The capacity to own up to being fallible, human, vulnerable, irrational, wrong, needy, defenseless, weak and unhappy must by necessity increase your capacity to be strong, truly right and not self-righteous, truly independent, and fulfilled. The admission of heretofore apparently inadmissible feelings is the bridge to inner unity and fulfilling self-expression of life.
In this dualistic approach you become split within yourself, for you reject a whole part of yourself that is the source of essential, potent creative energy without which you can never be a full human being. Your sense of awareness dims as you repress the undesirable part of yourself. The less aware you are, the weaker you become, and therefore more confused and less able to solve this, or any other problem.
The subject tonight will be self-confidence. What is self-confidence? When your real being, your real self, your intuitive nature manifests, there is no uncertainty in you, no doubt about your right reaction or action, and no wavering. Your instant and spontaneous reaction is of such a nature that you know deep down, “This is right, this is so.”
My dear friends, it is important to realize that over the course of a lifetime, usually even in earliest childhood or infancy, every personality forms certain impressions due to environmental influences or to sudden, unexpected experiences. These impressions or attitudes usually take the form of conclusions in the mind of the person. Most of the time these conclusions are wrong. You see and experience something unfortunate, one of the unavoidable hardships of life, and you then make generalizations from them. These generalizations later establish themselves as preconceived ideas.
The conclusions are not thought out; rather they are emotional reactions, general attitudes toward life. They are not completely devoid of a certain logic, albeit limited and erroneous. As the years go by, these conclusions and attitudes sink more and more into the unconscious. From there, they mold the life of every person to some extent. We call each such conclusion an “image,” since we spirits see the whole thought process as a spiritual form—or image.
Many good, kind and even spiritual people say, when hearing these lectures, that it is not good to think so much about the self. They feel it would be better to think more about other people. They say, occupation with the self leads to selfishness. Of course, it depends entirely on how the occupation with the self is done or in what way one thinks about other people. It is wrong to think about yourself in a destructive way filled with self-pity, complaining about your fate, and brooding unproductively about things you may have missed in life and about things you cannot control and therefore cannot change. Whoever leans toward this sort of preoccupation should not only heed the advice of shifting the emphasis from the self to others, but should also learn to channel the self-occupation into a different direction, namely a productive one.
There is a right kind and a wrong kind of shame. The right kind of shame is true repentance. Without this kind of shame, there could never be an incentive for self-development. Without it, no one would ever undergo the noble fight, my friends, against one’s lower self; no one would take the path of purification if this shame did not exist within. True repentance is therefore constructive and very positive. But there is also shame of the wrong kind. Human beings so often confuse the two kinds of shame that now I want to devote some of our time together to this subject.
Oh yes, the outer conflicts are always noticed, but you all know the outer conflict is only a reflection of the inner one. Yet people so often have the wrong attitude; in a very subtle way they think if they are trying to advance in a certain way, the outer conflict will eventually cease and they somehow expect conditions to change according to their own ideas, the preconceived ideas they have formed because of this wrong basic attitude. So you overlook the simple fact that first your ideas have to change before the vexing conditions have a chance to change too. Thus you find yourself at a certain crucial point on this path in a vicious circle: you wait for a change in your conditions, while the conditions wait for you to change your ideas.
Another great misunderstanding is the mistaken idea that to follow the path I am showing you means neglecting your life in other ways. You see, my dear friends, I can observe the forms of your thoughts and feelings. I can see your lower self that fights constantly against the right decisions, delivering all sorts of excuses and pretexts, while you remain unaware of why you have these thoughts and what is really behind them. Some of you may believe that a certain amount of time and effort for your spiritual development will take too much time away from your daily struggle for livelihood; you think you may not have enough strength left for your professional efforts and thus fear that your finances may suffer. Another may believe that not enough time remains to enjoy life, and so on. But this way of thinking is so very wrong because spiritual development in general, and this path in particular, is not an extra activity in your life that you simply add on to your other activities, thus diminishing the strength, time, effort, and zest that would otherwise be available to you for all your other duties and pleasures. Actually, it is quite the contrary, my friends.
Each emotional reaction, thought, opinion or tendency, even the smallest personality trait, is a luminous ray which is invisible to you, but belongs very personally to each individual being. In the same way, the fixed and yet eternally moving spiritual laws, which pertain to every possibility or modality of outer or inner reaction, also create such luminous threads. Wherever your personal rays agree with those of the spiritual laws, you fulfill your life and you are in harmony and bliss.