Spiritual Nourishment—Willpower

Pathwork Guide Lecture No. 16 | November 08, 1957

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Greetings in the name of the Lord. Blessed is this hour, blessed are all of you, my friends. Again I have the pleasure of welcoming some new friends here tonight and I want to tell all of you:  just let go. Do not think for this hour about any of your doubts. Just let your soul speak and give you the answer. This can happen if you are open.

It is not surprising if a person, confronted the first time with this phenomenon—that a spirit should indeed be able to talk through a human being—cannot readily accept it. Many things are possible, however, of which you know nothing as yet. So just be open and wait. Eventually you will see that not only is this so, but much more exists than you can even dream of. You will not only be able to accept all this intellectually, but you will actually experience it!  Your lives will change when you know certain truths. This will give you direction and purpose, while now you often do not know what this life is all about and why you should have to go through so much hardship, so much testing. And yet, there is a sense to all of this. So relax, untie knots, be open.

Your problems are so often about your daily bread, about material needs. Yet important as this daily bread may be, it is only of secondary importance to the spiritual daily bread that you need. Much of your talk is about the importance of the right food and vitamins, minerals, proteins, and diets. It is indeed good that humanity has begun to find out about these facts. But we spirits see such a tremendous discrepancy between the concern for material nourishment and the lack of spiritual nourishment. The latter is every bit as important as the former. We see spiritually underfed, undernourished people; so many suffer from spiritual vitamin deficiency. The soul and the spirit need food so badly, often without the  person being aware of the need. And only if this food is supplied, taken and digested, will all your other needs automatically be taken care of, including your material daily bread. Your spirit’s starvation must have its consequences.

The same thing applies to hygiene. Humanity has made great progress in the direction of physical hygiene. Today people bathe and shower daily and keep their bodies clean. At the same time, so many unhygienic souls are going around. Now you may wonder how this cleansing of the soul or the nourishment of the spirit is to be accomplished. What has to be done practically?  Spiritual nourishment is the regular intake of spiritual truths; even repetitions are important!  The learning of spiritual laws is also important. The outlook on life from the spiritual point of view often contrasts with your material point of view, and one day your outlook will change accordingly. Taking spiritual nourishment has to become a regular habit, for it is possible that you get accustomed to living without it for a long time, just like a person who gets accustomed to eating the wrong kind of food that does not supply the essential factors the body needs in order to remain strong and vigorous. One can go along for quite a while in that way without ever connecting cause and effect. The physically undernourished person will complain about tiredness, weakness, or other physical symptoms, without thinking about the real reason behind them. The same applies to the spiritually undernourished; the emotional problems, the lack of inner peace, and all the other symptoms of this deficiency are seldom consciously connected with the cause of it all.

Spiritual food does not come to you by itself. You have to go out and get it, the same way that you have to get your physical nourishment. You have to earn your bread, buy it, prepare it, eat it. This is true just as much of your spiritual bread as of your physical bread. You earn your spiritual bread by your sincere desire to receive it. You prepare your spiritual food by looking for the right source for you, by going to a certain amount of trouble in order to get it. And you digest it by thinking through for yourself what you have heard or read, by meditating about it, by trying to apply it to yourself in some way so that something will change for the better within you. Therefore, spiritual nourishment is, in part, listening to lectures, reading the appropriate literature, and conversing with people who know more than oneself. Spiritual nourishment is also prayer and meditation in the right way. Here again you need to fight within yourself to overcome your resistance. There will always be the voice that says, “I am too tired. I do not feel like it; it does not matter if I am not doing it today. What difference does it make?  Why should God mind whether I pray to Him today?”  No, God does not mind, my friends. But your soul and spirit will starve. By opening yourself every day, you receive the strength and the light that maintains you, that guides you into the right direction.

The cleansing of the soul, which is equally important if not even more so, should be done in this way:  Many times a person is unaware of certain faults, attitudes, opinions, emotional reactions. People carry many of these trends with them from an early age, due to some influence in their surroundings and certain happenings in their lives. These attitudes may or may not have had their justification in the past but they are completely obsolete at the present time and quite harmful. Yet, unaware of the existence of these old reactions and their harmfulness, people still carry them unconsciously and still react in a certain way because of them. Examine what you really think, what you really feel, what you really want. Make an inventory of your emotional trends and soul currents. By re-examining them you can oust whatever has no validity for you any more and change your currents accordingly. Thus you put order in your soul. Then you will be able to change your will-direction where that is necessary. You may even change your desires. Only when you do this consciously can you ascertain the existence in you of the various feelings, desires, and attitudes. Then you will be able, with the help of the spiritual nourishment that you take in, to see whether these tendencies are in accordance with the spiritual laws or not. You will also see whether you have broken some spiritual law in the past, quite unconsciously, by your wrong inner direction.

When these tendencies are unconscious within you, they create a great deal of harm; they create conflict and disorder within you. This all represents the uncleansed or “unhygienic” soul.  There is so much in there that ought to be washed away or ousted. So cleanse your souls as you cleanse your bodies. This ought to be done every day. You ought to review your day and examine your own reactions to the various incidents that have taken place during the day. This is the only way you can cleanse your spirits, your souls. Only in this way will you be open and receptive to the proper nourishment with which you can grow spiritually every day.

With this attitude, nothing that happens will ever depress you. Yes, my friends, this is the truth. Even the unpleasant things in life will not have the power to tear you down. For you will thus be able to learn more about yourself, and about spiritual law, about divine truth and what you have still to accomplish and what you have already accomplished. Your own failures, which are unavoidable, will give you strength instead of weakness when you view yourself in that way daily and when you consider your failures with the attitude, “What can I learn about them?  Where do I still have to work on self-purification?”

Nothing that happens in your life is good or bad in itself. Do not believe this fallacy. The best thing that could happen to you might appear to be a disaster at the moment it occurs—and it will be a disaster if you have the wrong attitude. A happening that seems to you very fortunate can turn out to be very unfavorable if you do not learn your spiritual lesson from it. So everything that happens to you can be good if you make it so, if you use it from a spiritual point of view, if you learn from it so that you can continue to grow spiritually and thus grow into happiness!

This is the only way you can direct your life, instead of being a slave and being directed by moods and outer happenings. It is in your power to change. You have your life in hand if you use this knowledge, but often you do not want to use it. It seems to you so much easier to give in to a mood of depression and hopelessness, for this allows you to be passive and—consciously or unconsciously—blame some fate or circumstances or other people for what has happened to you. No, my friends, this way you indeed make a slave of yourself; you make yourself dependent on outer happenings over which you have no control. Say to yourself instead:  “If anything unpleasant happens, the answer must be within me:  the cause of it as well as the solution.”  Pray at that instant to God to help you find the answer and have the absolute will to look yourself squarely in the face. If you overcome the resistance to do so, which is only difficult at first, you will get the answer as inevitably as sun follows rain, as life must follow death. And this will bring great happiness into your soul, a happiness that you have never known before. Because there is no other happiness comparable to the one that comes when you conquer yourself, when you decide, “I am no longer a slave. From now on I direct my life. In order to be able to do that, I have, first of all, to face within me what I may not like or what makes me feel uncomfortable.”

You have much more power than you realize. The willpower that lies enfolded within you is something you do not realize, my friends. Since willpower is of great importance in the life of a person, I would like to talk about this subject now. First, I want to say:  There is no person alive who has no willpower. Whoever says, “I am weak, I have no willpower,” is fooling himself because it appears much easier to be directed instead of being the director of one’s life, and taking the responsibility upon one’s own shoulders. It is only a question of unfolding the willpower which you already have.

Now, how can you unfold your willpower in the right direction?  For all of you who say you do not have any willpower, constantly use this willpower without realizing that you do so. You are doing it subconsciously, and often in the wrong direction because you use it without clear consciousness.

There are many people who rightly say that whatever a person really wants, can be accomplished. This is more or less true. But whether what you want is, indeed, the best thing for you, is another question. Therefore, the will-directing power has to be examined by the person who wants, above all, to grow spiritually and come close to God. Such examination has to be conducted in the light of spiritual law and truth. Currents coming from the higher self are often distorted by the lower self. Now here is a good example, because willpower in itself is a most valuable asset; without it, indeed, there can never be any spiritual progress. Willpower comes from the higher self; it will remain a pure current of light and clean strength as long as it is used for a spiritual purpose, for spiritual growth, for God, with God, and in God. The moment the conscious will uses it in a wrong direction it is distorted by the lower self and becomes an impure force.

Let us take, for example, a criminal. He uses his willpower very obviously and noticeably in a wrong direction. He wants to have his will at all costs. For him the gratification of his personal desires stands so much in the foreground that he is willing to go to the length of even harming other people in order to achieve his goal. A more highly developed person will not act that way because he knows that crime is sin. And yet, he too may use his willpower in the wrong direction, though unconsciously and, of course, not in actions that obviously harm other people, but in feelings and inner reactions that also put the gratification of the ego in the foreground. This is breaking spiritual law and has its consequences in inner disharmony and/or outer conflicts. The whole process remains in the subconscious because this person knows somewhere that what he wants is wrong, yet he is not ready to give it up; he wants it nevertheless. The willpower continues to flow in the wrong direction without conscious awareness. This is often a very important factor in an emotionally disturbed person. All this does not apply only to crime or sin as usually understood. Anything that deviates from spiritual law is sin—or ignorance, if you wish. They are the same.

Now, you may want something very badly that in itself is not considered sinful; it may not even violate the recognized standards of ethics in your society. And yet, what you want may be wrong for you, for your life. It could be right for another person. Sin, or the breaking of spiritual law, is not only something generally established for everyone alike, but also something very personal that varies with each individual. For one person to become a writer may be his destiny; in this way he can best fulfill the tasks he is supposed to fulfill in this life. Another person, by becoming a writer, may neglect the task he has really come to fulfill. You cannot say to become a writer is a sin, and yet for a particular person it may be the wrong thing to do. Now if he uses his willpower blindly, he will become a writer, but he will not be happy, because you can only be happy if you fulfill the task you have taken on in this incarnation. And everyone has a task, my friends, everyone!

Wherever you stand, you have a task, whether you have a family or whether you live quite alone. But do not look far to find this task. Do not even think first of other people whom you may desire to help. You will be able to do that too, certainly, but only after you have first found yourself. Before you can fulfill a task with other people, you have to fulfill it within yourself first. That means you have to achieve spiritual growth, purification, and complete self-knowledge as much as possible according to your strength and development. When you do this, you are on the right path and are already fulfilling a part of your task, whatever the rest of the task may be. If you begin with yourself, the rest will come to you without your having to move a finger, I can assure you.

Coming back to the question of willpower:  The most important step to channeling your willpower in the right direction is in stating first:  “Once and for all, I will use whatever will there is within me according to the will of God.”  When you do that, my friends, the willpower already alive within you will often change direction and, even though you may not like this at first, you will, you must become happy, because God knows better than you what is best for you and what gives you most happiness. All of a sudden your problems will disappear, I can promise you that. Your willpower, even if it has been dormant to a large degree, will suddenly surge through you with a clean strength you have never suspected to exist. All tiredness, all weakness, all weariness—physical or emotional—will disappear if you sincerely mean that you put God’s will above all else, if you keep this promise and actually live it. “Whatever willpower I have, I use it according to Thy will”—this resolution is the beginning of the change for the better in your life. It is the foundation.

Keep this in mind and do it even though to follow your own will often seems so much more tempting. When you prefer to say to yourself:  “Why should God have anything against my doing this or that?  It is such a little thing, it cannot do any harm; it cannot possibly make any difference,” then, of course, you do not even intend to find out the answer; you have already made up your mind and have put your will above the will of God.

There are no little and big things, my friends. For what may seem tremendous for you may be very little in absolute truth, and vice versa. The littlest thing may be a stepping stone to the biggest and most important. The littlest thing may be a very significant symptom, a key to all your problems. Do not overlook it. Do not minimize it. And have the confidence that what God wills for you must be better than your shortsightedness, even if it means a little sacrifice at first. When you put your life really and truly in the hands of God, if you give yourself up to Him, you must become happy. There is simply no other alternative. It is the only possible consequence. But it leads often through a door that appears like a sacrifice at present, when your gaze is still clouded. Afterward you will not be able to understand yourself:  what seemed so important and so attractive, or so hard to give up, will then appear like a burden you have carried around, which it indeed was!  For everything is a burden that separates you from God, my friends.

And do not ask me, “How should I know what God desires?  What is His will?  And when should I fight and be active and when should I be passive?”  When you really want to know, you will have the answer. You will take the time to meditate about any particular problem and to ask God. And He will show you the answer; He can do so in many ways.

The problem is not that you do not know the will of God. The problem remains solely whether you really want to know His will; whether you have decided that you will fulfill His will, even against your apparent interest, in this little moment now!  If you fulfill the conditions, you must receive the answer. Again and again we notice that you do receive answers to your prayers, to your questions about what the will of God may be, but you often do not want to receive it. You deliberately keep your eyes closed. My dear friends, it is only the first time that it is so difficult to really give your life up to God, with all that this implies. Once you have done so and experienced the peace and joy that comes from it, it will never be difficult any more, because then your confidence will be truly established. And why is it so difficult the first time?  Because the doubt still lurks within you:  “What if God’s will makes me unhappy?”  If you sincerely test yourself, you will find that this is why you hesitate. Here is the key to everything.

QUESTION:  Isn’t it conceivable that a human being may make a sincere mistake as to the will of God?

ANSWER:  Yes, you may, temporarily, but not when you reach the state I have mentioned. Certainly, people who do not receive the proper spiritual nourishment may still intend to follow the will of God, but they do not know how to find it, or have the patience to wait for His answer. Or they do not realize that an answer is actually forthcoming, so they may make mistakes. But you, my friends, who listen to these lectures—or read them—have the necessary requirements to find out about it the right way, and therefore you have that much more responsibility. You cannot fail if you are really open to receive God’s will.

To be really open means being ready to hear what you might like least. When you are thus open and put your fate and your life in the hand of God, then you will get the answer. There can be no question about it. And then you will not make a mistake, ever. Because you can ask two, three, four times, if you are not sure that the first answer was actually that, and not, perhaps, a coincidence. And the answer will come again and again, perhaps in different ways:  through another person, through a sign, through something that happens, through a voice within you, through a dream perhaps, or through your own feeling of enlightenment. Nothing can shake this deep knowledge. In many ways will you receive the answer. Of course you will make mistakes if you go about it superficially, and then do not even really wait for the answer. But if you go about it sincerely and if you open yourself and ask again and again and wait for the answer, there will be no mistake.

And now, my dear ones, I am ready for your questions.

QUESTION:  I was wondering whether you would tell us whether there is any conscious life on other planets?

ANSWER:  Yes, indeed. Each planet, each star, is a sphere where spiritual life exists.

QUESTION:  But I meant organic conscious beings?

ANSWER:  A spiritual being is also organic, for all organs exist in radiant matter. And certainly there is consciousness!  But there is no life like your material one. The matter is just different, of different density. Those spirits can, of course, materialize. We can do so and have done so under certain conditions. If this happened you would think such a materialized spirit was of flesh and blood. But life on the other planets is not exactly in your material form. Radiant matter varies greatly. What may be for you radiant matter which you cannot perceive with your eyes is for us dense matter of a different vibration and type. On the other hand the matter of the powers of darkness is so coarse, so much coarser than even your matter that you cannot see it either. It is not radiant, but quite to the contrary, too coarse for you to perceive it. You think all life in the beyond is subtle matter, but this is not so. Any difference in degree of density is automatically invisible for a spirit used to another vibration, unless the spirits are so highly developed that they have the power to focus their view on different degrees of density. Unless there is a materialization, you cannot see the texture of matter existing in other spheres.

QUESTION:  If there is a sudden feeling of happiness about us or an occasional pleasant fragrance, does that mean that there are harmonious spirits around us?

ANSWER:  Indeed. When harmonious spirits can come so close to you, there must be a reason, for instance, an inner victory. For nothing happens without cause and effect. The perception of fragrance is already more, it is a spiritual experience, a sign. This sign is given as encouragement to stay on your path, or it may be a reminder to take this path. It is, at any rate, a sign of grace. It means that help and strength are given to make the next victory easier.

QUESTION:  Can we remember our present identity in the next life and are we going to work on our old problems?

ANSWER:  Whether you will remember your present life in the next one depends very much on yourself. It is, indeed, a fact that in times to come, when spirituality will have developed so much more, many people will be able to remember their former lives who have not been able to do so until then. But not all of them will be able to do it. You see, there are people today who can, through their development, remember something of a former life. The memory will come to them. And as development advances, more of the curtain will be withdrawn. The higher developed you are, the more you strive for perfection and work spiritually, the more you are capable to know about your past incarnations. Then such knowledge will be used for a good purpose. As for the problems:  you are absolutely right. You will deal exactly with the same problems, life after life, until you have solved them. As long as you have not solved a problem in this life, it will come to you in the next, even though your circumstances may be different; you may live in a different country, you may have a different life pattern, yet the problems will come as long as they have not been solved by you. And what are the problems?  They are nothing else but the materialization of your faults. When you purify your faults, your problems will disappear. And when you do not do that, your problems will reappear in other forms in your next life.

QUESTION:  In his book, Johannes Greber writes about the Old Testament, about great people like Moses, for instance, who contacted the spirits and asked them about decisions. Should they begin a war, will it bring victory, and such. But we are taught that we should make our own decisions, and those people were spiritually so much more advanced than we are.

ANSWER:  These people were very much concerned with fulfilling the will of God, which is the most difficult decision of all. That they asked, concerning the welfare of their whole people, a spirit and not their own and very personal channels, had a good and valuable reason:  the people might not have believed their leader if he had told them he received answers directly. These people believed very much in the spirits of God and accepted more readily their testimony.

QUESTION:  Does a human being ever have spiritual guardians and do lower spirits have higher spirits helping them?

ANSWER:  The lower spirits also have their guardians, certainly. But, like human beings, they cannot see them. And sometimes those guardians cannot get close to them. That is according to their own attitude. Each spirit has somewhere and somehow a guardian. As far as human beings are concerned, everybody has indeed a guardian. Some have more than one, some have only one. It depends on the case, but there is never any injustice. Sometimes one guardian spirit may be more powerful than three or four. A person who has more to accomplish has more powerful guardian spirits than a person who is just living into the day without desiring any spiritual progress. So this is all determined very justly.

QUESTION:  Is the spirit world aware of the spaceships and flying saucers which are so often in the news now and in whose observation there seems to be some validity?

ANSWER:  I am not entitled to give information on that. I have said so before and I will say so again. There is a very good reason for this. In a few years you will understand why I cannot talk about this.

QUESTION:  In relation to your last lecture, when you spoke about the many spirits who are around a human being, spirits of darkness and higher spirits:  I wonder if our calling for them is mainly conscious?

ANSWER:  No, it is not conscious. Indeed, it is mostly unconscious. It is very, very seldom that this is done consciously, at least as far as the spirits of darkness are concerned. If someone really does that, he must himself be a very evil spirit. As far as the spirits of truth and light are concerned, you should and can consciously call them to you. But even if you do not do so, the moment you overcome a fault, you fight against your lower self, you desire above all else to fulfill the will of God and live in accordance with divine law, you emanate a certain substance that draws spirits of light toward you. By the same token, if you give in to your lower self, if you violate divine law, you emanate a quality that draws the spirits of darkness near you, like a magnet. For instance, when you emanate anger, you draw a spirit of anger toward you. When you emanate selfishness, you draw such a specialist toward you who will encourage you further in this fault. And so on. What comes out of you is what you draw toward you. Like attracts like.

QUESTION:  Is there mutual activity in this attraction?

ANSWER:  Oh yes.

QUESTION:  On both sides?

ANSWER:  On both sides, indeed!  And not only this kind of mutual activity, but also learning. You see, with the spirits of darkness it goes like this:  they fulfill a task in their world of darkness when they win out over a person, particularly with the people who love God. They are very keen on drawing them away from God. They do not have to worry about criminals. They have access to them anyway. But they are particularly keen on conquering people who love God, who seek God, so that they may give in to their weaknesses. The spirits earn special rewards in their world for such work. And they know very well that they cannot accomplish anything by trying to inspire people to do any type of wickedness that is foreign to them. But they can succeed with the seemingly harmless faults that draw such a person slowly but surely further into darkness, depression, self-despising moods, and thus into separation from God.

It is not so much the fault in itself that is damaging, but rather that they become disgusted with themselves and may thus give up the fight altogether. I said often that stumbling into the same fault in itself is not bad, provided it is recognized and one learns from it by adopting the right and constructive attitude. As a matter of fact, no progress is possible without stumbling. But when the stumbling is viewed with an attitude of hopelessness and self-disgust, then the clouds become bigger and bigger; then a person gets more and more involved with the respective dark spirits, with the world of darkness altogether.

You do not have to commit a crime in order to live in the world of darkness. There are other vibrations that can accomplish this. If, however, a person refuses to be an instrument for the powers of darkness, if you fight—and you can only do this by knowing your own faults extremely well, for only through them can you be tempted by the dark spirits—do you know what happens?  The dark spirit will rise higher in its development; it will learn—not directly, not immediately, because it is still so much in darkness that at first it will only know defeat. This defeat will cost it its position, so that it suffers, and only this suffering will bring it nearer to God. Because only then will it turn to God, as a last resort, in complete despair. As long as it can claim victories in its world of darkness, and has power there, it will never turn to God. So each victory, even the smallest one, of each human being, causes a tremendous chain reaction in the universe among beings of whom you are not even aware.

My friends, if you could know how much you accomplish by your victory, not only as far as you yourself and your immediate surroundings are concerned, but for so many spirits as well, you would really try much harder. And not only evil spirits are affected by your victory, but also erring spirits who do not belong anywhere. They are often around you and learn from your victory in a much more direct way than those dark spirits. So when you conquer yourself, you are in fact a vital part of the great Plan of Salvation. You are then an active soldier in the fight. You are a front line soldier. And a front line soldier needs better weapons, more strength, and better protection than one who does not fight back or one who is in the hinterland. The weapons and the strength come to you from the spirit world of God in guidance, enlightenment, recognition.

And now, my dear ones, I will retire into my world. I bless each one of you. Blessed are your dear ones, blessed are you. Take on the strength that now flows to you, so that you will be able to solve your problems with God, in God.