Real and False Needs

Pathwork Guide Lecture No. 192 | May 21, 1971

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Greetings to all of you, my friends. Blessings and strength are pouring forth. If you open your hearts as well as your minds, you can receive them.

I would like to begin in this lecture, which is the last in this season, by saying once again that most human beings are not yet aware of the immense spiritual potentials and powers they have. Now, what do I mean when I say spiritual potentials and powers?  I mean that these powers transcend by far the human capacities considered normal in your sphere of being.

These powers remain inaccessible or may even be dangerous if the human being is not purified to a certain degree, or if the consciousness is still in a state of half-sleep, which is always connected with destructive attitudes such as selfwill, pride, fear, greed, envy, malice, cruelty, spite, and selfishness. The majority of human beings find themselves approximately ninety percent asleep and only ten percent awake to what exists in the world around them, and within themselves. The process of reawakening the self requires a great deal of effort, commitment, work, and also the willingness to sacrifice destructive patterns with their short-lived, expensive satisfactions. Only then can awareness gradually grow, perception sharpen, and new inner knowledge become available as a manifestation of the awakening real self.

This growing intuitive perception, this inner knowledge—first about the self, then about the innermost being of others, and eventually also about cosmic truth and creation—extends into an experience of eternal life. The certainty of it!  Awakening the spiritual potentials also involves access to the ever-present forces of life, all of which exist within and around you. These powers can be utilized for healing, for helping, and for increasing fulfillment and consciousness in the self and others. Needless to say that if the little self still predominates over the spiritual, real self, abuse of these powers will be inevitable. Love has to first be awakened in the person so that the powers will be safe. If the energy force field of a human being is geared to low frequencies due to an undeveloped state of the soul, the much higher frequencies of spiritual powers can destroy health and life and create tremendous hazards. This is why it is so important for development to proceed in certain rhythms. The safest way is always to emphasize, above all else, purification.

When purification precedes the development of spiritual and psychic potential and power, bliss grows. Fearlessness increases. Solutions to all problems become increasingly more accessible:  they present themselves because the problems are faced and dealt with. Healing of all the ills of the mind, the soul, and the body will then be possible.

This sounds like utopia, my friends:  and actually it would bring about a kind of utopia, if this blissful state were not sought out of fear of the opposite state and the hope of an escape. In other words, if you wish bliss because you fear pain; if you wish life eternal because you fear death; if you wish happiness because you fear unhappiness; if you wish fullness because you fear emptiness; then all these desired possibilities must elude you and remain unattainable. Thence comes the delusion that none of these possibilities exist because they are the products of wishful thinking. You do not see that the human longing is an expression of your sensing these possibilities, but the direction chosen by the longing is in most cases exactly the opposite from the one needed. As I mentioned before, you must enter into and go through what you fear and want to avoid in order to overcome it and arrive where the previously dreaded state truly does not exist any longer. Only when you can fully accept the present lack of vision and go through the resulting fear, can you reach the greater state of consciousness. Then the latter is not illusion, but fact, reality; not wishful thinking or an escape, but the stark reality of being and of life as it really is.

This cannot come easily. All who travel this road must commit themselves fully to everything that such a search really means. Most of you who are engaged in this pathwork of self-development start out in the usual way:  you are unhappy and you want a solution to a certain problem. Or perhaps there is not even a specific awareness of an inner problem or blockage yet. You may simply experience a vague feeling of being ill at ease with life. You wish to correct these undesirable states although usually you do this with the unconscious hope that your very problematic attitudes that render you unhappy can remain untouched or even be reinforced. When the path requires the opposite, your reaction can often be panic, resentment, struggle, resistance, and at times even a cessation of any further efforts in the right inner direction. In other words, most of you start with a negative goal; you want to remove a negative condition. Only rarely does an individual start out with a positive goal. Many may pay lip service to the positive goal of total self-purification and spiritual growth, but when it comes to having the willingness to accept difficulties, to giving up long-established destructive patterns, the conscious commitment to the positive goal suddenly disappears. With most, the positive goal is pursued and strengthened only as you get deeper into yourself.

The longing is always there. Something in your deepest, innermost being knows that there exists another reality and another state of consciousness than your present state of development. Your reaching for this higher, more fulfilling state is a legitimate, healthy need. When this need becomes conscious, a positive goal and direction can be set. But as long as your need is unconscious and is intermingled with negative goals like the demand, “deliver me from my unhappy state,” you will remain in confusion about the path itself. Lack of full commitment yields tenuous, spurious, limited results, and doubt will close the vicious circle by reinforcing the withholding of commitment. Because doubtful withholding makes liberation impossible, the doubt itself is seen as justified.

At this point it becomes absolutely necessary to repeat much of a lecture I have given many years ago on the topic of real and false needs. This lecture is also an organic sequence, a completion of a cycle in which new material can be assimilated. This cyclic spiral movement enables you to start at any point and go on from there, completing the cycle from wherever the starting point was. This explains why almost anyone on a certain level of consciousness can find these lectures useful, no matter when they started. Thus, this particular lecture will, once again, be an answer for many of you and shed light on the exact point where you are stuck at the moment.

The particular lecture I gave years ago, to which I am referring, deals with the topic of real and false needs. Since then, many of you have encountered your deepest feelings of fear, pain, guilt and anger, feelings which you first experienced in this life during your early childhood and which you had not had the courage to re-experience. In the course of this journey toward experiencing old feelings which had not been fully experienced before, you also came across the needs you had as a child whose unfulfillment caused most of your painful, and therefore repressed, feelings. As I said, any person not bringing his or her unconscious feeling experiences into consciousness must carry this repressed material into the next incarnation. The embedded material seeks out circumstances and people for the next incarnation that will give an opportunity to bring this dormant, unassimilated material to the fore again. Thus a set of parents or a certain environment will seem to be responsible for painful experience in childhood. But, actually, the undeveloped state of the parents functions as a means to bring out images which would otherwise remain dormant and inaccessible to consciousness, thereby blocking total purification. Of course, it is possible to treat painful experience in the old ways of avoidance and prolong the cycle.  But the day comes for every entity when he or she finds it no longer possible to avoid confronting this experience openly.

You can follow this chain of events even within the present life span. To the degree you have not experienced fully your past as a child, you must attract similar experiences later in life. If you have avoided your childhood and are unaware of what truly went on in you, you tend to not recognize what you feel and experience now as you repeat the experience. Conversely, as you become conscious of your past feelings, you also become aware of how past experience repeats itself. Your state of numbness about your past feelings numbs you to similar present experiences, unless and until you make a real commitment and a real effort to awaken yourself, no matter how painful this may seem at first.

You can only be alert to and have full knowledge of what happens to you now when the similar experiences of the past are out in the open and fully dealt with. Then not only will the residual soul matter of this life be cleared up, but also simultaneously the legacy of previous existences. Now, in this phase on your path where you experience more and more of this residual matter, you encounter the fact that the most painful element is the unfulfillment of your legitimate needs as a child. As I discussed in the earlier lecture, the negation of your real needs creates your false needs. This is tremendously important to observe.

What are real needs and what are false needs?  In the first place, whatever is real at one period of a person’s life may be utterly false and unreal at a later period. What is a real need for a child is not at all a real need for an adult. When the growing person denies the pain of an unfulfilled real need, this need does not disappear. On the contrary, the denial of the pain of its unfulfillment perpetuates the need and projects it into a later time and onto other people, so that it becomes a false need.

Let us take a specific example. A child needs to be taken care of, needs solely to receive care, nursing, good feelings, attention, and appreciation of its own uniqueness. If these needs are not fulfilled, the child must suffer. If this suffering is accepted and worked through on the conscious level, the person does not remain crippled, in spite of what many would want to believe. What does create a crippled state is the belief that this pain can only be eliminated when the person is finally given all that was lacking, even years later. This can never happen, of course. For even if it were possible for an adult to finally obtain substitute parents, ideal and perfect according to the notions of the deprived child, for the adult all this giving, coming from outside the self, could never bring real fulfillment.

The fulfillment so painfully longed for can be attained only when you, as an adult, proceed to search within yourself for all that you still look for outside of yourself. This must begin with self-responsibility. If you remain stuck on blaming your parents, making them and life responsible, you deprive yourself of the vital center of all good within you. Only when you search to alter your own attitude and discover that your suffering is induced by your attitude now, can you begin to find security—the security you once looked for in the sustenance given you by others. Anxiety will disappear to the exact degree you search within yourself for the cause of your present suffering. And this suffering is the denial of the original pain and the consequent negative and destructive patterns of feeling and thinking.

When people begin to assume true self-responsibility, they will gradually also cease to wait for the good feelings to come from outside. They will be less dependent on being praised and loved because they will be able to give themselves the self-esteem they could not feel when remaining demanding, resentful children. This is yet another step toward being centered within the real self, rather than hanging on to another. This, in turn, increases the ability to have a strong flow of good, warm feelings, and nourishes the desire to share them rather than spitefully withhold them. The ability to experience pleasure from within the body and soul, and offer it to others, becomes a real alternative to greedily insisting on receiving. All these increased abilities will fill the emptiness created by the child’s unfulfilled need.

The more the pain of the unfulfilled legitimate need remains unfelt, or only half experienced, the more false needs will fill the personality which then is bound to make demands on others. When these demands are not being fulfilled, the resentments—and often the venom with which cases are being built against life and others—increase one’s sense of deprivation, so that a continuous vicious circle seems to entrap the person in a state of hopelessness. It is not too difficult to rationalize a case and produce a blaming accusation. One can always find actual, imagined, or exaggerated and distorted reasons for focusing the weight of responsibility outside of the self. Since all this is subtle and concealed, it requires specific attention in self-observation and self-honesty to see this process at work. Only when you are capable of admitting your irrational demands and of seeing how you want to deal out punishment to those you blame can you truly understand the connections I make here.

What are the real needs of an adult?  They are self-expression, growth, development, reaching one’s spiritual potential and everything that accrues from that. This means pleasure, love, fulfillment, good relationships, and a meaningful contribution to the great plan in which everyone has his or her task. When a certain amount of growth has taken place, this task begins to be felt and inwardly experienced until it becomes a reality. It is a real need to perceive one’s inner growth; the lack of it brings unhappiness. The person must then proceed to search for the obstructions within his or her own soul and remove them. They are always, in one way or another, connected with a perpetuation of needs once real, which have now become false needs.

The perpetuation of false needs creates any number of destructive conditions within the soul of a person. Since these needs can never be fulfilled, continuous frustration and emptiness wipe out hope, blacken vision, and induce resentment, hate, blame, and often spite. A venomous passive resistance and self-punishment are used to punish others who appear to cause the negative state. The worse these inner traits are, the greater the guilt and the self-evasion, which make it impossible to get down to the roots of the problem, change direction and focus. Only when resistance to recognizing the false needs is vigorously overcome can all this be reversed.

Real needs never require others to comply and “give it to you.”  Only to the little self does that appear necessary. The real need for love, companionship and sharing can only begin to be fulfilled when the soul is ready to love and give, which must never be confused with the neurotic need to be loved. But this confusion between the two needs is quite frequent.  As long as you believe that you are really willing to love, but fate is slighting you and withholding from you the person who loves you and whom you can love, you are really still ardently engaged in trying to fulfill the childhood need with a substitute parent. In your heart of hearts you are really angry, blaming, punishing, and self-victimizing because your imagined real need for love remains slighted. Once you are truly ready to give up the old case, start to live in the now, and look within yourself, real love will come to you and your present real need will be fulfilled.

Legitimate needs can be fulfilled only to the degree you experience your original feelings and your residual feelings of the past. This means that you discover and give up the false needs that have accrued from denying the pain of the original unfulfillment. Let yourself go into the child state, and allow the irrational, destructive reactions of the child in you to express themselves now. When you truly own up to this part of you, you already create a new inner climate.

This is not easy to do at first. Cherished self-images and pretenses prevent almost everyone from doing this with ease. The destructive, demanding, punishing, and spiteful child usually manifests in a very obscure way, which can easily be hidden, rationalized, denied, or explained away and the emphasis shifted to factors outside yourself. If you give voice to this irrational side, you will find that it invariably says:  “I need to be always loved and approved of by everyone. If I am not, it is a catastrophe.”  The self then talks itself into believing this, as a means to force others to comply. The overreaction of the self then becomes so painful that the non-fulfillment of these insatiable demands for total, unconditional gratification of selfwill and pride seems indeed a catastrophic fact of life. No matter how mature you may be in many respects of your being, look for these hidden reactions in you whenever you feel consistently anxious and uncomfortable as unwelcome conditions arise in your environment.

The belief in catastrophe is rarely thought about in such clear-cut terms. Indeed, just to think all this through clearly will make it impossible for you to believe in catastrophe quite as much any longer. The difficulty is that your understanding of your reaction that equates catastrophe with the unfulfillment of your demand to be loved and approved of by everybody is vague. The reaction is not conceptualized, but rationalized away, so that you never follow through with both your thinking and your feeling, correlating them. So it is necessary to discover the concept, or rather the misconception, entrapped in your strong reaction to an unfulfillment, to a hurt, a criticism, or a frustration. It is then possible to recognize the unreal need and the vengeance with which it is perpetuated, pursued, and justified. Unreal needs are demands made upon others. Unreal needs can never be fulfilled.

It is an unreal need to assume that being hurt will harm you. It only harms you when you have a covert concept that it will, and insist that it will, simply because you are disinclined to accept life as it is and yourself as you are.

Some of you have truly begun to know and experience that your pleasure, peace and fulfillment never depend on others but only on yourself. But sometimes, when you approach an as yet unrecognized territory within yourself where the false needs and the unexperienced residual feelings create a destructive focal point, you forget this truth.

Often the dualistic misunderstanding that either you depend on yourself and therefore must be all alone, or that you are in a fulfilling relationship and then utterly depend on the other, prevents you from even wanting to assume self-responsibility. Doing so seems to require giving up all hope for a loving partner. Exactly the opposite is true. Only as you bring your feelings back to yourself, tap the resources within yourself, and open the wells of your giving and loving feelings, will fulfillment become an inevitable reality. Conversely, to the degree you cling to and insist on the other’s fulfilling you, to that degree you must remain lonely and unfulfilled in your real needs now—thereby perpetuating the old wounds of your childhood. Your present state can thus be used as a gauge that is more reliable than anything else, for life cannot be cheated. Its laws and rules tell you the truth about where you are, even if your direct awareness is still dimmed. When fulfillment is absent, you must really probe within yourself to find where and how you project on another what must primarily come from within you.

When the real need to remove the blocks to awareness, self-fulfillment, to intimacy and closeness with others, is expressed by the spiritual self by discarding the false needs, a wonderful force is awakened. This plea is never answered with a stone. Even if you feel as yet too weak to make the necessary total commitment, you can ask to be helped to be able to do so. The help will come.

This is the all-important aim, out of which everything else follows. As you see how you now avoid the long-forgotten pain of the past still festering within you, you also discover how you have remained hooked on blaming. For no matter how much your parents failed—for they themselves are failing human beings—they cannot be held responsible for your suffering now. Even less can others whom you expect to be able to make up for all the injuries you have endured. Your suffering now is a result of this very distortion of pursuing false needs and insisting on their fulfillment. This mechanism seems at first extremely subtle, but once you have trained yourself to observe it, it will become only too obvious. As long as you choose to stay unaware, you may be very adept in rationally explaining your case, but this will only make your condition worse, not better. You may indeed deceive others about how legitimate your case is. You may even deceive your outer conscious self. But you can never deceive your real inner self nor life. Life plays out its laws and rules very squarely, fairly and impartially. It waits until you find the truth where your non-recognized, legitimate needs as a child created fear and pain which you were unwilling and unable to experience fully. That cup has to be emptied.  Your unwillingness, in turn, created false needs whose nature and meaning also became concealed. When all this is out in the open, you can deal with it.

All repression and all hiding create vicious circles and negative chain reactions:  the false needs create evils such as cruelty, vindictiveness, and so on. The guilt and self-hate for these make the original pain seem justified in your secret evaluation of yourself; but you do not wish to admit this, so you go on continually projecting the blame onto others. The energies entrapped in holding the force of all these feelings down swell and become increasingly more powerful, creating crisis upon crisis. They can only be released and used for your good when you bring everything that is hidden out and evaluate it in truth. This takes the courage to accept the evil without totally identifying with it, which will instantly set the course of your life in the direction of fulfilling your real needs now.

The pursuit of false needs causes unbearable pain. It is tight, locked and bitter, with the added connotation of hopelessness. It is very different from the pain of a real unfulfillment, a hurt or a deprivation. The moment these difficulties are not channeled into unreal needs, the pain can be dissolved and can transform itself back into its original, flowing, life-bringing energy current. Hard pain is a result of fighting against what is. Soft pain is a result of acceptance.

Once the covering crust of outer numbness has been removed by your efforts on your path, and the defensive layer insulating you from these inner conditions has been lifted, you are bound to experience your various feelings, real and false needs, and the resulting soft and hard pains. To find your way further through the maze of these confusions, it is essential for all of you to know the difference between the former and the latter. If you experience residual feelings but are unaware of the fact that you are immersed in expressing your insatiable demands which are your false needs, you may get lost in the hard pain. For the hard pain coming from insistence on the false needs contains the vengeance. The suffering itself is a frequent weapon for punishing parents, projected parents, and life. It says, in effect:  “You see how bad you are and what you have done to me!  Your not complying with my demands deserves the punishment of my annihilation.”  And the blind person who is involved in this process without being fully aware of it can indeed allow himself or herself to go overboard and be pulled into this undercurrent.

It is therefore safe to test the kind of pain that you experience. Does it lead to bleak hopelessness, to sustained abysses where no light seems to dawn?  It can then be safely assumed that the level of venom prevents the real experience of the residual original pain. For in the case of experiencing real pain, an inner organic wisdom guides the rhythms and duration of each experience. Each time there comes a deep insight and the connecting links will bring more light and more hope. But when they are absent, you should not go deeper into this hard pain, because you are unwittingly and quite unconsciously punishing others with this pain. The work should rather be directed toward recognizing what is really going on. Then one can safely go into residual experience and free oneself. It will then be done in an entirely different spirit. One’s attitude will be one of hope and purpose, rather than that of a helpless victim who is led to slaughter.

Your fear, my friends, to go all the way into yourself is much less due to the real pain. Soft pain due to unfulfilled real needs may momentarily result in forceful expressions of crying and yelling, or of writhing and hitting, but there is a safe inner ground due to the absence of the venomous forcing-current that sends a message of vengeance into the world. The mellow sadness of real pain and real needs dissolves into its own streamings. The unbearable, hard and dangerous experience of pain is due to the false need that says, “You must give me what I need, what I insist upon. If you do not, I will perish with a vengeance.”

This voice, my friends, must be discovered. It exists to some degree in everybody, without exception. The more concealed it is, the further away you are from dissolving it and transforming your energy currents. If you can, let yourself experience this voice and recognize it for what it is, rather than identifying with it. As long as you are totally identified with it, you cannot confront and test it. But the moment you observe it as only a part of you, you will instantly know that this is not all there is to you. That aspect of you which observes it is certainly more you than that which is being observed. And the aspect of you which questions the voice that cries for vengeance, that has a dialogue with it and probes the truth of its implied messages, is even stronger. It continues to become  stronger, until it finally takes over. This eliminates the need for total self-rejection, which is the outcome of totally identifying with the voice of the false need.

The moment you raise the question, “Is it really true that I must perish because I have endured pain, or am enduring pain?” you will inevitably have to answer first that this is not necessarily the only possibility. When is it so, when not?  What does it depend on, as far as you are concerned? When all these questions are seriously confronted, you will see that it is not true that you must perish, or even lead an unhappy life for the rest of your remaining days, because you have endured pain. No pain can ever make you perish. It is only your attitude toward pain that will make you perish. If you resist and harden yourself to the pain, then the pain compounds and will literally crush you. Only when you are being crushed—not ever by the pain that others inflict upon you, but by what you inflict upon yourself—can you confront this attitude in yourself. Have a dialogue with it, as I said before.

When you specifically let go one by one of your insatiable demands and unreal needs, you will find out that they are indeed illusory. You started off with the premise, for example, that you could not live without total approval, unconditional acceptance and love, uncritical admiration, or whatever else it may be. As you consider the possibility that you might even gain fulfillment, contentment, pleasure, and happiness without these demands being fulfilled—a novel idea at first—you will be surprised to find that it is quite possible to do so. New ways will make themselves known, new possibilities you could never even have sensed before, because you were so bent on the one way it had to be.

Wherever there is obstruction, unfulfillment, or an unyielding wall in your life, an unreal need has to be looked for. You must find your own insistence that says, “It must be this way, not that way. Life must give me this; I must have it.”  When you find and express this voice and recognize it for its fallacy, something will loosen up instantly. The very fact that you question the validity of these unreal needs, which you had taken for granted as being real until now, will liberate your creative energies. Deep from your innermost being, from the center of your solar plexus, the voice of wisdom will guide you. It already has guided you before in areas where you were not blocked. It is then possible to use these released energies to plough the way further to where the thickets still have to be cleared. These energies can then go to work to dissolve the soul substance still hardened by preconceived, unchallenged, and even unarticulated convictions, by insistence and tight selfwill, and by the negation and repression of feelings and thoughts.

Hardened insistence must not be confused with the determination and relaxed goodwill of commitment, or with the one-pointed focusing of energy, all of which are such indispensable prerequisites for the pathwork. The cramp of hardened selfwill intensifies many times the original residual pain. It creates painful tension in the system, which is always blamed on others—how they have failed you in the past and are still failing you in the present. Then you have no choice but to give up the future.

The energies that are being released by following through the process described here are not merely physical energies which bring wellbeing, flow and pleasure. They release the voice of truth and wisdom that is your own, innermost spiritual self. It will show you the way, and you will learn to recognize it and trust it when you come out of your darkness, to plough your way between the two extremes. These extremes are the blind, wishful thinking that listens only to what you want to hear and which makes you deaf to the real truth in you, and the cynical distrust of all the deeper truths from your spiritual self, which makes you equally deaf to the voice of truth. So you have to search your way between these two extremes.

When you go deep into your innermost feelings, my friends, there will be no danger of losing yourself in unendurable pain. For no matter how difficult your childhood was, and no matter how much negative experience you had, and no matter how cruel a parent may have been, the real cause of pain is not that. The cause is your persistence and insistence on staying hooked on needs that are by now false needs, on demanding that conditions be different, and that life now make up for it all and give to you gratuitously, leaving you as a recipient, leaving you out of the magnificent game of life. This is what really hurts and pains you now. You must start with yourself, at all junctures. If you proceed in this way, you will be able to allow the positive feelings to become as deep and as real experiences as the negative and painful feelings.

[The closing words did not get on the tape.]