Connection Between the Incarnatory Process and the Life Task

Pathwork Guide Lecture No. 216 | December 12, 1973

Greetings, my beloved friends.  You all float in a safe cloud of divine consciousness and you are nurtured by divine love, whether or not you know it, feel it or experience it.  Your total consciousness knows it; your fragmented consciousness does not.  Try to connect with your inner being so that you will know this to be true.

In tonight’s lecture I will deal with aspects of the incarnatory process.  At this point of your development on your path, this understanding will again be exactly what you need in order to tie up certain insights you have gained.  To begin with, I have to recapitulate some aspects of creation that I have discussed previously in different contexts.  Creation is the attempt of divine reality to fill the void with life and being.  I dedicated a whole lecture to this and I recommend that you reread it in order to fully understand the topic.[1] Fragmented consciousness is a result of the total consciousness spreading and filling every nook and cranny of “space.”  I use this term for lack of a better word.

The human structure itself represents this picture very well.  Deep inside your nucleus is an infinite essence.  This inward essence is eternal life, eternal reality, eternal beauty, limitless wisdom and love, but although your outer consciousness is connected with the essence, it ignores this fact and seems to be disconnected from it.  You seem to be an isolated piece of consciousness.  This is what makes life appear so frightening and why your outer consciousness is blindly groping its way back to its connection with the total self.  Your outer consciousness will eventually gain awareness of this connection, because the connection was really never broken.  It only seemed broken from the vantage point of the limited outer consciousness.

The task of every fragmented, apparently disconnected aspect of consciousness is to realize its true identity and connection with the real self.  This happens through an often laborious groping search, through attempts of the mind to expand its own narrow limitations.  The mind holds this potential for expansion; even in its disconnected state it contains every aspect of divine reality.  Using this potential depends only on which way the mind turns, which way the will directs it, which thought the mind chooses in any given instant.  This is an important key, my friends, and we shall return to it later in this lecture.

The fragmented aspects of consciousness, of divine light, which seem to have lost their connection, float around in space.  These aspects become personalities.  Such personalities develop problems because of their apparent disconnection.  The word “problem” is in accord with today’s vocabulary.  In other periods of history different words were used, like “sinfulness,” for example.  Whatever word you choose, the fragmented aspect of consciousness needs purification on many levels, such as feeling, understanding, knowledge.  It needs to spread its awareness to its full capacity.  Spreading means to realize that the connection exists, has always existed, and will always exist.

A total entity—a complete entity—is one that is completely aware of its divine nature, that is in total possession of divine wisdom and energy.  You are all total entities, but your manifest consciousness, with which you identify, is an aspect that your total entity seeks to reunite with.  This can happen only when the fragmented aspect of your manifest consciousness makes itself compatible with the nature of the total consciousness.

Life, in its broader sense, is greatly concerned with the process of spreading divine consciousness and reuniting  apparently disconnected aspects.  There are many different terms that designate this process.  It is often called the divine plan, the evolutionary plan, or the Plan of Salvation.


It is an ongoing process, a ceaseless movement, a flowing energy that seeks to spread out and, at the same time, to reunify itself.  In this spreading out the connection is sometimes apparently lost.  So the movement is one of spreading out and moving back to its source for reunification, forever advancing in this back-and-forth flow.  Each reunification movement back to the source follows a spreading out process, so that the unified substance has meanwhile become enlarged.  Just visualize it:  spreading out and coming back to the source, each time making the unified substance wider, extending it ever more.  This is, in different terms, the great plan.

How does this look in a smaller framework of understanding, more suited to your human state of consciousness?  I will explain it so that you can perhaps derive some benefit from understanding your repeated cycles of life.  You have heard many explanations about reincarnation and about the plans you make before you undertake an embodiment.  You have heard it mentioned that you make a contract with yourself to fulfill a certain task.  This planning is conducted in the world of spirit.  I shall speak about this now in a slightly different manner.

When you are not embodied, when you are aware of your total being, you are also aware of those aspects in you that have remained untended and need healing and purification.  One could also say that a process of reeducation is needed in which seemingly new knowledge is to be gained—although it is actually very old.  This is parallel to purifying the feeling into the pure love of the essence.  In order to follow through the process of spreading and reunification, the aspect to be purified is, for lack of  better words, “sent out,” as it were, into the realm of consciousness commensurate with its own state.  And that is the material level of life as you know it in your conscious being.  This realm of existence is the expression of the limited state of consciousness of the disconnected aspect—the personality—and in this more ignorant and less aware state, all vibratory functions of life are grossly slowed down.  The flow of energy rigidifies and makes things and people fixed.  The flow becomes invisible, as does the entity itself.  The grossly condensed form of its essence appears to be the sole reality.

In this state of existence, the process I described can continue.  The grosser matter becomes more and more refined as more personalities refine their vibratory functions and their power of perception and awareness.  An incarnation is thus chosen to fulfill specific tasks in a vast overall plan.  The fragmented aspects have certain basic states in common.  When divine perfection has undergone the distortion that temporarily alters its manifestation into a lesser expression, then distortion, misconception, suffering, darkness and disconnection seem to be the common lot of all those apparently isolated personalities.  The combinations vary, the degree of development varies, but some basic components are applicable to the divine substance as well as its distorted version.  In other words, one purified being may be totally different from another purified being, each representing a different aspect of divinity.  Yet there are unalterable basic common denominators, including love, wisdom, beauty, and many other qualities.  The same principle holds true of the unpurified personality.  Thus, each entity deals differently with the fragmented aspect that needs to be refined.  The total entity figures out the incarnations, in conjunction with specialized, highly developed beings.  The plans are carefully drawn.

Being in the body has one purpose common to everyone:  to find the way toward reunifying with essence.  No matter how different the tasks may be, this goal necessarily remains the same for everyone.  Reunification with essence can occur where the entity is already purified, but that is not where the task is, of course.  The task always lies where the personality is still separate from the essence.  It is then up to the conscious mind to decide whether or not it will use the already purified aspects to help the unpurified part in the task fulfillment.  The conscious ego must make this decision.  The higher self will not and cannot force it upon the conscious mind.  This would go against all spiritual law.  The task cannot be fulfilled by putting all emphasis on the connection with the divine self that already exists without focusing on the problematic aspects, the blind spots.  I have spoken about this in several ways.  In this lecture however, I want to relate to the process of connection to birth and death from the human standpoint.

Let us first take the process of death.  Birth will be better understood as a sequel to death, rather than the way you on earth choose to look at it.  Since humanity sees birth as the beginning and death as the end, starting with death may seem senseless from this disconnected view.  But you will see that you can properly understand birth only if you see it as a sequel to death—or, rather, to the manner in which death occurred.  I am not referring here to the superficial circumstances.  I mean the fulfillment of the task of the foregoing life, which is reflected in the manner of death.

The dying process can take many different forms, depending on the personality’s task fulfillment.  When the inner being permeates the outer personality, the task will be fulfilled.  In this case the person will not only have lived a very full life, but the fluid energy stream of the divine entity will withdraw very gradually.  The energy recedes, the life forces pull inward into the real, eternal, infinite world, into the infinite space of creation.  This causes a slow, late and organic deterioration of the body.  When the life task has been completely fulfilled, the process is so organic, so natural, that no fear or pain is involved.  The personality has developed a strong sense of the continuum of all life, so it will have no contraction or fear that can cause suffering and pain.  Life is an organic and meaningful process for the souls who fulfill the task planned in their contracts.  The death of the physical matter is equally meaningful.  It is simply another step of liberation and unfoldment.  It is not traumatic.  When death comes it is not feared, nor is it wished for as the final escape from life’s difficulties which are not meaningful and remain unresolved as a consequence of the personality’s stubbornness against opening and redirecting the mind.

In the truly fulfilled life, difficulties are increasingly treated as steppingstones, doors to yet new liberations, which finally cease to be experienced as difficulties.  So when neither fear nor desire to escape occupies the personality’s energy system, the unified inner and outer being strives organically toward further completion of the great plan, in which every aspect of consciousness plays an important role.  As the physical life forces recede from the body, fuller life emerges.

But this occurs, my friends, only when the personality learns to tune in to the inner being and follow its guidance as a result of concentrating on the aspect of the soul that needs to be purified.  Then, and then only, are the inner and outer being in full concordance about everything, including the time and the manner of severing ties with the physical vehicle.  In such cases, as the life forces recede from the body, a greater, fuller life comes into being and the entity can again spread out in glory and freedom, unimpeded by the shackles of three-dimensional reality.  This awareness exists in the manifesting personality, which is only one aspect of your full being.  I repeat:  This applies to the ideal instances of total task fulfillment.  I hope that all of you on your path toward fulfillment will follow through sufficiently to reach this state of awareness and connection, long before your inner being has decided that your time is up because you have accomplished what you have set out to do.

In this connection I would like to interject that there are people who have a deep misconception that prevents them from full commitment to their task.  It is the idea that if they resolve their problems and eliminate their darkness and thus become happy and fulfilled, then they must die.  The way they visualize dying is, of course, not at all like the harmonious, productive and meaningful process I described, which is the natural byproduct of purification, fulfillment and connection.  They fear dying as a disconnected, disharmonious process.

It is, of course, utterly false to assume that the moment your problems are resolved, your life is finished.  Quite the contrary is true.  In fact, only when your problems are resolved can a new aspect of task fulfillment begin.  For no personality can go through life without letting others benefit from what it has learned.  The need, the urge and the longing to give are an integral part of the soul.  They come from the inner entity.  The full life that unfolds after the bulk of clouds in the soul has been dissolved is part of the task fulfillment.  So, please, do not hold back your progress, my friends, because you consider suffering and unfulfillment of the soul to be the only agents that keep you connected with your body.  Such thoughts may not be quite conscious, but they nevertheless exist.

Your awareness of and your connection with the inner, real self will make life glorious, and so you will experience death as glorious.  That state of consciousness will make life fearless because there is nothing to fear in dying.  Such fearlessness is the ultimate development of each human soul.  That is the goal you are trying to reach.

But now let us look at various other possibilities regarding the process of dying.  Those who do not totally fulfill their task in life must feel a vague longing, a tugging discontent throughout their lives.  Always heed this as a sign that something is amiss.  The conscious mind should start a deliberate search.  This longing also occasionally besets those who are basically committed to a path like this one.  New phases come out of the soul, which the conscious mind at first has trouble understanding and recognizing.  Vague discontent and anxiety are definite signs that something is being missed.  Only when the personality understands and heeds the full meaning of the sign will it find itself once again in a state of inner peace, joy and security.

The gauge that measures completion of the task is inner peace, fearlessness and the organic quality of your living and dying.  Those who refuse to look in the right direction will feel the tugs and whispers of the inner being in their outer consciousness.  The personality then attempts to squelch this voice, to escape from it, to produce a lot of superficial noise and movement so as not to heed it.  Often you mistake the vague discontent for the neurosis itself, as if the absence of this experience, without changing your life’s direction, would mean emotional health.  In reality, you produce neurosis as a result of failing to establish the connection with the inner self or to fulfill the contract the soul has come to carry out.

I want to draw your attention to another important point that often leads to misunderstandings.  Total fulfillment of the life task is not necessarily contingent on attaining a high state of development.  It is quite possible that a fragmentary personality aspect, embodied in a physical vehicle, is not highly developed at all.  Nevertheless, this personality fulfills its task completely.  The task is, of course, commensurate with such an individual’s potential.  At the same time, the ease of the task is relative; the task is just as difficult for the fragmented individual as a much more taxing one would be for a more highly developed person.

In contrast, some people are highly developed, but limp behind their potential to develop themselves and fulfill their tasks.  They will therefore not live in peace, but in fear, and their deaths will not be the organic process I have described.  So understand, my friends, that task fulfillment, organic life and death, connectedness and inner peace are not necessarily a result of higher development.  The more highly developed personalities often have more difficulty in bringing the divergent aspects of their souls together and therefore their struggles may sometimes be much fiercer.  Also, the less developed person will not have the conscious awareness and connection with the inner voice.  In this case, fulfilling one’s task will be more instinctive.

Anyone who is on a path such as this and who makes a total commitment to truth, to self-facing, to self-purification, to giving up all defenses and all subterfuges in order to face what seems most difficult and momentarily painful—anyone who chooses to forgo the temptation to concentrate on the real or apparent wrongs of others so as to avoid the self—and who is thus committed to his or her growth above all other considerations in life, will make the connection that will bring outer and inner fulfillment.

Let us now make several distinctions concerning the process of dying.  In addition to the ideal case described above, other possibilities occur when the bridge between the inner and the outer self is not yet working.

What happens when death comes, if the outer and the inner self, the higher self and the ego personality, the will of the divine self and the will of the conscious mind are divided?  Several possibilities exist.  For example, if the personality stubbornly refuses to heed the guidance of the inner, divine consciousness, and decides to rationalize and follow the line of least resistance, the outer personality will have far less possibility of fulfilling the task for which it has come.  A series of choices in the wrong direction can set the grooves so deeply that to retrace one’s steps becomes almost impossible after a certain point.  Negative creative processes can set in motion a spiral configuration, consisting of psychic nuclear points that repeatedly unleash their energy.  When the momentum has advanced beyond a certain point, it takes far more effort and investment to dissolve these negative creations while still in the body than to change the vehicle and choose different “stage settings,” so to speak.

Now, mind you, my friends, this is by no means always true.  In many instances it is quite possible to change a groove deeply engraved over considerable time, even in advanced human age.  Whether or not one has reached this point of no return, no conscious mind can possibly evaluate—only the deeper divine mind can do so.  But one thing is sure:  The farther you go, the harder change becomes.  To avoid all possible misunderstanding:  Any individual who has reached such a point of no return would not even venture anywhere near a path like this.  So none of you here should believe that you may be lost, simply because you momentarily find yourselves in a deep struggle or temporarily feeling hopeless.  These manifestations merely bring out what needs to reach the surface in order to be dissolved.  That is part of your task fulfillment.  Anyone who is within the radius of such a path can change the configuration of a negative psychic nuclear spiral.

In cases where a person has veered so far from the plan intended for the personality that a new direction is impossible to establish, the inner being may decide to die.  The higher self knows that to continue in the established direction is wasteful, the suffering pointless, and the fragmented personality better served by starting over again.  In such instances, the death does not manifest as organic, but it is meaningful under these circumstances and thus organic in the larger context.

When I say that death does not manifest as organic, I mean that it may occur in a sudden accident or illness, in a painful, slow illness and, above all, with the conscious mind completely disconnected from the inner will.  The conscious mind may battle against the inner decision and contract against its own disposition, widening the disconnection.  Fear and self-will take over and make inner listening impossible.  Premature and violent deaths, as when young people die in war, often, though not always, fall into this category.  Nothing can be generalized.  But when death occurs in contraction and fear, it is an inorganic manifestation, even though it is organic in relation to the higher self.  In these instances, the outer personality is totally unaware of the inner self’s decision and that makes the process of dying all the more difficult and painful, because it seems senseless and arbitrary.  The outer consciousness will then struggle against death without realizing that its greater total consciousness has chosen the best solution under the prevailing circumstances.

In such circumstances, when the outer personality fights against the inner being’s decision, a tremendous struggle ensues.  That struggle may continue even into old age, because the outer personality uses its life force to battle the inner decision.  At times, the decision of the inner entity may deliberately outweigh the will of the outer person.  Its powers are, of course, infinitely greater than powers available to the outer consciousness.  But under other circumstances the struggle may continue and the inner self may choose gradually to discontinue the old stage setting—the old incarnation—in order to establish a new one, without, however, overexerting its powers.  The inner self may allow the outer self to keep the battle going to some extent so that the soul may at least learn some important lessons, which it can then utilize in the next “scene.”  In these cases a life-or-death struggle is literally taking place inside.  On one level the struggle is against dying.  On another level the struggle is for task fulfillment, for going inward to find out where the personality most needs self-work, so that the outer person can focus on areas that it has ignored and negated, creating the agonizing struggle in the first place.

Another frequent way that people ignore what they most need to look at is by seeking spiritual paths that do not emphasize this aspect of self-work.  This is a convenient way to delude the self, because “spiritual development” can become an escape, even though you may gain spiritual knowledge, achieve beautiful meditations and even gain genuine spiritual experiences of cosmic reality—for moments.  All this can happen without dealing with the areas that give the person the most pain, discomfort, and guilt, whether or not this is consciously experienced.

Still another possibility I would like to discuss is the opposite of the case in which the inner being decides for death and the outer personality resists it.  In this instance, the outer personality may indeed take a favorable direction where every possibility exists for the task fulfillment.  Aspects of that personality may, however, cause so much trouble and so much resistance, that in spite of the propitious circumstances, the outer personality may not want to live.  The person may ignore the favorable direction because it is so deeply enmeshed with aspects of the problem that the whole is blurred.  For example, if the outer personality refuses to give up stubbornness, the isolated areas that have not been worked out remain obscure and frightening, and the person starts feeling hopeless, without any real cause.  Part of the dishonest “game” may be to aggrandize the suffering in order not to “give in,” not to look for new approaches to the self and life.  The self-perpetuating principle accelerates the psychic nuclear point so much that the personality finally believes in its hopelessness.  Thus the outer personality finds itself unwilling to move, even though it could.  The inner, real, divine self knows of the very favorable circumstances and is totally in favor of a continued life.  But the outer self willfully destroys this life, acting out its worst impulses despite all its favorable manifestations.  Thus the personality fragments itself so much that extremely destructive manifestations will take place.  In extreme cases, this may lead to suicide.

When the total entity terminates life in any of these ways, it determines its subsequent life circumstances.  These circumstances are figured out in a most exacting way that you cannot even imagine.  Every detail is part of an exacting and intricate equation in which every possibility is taken into consideration in complete, logical connection with the total picture:  the task of purification, the task of helpfully influencing others in a way best suited to the particular entity, the specific assets of the total entity the life manifestation will bring out, the greatest dangers and pitfalls, how much risk to take, how many favorable and unfavorable outer influences should exist in the life not necessarily coinciding with “pleasant” and “unpleasant.”  Finding the most fitting environment, parents, siblings, friends, contacts in later life, and many other variables, that you cannot possibly envisage requires exacting research.

You must also imagine that all other people who make contact with the person must equally be figured out.  Each contact opens many possibilities.  Will these individuals interact from their higher selves?  Will their lower selves affect one another?  How much should each higher self infuse its guidance, inspiration and energies?  Too much becomes pointless, and the personality aspect may just as well not have embodied itself.  The most sophisticated computer of your present-day science could never figure out all these details.  Nothing is left to chance.  The total plan surpasses human understanding and expertise.  I have said in an early lecture, that an entire sphere, or world, deals with exactly this task.[2]  A hierarchy of highly developed spirit beings are experts in this field, and their task is to figure out these life plans.

The fluid system of the energy body carries the plan within itself.  It is always visible, available and recognizable.  There are no secrets about it.  It, in turn, has great energetic and magnetic power.  It is the most powerful magnetic field an individual is born with and carries through life.  A being does not and cannot arbitrarily choose a future incarnation.  The stage is set as a result of the last incarnation.  How much was fulfilled and what remains to be done?  What contributed to the failures and what to the proper execution?  Where may more challenge be needed and where less?  The plan for future embodiments is determined by the life and death process outlined in this lecture.  Time, place and circumstances, the exact setting of the stage, must be painstakingly figured out to fit the total plan.

To the degree the life and death process fulfilled the contract from the total entity’s point of view, the future life—in your terms—will create a greater connectedness with the eternal being that you are.  The life forces, fluids and various energy currents of your total entity will infuse the manifesting personality accordingly; that is, to the degree the plan has been fulfilled.  Conversely, to the degree you turn away from the task fulfillment, from the inner connection where it is most needed, where it seems most difficult at first, you weaken the bridge that allows the energies, consciousness and the currents of eternal life to infuse you.  The future incarnation then becomes that much more difficult:  The outer personality must make all the efforts; it has to gather its own forces in its disconnected state to establish the bridge.  That is the inexorable law.  Separated consciousness must discover its own potential to change direction and transcend its narrow confines. You can apply all this to the lecture I have given about the psychic nuclear points.[3]  The creation has to be set in motion until it takes on its own momentum.

When the outer personality has finished a series of embodiments in which it has consistently weakened its connection to the real self by willfully going in the opposite direction, then the personality cannot feel its intrinsic connectedness and believes itself to be a totally separate being.  This is a familiar picture for you.  You and many people you know on this path still often experience yourself in this way.  Then the effort you need to re-establish connection, to probe the black spots, where it seems most difficult, is much greater.  Only with this greater effort and goodwill can the direction be changed, however it gradually becomes easier, because as you change direction, a new spiral movement, a positive force builds up, and psychic nuclear points start exploding, creating more and more positive manifestations, energies and momentum.  Thus the influx of divine truth, wisdom, power, and love becomes forever greater.

This infusion of energies from the inner being, interpenetrating the outer personality, is directly connected with the willingness to go through what seems most difficult.  This is truly a very simple gauge for you.  With this gauge you will find all the answers.  You will then be able to use the already manifest connection with the eternal consciousness to open the mind to more and more possibilities.

Let us look at this in a more specific way.  You all know from past experience how easy it is to believe that there is no way out when you are in a difficult spot.  The moment you blindly assume, either consciously or unconsciously, either directly through your thinking process or indirectly by the way you act and react in your situation, that no solution exists but the negative one that creates hopelessness and pain, you have closed your inner and outer mind to any alternatives.  First the disconnected, conscious mind must make a deliberate effort to be ready for other possibilities.  The conscious mind, as it is now available to you, contains the potential to see more, to think in different ways, to expand its present circumference.  This is its task.  Without this you cannot accomplish your goal.  This is the only way you can form the connection with your greater consciousness and then increasingly infuse it with the consciousness and energy of your total being.  This is very important for you to understand, my friends.

Another equally important aspect of changing the tide is identification, which I have also discussed in the past.[4]  When you totally identify with gloom and doom, you perpetuate the negative creation and you strengthen the imaginary separation from all that has meaning and is good.  The negative creation, the negative psychic nuclear point, makes it increasingly difficult for you to discover that you are more than the part of you that feels this hopelessness.  So when you feel hopeless it is important to realize that you now identify with your hopelessness.  When you feel self-rejecting, guilty and bad, it is important to realize that you now identify totally with the part of you that is unpurified and hates itself.  The moment you realize this, it makes a great deal of difference.  You can then take the next step by asking yourself, “Is there no other possibility?  Is this really all there is for me?  Am I not also something else?”  I don’t mean something that still appears remote.  You cannot yet experience the reality of your divine self.  But even in your conscious mind, are you not also something else?  You do have the possibility of seeing this situation differently, maybe by merely opening your mind to another train of thought you have not yet tried, but which you certainly can.  Opening the doors of the mind is exceedingly important in changing the tide, because the fragmented consciousness must find its way back on its own, since it is not aware of its essential connection with the divine.  And only through the means of the disconnected mind can the bridge to the divine be established.  And as you establish the bridge, you increasingly allow your fragmented consciousness to be infused with the powerful energy of your eternal being.

Great blessings are given to every one of you.  Extend love to each other, give sustenance to each other, even when you seem to be rejected.  Love is needed, perhaps not always in an overt act, but certainly always in feelings.  A great, wonderful blessing goes deeper and deeper into you, hallowing your life.  Be in peace.


[1] Lecture #23

[2] Lecture #34

[3] Lecture #214

[4] Lecture #195