I would like to discuss a particular aspect of this transformation of consciousness, giving special emphasis to what was previously discussed only in general. Humanity’s greatest imprisonment, from which stems all fear and pain and suffering, is the duality in which the human mind is entangled. The mass mind then builds an environment and creates conditions that express this bent of consciousness. It is perhaps the most difficult task of the evolutionary journey to penetrate this seeming reality, namely, that the world is dualistic.
We shall talk about certain aspects of love in this lecture. To completely cover the topic would be absolutely impossible in one lifetime, even if it were discussed every hour of the day, so deep and so far-reaching is it. We shall discuss those aspects of love that you most need on your path at this juncture.
What is the word? The word is the creative agent. The word is a psychic nuclear point that creates movement and a systematic chain reaction, one link logically and inexorably following another, until the word has become deed, fact, and finished creation.
When you go deep enough and look astutely enough, you also find out that what really obstructs you is the sum total of everything that is negative and destructive in you. The mind does not want to accept this. The mind has concocted all sorts of other explanations for unhappiness.
When you are only vaguely aware of your negativity, only dimly sensing the hurt that it inflicts on others, you are caught in a battle of blame, self-justification, helplessness, self-rejection and self-doubt. You cannot help but hook others, with their own unconscious conflicts, into your negativity.
Self-esteem, self-liking, or self-value—whatever you call it—is sorely lacking in every human being who experiences feelings of uncertainty, fear, insecurity, guilt, weakness, doubt, negativity, inadequacy, and inferiority. To the degree these feelings are present, self-esteem is inevitably lacking, only this is not directly recognized. Such ignorance is all the more damaging, for you are then less capable of tackling the problem directly.
There are various states and processes in material life which afford humans the possibility of replenishing themselves from the universal source. One of the most automatic, generally accessible of these states is sleep. Human beings who are deeply troubled are so because they are too enmeshed in their ego. Insomnia occurs precisely because the ego is too predominant and the involuntary forces of life cannot take over.
In order to become what you truly are, the fundamental prerequisite is fearlessness. Overcoming fear of self is the key. Every kind of fear amounts, in the last analysis, to fear of self; for if there were no fear of your innermost self, you could not possibly fear anything in life. In fact, you could not even fear death.
In the last lecture I discussed the necessity of transforming faults of character. The first step toward this transformation is always awareness of the faults. This is not easy, but not difficult either, if approached with the proper attitude. Once you are aware of your specific faults, the next step is to understand the reason for their existence, and why you cling to them.
The separation from the center is the wall of not knowing that this inner center of wisdom, love and power exists. You therefore do not seek contact with it, hence more confusion, error and ignorance arise. The less aware you are of this inner center, the greater your separation from it will be.
Let us look deeper into the topic of love now. In this way we can come a step closer to obtaining the greatest of all keys to the true life — not by following forced, artificial, superimposed commands from the intellect, but the spontaneous inner activity of the heart.
Through your work of self-search, deeper levels of understanding are opened up, so that words of truth will directly reach those inner levels — or have at least a chance of doing so. It is therefore important to discuss the same subjects from different vantage points at specific phases of your pathwork. What you have heretofore understood in a shallow way will then be more profoundly comprehended. Always use your new understanding in conjunction with proper meditation. These lectures can be regarded as meditations.
Within each individual there exists a well of wisdom and love. It is a treasure deep within you which can come to the fore only as you become aware of all those aspects of yourself that bar access to the treasure. You are accustomed to look for truth, guidance, and solutions to your problems outside yourself — perhaps through wise teachings, through a helping hand. But the most reliable and realistic answers come from inside yourself. In order to tap the well, outside help is necessary, but it is valuable only if it succeeds in bring you to the inner source.
You have learned that it is very harmful to force yourself to feel love when you do not experience it. In such a case, the wrong kinds of will and love are used and therefore a negative result is produced. Yet you also know that if you do not give love, you cannot receive it. Therefore, consciously or unconsciously, you try to force it. You use your will to produce a feeling that as yet does not exist in you.
The first cardinal sin is PRIDE. I have discussed this in the past.* You all know its origin, reason, effects, and side effects. Briefly: pride is always a compensation for feelings of inferiority and inadequacy. That the effects of your pride must lead to separateness is self-explanatory.
First, let us briefly recapitulate. To begin with, the child suffers from imperfections in the parents’ love and affection. It also suffers from not being fully accepted in its own individuality. By this I mean the common practice of treating a child as a child, rather than as a particular individual. You suffer from this, although you may never be aware of it in these terms or in exact thoughts. This may leave as much of a scar as the lack of love or attention. It causes as much frustration as the lack of love, or even cruelty.
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.
But why is the emotional nature generally neglected? There are good reasons for that, my friends. To gain more clarity, let us first understand the function of the emotional nature in human beings. It includes, first of all, the capacity to feel. The capacity to experience feeling is synonymous with the capacity to give and receive happiness. To the degree you shy away from any kind of emotional experience, to that extent you also close the door to the experience of happiness.
Growth, development, maturity and the healing of distorted soul forces lie in eliminating the pseudo-solution and replacing it with truth, which is always flexible and knows no rules. It alone can provide true security, although the personality going through the process feels acute insecurity and anxiety when called upon to give up the pseudo-solutions.
The attitudes of submissiveness, aggressiveness, and withdrawal are the distortions of love, power, and serenity. I would now like to speak in detail about how they work in the psyche, how they form a supposed solution, and how the dominant attitude creates dogmatic, rigid standards that are then incorporated in the idealized self-image.
QUESTION: You mentioned an “inner psychological law.” Would you explain that, please?
Now comes a third major phase on this path. For those of you who have already gained an overall understanding about your inner problems, it will become necessary to now evaluate your hidden images and complexes with a focus on your faults that are embedded in them. You may rediscover the very same faults you had found at the very beginning of your work and which you thought you had overcome, or perhaps variations of them, deeply hidden within your innermost conflicts
I cannot emphasize too strongly that you need first to find out exactly what the confusion is. Whenever something bothers you, be it merely a mood, an unpleasant inner reaction, or an actual outer happening apparently caused by other people, try to find out how you are confused; how your thoughts are muddled; how you are not clear about an idea, a supposedly right reaction, about a principle of general conduct. Ascertain if there is a contradiction of right principles. Put this confusion down concisely, in writing: “I am confused because I do not know…” whatever it may be. Break it down into several questions. The more concise your questions are, the more aware you will become of exactly what your confusion is.
We now know that those who cannot love are immature. Immaturity causes unreality. Unreality, being untrue, must perforce, cause unhappiness and conflict, darkness and ignorance. Thus, maturity is really the ability to love. We also discussed that the child in you requires an unlimited amount of love. The child is as unreasonable, as void of understanding, as demanding and one-sided as all immature creatures are. Its impossible wants are: to be loved by all, to be loved totally, to have every wish gratified instantly, and to be loved in spite of its unreasonableness and selfishness. This is why you are afraid of loving.
By becoming aware of the unreality within yourself — that is, by seeing how untrue your concepts have been and perhaps still are — you may glean a momentary recognition of reality, of its totally different quality and steadfast character.
QUESTION: In your answer to my question after the last lecture, about the right way toward the love we all desire, you described the work process of realizing, observing, and finally abandoning the wrong way in order to clear the path for the right way. You ended with the sentence: “Then you are on the road upward.” I would now like to ask you to describe that road upward, the right way, the healthy approach that should follow the work of letting go of the compulsive wrong way.
First of all, I should like to discuss a subject about which a few of my friends are quite confused, namely the results that your work on this path are supposed to bring. Many of my friends consciously believe or vaguely feel that when they have worked on themselves for a few months or years, no difficulties or life problems would come to them any longer. This is completely unrealistic. It just is not so. True, certain outer manifestations of your inner problems might be alleviated to some degree. It is erroneous, however, to measure your progress by whether or not life’s ups and downs continue to manifest for you.
Tonight I should like to discuss the subject of self-love. You all know — I have said it again and again — that each truth can be distorted into an untruth. This is, perhaps, the most powerful weapon of evil. Complete untruth is not dangerous. But when something that may be true in some circumstances is misapplied in others, distorted and rigidly set up as an inflexible rule, that is the danger of evil. The truth and meaning of any concept or idea can be distorted to the extreme point of nullification.
Children experience their first conflict with authority at an early age. I have talked at length about this. They also learn that God is the highest authority. Therefore it is not surprising that children project their subjective experiences with authority on their imaginings about God. An image is formed, and whatever the child’s, and later the adult’s, relationship to authority is, his or her attitude toward God will, most probably, be colored and influenced by it.
These obstacles arise from the blindness in which you are encased and from your lack of understanding of the blindness of others. The blindness of others hurts you, and in your own blindness you are unaware of how much and how often you hurt the other person. If you can keep this mutual blindness in mind, my dear ones, it will constitute the basic steppingstone for proceeding further.
Identifying and analyzing your images and wrong conclusions will lead you finally to the recognition of their common denominator: The constructive attitude is: “In my ignorance I believe—perhaps unconsciously so far—that selfishness will bring me reward, will protect me from hurt. In what way have I been selfish? In what way has my conclusion been wrong from this viewpoint? What is the right conclusion?” If you will consider your inner problems from this angle—after you have found hitherto hidden emotions, reactions, and tendencies—you will be able to make a change in your personality that will eventually change your life.
Many people seek God in the wrong way. I will try to explain what I mean. On this earth sphere there is a considerable amount of disappointment. Sometimes human beings turn to God only because contact with other human beings proves to be unsatisfactory. Perhaps not enough love is forthcoming; perhaps fear and caution cloud the expression of the innermost divine spark. Contact with other human beings can be experienced as hazardous, not bringing the blessings you seek. You may be hurt. The person in frustration often turns to God. The feeling is, “God will not disappoint me. God has enough love. God is far away and intangible: I risk nothing by loving Him. From human beings I experience only disappointment and hurt.”
“All things work together for the good for those who love God.” Let us examine this statement of the Scriptures to find its deeper meaning. The words, “those who love God” do not mean merely that you believe in God or that you profess to love Him or that you recite some prayers. As you know, the true love of God means to work spiritually, to develop, and to get to know Divine Law in all its psychological aspects as they pertain to you personally. You have to get to know yourself so thoroughly that not only are your deeds, your words, and your thoughts in conformity with spiritual law, but also your emotions. You must come to love God in your emotions. To achieve that is, of course, a lengthy process.
There is a right and proper kind of self-love. Cowardice is nothing but self-pampering, self-pitying self-concern. Courage ascribes as much importance to a cause, to an issue, or to another person as to the self. Therefore courage and love, in the last analysis, are inseparable. Think about that, my dear ones. You will not only better understand Christ’s life and death, but you will also be able to better understand and evaluate yourself, which means that you will be more successful in the process of purification. In the light of the work you have done so far, it should not be difficult for you to see where you are courageous and where you lack courage. And where you do lack courage, you will always find that you must lack love as well.