Life Manifestations Reflects Dualistic Illusion

Pathwork Guide Lecture No. 159 | January 12, 1968

Greetings, all my dearest friends here. May this coming new year be a blessed and successful one — successful from the only point of view that really counts, which is finding your true self. The expression “finding of the real self” has been used so much that it has lost some of its meaning. This always happens when one uses an expression often, mechanically and unthinkingly. It is therefore necessary to contemplate deeply the real meaning of this word.

When you find your true self you inevitably find the true meaning of life; you begin to understand life in an entirely new way. Therefore you also begin to comprehend the outer life and death manifestation. When this is understood, nothing can frighten and faze you. You can only understand this when you perceive and experience the inner life processes and the laws of life emotionally. This, in turn, cannot be done in an abstract, general or philosophical way. It can only happen in an ultra-personal way, in a direct approach to yourself and your subjective reactions.

One of the great difficulties in life is the inevitable downward curve in all growth process. Life is growth, and growth is a continuum of movement that goes in a fluctuating line. Each down brings a new up; each up must bring a new down in order to go up again. There can be no upward movement unless there is first a downward one. Thus, there can be no life unless it has gone through a form of death. This rhythm prevails until the consciousness is no longer split within itself as a result of illusory dualism. The down movement — death — represents one side of the dualism, the upward movement — life — the other. Conciliation takes place when these movements are fully followed through, tasted, assimilated and accepted as a creation of the self. When one fears the down curve, struggles and fights against it, one fights against one’s own creative output and is thus at war with oneself. This means total lack of comprehension of the laws of life and the facts of creation within one’s own consciousness. Fear of the down curve means fear of change, thus you seek stagnation as a means of safety, as a means to avoid the apparent danger of moving into the self-produced curve. The curve can lead out of strife only when it is understood, accepted, and thus transcended.

The change of downward and upward curves manifests in millions of ways. The crassest one is the physical life and death curve. It is the most frightening only because the blind little self cannot see beyond the next curve, so that the whole view is concealed. Thus it appears to be an end — an end in death, at that, and not in life. In reality it is a part of a chain which ends in life without the down curve. Struggle against the perpetual change in movement only worsens the subjective experience. However, the fight and fright exist also in the less crass manifestations of this law of life. Take, for example, a journey, a change of domicile. People invariably experience depression when they terminate one phase of existence, although they may even look forward to the new beginning. Every new beginning presupposes the termination of the last phase, thus ending it, “dying it,” as it were. This applies to all levels of one’s being.

On the physical level this is obvious. Even though you are able to see the new beginning after the end of the old phase, you nevertheless stem against it. How much more so when the new beginning cannot be seen!  The identical law applies to inner growth and movement. The new life, the new beginning of a phase, can only follow the dying of the old, which is often painful. It means battling through the waste and mud of one’s misconceptions and destructiveness. You all know that and experience it again and again on your path. No new expansion can come unless it follows the downward movement of the spirit. Translated, this means dipping into the depths of one’s inner being. If pain resides in those depths, it must come out, otherwise it cannot be dissolved. The pain obstructs the light and must therefore be dug out.

The identical movement exists in breathing, as I explained before. This is the breathing of the spirit, the breathing of the universe, as it applies to each individual life manifestation.

When you look at your life and your moods, see your bad moods as the downward curve that presages the next upward curve. Make the best of both by tuning into the next upward curve. Make the best of both by tuning into the subliminal intelligence that is always perceivable when it is truly desired. Then you will not stem against the downward curve and thus delay the coming through into the upper movement of your spiritual breathing and growing. You will embrace it by fully accepting it, by fully being in it and with it. There can be no more constructive and effective way of doing this than to seek to understand the personal meaning of your down curve, to approach it as your own creation and to try to reach far enough into your own depths, asking:  “What did I create and what does it mean?’

What does your life mean in terms of the inner laws and inner life processes?  What does your unfulfilled longing mean in these terms?  What do your frustrations mean?  Needless to say, all of these can only be fully tackled when you first admit to yourself the unfulfilled longings, your discontent, your hurts and fears, your real desires. Once this is done, squarely and honestly, you can begin to seek an understanding of why they exist and why the desires are not fulfilled. Their very existence in your life is as much a creation of yours as a masterpiece, an accomplishment of any other admitted creative act. The only difference is that the one you create consciously and deliberately, the other unconsciously and inadvertently. So you must seek to understand the negative creation as your own product. Unless you do this you cannot undo the negative creation, nor can you ever find the glory of life and its riches, constantly at your disposal.

Not seeing that the negative creations are your own product makes you inevitably rebel against them. Thus you find yourself in the peculiar position of quarreling with yourself. What one hand produces the other denies and fights, not realizing what is happening. You thus quarrel with fate, with life, with all the good that could work for you if you were only ready to take your blinders off.

Typically, in this state of rebellion you blame someone or something else. When you do so you are not connected with the causes and processes within the self — and that is the root of all suffering. No matter how many times, and in what different words I say so, this is still not fully observed by any of my friends working on this path. Almost all of you still overlook how many times you feel unhappy and only vaguely face your unhappiness. Therefore you are unable to connect it with yourself. Even when you do know that you are unhappy, and even when you have faced the exact reasons for it, you still rebel against it as though it were produced by something other than you. Hence, you are still alienated from your own powers of creation, in spite of having faced up to your feelings. The magnificent creative process, constantly at work within yourself, often reveals itself first in its negative manifestation.

Even when you believe in the creative powers, in their unlimited possibilities, you still imagine them coming as a special reward after you have overcome your blindness, disconnectedness, and difficulties. You must become a “finished product,” as it were, before you can partake of the universal creative powers. This is the vague belief most people have and it is a distortion of reality. The very unhappiness you suffer from is as much a creative output as the creation of the good you dream about. As long as this is not wholly understood, it is quite impossible to partake of creating, to mold one’s fate, to feel safe and at peace with the world.

You see, my friends, the creative power at work within yourself is so immense, so constantly operative, that you cannot have any notion of it so far. It operates according to the state of your consciousness. This includes, of course, the conscious and unconscious mind — your total being. What you have, or do not have, is a direct creation of all you think, all you feel, all you want. You may not want it wisely, and you certainly may not want it consciously, but unconsciously you do want it. When this is fully perceived, the law of life, the law of creation within you, will be understood. The tremendous power at your disposal will begin to be vaguely sensed.

It is a magnificent power. Do not permit it to work inadvertently, arbitrarily, haphazardly by your unwise, destructive and sloppy thinking processes, your fears, your misconceptions, your ignorance — in short, by allowing so much material to remain unconscious and thus disconnected from you. If you do, destructive processes will determine the creation of yourself and your life to the exact degree they exist. Again and again, you react as though your unconscious did not exist. You are aware of desiring something. It still does not occur to you that your own unconscious must work in the opposite direction from this desire, if the desire remains unfulfilled. You do not search within for the reason of the unfulfillment. You do not see your state as a product, or creation, of yourselves.

Seek the forms within your own powerful soul substance that bring you everything you have and everything you do not have. The separation between your conscious and unconscious mind is your greatest enemy. The moment the separation is eliminated you are no longer governed by inner forces you do not know and therefore fear. Yet, your greatest fear and resistance is the elimination of this separating wall. You struggle so fiercely against it. This is such folly, for only in this separation are you helpless. And only in this separation are you practically forced to ascribe your unhappiness to dark powers that seem to have nothing to do with you. Thus you fear the world, as well as your own inner being. Because you fear your own inner being, you do not want to look at it. Because you do not want to look at it, you separate yourself from it, and it therefore seems as if it needed to be feared. Not wanting to look at it logically results in lack of awareness, lack of knowing what is going on, not only about one’s inadvertent destructiveness, but also about the creative power that could work for, not against you. This is one of the important vicious circles you stubbornly refuse to change into a benign one.

The creative power within is not only constructive, benign, good and wise. It is also destructive, vicious, evil and stupid. This does not make it any less divine as far as its origin and essence are concerned. It is just as much error, misconception and evil wishes as it is truth, reality and love. It is so in its present manifestation due to the entity’s temporary state of mind. It is not inherently so. The power works eternally, neutrally and unquestioningly, according to the entity’s consciousness and direction.

The creative power expresses through you according to what you are at any given moment. It penetrates your entire being and is molded by all you are, by what and how you breathe in and out, by all you think, feel, will and desire. It is an expression of all your attitudes, the crassest and most obvious as well as the most subtle and concealed. All this is so powerfully creative that dynamite and atomic energy are nothing in comparison. These physical energies create a single impact, a tremendous physical effect. The energy of life is a constantly working, powerfully imprinting, molding, directing, dynamic force. You use it whether you know it or not. Each thought, each desire, each hidden fear, each shrinking away from experience is using it.

A path such as this primarily aims at the realization of this truth, the understanding of this fact of life, and the elimination of the separating wall between the conscious and unconscious mind.

You must not imagine that the conscious and unconscious are two different minds. They are one and the same. They only appear as different when the unconscious part is first discovered. It appears then to be a creature completely unconnected from conscious aims and desires. Only little by little, when these two parts of the individual unite, does it become obvious that they have been one all along and were split asunder artificially. One part was then “forgotten,” its existence denied.

It is the same as far as the universal mind is concerned. Human consciousness is not separate from universal consciousness. In fact, there is no distinct borderline to delineate the difference. As with the conscious and unconscious of the personality, so with individual and universal consciousness. This applies both to the aware and unaware parts of it. It is impossible to determine where individual consciousness ends and universal consciousness begins. Your own immediate conscious mind, right now at your disposal, is the fringe of the vast universal mind. To express the thought that humanity is connected with the universal mind does not properly convey the truth, for this might imply that two different things are connected. This is misleading, for the two are not different in nature, essence, or origin. They are the same. As with conscious and unconscious, the human and the universal mind are merely separated by lack of awareness.

The conscious mind you express in your daily living is separated from the vast whole, the universal mind, only by an illusory belief that you are separate. You do not possess an aspect of this universal mind, you are not even a separated part of it. You are it.

What is now unconscious was conscious at one time. That one part of you became unconscious, is not something that happened to you. It is something you made. You made it unconscious, as you still continue to make material unconscious — daily. This applies even to material you have known before this life. Even that is but “momentarily forgotten” because you thought it more expedient to forget it. No matter how unaware you are of what goes on within, when you find it, it is nothing more or less than a rediscovery. It usually even feels as though one had known it all along. This applies as much to repressed psychological material from this life as to great metaphysical truths. All knowledge in the universe is essentially in you. Your consciousness has separated itself from this knowing and has therefore “forgotten.”  This is true for the erroneous, destructive part as well as for the universal mind. You are a manifestation of the latter.

When the separation vanishes, the illusion vanishes as well — namely that you are a separate being. Your fear of giving up this illusion is so tragic because you believe only in this illusory, separate state as being real, as having identity. You believe that you lose your identity, thus your very life, when you lose your separation. This is totally false. The separation must vanish. The separation exists due to innumerable errors, which in the course of such a path you begin to discover and uncover.

The main error in this separated state is dualism — all either/or. We have talked about many dualistic aspects, many false alternatives human beings belabor and suffer from. You get more and more lost in a trap because you think you must make a choice between dualistic — therefore erroneous — alternatives, based on completely false premises. I have discussed many of them and you, in your individual pathwork, have found many more than we can discuss here.

Tonight I shall discuss a specific, extremely important, and very fundamental dualism — based, as usual, on erroneous concepts. This particular duality is universal. In one way or another it applies to some degree to all human beings. It is the following:  pleasure versus goodness. The word “pleasure” includes all personal happiness, fulfillment, gratification on all levels, self-interest, self-assertion. In this duality, all these contradict goodness and unselfishness and must therefore be sacrificed. The opposite facet of this same duality is self-deprivation for the sake of decency, honesty, morality:  “You must be good, or else!”  Goodness and unselfishness then mean renunciation of bliss.

The harmfulness of the misconception of this duality is impossible to fully grasp unless one contemplates its ramifications very carefully. Sacrificing pleasure includes everything. Since life is pleasure, life itself is thus renounced. Since health is not possible without allowing the life force with all its pleasurable effects to surge through the system, ill health is a result of this duality. Intense physical pleasure is a legitimate need and legitimate longing because it is part of the universal law of life. Selfhood, autonomy, self-assertion are aspects of maturity and self-responsibility. They are intensely pleasurable and must also be forsaken when pleasure is supposed to be wrong and therefore denied. Thus the individual remains in a painful state of dependency and lack of identity, of weakness and helplessness, because he or she feels remotely as though this were the more “decent’ and “unselfish” way to be. The other seems to be too “aggressive,” vigorous, forbidden. Hence, the spiritual pleasure of knowing the power within and one’s own potentials to create destiny must also be forsaken in this duality. It, too, seems too pleasurable, too presumptuous, not meek enough. All these delights are abandoned in the distorted belief that they are wrong. People believe that if they assert themselves in such a way, if they arrogate to themselves powers — powers that were actually theirs to begin with — they are “selfish and sinful.”  Yet only because they are really selfish and sinful in other respects — and not because of their need for selfhood and ecstasy — must they believe this falsity. Believing the falsity, they can not shed the real selfishness, greed and cruelty.

The moment you truly understand your freedom and your power, you do not need to be selfish, cruel and greedy. At that point, there is no false alternative, no split, or choice to be made between pleasure and goodness. But as long as you believe that in order to be good you must renounce pleasure, you must fluctuate between these two alternatives. You cannot possibly commit yourself wholeheartedly to either course. It is impossible for you to find peace while this choice seems to be imposed on you. Therefore you are both selfish and pleasure-denying. The more you feel compelled to deny yourself pleasure, the more selfish you must become in order to blindly fill the void. The more selfish you become, the more you must punish yourself for the selfishness and convince yourself that you do not deserve pleasure.

The delight of loving, the delight that life is in its very essence, must remain concealed as long as this duality exists. You chafe under those impossible alternatives as long as you think — even if only in your secret self-evaluation — that you must choose between giving up your hope for complete fulfillment for the sake of decency and goodness, or having to bear the burden of badness for the sake of tasting some of the delights life offers and intrinsically is.

This is a very deep duality. When you look closely within yourself you will find that you are influenced by it to a greater extent than you may believe. This duality does not merely come from personal influences in an individual’s early surroundings. They existed, of course, but only because this is such a general, universal distortion. The destructive part of the universal consciousness is deeply imprinted with this duality, is imbued with its false divisions.

When you come to the point where you deeply experience the original unity of life in this respect, you discover the tremendous truth that there is no such choice to be made. Then you can reach for every possible delight, pleasure, fulfillment, gratification, ecstasy, and be, at the same time, a totally generous, giving, self-surrendering person. In fact, self-surrender and giving are not only not depriving — as one fears when one still lives in duality — they are enriching. You may already accept this in theory, but when the emotional awakening comes, it is world-shaking. It is as though you have shed the burden of unnecessary shackles and discovered the great freedom of the world — of growing, being, reaching out and experiencing life. Then nothing stands in the way any longer of growing and continuing to grow in strength and integrity, in love and wisdom, in power to create, in awareness of things as they really are, in the ability to experience pleasure supreme.

My friends, you may be surprised at the expression “the destructive part of the universal consciousness,” for it is usually assumed that the universal consciousness is only constructive. Here again, arbitrary divisions are made that do not exist. As you have a personal constructive and destructive unconscious, so it is with the consciousness of this earth sphere, of every nation, of every city, of every group. Just as with the individual, this consciousness is partly constructive, partly destructive; what is contained in it is partly aware, partly not. Just as individuals are an expression of the divine and can manifest the unified power and goodness of it when they reach into their depths — transcending the waking, conscious mind as well as the destructive unconscious — so can group consciousness. Larger bodies of people whose combined creative life substance forms one unit can also accomplish such a change.

The more individuals dissolve their destructive conscious and unconscious processes and transcend them by reaching into the unified divine depths, the more the world consciousness must change. Thus each individual contributes much more to the shape of the world by his or her own development and growth than he or she can possibly appreciate. There is no other salvation than the discovery of the ground of one’s own being which is so alive, so powerful, so full of potentials and possibilities — infinite in good, infinite in abundance. If the ego-intelligence can accept this as a possibility and work with it by deliberately activating this power, the in-between layer of error, destruction and suffering will give way much faster than otherwise. Little by little you will see that the substance is all the same, it is all essentially identical life stuff. There is a parallel between the discovery of the self, consisting of an apparently quite separate destructive, self-willed part and a still more hidden infinite divine power — both being essentially of the same life substance as the conscious mind — and the discovery of the unity of pleasure and personal goodness.

Are there any questions about this topic?

QUESTION:  I have a personal question which might very well pertain to this topic. It includes two things that I would like you to comment on. First, I have been in a highly energized state lately, which seems to be related to my job. It has prevented me from sleep and forced me to resort again to taking tranquilizers. Second, I will see a person very soon whom I have been close to in the past. I am extremely frightened and ambivalent about this person and feel that I can’t remain in control when in this person’s presence. I think the sexual terror I have is very strong in this situation.

ANSWER:  Yes, this indeed pertains very much to the topic of this lecture. Both these facets are connected with one another, they are interdependent. Your highly energized state is a direct result of displacing the natural sexual force. It has no way of finding expression in pleasure, which is what it is meant to do. The deprivation of pleasure renders you ill to some degree. The fact that you forbid yourself on all levels the intense pleasure you are meant to experience — out of false fears and ideas — creates an energy you cannot properly assimilate. There must be a perpetual turnover of energy in a healthily functioning person. This cannot take place when the destiny of the pleasure current is willfully and artificially stopped. Pleasure comes about when the stream of energy is followed. It leads to loving, giving and receiving, uniting, opening up to the forces of life. It leads to the innermost self with all its powers, as well as to another person with whom one shares these delights. When this is followed through, the human system functions well. Every energy unit has its own metabolism, its own rhythm or turnover.

The fright of meeting this person is due to the energy of the pleasure principle in you being strongly activated. Thus your misconception that union with the other sex, and the pleasures of this union, are bad and dangerous comes to the surface more directly. This is good, for it permits you to look at it, to see it in action, to see its power within your consciousness, and to convince yourself how preposterous this fear is. That experience can be made into a further stepping stone of growth for you if you understand what happens to you.

Even in your work situation the problem is essentially the same. This is a new experience for you. It is a good experience in that it shows you have mastered a handicap. It shows you are coping successfully with reality to a much greater degree than ever before. It shows you can take and accept certain aspects of life you had never been willing to take and accept before. You not only do good work as such, but you have overcome blocks and difficulties within yourself. Only a short time ago they seemed insurmountable.

Your personal strength and goodwill have led you to this growth, which must be experienced as pleasurable. Finding out one’s strength, resources, abilities, resiliency, and any asset you can name, is pleasure. It could be experienced as a knowledge of one’s infinite possibilities for good, as shrugging off an unnecessary confining straightjacket. Yet you deny yourself this pleasure — the pleasure of your own accomplishment — as you deny yourself all pleasure. It is as though there were a film between you and experience, a thick, glazed film, like a plastic wall. This wall separates you from the ability to be touched by experience. This does not apply only to you, of course. Growth means, among other aspects, the gradual thinning and eventual dissolution of this film, so that you experience directly. The meaning of this is profound, for as long as you shrink back from direct, naked experience, you must be in trouble with yourself. You must be weak, dependent, afraid and, above all, deprived. The more one sheds misconceptions and wakes up to life, the thinner this film becomes, and the more directly one experiences life. The thicker the film is, the more aware you should become:  “Here I am, behind a transparent glazed wall, and through it, outside, I see experience, but it does not touch me.”

Whenever experience does touch you, you shrink back from it in fright. The fright is caused by a wrong conclusion. Experience of pleasure, as well as of unpleasure, cannot ever harm you, unless you believe it will harm you. The harm comes exclusively from defending yourself against experience, by closing yourself up. The anxiety you experience is exclusively a result of fearing pleasure, as well as unpleasure — fearing to be touched by experience and therefore building a defensive wall against it.

In order to come out of this state, you have to recognize that your unconscious is not yet as willing as your conscious mind. Accept this for the moment, for this is the prerequisite for influencing it. Deal with your resisting unconscious in an intelligent way. Speak to it in a relaxed manner. Say to it:  “I am wrong in fearing experience. Nothing bad can happen to me if I have pleasure, or if I am hurt or disappointed. These are illusory fears. I do want the resiliency that is essentially mine. I do call upon powers deeper within me than the false fears and ideas. I no longer wish to reject experience. My fear of so-called good or bad happenings is based on illusion.”  Thus you will learn, little by little, to let yourself experience whatever comes your way. Let it come to you; do not ward it off.

May you all gain more truthful understanding of the glory of life, which will make you recognize more and more that there is nothing to fear, absolutely nothing. Your fear is illusion. Fear and illusion are synonymous, as life and pleasure are. Be blessed, be in God!