Affecting and Being Affected

Pathwork Guide Lecture No. 188 | January 15, 1971

Greetings and blessings for all of you here, my dearest friends. We are all friends. There is between us deep inner connection, already manifest or potentially there, on the plane of inner reality. Where it is as yet only a potentiality, it is certainly possible to realize it. Our aim is to find the core of your real being and thus your real existence. The real existence is light and beauty. In the real existence there is nothing to fear. The guidance I have given in all these years directs you step by step through the maze of your illusions—the maze of your illusory fears of life, of self. All the steps you take to avoid recognizing that you in fact experience this illusory self alienate you from your nucleus, your true existence in bliss, in which you know there is nothing to fear. But you must go through the fear to find that it is an illusion and to choose whether or not you wish to continue living with the illusion. To give it up requires effort and the willingness to change and chance unknown modes of living and being.

What is the fear, my friends?  It exists in many forms and variations, yet there is one common denominator—you fear the destructive and demonic aspects of temporary, distorted parts of your inner being. Your consciousness, in its separation, cannot reconcile itself to these destructive aspects. It cannot, it does not know how to accept them. It fears being overwhelmed by the destructive energies just because it has never accepted them. Your consciousness is too proud and impatient, too geared to limiting vision and thinking to make room for all the opposites that exist within the human soul. And thus, due to the limiting tendency of your consciousness, the opposites cannot be transcended. Only when the distortion is accepted fully can it transform itself back to its original state—into the beautiful, creative force that energizes you and gives you power and bliss. There can be no way into blissful reality unless you give up the wishful thinking that makes you unwilling to face the irrational, destructive aspects of yourself.

This brings me to the topic of tonight’s lecture. I would like to discuss particularly how you affect your surroundings when you operate from the destructive level of your being. How do you affect others?  And, conversely, how are you affected by others who act from their destructive levels?  This very complicated and extremely important topic is not easy to comprehend. You can truly connect with it and make something helpful for yourself out of it only when you have already gained a certain amount of insight into the irrational, primitive self within you. When you reach the point where you no longer need to deny, project, and defend against this evil part, when you can clearly acknowledge it, then you can truly deal with the complications that arise out of human interaction on the concealed levels of your and other people’s destructiveness and ignorance.

All human beings suffer from a basic conflict and pain; whether individuals are aware of it or not, it always exists. Again, the more aware of it you are, the better you can face and deal with it and the sooner you will resolve it. The conflict is the following:  On the primitive, irrational level you hate and want to destroy senselessly, and hardly know any longer why you hate and want to destroy. On this level you are totally egotistical and therefore unwilling to accept any frustration, little or big;  you are unwilling to deal with any difficulties and therefore cannot effectively assert your personality. Whatever the reasons may be, the irrational hate and wish to destroy exists in every single human being.

You manage not to be aware of your hate and destructiveness, and that is the root of all emotional sickness and suffering. As you progress in the discipline of facing yourself you become more able to accept your destructiveness and thus transcend it. As you become more aware, you must also deal with the confusion of your guilt. Hidden guilt is devastating, because it creates a vicious circle by itself that maintains the destructiveness. The guiltier you feel, the more you hide what makes you feel guilty and the less capable you become of dissolving and transforming it. This incapacity in turn increases the guilt. The more you hide from yourself, the more you frustrate yourself and deprive yourself of the good that life is meant to be; thus you become angrier and more destructive. Even if it does not manifest in overt acts, your so-called unconscious guilt leads you into manifest hating actions and attitudes that reject others and life and the goodness of being.

Now, how is this guilt to be handled?  There are two basic schools of thought that have existed throughout the ages. One says that you are not responsible for your feelings and unmanifest attitudes. You are responsible only for your actions. So, if you hate and wish to kill and destroy, you need not feel guilty about it.

The other school of thought says that thoughts and attitudes are living realities and have an effect on others. Thus, a true guilt exists for these thoughts and attitudes. Also, we must consider whether the hidden tendency to be destructive can leave your actions totally unaffected. I just said that it is unthinkable for hidden hate not to manifest in some way, even if the personality refrains from active deeds. Holding back from loving and giving is also an action. Every so often, the denied hatred manifests in an apparently harmless passivity that seems directed against the self “only.”  But the underlying seething hatred prevents positive deeds of loving and giving; it prevents one from contributing to life. So, in the final analysis, all acts flow from the underlying substance and energy of the person.

These apparently opposite schools of thought—or approaches to life exist in everyone and breed much confusion. Which is true?  How do you handle this question?  Before we can further discuss the mutual interaction on the destructive levels between human beings, this question must be cleared up. Can both alternatives be true?  Are they mutually exclusive?

You need to realize that your guilt for your primitive destructive self is more destructive than the evil part itself. You must accept this part of yourself in order to dissolve it. There is also a vast difference between an overt action of destruction and the mental and emotional existence of this aspect in humankind. This is true despite what I said before about the effects and influences of hidden attitudes. Yet to assume self-destructive, self-eroding guilt about hidden destructiveness makes matters so much worse. Due to this guilt you annihilate yourself and thus become more destructive. You prohibit yourself from living.

Nevertheless, your thoughts, feelings, wishes, and attitudes do have power. You can reconcile these apparently opposite truths only by your honest attempts to make your own destructiveness conscious without justifying it by the destructiveness or limitation of others. The moment you do this, you inactivate destructiveness, without denying or hiding it. When you deny your malice and egotism, you breed trouble for yourself and others. For example, when you are in denial, you need to blame and accuse to make others responsible for what you feel too guilty about to face squarely. Even you, who work so diligently on this path, focus on others’ actual or imaginary evil so as to deny your own. You distort and exaggerate to falsify. You deal with half-truths—for what you use as your case against others may include elements of actual evil in them, but they are not responsible for your misery. Your insistence that they are is a profound manifestation of denying self-responsibility and of dependency. In effect, you say, “I am dependent on the other’s evil or freedom from evil.”

It is not difficult to see the bind that this puts you in. If on a semiconscious level you express this message into life, on a deeper level of your unconscious you must pay the price and follow through. You must then also express into life, “My evil is responsible for the suffering of others.”  Thus you fluctuate between infantile dependency, in the illusion that you are helpless in the face of the other’s wrongdoing, and omnipotence, in the illusion that others are victimized by your incompleteness.

Conversely, the moment you fully assume responsibility for your own suffering by looking for your own distortions and destructive tendencies, you liberate yourself from guilt regardless of how wrong others may be. You will know from personal experience that as you can be affected by the destructiveness of others only to the degree that you ignore your own negativities, so can others be affected by your negativities only to the degree that they deny theirs.

Acknowledging your own irrational self, without totally becoming it, renders you free. Concentrating on the ills of others is a destructive act in itself and makes it impossible to really fight the evil in you. I do not mean to convey that you should assume the sole responsibility in a conflict and whitewash the other person. Whenever there is negative interaction, both must share the responsibility. But to compare and measure your own responsibility with that of the other in order to make yourself the victim on the emotional level is tantamount to the denial of your own part, even if you pay lip service to the idea that you also contributed to the interaction. What invariably happens when you look for your own contribution to a negative interaction is that you begin to see how you both affect one another from your destructive levels. Then you truly share the responsibility. This realization is extremely liberating. It frees you from self-eroding guilt without removing the responsibility that is yours. It enables you to see and express the other person’s share in the mutual effect without becoming an accusing, self-victimizing judge. This has a salutary effect and usually makes your expressions effective, if the other person is at all willing to communicate honestly. If the other person is not willing, this will no longer present a debilitating frustration for you. You no longer depend on proving your innocence. You see and know the truth. The clear knowledge makes you strong and dissolves negative energy. When you hide your evil behind the evil of others, you invariably become weak, and your fight is ineffective. Effective fight, healthy aggression, becomes possible only when you no longer hide from your own honest insight and from your own destructiveness—when you cease to be hypocritical on this most subtle of levels.

So you see, my friends, apparently opposite orientations are reconciled by the key I am constantly recommending to you:  face your evil—your irrationality and primitive, destructive aspects—without losing sight of the fact that this is only a minor aspect of you. If you completely identify with your hidden destructive part, it is impossible to live and assume responsibility for it. Yet, the more you hide it, the more you secretly believe that this is your real self, your only truth. When you take it out of hiding, the wonderful reality dawns on  you that there is so much more to you than you have secretly believed. In using this key, you do not act out the evil, directly or indirectly—you do not spread evil. Your evil thoughts, feelings, and wishes can be dealt with directly and effectively when they are acknowledged. The moment you deny them, poison spreads from you to others and through your own psychic and physical system.

You can verify every day of your life, if you truly look at your interactions in your relationships, that the key to life is the honest acknowledgment of your primitive, destructive part. This key will make you capable of sustaining the bliss of the real world, which constantly tries to communicate itself to you and which you blindly ward off as long as you fearfully deny your negativity.

Let us now also discuss how you affect others from your positive, self-realized, purified levels of being. These clear, free levels where you are in truth and loving—where you give of yourself and yet are strong and self-assertive and do not let another person’s destructiveness damage you—have a strong effect on your surroundings. The effect manifests on all levels. On the level of actions and words, you have a particular strength, a direct influence for the good, and you set an example, although your strength will at times be misunderstood. Those who try to make you responsible for their suffering and pin their evil on you will be unsuccessful because you have learned to face your destructive self. Your freedom may sometimes cause resentments, but in the long run it has a purifying effect. On unconscious levels, the energies that emanate from you have an even stronger effect. Your pure energy can penetrate the murkiness and disperse the poison of others’ negativity. Thus, a free person can bypass evil layers and activate the best in others. This may give the other persons an inkling of what they can be, so that they will no longer have to hide from themselves.

To whatever degree you are thus liberated, to that degree you can dissolve evil in yourself and others. You affect the equally liberated levels of psychic reality of others, so that a marvelous energy is increasingly generated. This energy multiplies and spreads, uniting with other, similar energy streams. It gathers momentum. It seeps through the murkiness and darkness that the negativities create. It penetrates the poisonous walls of separation created by ignorance, illusion and malice. And you now know what this strength in you depends on:  constantly acknowledging the irrational destructiveness in you.

When you are in an in-between state, sometimes using this key but sometimes not, there will be a fluctuating battle between you and others on the unconscious levels. Where your liberated state is still weak, it may succumb to the ferocity of blame from a person who still strongly denies self-responsibility and therefore aggrandizes his or her self-righteous accusation. In other instances and relationships, your liberated true strength may win over the weakened negative self of another person—whose projections and accusations cannot be counteracted when you are yourself in the state of denial and accusation, but which can easily be counteracted when you are freed by acknowledging your own destructiveness—even if to only a certain degree.

When two people’s unconscious levels affect each other, the varying, fluctuating states of both must be taken into account. At any given moment, the outcome is determined by the degree to which the key of life is used by either or both. Warfare and mutual destruction is the final result of two entities—nations or individuals—not using the key. The more you use this key and stop hiding behind the ills of others, the more you will strengthen your whole being and enable your real self to manifest. It will in turn combine with the liberated aspects of others and encourage them, while transcending their negativities. Thus, you will help them to know that their negative aspects are not their whole reality and to experience their real selves beyond those negativities. This interaction will occur not necessarily by what you say, but by how you affect their being. Also, what you say will have a different impact. How you say it, how you act, how you feel to others will be determined by how much you accept your own negativities. In that way you spread good.

Your unacknowledged, projected destructiveness immediately affects its counterpart in others. Mutual accusation, self-righteous blaming, the compulsion to build a case against the other—all these evasive tactics build the strife and conflict, the pain and confusion.

Now, let us reverse the process. How are you affected by others?  Quite a few human beings live in a certain amount of harmony and strength, having worked through themselves to the point where they no longer initiate destructiveness. Most human beings are still in the state of fearful defense against living, even when there is no cause for it and when they are in touch with those who are ready to give them love and help. Thus they spread evil by being closed to truth and love, to giving and receiving. But a number of developed human beings are no longer in this state and are, as I said, free enough to give their best, undefended. However, this does not yet make them immune to the destructiveness of others. They may be easily affected by the unconscious negative thoughts and feelings, the polluted energy, of other people, thus they remain victimized and dependent. It is as though they expressed into life, “I demand perfection around me, so that I can remain in what I have gained; so that I can remain in my clarified, blissful state.”  When this is still the case, a lot more progress must be made, for true immunity to others’ destructiveness comes only when this dependency no longer exists. When another’s negativity does affect you, there must be self-doubt and guilt in you as a result of not having faced all your confusions and destructive impulses. No matter how much you have done it, there are still unclear areas; otherwise you would not be so vulnerable and so affected by others’ ills. This means you must still return to earth life and live in this sphere of duality where you must battle with the opposites—pleasure and pain, life and death, good and evil. You cannot transcend these opposites as long as the key of life is not used.

When you are so affected by others’ negativities, you must indeed explore what makes you so vulnerable. This dependency and vulnerability on the psychic level corresponds to a psychological refutation of self-responsibility and to the insistence on blaming life or others for your misery. There must be some area in which you are not meeting yourself honestly. For if you do so wholly, the negative energy and emanation of others will be totally ineffective against you. You will not need to build false defenses which repel everything so that nothing comes through to you. After all, one reason these defenses are built is to ward off the pain of other people’s cruelty and hostility, the unjustified demands they make on the world and therefore also on you. You may be quite conscious of this fear, but you only gradually begin to explore and find out that these defenses ward off everything and anything that life has to give so abundantly. Thus, the defenses are to your detriment. They prohibit the good of life from coming into you, and the best of you from coming out into life, filling you with the best there is—your own good feelings.

When you abandon your defenses, you can melt with life, melt with the psychic substances of others, exchanging love and truth. Universal truth manifests uniquely in each individual. The variety of manifestations gives living a special excitement, without disrupting one’s deep inner peace. The flow of interchange enriches you so deeply that there are no words to describe it. It is the exact opposite of living encased in your defensive walls, which completely separate you and create a great loneliness. These defenses create a very dependent, limited, and suffering existence.

On the other hand, you cannot live completely exposed as you are now, because you have not explored those levels of your being where you blame others for their evil because you shy away from facing your own. In this state you are extremely vulnerable—which might be rationalized by a prideful claim of being “sensitive.”  But this sensitivity is not a sign of a unique individuality in the divine sense. It is a distortion in itself, and as such, unnecessary. In this “sensitive” state, everything must hurt and penetrate you. If you do not repeatedly and vigorously use the key I hand to you, you absolutely need your destructive defenses that shut you out of life.

It is your task to find a mode of being in which you are adequately and realistically defended, rather than self-destructively and unrealistically. The realistic and adequate defense against the evil of others is the daily, direct, determined and thorough confrontation of your own. The signs of your hidden evil are always there in your anxious, angry, confused reactions. If you stop habitually pushing aside and rationalizing what disturbs you, you may first find that you are upset about what others do to you, which may seem or actually be an injustice. But do not remain on that level, convincing yourself that the others’ action justifies and explains your disturbance. When you resist this temptation, you are heeding life’s lessons and signs.

On a day you spend in a blissful state in which you do not ward off life from within and without, but instead make contact with your innermost being and thus with the whole universe, in which you emanate joy and have deep and meaningful exchanges with others, you know that on that day you have not defended against anything. But possibly you were fortunate on that day to come into the psychic sphere of strong, clear, liberated spiritual energy and consciousness. No unconscious destructiveness of others came your way.

If the reason for your bliss is the latter, are you truly safe and free?  Are you not still dependent and thus inevitably anxious, whether or not you experience this anxiety and distrust at all times?  The answer is obvious. You must surge on to become wholly yourself, and therefore no longer in need of destructive defenses that separate you and shift responsibility for your state onto others.

Most days offer opportunities to do this. Your many reactions of discomfort with yourself and others are the clues. Examine them. In the incidents in your life, and your reactions to them, you meet the greatest therapist of all: life itself.

There is something for you to see that you have not truly recognized. Why are you so vulnerable?  If you heed the pain or discomfort that you suffer now and decide with all the vigor and determination of your courageous self that you want to see that part in you that is responsible for being affected by another’s evil,  then you cannot fail to discover it and become more liberated and secure than ever.

Unfortunately, again and again, the temptation to concentrate and focus on the other person’s shortcomings or evil separates you from where you should be. Whatever you see in others may or may not be correct, but you will truly have peace and clarity about it only when you fully understand why you are vulnerable to the negativities of others.

I cannot emphasize strongly enough the need to make use of this key. I would like to say here to you, my friends, that those of you who pursue this very taxing but very real pathwork, will find the undefended, flowing state of security, bliss, and peace. The path is so taxing because it leaves no room for projection and escape. Some fall by the wayside because they are not yet willing to go all the way with themselves and would rather dwell on blame. But those of you who follow me all the way cannot help but find the truth of being. It cannot be denied that this path is a hard taskmaster, precisely because it allows no escape. It dispenses with all sentimentality that encourages your weaknesses and self-evasions. But because of this, it keeps the promise it makes, as more of you are beginning to find out. You will find your real values only when you muster the courage to find your evil, distorted aspects. Then you will find your true capacity to love and be loved—not as a mere ideal, or an illusion, but as an everyday reality in your life.

These are not empty promises and faraway ideals. These are the promises that life holds for the person who uses the key of life on this plane of existence. The more you do this, the less you will need to defend yourself against the pain, and therefore against the bliss of life, the gift of life, that comes to you at all times.