Interaction Between Expression and Impression

Pathwork Guide Lecture No. 131 | February 05, 1965

Greetings, my dearest, dearest friends. Blessings for every one of you. Blessed be this evening. May this lecture help all of you to progress on this path, to find missing clues and enlightenment wherever you struggle in the dark.

The human struggle is a continuous striving toward light, whether or not you know it. When I say light, I mean the light of truth — the truth of happiness. For in truth you must be happy. When you lose truth it is always because you look for much more complicated solutions than the truth. You look much further ahead, away from where the answer is.

The concept you are impressed with is that happiness is attainable only in the distant future. You strive toward the future, while happiness is in the now. I have said this before, my friends, but it is not fully understood by most of you. So I want to talk about this a little more and show you the way to experience it.

If you truly understand yourself in relationship to this very moment, momentary unhappiness notwithstanding, you must be happy. In other words — and this may sound like a contradiction, but it is not — no matter how unhappy you are now, by understanding this now, you must be happy. Conversely, no matter how favorable circumstances are, and no matter how happy you may think you are at this moment, if you do not fully live in the moment and understand it in relationship to you, you cannot be fully happy.

When I speak of the now and of the moment, this can mean only one thing — that is, you yourself. Your view of the world — your attitude to life, to happenings and to others — can only be a result of your view of, and attitude to yourself. If you understand yourself in relationship to life, at this moment, you cannot possibly be in darkness.

I have given you many tools for reaching yourself and thereby living in the now. This whole path — with all its methods and various approaches — is concerned with this primary goal. When you realize yourself, when you find your real self, you are in the now — in the very act of being in yourself.

We have, in our pathwork, two fundamental approaches, both of which are necessary. One is finding, expressing, and emptying out what is within you, so that it can be reexamined as to its truthfulness and reality. The second is impressing, molding and directing the powers within yourself, so as to create favorable, or more variable, circumstances. These approaches are interdependent. In order to live meaningfully and dynamically, an interrelationship between them is necessary. I can recognize that many of you, my friends, are often in confusion regarding this happy interaction, this mutual interplay between expressing and impressing, between emptying out and putting in truth. When there is no harmony between these two activities, there must be confusion and darkness.

No matter how important each of these two approaches is by itself, using one instead of the other makes the fulfillment you seek unattainable. It is not easy to know when one and when the other activity is appropriate. Let us try to shed a little more light on this subject.

From our past endeavors you all know the importance of examining your unconscious thoughts and reactions. You all know that taking a truthful concept and impressing it over as yet unrecognized, untruthful ideas is merely self-deception, superimposition. It cannot create a genuine constructive attitude. Your psyche is like a vessel. If it is filled with muddy water and you pour clear water into it, the clear water  becomes muddy too. So the muddy water must be emptied first. When I say it must be emptied, this means you must understand its contents. You must understand that particular misconceptions make the water muddy, what these misconceptions are, and in what way they are misconceptions. This is the expressing, the emptying out.

Let us first examine expressing. One of the most important aspects to look at is your struggle to resolve problems on false premises. The question slumbering within yourself — the question you unconsciously pose regarding a certain attitude toward life — is based on an utterly false premise. It is often a nonexistent problem in itself, or it exists in an entirely different way than you consciously, or unconsciously, consider. When you build defenses against a nonexistent problem, no matter how you struggle, no matter how you defend yourself, you must entangle yourself deeper into a web of confusion. This is the general difficulty confronting all humanity, even those who are already on a path of self-realization. For each one of you has yet to get disentangled from such predicaments:  struggling and defending against false assumptions, nonexistent dangers.

You have already made such discoveries and some of you have already liberated yourselves from some of the false struggles. You have understood them to some extent, but I venture to say that every one of you here — and every one of you who reads these words — still struggles against a problem that does not exist.

Let us take a very simple common example so as to make it easier for you to follow me. Every one of you is constantly afraid, in one way or another, of being inadequate, of being rejected, of being looked down upon or not taken seriously. Whether or not you consciously consider this as a problem in you, you battle against it, trying in your own way to solve it. Trying to solve a problem that does not exist must create real problems. The predicament against which you battle is a nonsensical idea, for others are not out to reject or diminish you, as you often emotionally perceive. Whether or not you are aware of it at this moment, nine-tenths of your attitudes to life — to yourself and to others — are a struggle against this false premise. To defend yourself against this dreaded happening, you build an elaborate structure.

When you enter upon such a path — and often when you have already been on it for some time, without thinking about it specifically — your endeavors are geared to make this dreaded event not come true. In other words, you hope to make your defenses more adequate so as to be better equipped to solve your problem of rejection and inadequacy — a problem that does not exist. As long as you move in this direction, real relief cannot come. You must first recognize that all your energies, all your aims, are geared in a direction that has no realistic justification. You focus on illusion, not on reality. When this recognition dawns upon you, you will not project into the future a perfection of yourself and a perfect life experience. You will no longer need to strain toward being something you are not. The now will then be fully satisfactory. Wherever you stand at that moment, this emptying out must occur.

The emptying consists of recognizing that the problem you struggle against is not a real problem, but an imaginary one — an image!  Out of this imaginary problem arise a number of general and particular misconceptions and destructive attitudes. You will find the following factor connected with it, which I have discussed in the past but which needs to be discussed again in this context. When you have a desire or aim which is legitimate and realistic, yet remains unfulfilled, what blocks it is the struggle against the nonexistent problem. As a result of the struggle, a no-current works against your conscious wishes. It is essential to become specifically aware of this connection.

Whenever an aim for self-expression and fulfillment stubbornly remains unfulfilled, a denying attitude that does not want it, that holds back from it, is overlooked. There is an attitude that — even without saying an outright no to it — refuses to reach for it, for whatever motivations and reasons. If you persist in denying the fact that you reject your very wish, you cannot eliminate hopelessness which is always a byproduct of such an inner situation. As long as you are only aware of your conscious desire and do not see the unconscious withholding of yourself from the desire, there must be hopelessness. The only way you can dissolve the hopelessness is by directly going toward that side in you which says, “No, I do not want it.”  This still has not occurred to many of my friends who linger and dwell in their hopelessness. Instead, say:  “If I feel hopeless because I do not get what I want, what is it in me that says no to it?  I want and intend to find this denial.”  Then the hopelessness will dissolve.

The negative attitudes toward the fulfillment must be unearthed, as well as the nonexistent problem that you battle against. Then, and then only will your blocks dissolve.

Now I come to the second approach, the impressing, the putting in. Where you are in untruth, truth must be understood. Behind every untruth, truth exists. It cannot be blotted out, or dissolved, or made to disappear by erroneous assumptions on your part. Understanding the truth is extremely important. When you discover an untruthful concept, you must understand what the untruth about it is. In what way is it untruthful?  What is the truthful concept that exists behind it?  I once compared this with the sun behind the clouds. If a person lives in a climate where the sun rarely comes out and they forget that the sun exists, they will become hopeless. By realizing the sun exists behind the clouds, there is no hopelessness, even while the clouds prevail. It is the same with truth and untruth. Realize that no matter how negative, how hopeless, how unhappy your momentary moods are, the truth is the opposite. Truth is happiness, even if you cannot experience it at the moment. This knowledge, the understanding of this principle, will bring you nearer to understanding your particular momentary untruth and the truth behind it.

You cannot impress yourself with a specific truthful concept before you understand your particular untruthful concept. Only then is the impressing of your psychic substance feasible. As long as you are confused, you do not know in what way you are in untruth, in what way the problem you fight against is imaginary, and why this is so. As long as you ignore the fact that the particular problem you struggle with does not exist in reality, how can you impregnate yourself with the corresponding truthful ideas?

The constant interaction between these two approaches is of great importance, my friends. It would be a mistake to assume that these two activities follow each other consecutively on this path — first expressing, then impressing. Up to a certain point, a person’s pathwork concentrates on bringing out what is inside. Only then does the examination and analysis of this material begin. Both expressing and impressing must exist throughout, from the beginning onward. Both activities are always necessary. At the very beginning of such a path the personality is still filled with misconceptions and utterly unaware of its confusions. Then all this material needs to be expressed. In order to succeed in such expression it is necessary, at the time, to comprehend and impress the self with truthful statements. This impressing has the power to gather inner forces and direct them into the proper channels. Your intent must be clearly formulated to activate the necessary inner powers. This will prevent stagnation and the possibility of giving up in despair and confusion. In order to accomplish this, even at the early stages when the inner vessel is filled with unclear substance that needs to be emptied out, constant interaction between impressing — stating truth and formulating constructive intent — and expressing must prevail.

As you advance on the path and make progress, the inner vessel brings forth the false ideas, wrong conclusions, problems that do not really exist and against which you fight on wrong premises. Then it is even more essential that a harmonious interplay between the two activities exist. The correct timing of when one or the other is appropriate must be found.

There is no rule, my friends, as to when to emphasize one more than the other of these two approaches to the self. The only way you can discover this balance is by feeling into yourself and listening to your innermost soul movements. By doing that you will not only come to be sensitively attuned to the need of the moment in this respect, you will also strengthen your selfhood. By honoring the individual rhythm of your personal path, you assume self-responsibility instead of trying to fit into prescribed rules. Your own cosmic attunement can unfold only when you reach for it consciously and deliberately. It cannot reveal itself if you ignore its existence or pursue blind, rigid practices.

People have too ingrained a tendency to obey an authority. We have discussed this amply in the past, but never quite in this connection. In a very subtle, and still vastly undetected way, you pursue even such a liberating activity as the pathwork — whose aim is to attain full selfhood in every possible way — without making use of the material according to the momentary needs of your psyche. You try to use the material as if it contained rules to be governed by. This, of course, has a stifling effect. Even though such an approach cannot kill the vital stream within yourself, it does not encourage its manifestation.

The lectures — all the material and help given to you on this path — only serve as you freely take one aspect at a time of the teachings, appropriate for you at a particular moment. In other words, my friends, there is a tremendous difference between trying to use these words at the moment — following through and listening into yourself, freely allowing for what may come up — and recognizing that the evolving material fits into this or that lecture or statement of the teachings. This is a very opposite approach. Too often, in a subtle and unrecognized way, you try to find and squeeze yourself into the tools given you, rather than locate your inner material first and choose the tool afterward. The latter approach will make you free, while the former continues to bind you. Only the authority has changed, not you and your attitudes. This becomes even more confusing because everything you learn and hear points to liberation and selfhood and self-responsibility. Therefore it is easy to overlook the subtle bondage of squeezing your soul movements into patterns and stages of this work rather than letting them out and then seeing the stages into which they fit. In order to do that, you have to have the courage to ask:  “Am I now more in need of emptying out because heaviness and depression indicate that I ignore what really bothers me, or do I need to instruct myself?”

Instruction may also be necessary when it is important to empty out, but its character is completely different. Impressing the need for expressing — for facing what dwells inside, for overcoming resistance and the unreal fear to do so — means using impression in order to be more capable of expression. When you have sufficiently expressed what is inside, the nature of impression becomes that of stating the truthful concept as opposed to the false one.

To recapitulate:  impressing has two distinct facets. One helps to overcome resistance to expressing. The other reorients and rebuilds the inner personality by deliberate formulation and profound understanding of truth, as opposed to untruth.

Reorientation of negative, destructive consciousness can take place only after you understand that there is an inner struggle against a nonexistent problem and that struggle is finally given up. Whenever you come to this understanding, the second type of impressing is necessary. Without it, the understanding fades away after a while and your old, habit-bound emotions revert to their fearfulness of long standing, in blind automatism. Only knowing the truth will prevent this. To know the truth, you must fill the now empty vessel with truth, so as to prevent its being refilled with untruth.

The aim of this intercourse between your outer mind and your innermost self is finding the proper rhythm and balance between impressing and expressing, finding which kind of impressing is to be used at what juncture. When you go into your periods of meditation and concentration in this work, listen into yourself, into your soul movements. Instruct the deepest strata of your psyche that you want to properly express and that you also request and wish awareness of when to impress and when to express, and how to do either. Request inspiration to know to what extent your volitional mind has to function and when you must let go of your volitional mind and let yourself float, observing what is coming up. This selfhood, trusting your soul movements, will exist in the measure that you overcome sluggish soul movements that want to prevent you — in false fears, under false premises — from doing just that. This is why the imaginary problem that you fight against, with its concomitant false fears, keeps you from the dynamic living that results from this path.

Find this interaction, my friends. Once you are well launched on the intercourse between the volitional impressing and the soul movement that expresses from deep within, you will find a deep harmony and reason to trust your innermost self. The creative forces, the positive elements which you could not truly express before, will increasingly guide you toward the light you seek. You will continue to grow, to learn and extend yourself, and the useless struggle will be finished.

Are there any questions regarding this topic?

QUESTION:  Would you say that the act of emptying is the surrender of the outer self saying, “I am in confusion, I ask to know from my supreme will and supreme intelligence what the truth is in this?  And that impressing is uniting, identifying with this inner intelligence, this true, higher self, in acting with the force purely as it comes from the source — without distortion, without imaging, without limiting?  Is that the way it goes?

ANSWER:  That is quite right. In fact, what I just said is exactly that. You must be divided within yourself as long as you are in this false struggle, based on nonsensical premises — and I deliberately use such a strong term. You will recognize that every one of your images, if examined from this point of view, has a nonsensical premise. This false struggle not only concerns motivations — energy currents going in conflicting directions — but also separates you from the highest self. Wisdom, intelligence, strength, happiness, love, abundance — everything good that exists in the universe is in you. You cannot reach this source, which is so near, unless you realize the false struggle and understand it. This can happen only when you turn inward and allow yourself to listen to your soul movements. Unless you request this source to manifest, you will remain ignorant of it. Your outer, volitional intelligence must call this deep inner intelligence into play. Integration will occur. Outer and inner intelligence will unify after all material is absorbed that keep the two separated. That is the aim. So long as people harbor false ideas, the original oneness is split. On either side, as it were, one set of intelligence exists. The two can meld when the outer, conscious one deliberately reaches toward the inner, still hidden one, removing those false elements which have created the split in the first place. Only through such a path as I show you can this goal be accomplished.

I should like to take a common situation to demonstrate this point. Let us assume you are tired, depressed and hopeless, at the point of giving up your efforts because your struggle does not bring relief. You do not wish to do so, but you just cannot see the way in which to search. This stagnation is a result of your energies being geared to the unconscious false struggle. Now what to do?  Give up struggling on a conscious level to force yourself to adopt truths your psyche is, as yet, unable to absorb. The simple realization that the highest of all wisdoms must exist in you — even if at the moment you do not feel it and perhaps even doubt its existence — will open the way. Honestly acknowledge your doubt, but also allow for the possibility that the wisdom does exist in you. Even when in doubt, it is possible to request guidance from within and truly be open to it. What usually happens, my friends, is that when you examine yourself in such a situation you do not even get to the point of reaching for the higher source of wisdom within yourself. It does not occur to you, although you have discussed it many times and know of its theoretical existence. Why not?  If you look deeper inside, you will find that at such moments you do not want to believe that this highest source of intelligence and beauty exists in you. For some strange reason, you fight against admitting it. As long as there is something in you not wanting to accept this possibility, and as long as you are unaware of it, you cannot give up the false struggle.

You must ascertain the tiny little voice which says no to the possibility of its own higher consciousness. This negative voice is frightened even of the marvelous truth that you carry all you need and can possibly wish for within yourself.

My friends, I do not mean that you can get to such realizations without help. Of course not. In order to find this perfect source, help is necessary. Since a healthy balance between expressing and impressing does not mean one versus the other, so a healthy balance between accepting help and accepting self-responsibility does not mean one versus the other. The two are not mutually exclusive, but interact in harmonious interplay. In both instances, to the degree you learn the harmonious interplay, your innermost self becomes your outer self. There is no longer separation or conflict between the two. The superimposed intellect, the outer intelligence, is filled with, motivated and moved by the inner source of all, the original source of all — which is in you. This must never, never be forgotten. It exists in you right now and is immediately accessible. To the degree that you know it, to that degree can it manifest.

QUESTION:  What you have just expressed perfectly fits the stage where I am at present, the stage with which we are concerned in my private work. I have a feeling that I have a fear of self-responsibility. Is that true?

ANSWER:  Yes, indeed. This fits the phase many of my friends are in now. In your case, as you very correctly surmise, there is a great fear of self-responsibility. The fear is, of course, completely unjustified. It may help you if I show the following:  Because you are afraid of self-responsibility, you are constantly dependent on circumstances outside your control. Therefore you feel helpless. You feel like a straw in the wind, having no power over life and circumstances. That much you know. But in order to understand this a little better, it is important to feel a resonance to what I said this evening. You are so afraid to acknowledge the highest source of all, the key to all beauty, because you feel this would somehow mean to be wrongly proud. You fear that the mere consideration of such a possibility would infer overestimation of yourself, giving yourself airs that you do not deserve. The possibility that you can harbor such powers within might mean gross overvaluation. This you fear. In order to be a good, obedient child, you negate this possibility. You are afraid of the pride for which you may be punished, as well as the disappointment. You do not take a chance of being disappointed and, therefore, you cannot find the truth of it. Does that ring a bell?  [Yes. It helps me.]

Perhaps you can now approach this problem with a new understanding. Ask yourself:  “Am I willing to take a chance?  I cannot be worse off than I am now. I do not need unjustified hope. Even if my doubts — that I do not have these powers and this source within me — should be justified, it is better to know and go on from there, than constantly to keep this possibility dangling as a theory I do not ever dare explore.”  In other words, commit yourself honestly to the problem of your doubting. As long as you doubt and do not give the positive side a chance, you do not honestly commit yourself to the problem. How can a problem be resolved, or dissolved, if one does not give it every chance through a full commitment to it?  The full, honest commitment is in testing it again and again. Such fair testing cannot be terminated the day after tomorrow because too many misconceptions and false fears clog up the channel. Giving a full chance means deliberately reaching inside to contact the source for the immediate purpose of this Pathwork, of self-realization, of creative living. Honest testing means an attitude of “I give the possibility every chance.”  It does not say no to it before such a chance is extended, in the false assumption that disappointment will then hurt less. Apart from the fact that this is not so, disappointment is unavoidable when you deny before openheartedly trying.

You, and so many people, are constantly in negativity because they do not dare to find out, once and for all, “Is it positive or negative?  Is it true or not true?”  They negate before they find a true basis for accepting because they are so afraid their acceptance may prove disappointing. This is a very general situation. Have the courage to assume the possibility of a positive alternative.

QUESTION:  You speak of the outer self as “the child.”  Is it not the very essence of life that the child must mature?  In order for maturity to take place, for this growth pattern to be fulfilled, there must be this transition, this uniting with the higher self?

ANSWER:  Yes. Only it might be misleading to believe that the child is necessarily the outer self. This might not always be accurate. The child exists between a superimposed, or partly superimposed, intellectual maturity and the highest source of all wisdom and happiness. It dwells in-between. It is not completely outer or inner. It is relative to the position of the viewer. In other words, when considered from the outer maturity, from the level where you know better, the child is inner. When considered from the point of view of the innermost real self, it is outer. It is important to understand that. The outer maturity may be part genuine, integrated maturity interspersed with a false, superimposed, intellectual maturity — not cemented by emotional experience in certain respects. The outer maturity must try to ally itself with the real self in the endeavor to teach the “child” the truth. The outer maturity must not be confused with the real self. It reaches a certain level, but where that level ends must come the expressing that I talked about. In order for the stubborn, lost child, in its full irrationality and ignorance, to grow up, it must learn what is true and what is false.

Many of you see that wrong conclusion partly, but it is still a haphazard realization. The entirety of the wrong assumption — that the problem itself is non-existent — is often overlooked. That comprehension must be attained.

I say, my friends, whenever you are really stuck on this path — when you are in great anxiety, in a resistance that seems insurmountable — you can be quite sure that this is based on a wrong conclusion. You inordinately fear something that has no existence. Nothing true needs ever be feared in such a way. Wherever you have made progress on this path, you have found it to be so. You have found proof that your actual faults never induce this kind of despair. Despair is a result of an untruthful verdict you have pronounced against yourself or the world. It is connected with an imaginary problem. Unfortunately, even though this fact has already been ascertained by some of you, you may forget it by the next time, until you recapture it on the next level.

May this material — the lecture, as well as the answers to your questions — give new incentive to all of you who work so hard on your path of self-realization, of coming into your own. May you find within you that which you falsely believed to be far away.

My dearest friends, be blessed. May these blessings, which are an actuality, reach everything in you that needs to be activated in order to find yourself. Be in peace!  Realize the truth, which is so liberating, that there is nothing to fear, that fear and unhappiness are error. Be in God!