Harm of too Much Love Giving—Constructive and Destructive Will Forces

Pathwork Guide Lecture No. 103 | May 11, 1962

Greetings, my dearest friends. God bless each one of you. Blessed is this hour.

I now wish to discuss another facet of love, will, and human relationship. You know from life and from your own experience as well as from previous lectures that these three phenomena are interdependent. Each is of the utmost importance for your life and your fulfillment. Together all of them form one whole. If one functions independently in a healthy and productive way, the other two are bound to function just as healthily, almost in an automatic fashion. Yet, at times, it is important to consider each one separately. There can be no fulfillment of any sort without good human relationships. And good human relationships are impossible without love. Nor can you live productively without the will functioning properly. Love and will can have many distorted aspects, manifesting in many ways. We have discussed some of them in the past. Let us now consider these subjects with a new approach.

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. In the course of our work together, however, you have learned that the proper growing process is to admit to yourself that you are as yet incapable of feeling love. You cannot properly face this condition which, for now, is the truth. It is your present reality. If you accept this without guilt and judgment, you will eventually understand why it is so. With this understanding your capacity to love is automatically set free. It grows by itself.

All of you, regardless of how successful you are in your work of self-finding, can observe, if you just look at yourself, how genuine, warm, constructive feelings can never be forced on you, either by others or by yourself. Genuine feelings are always spontaneous and come of themselves. They are an indirect byproduct of self-awareness and arise spontaneously, not determined by your outer will, which is the will that can be activated by your conscious determination. Hence, the primary step is always self-understanding, from which your love-capacity grows. Although this is not new, it needs to be repeated, for this knowledge is not as yet an integral part of you.

Thus far the emphasis has mostly been on your ability to love. Since you do want to be loved, your main concern has been your lack of loving, because this is often responsible for the failure of relationships that you would want to work out. It takes considerable insight to find out that what you thought was love was no such thing. Many of you have got that far, at least to some degree.

Now, let us consider relationships from a very different point of view. What if you have really loved and yet were rebuffed, rejected?  Many of you have puzzling questions about this. You do not understand why rejection, in one form or another, has taken place, when you are certain that you had such a genuine and strong love force. If this love force was not entirely free of childish currents, then at least it was mingled with real love. This confuses you since you know that love is the key to life and human relationships. Why then, you may ask yourself, does it not work?  Are there always selfish, greedy, immature currents in the human soul?  But then no one could ever receive love, since no human being is quite perfect. At the same time, you observe that some people, certainly with less genuine love capacity than others, receive a great deal more love. This not only confuses you, but also increases your feelings of insecurity and self-doubt, injustice and victimization. Let us look into this subject and gain a clearer view.

It is just as harmful and destructive to love too much, and thus unwisely, as it is to love too little. We speak here of a personal love, demanding love in return, not of a detached love that senses when to let go, when to have warm human feelings of sympathy and understanding, with no demand. But the type of love — whether in partnership relations or in personal friendships — that needs and wants to possess can be as destructive in giving more than what is wanted as in giving too little. To love too much when it is not wanted is as insensitive, as egocentric, and as greedy as loving too little. You do not understand this as yet.

If a person is incapable of receiving your love and is frightened by it, yet your frustrated wish to love comes out in a stronger force than what the other person is capable of meeting, your current makes that other person withdraw in fear. When you are unaware of your own inner processes, you are not sensitive to this. You merely feel rejected and are busy with this insult. Just as you may be insensitive to the need of others to receive your love because you are too frightened to come out of your shell, so you may be insensitive to the need of others not to receive more than they can bear at that time. Thus you do not respect the other’s integral right not to be receptive to what you wish to give. For you it is a question of all or nothing. If all your love is not received, you withdraw and it becomes nothing. But if you realize the inner struggle of the other person, if you grow sufficiently to give only what can be received, another kind of relationship could come into being that may be very rewarding. Yet you miss out on it through your inner ignorance.

It may be perfectly true that the other person’s incapacity reflects his or her emotional immaturity, inner problems, and conflicts. But you become angry at this. You refuse the right of the other to set a boundary which you may claim for yourself in a slightly different version. Thus you fluctuate between forcing on someone an overpowering love current that cannot be received, and feeling resentful and withdrawing. You are as yet incapable of preserving a feeling of respect and liking if the strong force of your love is not welcome. In your anger, you use the weapon of turning a positive into a negative feeling. You feel resentment, rejection, pride, and you withdraw either from that particular person, or from loving again. You find yourself in this destructive imbalance many times without really being aware of it. With this attitude, you destroy potential relationships that could become very meaningful.

We have often discussed your own attitudes, your capacity to give and to receive. If you are the person incapable of loving and receiving, you, who are on this path, know what to do about it. You look inside until you attain self-awareness and understand what is going on in you. But if it is the other person who has this incapacity, then you are puzzled and confused. With this new understanding, you may learn to meet the problem. You will now learn not only to question yourself about your capacity to give and receive, but also to question the other’s capacity in this regard. Knowing the importance of this, you will become sensitive to it and will not just blindly rush ahead. You will learn to hear what is behind the words, to interpret the signs, to perceive what goes on in the other person even if he or she is unaware of it.

These words are addressed particularly to those friends who are not predominantly withdrawn, who are eager to give and relate, and yet constantly find themselves hindered because the object of their affection is unwilling to receive the powerful, demanding force that they emanate. If you were less defensive, less self-willed, less concerned with rejection or the frustration of your immediate will, you would develop the nobility of spirit to respect the other’s incapacity, even if it were “sick.”  This attitude would then establish a human relationship, whereas your greedy egocentric giving destroys it.

Let the other person be, allow him or her to react differently from how you wish to be received. In this way, your life will be richer for many reasons — not only because you will have more meaningful relationships, but also because you will be less dependent on having your own will prevail. You will be able to let go and still like and respect another, even if you know his or her incapacity. Even if the other person’s response is “immature,” it does not matter. Do not refuse to grant the other the right you wish for yourself. Observe your innermost attitude and currents from this perspective and you will eventually become aware of the significance of your rushing forward. You will no longer consider this an asset for which you are unjustly punished by life; you will see the intrinsic selfishness and greed of it. As you calmly do so, you will automatically mature in this respect too. You will develop the respect and the decency, if I may use the word, to allow the other person his or her way. You will have the generosity and nobility of spirit to stand back and let go and be more finely attuned to the other’s needs — whether she or he wants to receive more than you give, or less than you want to give. If this happens without contempt, resentment of the other or of yourself, without self-doubt and self-belittling, then you have indeed grown up. Perhaps you can meet non-compliance with your will in a mature way, as yet only on a superficial level of your being. But do you also accept it when it reaches into the deeper layers of your personality?  Ask yourself this question; look very closely at what is revealed to you and whether you are willing to accept the insight that comes. As you grow in this way, you will not give up something rich which you yearn for, it only seems so as you give up your immediate will. Actually, you will become richer, not only in spirit, maturity, self-reliance, and self-respect, but richer in your human relationships.

But, again:  If you are as yet incapable of feeling in such a mature way, do not force yourself into it. Rather, see yourself as you extend this strong, demanding force and observe your reaction when it is repelled. See the force in action, experience it without judging yourself. This is the only way, as I keep saying again and again.

Happiness and love cannot be volitional processes, my friends. They come as you observe yourself without judging what is good or bad, right or wrong.

Now, my friends, are you too fearful to love?  Too withdrawn?  Do you not dare reach out into the world and into relationships and hide instead in your own corner whenever a hand is extended to you, whenever love is offered to you?  In your fear, could it be that you fail even to recognize love when it comes so as not to burden yourself with the guilt of rejecting what you also crave?   Or are you one of those who is constantly ready to give, generously, but perhaps too generously, because out of your need, and perhaps also out of childish greed, you disregard the other, cannot sit back, relax, and calmly look at the other person?  Or, my friends, are you perhaps a little of both?

Look at yourself from this point of view. And as you do, little by little, through your increased self-awareness, your sensitivity to the other person’s needs will develop. You will sense that it is not a question of the other not wanting to receive anything from you, but perhaps not wanting it at this time, in this way. Perhaps it will be easier for the other to come out of his or her shell when he or she does not meet a love-power that is so demanding and so forceful.

Only too often both distortions exist in you simultaneously. On the one hand, you may be frightened if you encounter a strong demand. Yet, when this demand is absent, you extend your own without actually seeing what is offered to you.

Now let us turn to the subject of will. We have discussed it in the past from many different points of view:  self-will, the outer and the inner will, and the various manifestations of healthy and unhealthy willpower. Let us now see another of the negative manifestations and some more reasons why the will does not function properly.

(1) When you are unaware of what you want, even if what you want is in itself healthy and productive, the very fact that you are unaware of it must produce a negative result. Why?  Not because of the wish itself, but because of the reason that necessitated hiding it. Such unawareness, that once was deliberate, really amounts to self-deception. You want something, yet you feel that what you want is wrong, so you try to believe that you do not want it. Outwardly you pretend to yourself and to the world that you do not want what you want inwardly. And it is this self-deception that causes the destructive result, not the quality of the wish itself, whether or not the wish is morally acceptable or not. It is the broken awareness with all its connotations that is responsible. Thus you do not want what you want.

You are so unsure of yourself and of your own rightness that you suppress, and ultimately repress, your wish capacity, your willpower. You may transform it so that it reappears in the form of a compromise, but the unclarity produces a thick haze in your psyche, an unhealthy climate that hinders your self-expression. If it is an unhealthy wish, you cannot cope with it because you are no longer aware of its existence. But it may well be a very healthy wish that you do not allow into consciousness because you wish to comply with standards superimposed by your society, by public opinion — or what you think they are. Thus you may force yourself to live with something that is by far inferior to your own will, the will of your real self. The reason for doing so is purely negative. It is the lack of courage to be yourself; the exaggerated need to please; or any number of other reasons that you know from past lectures and from your work. Therefore a productive wish proves to be unproductive, or even destructive at times, if you are unaware of it.

(2) Another reason why willpower or wish capacity becomes unproductive is that you have split it in two directions. We have discussed it at length before. If your will moves partly in one direction and partly in another, you will experience a very negative result. You will be stymied in your efforts, and will experience failure and frustration. Often you may erroneously believe that such a failure comes about for moral reasons, but it does not. Both directions may be morally adequate, but the fact that you are not at one with yourself produces what unconsciously you may consider as punishment.

(3) If your will is so strong that it does not consider the obstacles, nor respect other people’s inclinations; if it does not take into account the other person’s reality; if the strength of the wish is stronger than reality warrants, then you defeat your purpose.

(4) If you show too little will, if you are resigned and withdrawn, become apathetic and are too fearful to want to lead a meaningful life; if you do not dare to do what is necessary to produce a meaningful life for yourself, but wait for some authority to give it to you, then you cripple your willpower and wish-capacity.

These four aspects prohibit a healthy, relaxed steady flow of your will and your wish capacity. Much confusion comes from your tendency to regard something as right or wrong, good or bad. So many theories — spiritual, religious, philosophical or psychological — exist about the use of will. There is the school of thought that says you must not pursue results in order to have peace. You must not have any willpower. You must let go. And there is another school of thought that says that without will there can be no life, no fulfillment. Do you not realize, my friends, that both of these apparently opposite views are correct, yet both can be wrong?  I have shown you many times how confusions arise when opposing points of view can be both right and destructive.

If your will falls under any of these categories I mentioned — if it is strained, if it is governed by immature motives, if you are unaware of it, if it is split, if it is compulsive and too eager — then it is very true to say, let go, relax your self-will. But if your will does not function at all or functions insufficiently, how can you grow?  Then you do need the will to grow, to live, to love. And yet on another level you do not need it. You cannot use direct willpower to make yourself feel what you do not feel, even though you may want to. But you need your will to observe yourself in candor and without self-deception, and from this observation your capacity for loving and living grows automatically. Find the unifying forces that lie beneath the split of your will to help it grow together into one stream.

If you truly want good relationships, you must want to have them, but without straining and without expecting an immediate result. Do not rush for a particular result, bound by a deadline, limited in kind to your own choosing. Relationships include others, and they, too, have to be considered, not only you. If such consideration is not given, then you nullify the relationship. Whether this consideration applies to outer and obvious manifestations or concerns hidden emotional attitudes makes not the slightest difference.

I am pointing to the proper combination of wanting and willing, while letting free:  the self-will goes out, while the goodwill remains. This goodwill has to be cultivated anew, over and over. When you have it, you let go of the self-will by showing tolerance to the how and when. You also cultivate an  awareness of your own disturbing currents, as well as the needs and the will of the other, while remaining attuned to fluctuations and changes, for nothing that is alive remains static.  Only a free spirit can be alert and relaxed enough to follow the stream of eternally changing conditions emanating from others, from yourself, from life’s circumstances. To do so, your healthy will has to function; you cannot be will-less, but you must be without the rigid conditions of the self-will that dictate all the details. This describes the difference between the outer and the inner will. The inner will comes from your real self, which is intrinsically free. If you allow it freedom, you will no longer be hemmed in by the confinement of self-will.

Without will, there can indeed be no life and no growth. If you wish to fulfill yourself and your potential, the outer, strained will is often a hindrance. It is the inner, free will that has to be cultivated to bring about fulfillment indirectly. The direct approach is awareness and it does not come by itself. It requires your relaxed will. If the will is coupled with moralizing judgments, it turns destructive because truth becomes inaccessible. If the will can be directed to go beyond your tendency to moralize and to focus instead on what is true, rather than on what is right, the will produces truth and thereby love.

In any area of your life where you have realized your potential and experienced a measure of fulfillment, you will have had to constantly renew your healthy will. Look back and you will see that this is so. To obtain anything you wish, the will has to be cultivated again and again in a relaxed, generous way, not by framing your own limited concepts either by wishing this particular success or that specific relationship. Such an attitude will enslave you whether or not it is conscious. The inner cultivation of your will — be it for growth, self-awareness, realizing a potential, or establishing a meaningful relationship — must be intended for the whole. For the parts, however, it must be flexible, must adapt to ever-changing circumstances and conditions.  With this attitude you will have the generosity of spirit to let the various life forces, coming from your real self and from the other person, go to work in a harmonious way.

Now, my friends, study these words — and when I say study, I do not mean an exclusively intellectual understanding, which often prohibits the inner absorption and therefore growth. Try to perceive what I say with your innermost self. Do not try to push yourself to live up to all this. See rather where, when, and how you deviate, without judging or compelling yourself to be different immediately. Just see it. As you proceed in your private work on this path, you will gain a still deeper understanding; from this angle you will understand yourself better and so understand others and life in a more profound way.

Now, are there any questions about this topic?

QUESTION:  Can this compulsive over-giving lead to sadism?  And, on the other hand, is it typical of the missionary?

ANSWER:  As to the first question, it would be an oversimplification, and also incorrect to say that this would lead to sadism. No. But since everything in the human psyche is interconnected, in some instances one may find a link. But, by the same token, it may be connected with masochism. Both sadism and masochism, which, as you know, are only two sides of the same coin, are conditioned and brought forth not by one, but by many facets in the human soul.

As to your second question, there is truth in what you say. Whenever a person wants to force something on another, whether this be love or a belief, it stems from self-will. Such a person acts out of compulsion. I would not say that every missionary necessarily has this trend, but many may. If you have to offer love or salvation, it takes wisdom to accept that one’s own will and ideas are not welcome to the other person. It takes more maturity and wisdom than most people have, and, most of all, it takes self-awareness, to let the other free, even in his incompleteness.

As to doctrines, no matter how beautifully-sounding a doctrine is, nothing cripples spirit and soul more than adopting a superimposed doctrine, even a right one. I have spoken much about this before, yet it cannot be stressed enough that inner growth and freedom can come only by being yourself. Through a path such as this, you will come to experience inwardly what some doctrines may teach you in words. That is the only belief that is genuine and that furthers growth.

QUESTION:  When you were talking about the will behind love, you mentioned that it is nursed by desire, by a wish. Isn’t a will also nursed by experience and judgment?  The reason why I ask is because when talking about love, we have to also talk about emotional incompatibility.

ANSWER:  Of course, will is determined also by experience and by what you have learned, not only by your innermost needs. It is quite an important insight to determine which one is your real need. Even if this need, as it now exists, is childish and immature, you know that it is much better for you to own up to it. That does not mean that you necessarily have to put it into action. Be fully aware that it exists. Thus the need transforms into will. A genuine need, transposed into will, even if imperfect and immature, is healthier than a mature and healthy will that is superimposed by outer means, determined by educational influences, by others’ opinions that you may have adopted for one reason or another. Such superimposition leads to the self-alienation that we have discussed so frequently. Even your own personal experiences of the past may be misleading because they are conditioned by your patterns, images, and preconceived notions. The limited scope of experiences, as well as your slanted outlook on them, will not give you the freedom of reality. It may prohibit your meeting life afresh so as to truly widen your horizon and your ability to experience life as fully as possible. However, if you do live true to yourself, imperfect as this self may still be, the spontaneity and awareness of who you really are and what you want at any given time will free you of the shackles of limitation, of preconceptions, of a narrow, rigid outlook, all of which are the result of looking away from yourself.

To manipulate your will according to what you know or think is right, or even according to your own limited past experiences, cripples the spontaneity of the real self. Even if the real you wishes something unproductive, and you face this fact — not necessarily putting it into action — it will be so much healthier than willing something that is not you. If your will is determined by fear, you do not even get to the real wish, or the need behind it. If you determine your will by something that is superimposed and not experienced by your still childish emotions, you are in for much greater trouble than if you discarded the superimposition. Because only then can you get through the childishness and get to that area of your being where this very childishness receives the soul forces that make it grow out of itself.

As to the question of incompatibility, I do not quite understand what it is you want to know.

QUESTION:  If my childish desire and my love and my will are directed toward a human relationship where there is an incompatibility, then the whole thing is wrong, if such a word expresses what I mean?

ANSWER:  If you really understand what I said in this lecture, your question will be answered. If there is such an incompatibility, it is just because the will — of one, or perhaps both partners — is forcibly injected into a relationship that is not feasible for these particular people. Another type of relationship could exist between these people, but the strong will force pushes the real possibility out of the picture. That which is possible is not perceived because the will is set on something else.  Reality should fit into what you wish it to be. That is how such problems of incompatibility come into existence.

QUESTION:  I would like to ask a question for my little grandson. He is living in fear most of the time. As a result of this fear, he constantly gets sick. Now this fear is that those he loves, all his loved ones, are hostile toward each other. And if he loves one, the other withdraws. He is constantly torn. I wonder if you could show me some way?

ANSWER:  There is really nothing I can say that you do not know already. However, I will try to help. In the first place, all of you have to fully face that what he fears is correct. It is not an invention, an imagination on his part. If you fully face this fact, not just acknowledge it superficially, such awareness on the part of all of you will already have a healing effect — not only on him, but upon all concerned.

When you fully face this fact, you will encounter the problem of your own guilt. Also, this guilt has to become fully conscious. Such awareness will bring into clear focus the question of, “Have I caused an inner problem in this child due to my own imperfection?   How can I live with such knowledge?”  Your unconscious knowledge of this pressing question makes you shy away from facing it and you become more compulsive in trying to eliminate these destructive feelings that are evidently responsible for the child’s fear. The more compulsively you want to get rid of the destructive feelings, the more you have to pretend to feel what you do not really feel. And this, in turn, aggravates the problem in him and in all of you. It increases fear and guilt all around. However, if you face up to that which you feel, and fully understand it by going to the roots of it — which can only be done without guilt and without judging yourself or others — then you begin to change the atmosphere even long before you are able to feel differently. This must then help him.

Oh, you can tell him many things and he certainly has unusual understanding in this respect. But what you tell him will not really help unless you face what is, without moralizing about anyone, but just accepting your immaturity, and by doing so, learning more about it. Such activity will relieve the strained atmosphere which produces his fear. The strain is caused more by your compulsive striving to be something you cannot yet be because you do not fully understand the roots. Accept this slow process of your growth. Remove the compulsion and the impatience, and the imperfect feelings of hostility will be less harmful than the compulsion to overcome them.

In such a frame of mind, all of you will truly understand that he, too, brought his unresolved problems into this life, as you brought your own. The environment only brings out what exists already. It cannot bring out what is not there to begin with. He has to live out his problems, as you are required to live out yours. Your imperfect parents and environmental conditions simply brought the problems to the fore. But this truth will be a personal experience only if and when you remove your hurry, your lack of acceptance of yourself, your dependency on pleasing the moral standards of others so as to be approved, as well as your guilt, and your fear. Until such time, you can help him by quietly pursuing this work of self-awareness and  self-acceptance.

You know all this, but so often you do not apply it to the everyday little feelings which you let go by without becoming aware of their existence and therefore, eventually, of their deeper significance. This will then enable you to perceive the effect that you have one upon the other — and in this your view, all of yours — is still limited. That is something you have not yet taken into consideration. Not really.

QUESTION:  You mean me, personally?  Or you mean all of us?

ANSWER:  At least you and your daughter who are in this work of self-finding. Both of you have found in your discoveries about yourself that what he fears is actually so. You have pursued this pattern of division of loyalty. By now, you understand — and this is a great improvement — not only that this is so, but, to a degree, why this is so. But you do not as yet understand, or experience, or are sensitive to the effect that this has on others and that this understanding will also help the child. Understanding without moralizing.

QUESTION:  Is there such a thing as numerology, that certain numbers are favorable, and others not?

ANSWER:  I strongly advise against such things. Very strongly.

QUESTION:  Is it nature’s plan that a child develops a reaction, a neurosis against a parent or parents, regardless of how good or kind these parents happen to be?

ANSWER:  It certainly is not nature’s plan. No. This again shows a complete misconception of what the human being is and what life is. It is the humans’ doing. The only way you can grasp and understand why it should be that certain children have the best and most favorable circumstances and develop so-called neuroses, while in other cases the conditions may be extremely unfavorable and yet comparatively little neurosis exists — we cannot say none since no human being is free of it — the only way to understand this is that you are not born once, but come again and again with the problems that are as yet unresolved. It is not nature that gave you these problems.

QUESTION:  At one time you told us that it was easier to work on this path here on earth than in the spirit world. Yet we know that our loved ones are developing too. They, too, are working for their self-realization, and are helped by our work on ourselves. Could you explain how this works?

ANSWER:  Growth and self-development can, to a degree, take place in every sphere of being. But where the hindrances and obstacles are greatest, there growth can be most effective, provided the person in question so desires. The deeply embedded problems are not called forth without hindrances or obstacles. They cannot manifest, and therefore you lack awareness of them. Without such awareness, you cannot grow out of them. All this I explained in the past.

In spiritual spheres where you live without your physical body, you are in a life where you do not encounter the hindrances caused by matter. One can still grow and develop to a degree without this obstacle, but certainly not to the same degree as on earth. Matter is one constant hindrance. It is one resistance. We talked about psychological resistance, but that is only one aspect, one small fragment of resistance as such. Earth life, life in matter, is one resistance. If you had no resistance whatsoever, you could not live at all. Yet when you resist too much you cripple yourself accordingly, and if the degree passes a certain limit, you cannot live either. Life on earth requires a certain equilibrium between not too much and not too little resistance. The same thing is true of the will. Will is a force that overcomes the resistance of matter, the resistance of separation. If the will is too strong, it is harmful, and if it is too little it will not sufficiently overcome the resistance of matter. This is how you can grow much faster because of the resistance. By learning to go with the resistance, you develop inwardly to just the right degree, to the proper balance. Needless to say, this cannot be learned by rules and regulations and laws and doctrines you absorb with your brain. This is an inner feeling that develops out of such a pathwork as you are doing. It is intuitive, not learned. You grow to fit into the right stream of the particular degree of resistance you need. It is not the same for everyone. Each person has a personal vibration, or frequency, the sum total of his or her entire being, outer and inner. According to this personal vibration the resistance has to fit, as it were, to the general resistance of matter. To the degree that you live productively and harmoniously, your vibration will be in harmony with the general resistance of matter. That is why development on earth proceeds so much faster.

Be blessed, each one of you. May these words again ring an echo in your innermost being. May they become fruitful for you, perhaps not immediately, perhaps only in months to come, or even in years, when, in your work of self-finding you come to the point when you will really understand what I told you tonight. Be in peace, my dearest ones. Be in God.