As a fundamental prerequisite, education in the coming age has to make room for the understanding of the principles you are learning on this path, and also of the levels of human consciousness and their interactions.
Whenever you find yourself in a situation that is not desirable, that leaves you unfulfilled in any way, your usually vague discontent causes you to strive for another situation. A clear-cut goal-directedness and precise concept of a better way of life can succeed only when the present situation, with its lack, is totally understood. Striving toward a different situation when the present situation is not fully understood must result in failure and frustration.
First I wish to discuss how the inner self differs from the outer self, or the real self from the ego. What is their relationship to each other? There are many confusing theories about the function of the ego. According to some the ego is essentially negative and undesirable and the spiritual goal is to get rid of it. Other theories,
When you pursue this path, you discover certain areas in yourself that you are ashamed to acknowledge, even to yourself. What you may be ashamed of may be faults, but not always and not necessarily. You may be as ashamed of very legitimate needs as you are of faults, or of assets, for that matter. First you are not even aware that such shames exist. It takes a considerable amount of time and effort before you become aware of those facets within yourself you are deeply ashamed to face. You cover these facets with a pretense that is the reverse of your specific shame.
And now, my friends, I wish to discuss a topic I have not gone into before, identification with oneself, as opposed to identification with others. Last time I talked about humanity’s relationship to time. I said, in essence, that very rarely do people live in the now. They push into the future. They pull back into the past. Often these two contradictory movements happen simultaneously. In both alternatives, you strain away from the now.
Once again, let us talk about love. Let us remember that anyone without love is withering away. The love you receive is not the most important, you need the love force in your heart; it is your spiritual life-blood. This is the driving force — in a good and healthy sense — that gives meaning to life. Without the love-capacity your life will be empty, meaningless, shallow.
QUESTION: What is the meaning of the Way of the Cross, its principles and its course of actions? How is it comparable to the Eastern concept, the one that follows the Buddha?
Since children so seldom receive sufficient mature love and warmth, they continue to hunger for it throughout life unless this lack and hurt is recognized and properly dealt with. If not, as adults they will go through life unconsciously crying out for what they missed in childhood. This will make them incapable of loving maturely. You can see how this condition continues from generation to generation.
Strangely enough, people are just as ashamed of their faculties of love, humility, generosity — the very best they have to offer — as they are of the small, selfish and ungiving part of their nature. Let us consider what causes this inner tragedy, this senseless struggle. One main factor is responsible, which varies in extent, detail and manifestation with every individual.
Authority is the very first conflict for a growing child when it reaches a certain degree of consciousness. Elders, parents or parent-substitutes, and later on teachers represent authority for the child. This authority denies the child many a wish fulfillment. Therefore, authority seems hostile. No matter how much love, warmth and affection a child is given, no matter how necessary the prohibition is at times, it represents the first hurdle of life. The child’s attitude toward authority is carried over into adult life. The often unconscious reactions to authority indicate whether this hurdle has become a stepping stone toward maturity or not. If the grown person can adjust to authority maturely and freely, another milestone has been reached in the overall development of the soul.
Those who have made the decision and given themselves into the hands of God immediately sense what is happening within. The first reaction is a great relief and an inward joy that for a while completely takes possession of one. This wonderful feeling, though, does not stay with you forever. Hearing this, you could easily conclude, at least in your feelings, that if the heaviness and unpleasantness is likely to return, there is no point in making the decision in the first place. But I say to you that this is not so. After having crossed the first threshold, you are only at the beginning of the path. I have told you before that the spiritual work only begins after this crossing, and that being on this path consists in not giving up, but continuing to press on steadily. That has to be the price.