In this lecture I would like to discuss particularly a law of timing that applies to the development of every entity. You surely must have sensed this law and may even know about it vaguely. But it is important that you thoroughly understand it. According to this law a certain necessary time sequence exists on an individual’s path.
The topic of this lecture is the meaning of tradition. Let us first examine what tradition means in its best sense, and then what it means when it is distorted. Many human beings have distinct images about tradition. These images trigger off conditioned reflex reactions as soon as this term is mentioned or when human conditions reflect adherence to tradition either in its real or in its distorted sense.
If you commit an overt act—you kill someone—the consequences will be obvious. But if you malign another human being by questionable accusations, ill will, blindness or stubbornness; if you refuse to give him or her the benefit of the doubt and do not attempt to be open and create a different reality through honest communication with this person, your thoughts are killing him.
A human being who is in a state of movement may not always move outwardly. But even at periods of outer rest and quietude, the movement is being felt in the joyousness, aliveness, ability to change, flexibility, and ever-pulsating nature of the whole organism.
Humanity consists of different levels of consciousness. Each level of consciousness represents a conglomerate of attitudes, beliefs, and feelings. These levels of consciousness are often at total variance with each other, expressing different states of development in the evolution of the person.
What a tremendous difference it makes when you deliberately express and create your life or your fate, rather than creating it unknowingly. Unconsciously creating, you go through certain experiences which you ascribe to some obscure fate.
Every once in a while it is important to restate what the pathwork is and what it is supposed to accomplish. It is important to always see this in a new light, from different angles. This path is not supposed to be taken as a cure, nor is it to be taken as a luxury —
Whatever is hidden from awareness continues to govern you without your being able, through your reason, to change it. Hence it is of utmost importance to detect such hidden erroneous outlooks.
In this final session of the year, I would like to restate certain facets and goals of this path of self-realization. When you live unto the day without understanding the relationship between you and your life, you must be in despair. Whether or not you know it, you go through life searching for the answer. Only too often you seek the answer outside of yourself; and there, as you know, it can never be found.
Tonight I should like to discuss a new topic, humanity’s relationship to time. This is, indeed, an important subject. My words will be very helpful, if you take the trouble of pondering them and trying to apply them to yourself. What I will say may at first seem utterly inapplicable to your personal lives because of its abstract, philosophical and metaphysical nature.
. . . little and unjustified guilts substitute for the real guilt of withdrawal, unlovingness, and isolation. In other words, these little guilts are supposed to atone for violating the great cosmic inner forces, breaking the flow, as it were. This very deep-rooted guilt prevents you from claiming your freedom, asserting yourself, feeling that you deserve to be happy.
In your daily life many possibilities are offered to you to see yourself as you are; to verify what you really feel, rather than what you try to feel. All you have to do is to remind yourself constantly to be alert to this reality in you; to cultivate the awareness.
There are many indications of true selfhood. Take for instance the capacity to experience and to give joy. You cannot give joy if you are not a joyful person. How can you become joyful living in a very imperfect world?
QUESTION: In a previous lecture about emotional growth and its function, a question was asked as to how to handle very wild emotions at a time when one has no helper available. But what does one do if the emotions are so deep-seated, so deeply buried and repressed, for such a long time, that they simply will not come out to the degree one would like?
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.
QUESTION: I would like to ask something about self-responsibility. Would not self-responsibility lead to irresponsibility toward others? If I am responsible for just myself, how then am I my brother’s keeper? Wouldn’t it lead to selfishness, being responsible only for my own life and well-being? I would look for that which is best and most suitable for me first, and only then consider the other person. Although I would give the other equal rights, I would consider myself first.
First of all, let us determine the difference between the healthy and unhealthy motives in desires. We will not concern ourselves with the motives of desires which are obviously unhealthy because they are destructive. Instead, we will delve into the deeper regions of the mind and soul where the deviations are very subtle and unobtrusive.
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.
Now what is prayer? Many people have no questions about it; they just take it for granted. Many others cannot understand prayer. They say—in their own way and not without logic—why should God grant a human being help or grace simply in response to prayer? Why should someone else who works but fails to pray not receive it? This argument seems, at first sight, logical. But the simple fact is that a person who does not pray will never be able to act or experience fulfillment like the person who has learned what proper prayer is and practices it. I will now try to explain this to you.
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.”
It is the same way with love. If love of another human being is sought with the current that is destined for the love of God, it will always leave you with a feeling of emptiness, dissatisfaction, or even frustration. So if God is not truly the basis of your life and if instead you seek worldly substitutes, the latter will never really satisfy you. However, you may certainly also feel love for and from other human beings—and indeed you should. But this love will have its proper value; it will not be your sole anchor, and you will never feel your life to be meaningless if for some reason you lose a human love as long as God has his rightful place in your heart.
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.
Everybody knows that it is important to be a decent person, not to commit so-called sins, to give love, to have faith, and to be kind to others. However, this is not enough. In the first place, knowing all this and actually being able to act on it are two different stories. You may be able by voluntary action to refrain from committing a crime such as stealing or killing, but you cannot possibly force yourself to feel that you do not want to harm anybody, ever. You may act kindly toward another, but you cannot force yourself to feel kindly. Neither can you force yourself to have love in your heart or to have real faith in God. Whatever pertains to emotions is not dependent upon your direct actions or even on your thoughts. Changing your feelings requires the slow process of self-development and self-recognition.
I want to stress that there is no coincidence here; none of you have been drawn to this community by chance, not even those who come here once and do not stay because they lack either the spiritual maturity to understand what is going on, or because they do not want to develop spiritually and walk this path of perfection for which a continuous supply of spiritual food is necessary.