. It is not so much a question of necessity, but of making the best, the fullest, the most meaningful experience out of your life — in every possible respect, not just in work alone. Getting to know one’s unconscious mind is not something entirely unconnected with the soul, with one’s being. Quite the contrary!  In the last analysis, it is not possible to grow spiritually to the fullest without psychoanalysis, or self-search by any other name. There is no separation between spiritual living and psychological processes, if you consider it from the point of view of seeing the truth in yourself. This is so simple, even though certainly not easy. Good actions are fine, but there comes a point in one’s development when more is at stake than good, kind, helpful actions and fine execution of one’s work.

QUESTIONER:  Thank you.

Be blessed, all of you. Continue in your work, in your step-by-step growth, for that is the glory of your life. It is not to fulfill a duty, but to make yourself more capable of being in joy, and thus capable of giving it on in your now imperfect life, within your imperfect relationships. Be blessed, my friends. Be in peace. Be in God.