Man and Woman

Pathwork Guide Lecture No. 62 | April 01, 1960

In this lecture there are one or more comments on homosexuality. The Guide’s words on homosexuality have been a source of controversy in the Pathwork community. These words can cause pain, especially given one’s sexual orientation and experience of historic and present-day bias. We remind everyone that on this topic, as on all topics, the Guide invites us to find our own inner authority (IPF Board of Trustees September 2022).

Greetings, my dearest friends. Blessed is this evening; blessings for each one of you.

The original spirit as first created was male and female in one. When the development of all the fallen beings will have been completed, male and female shall be one again. As one of the byproducts of the Fall, the original being separated and split. I have stated this before at various times. The lower the development of the entities that have been involved in the fall, the more the original being is now split into a greater number of separate parts. The development of humanity has reached a stage where the split is twofold. It manifests in the existence of the two sexes: man and woman.

The aim of development is to find the way back into the original unity, or oneness. On the earth plane, one particular aspect of development is union between man and woman. The mating of the sexes has therefore a deeper meaning than merely procreation. In the relationship between the sexes so much can be overcome, so much can be learned; development can proceed so much better than in any other way. Love, kindled by eros and the sex impulse, can flower more easily than in other relationships — and love is always the ultimate aim!  But the relationship between the sexes also offers more hurdles and friction than any other relationship because personal emotions are more involved. Therefore objectivity and detachment are lacking to a greater degree than in other human relationships. Hence, marriage is on the one hand the most difficult of all relationships, but on the other, the most fruitful, the most important, and the most blissful one.

Ever since the human race appeared on earth, certain misconceptions and mass images about the man-woman relationship came into existence as well. Superficially, there seems to be a great difference between man and woman. However, in reality the difference is not half as great as you think. For each man carries inside his soul the female side of his nature as each woman carries the male side of hers. It is as though they each contained within themselves a facsimile or imprint of their other halves living somewhere in the universe. However, this imprint is not merely a picture reproduction; it is a living and real part of the nature of each one’s personality. This hidden part is somewhat like the other side of the coin. Now you must not imagine that the male part in the female and the female part in the male is exactly hidden, while the other half is open. Picture a disc which tilts occasionally more to one side, and then to the other, and you will get nearer to the truth.

The live imprint of the other half in each soul accounts for the constant longing and searching for union, for companionship, and love with the other sex. It is also the origin of the sex drive as such. This live imprint of one’s other half also accounts for supposed male trends in the female and supposed female trends in the male. The more flexible this disc is, the more these opposite trends manifest. The more rigid it is, the less they manifest. This, however, does not mean that these trends do not exist. The healthier a soul is, and the less influenced by mass-images in this respect, the more its opposite qualities will unfold in a healthy and constructive way, harmonizing rather than conflicting with the accepted typical trends of the sex in question.

One of the most stubbornly maintained mass images is about manliness and womanliness. A man is supposed to be strong and a woman weak. A man is supposed to be intellectual and creative; a woman is supposed to be less intelligent and more emotional than a man. A man is not supposed to be intuitive and sensitive, while a woman is. A man is supposed to be active, a woman passive. These concepts and many more variations of them have existed from the beginning of humanity. There were times in certain cultures where the scale swung strongly to the opposite extreme, as it happens today with some aspects, but all extremes come out of rebellion and misunderstanding and must therefore be equally unhealthy and false. They must also lead back to the old alternative against which one has rebelled. It is only a question of time. The truth is that all these supposedly male or female trends exist in each person, and have a right to exist. They do not diminish your manhood or womanhood:  quite the contrary.

Broadly speaking, the effect of these mass images is twofold. In the first place, men and women suppress their opposite trends, feeling guilty and inadequate about them. Needless to say that this is extremely harmful. Secondly, these mass images have resulted in a deliberate overemphasis on the allowed trends fitting the sex in question.

For centuries and centuries man has developed and nursed his physical prowess and his intellectual capacity — his active side. At the same time he has deliberately suppressed and discouraged the unfoldment of his emotional and intuitive nature. With woman, it was the reverse. The effect was, and is, very unfortunate for humanity as a whole. In the individual personality a state of imbalance and disharmony is engendered, and a burden of guilt and inadequacy is added to it. In society, technical advancement and overemphasis on science and intellect are the outcome of the man’s world, with a corresponding neglect of soul qualities, to name but one important aspect. Wars, revolutions, and mismanagement of the world’s riches are the obvious result. No outer measure, regardless of how clever, will remedy the world situation until and unless a balance of these forces is established in individual souls. Not until it is recognized that both sides of the human personality have to be equally developed and understood, will you find peace and some justice on this earth plane.

Woman was long forced to suppress her intelligence and creativity that could be all the more constructive when permeated with her intuitive power and her emotional side, the soul qualities of her nature. Whenever she sensed in herself these forbidden qualities of intelligence and creativity, she was quick to suppress them out of guilt. She was also thereby guarding her own interests, or so she believed. She feared that open acknowledgement of these traits would cost her the man’s love. This went on for so long and in so many crass ways that she ultimately rebelled. This rebellion became known as “emancipation.”

Nothing healthy and constructive can unfold out of rebellion, at least not in the long run. Rebellion is revolution, and revolution is always opposed to evolution which is real growth. Real growth is a slow unfoldment based on profound understanding of the self and the issue in question. Rebellion or revolution always hides an unrecognized anger at the self projected on the outside world. Hence, the change brought about by revolution or rebellion ignores something very vital about the self, and this ignorance prohibits healthy growth.

Emancipation, apart from some healthy aspects where true growth was involved, was based largely on rebellion. Therefore it has not been really successful. Since then, woman’s efforts to assert her equality with man have often actually diminished her womanhood so that the upholders of the mass image seem to be correct. But they only appear to be correct because an extreme, like the mass image, is never the solution. The opposite extreme, being a result of rebellion and revolution, ultimately will lead back to the distortions of the first wrong extreme. Rebellion and resentment cease automatically once the personal inner issue is completely understood.

However, the inner message woman received at this time in history was to unfold her dormant qualities which she had wrongly suppressed for centuries and centuries. Only she did not understand the message properly. She followed through, but because she misunderstood the message as meaning rebellion, the outcome was not entirely successful. The so-called emancipation often made woman actually less of a woman, instead of making her more so by unfolding her intelligence, strength, activity, and creativity — without rebellion.

Something similar happened to man. He too received an inner message. He did not follow it through as vigorously as woman, for he had less reason to do so. His position was better suited to satisfy the demands of the universal rulership principle of the infant in the human personality. Yet the cosmic current sweeping the earth plane, which always tries to harmonize and establish balance, also touched man. He was swept into it, but half-heartedly and again without understanding what it was all about. For centuries, man has developed one-sidedly, emphasizing his intellect, his resourcefulness, his physical strength, but thwarting his emotional and intuitive nature. Since the latter is an essential prerequisite for true inner strength, man has weakened himself at the core. By denying in himself that which he erroneously had thought to be unmanly and feminine, he became less of a man instead of more of a man. You can observe this today in many ways. It is often noted that women are emotionally stronger than men. There is some truth in this, for which I have now given you the explanation.

So it is quite true that man and woman are moving in the right direction, the direction of harmonization, of unfolding the hidden and heretofore forbidden side in each. But this aim is mostly unclear, only vaguely felt, and even less understood. It often mingles with personal distortions. People often use the good aim as a screen to hide and foster erroneous motives. In woman it often serves to encourage her aggression and hostility; in man, his weakness and dependence. When healthy motives are muddled with unhealthy ones and one does not recognize this fact, the outcome must always be doubtful. You know this from your personal work; it is no different in these universal trends.

The increasing occurrence of homosexuality in both sexes is another aspect of the wrong approach which misunderstands the message of the soul to unfold the being’s total nature, to develop his or her other side.

All healthy and strong soul currents, all inner and outer conduct according to the universal spiritual laws of love, truth, and justice are known to humanity in essence and principle. The direction of the spirit is always given to each individual. The individual often follows that direction, but misunderstands the necessary procedure of first finding all within that deviates from the right principle. One vaguely feels one’s inner deviations and tries to superimpose the right way. This cannot work. If attempted, one will be driven by rebellion and compulsion, no matter how right one’s conscious motivations may be. This will cause the development to move into a wrong channel, and the result will be a masquerade.

It is true that aggressive and hostile strength and activity in a woman will diminish her womanhood. But so does the suppression of her healthy strength, of her activity, and of her true creative powers. It is true that softness in a man, based on his immature dependency, makes him weak and therefore less of a man. But the same thing happens if these reactions are hidden under a superimposed parody of manhood. In another sense this weakens him even more. The goal must be the slow unfoldment of undistorted qualities which are really needed at this time, bringing them into harmony with the rest of the personality. If man develops those qualities in him which are generally looked upon as being feminine, he will become more of a man, provided this development takes place without encouraging sick weakness and dependency. If woman develops those qualities in her which are generally looked upon as being masculine, she will become more of a woman, provided she does not use aggression, hostility, and rebellion as the supposedly male qualities she wants to further.

The differences between man and woman are not as great as you think, not even anatomically. They can be seen as the negative of a photograph compared with the positive. What is black in one, is white in the other, and vice versa.

Freeing yourself of extreme mass images and misconceptions which, by the way, are always based on your personal images, is the only way to bring your whole nature into focus and harmony. This alone will enable you to find unity on this earth to the fullest extent possible. This alone will enable you to have a successful relationship with the other sex and to make the marriage venture meaningful and satisfying.

So much help and counseling is being offered in your time on this subject. Most of the help and advice is rather superficial because the basic realities are ignored or not fully taken into consideration. The better you understand the spiritual meaning of being a man or a woman, the more you have a chance to understand and thus to solve your own problems.

It is no wonder that marriage is such a difficult venture and so often only half-successful. In truth, you cannot find union if each partner not only continues to develop one-sidedly, but encourages this in the other as well. Nor can you if the side that should be brought out and developed harmoniously is used as a weapon. Whether this weapon serves to cover either weakness and dependency in the man or rebellion and aggression in the woman, the two partners cannot truly meet.

It is not true that man is active and that woman is passive by nature, but both manifest different aspects of activity and passivity. The woman’s activity should enliven and make vibrant her passivity in the true and good sense. Her activity will prevent her passivity from becoming stagnant or stale, will keep it fluid, flowing in perpetual movement as all truly spiritual qualities must be. Man’s active currents should bring his passivity to the fore, preventing the active current from becoming too aggressive, rounding and mellowing it, taking the edges off it and slowing down the abrupt and too quick motion of the overactive current. From an overall view, the same thing happens to both men and women, only in each case the opposite side is turned inside out, so to speak.

The same holds true of other supposedly male and female aspects. I will touch upon this only briefly, to give you some food for thought and to urge you to continue these deliberations by yourselves. Without the soul qualities of love, kindness, and intuition that open the road to understanding, intelligence and reason are as nothing and will bring no really constructive result in any area whatsoever. On the other hand, love, kindness, and intuition, if not kindled by discrimination, which is the result of reason and intelligence, will easily be lost in wrong channels and finally become destructive — even self-destructive. Much more could be said about the necessity of welding the supposedly male and female qualities. One without the other will always result in an unhealthy exaggeration, in a stalemate, in something harmful. Only both together make a harmonious whole in the individual entity, ready to join another individual in an ideal union.

As humanity stands today in its overall development, the venture of marriage is a very difficult one. This is due in part to the conditions I have just discussed, and also to the individual’s personal inner conflicts. It will take hundreds and hundreds of years before humanity will have reached the point where most marriages will be truly successful. Nevertheless, there is all the more reason for trying marriage now and making the best of it, and for learning from it — for there is so much in marriage.

Union cannot and should not be forced. A conscious desire should not be enforced because of my words, while unconscious fears and blocks are still unrecognized and unsolved. Forcing will not bring a happy solution. But in your self-development, wherever you stand in this respect, you can investigate your particular difficulties and try to keep in mind how the influence of these general misconceptions and mass images sustain and strengthen your personal images and wrong conclusions. Many wrong conclusions are also partly derived from mass images firmly engraved in many an individual personality. Take the mass image that love is weakening and dangerous. Such an unconscious concept will affect marriage more adversely than any other human relationship.

Some of the things I have said are already quite evident and do not seem new. Other things I mentioned may be difficult to understand. But if you use your imagination to meditate upon this subject, you will feel the truth and that is a lot. It will be much more than the flat understanding of the intellect alone.

I have touched upon this vast subject only in the broadest outlines tonight. Many aspects will be discussed in the future. You will then see that all details that we may consider later are contained in the points mentioned tonight. We will merely elaborate upon and connect them. We will close the circle between personal and mass images. This will also have to be done in your personal work. Let this lecture be a rough sketch of the picture we shall slowly complete together.

It would be particularly constructive to devote more time to discussions and questions on tonight’s subject. Let us hope that my words will help you to actively participate in such a mutual exchange.

QUESTION:  Could you elaborate on what exactly is meant by union?  Just what does it entail?

ANSWER:  The concept of union can be discussed on two levels as far as our subject is concerned. I do not speak now of union with God. In the highest sense, union is the melting and fusing together of two beings who were split. It occurs when two beings become one entity again. Union on this earth sphere between a man and a woman strives for the same end and attempts to achieve it to some degree inwardly. In rare moments it can happen. But all the layers of ignorance and fear soon erect a separating wall again. The aim of development as such is to destroy these separating walls, whether they stand between human beings and God, between humanity and spiritual truth and reality, between people, or between man and woman. Love is the only key to eliminate this wall. With love, understanding is open. And with understanding, oneness or union can be achieved. But love cannot be forced. Love can only be gained by removing all blocks and errors in the human soul. Ego-importance and preoccupation are directly opposed to love. But before the little ego can be removed, it has to be recognized in all its facets; it has to be allowed to come to the surface. Then, and then only, can the true personality evolve which no longer needs what the little ego seemed to need. Then love can truly unfold, and bring about union.

This holds true for all human relationships. In marriage, the love between two people makes the attainment of union easier than in other relationships such as friendship for instance. It is easier because it is nourished by eros and the sex impulse. Without these elements the separation is more difficult to overcome. Frictions cannot be smoothed over as easily as they are when eros is present as a bridge to love.*  On the other hand, a more casual relationship has less of a chance to bring out frictions, therefore in that sense it is easier to maintain. We might sum up by saying that marriage would be practically unfeasible for the human race if it did not have the help of eros and the sex drive. The maintenance of these toward the partner is therefore a goal in itself in marriage. In the simplest terms, union is finding the other on as many levels as possible. There is much more to it than merely understanding the other, being in tune with him or her. It is a blending of two people’s physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual natures. It can be done if both have the will and the understanding.

What holds true for all human relationships certainly holds true even more in marriage. Each friction and misunderstanding, no matter how flagrantly wrong one person may be, is an indication of something distorted or ignorant in the self. In the ideal marriage this would always be kept in view and both partners would search for that element in themselves. They would then find that the other reacted, perhaps at times with undue vigor, to this one little part that is blurred, so to speak. The disharmonious part in one reacts automatically to the disharmonious part in the other. The two disharmonious parts are not always of equal strength, but that does not matter. If this key to marriage could be found, a real tuning-in could be accomplished. The tuning-in would further self-development, and at the same time it would furnish more keys for tuning into one another. In this way, true union is successfully attempted.

QUESTION:  A few of us discussed why it is so difficult for men to communicate when there is an emotional problem between two partners. Women try to talk it over and men evade it. Is that the shame of the emotional side?

ANSWER:  Yes, that is one reason. It is certainly connected with that. Man shies away from emotions. He is afraid of them, partly due to the rather frequent misconception I mentioned before, namely, that emotions are dangerous and if one cannot avoid them, one must somehow keep them a secret, at least when they produce negative results. Misunderstandings are negative results, therefore they remind man of his wrong conclusion that emotions must be hidden. They are also due to mass images which claim that it is beneath a man’s dignity to enter into intellectual discussions with a woman who is supposed to be his inferior. He might discuss a neutral topic, but when personal guilts and inadequacies enter into the picture, which is inevitable in disagreements or quarrels, man is afraid he may not be able to cope with the woman and thereby fears he will jeopardize his masculinity. Since it is woman’s nature to dwell on emotional subjects, on anything personal, she is prepared, conditioned, and often better versed in this respect than the man. Thus, man is afraid of losing. It appears to him that he not only loses the argument, but also a part of his masculine dignity. Just because he has neglected to strengthen his emotional nature, he is afraid and guilty of the weakness he senses in himself.

On the other hand, the woman may suppress and hide her aggression, hostility, and resentment for the man behind the facade of a reasonable discussion, the conscious aim of which is supposed to straighten out disagreements. It is very possible that the positive motive exists to a stronger degree than the negative one mentioned here, but the negative one will suffice to affect the corresponding subconscious layer of the man. This makes him react most negatively to something that was meant merely constructively, at least in the conscious mind of the woman.

QUESTION:  But since this kind of discussion is almost a hindrance to union, could you perhaps help us as to how we should go about it?

ANSWER:  Do not force it. The way you can go about it is not by convincing the other. Development and solution of problems can rarely happen that way, but rather by searching in yourselves for that which attracts a negative response. On this path you have had such experiences already, even though the obvious wrong was on the other side, even though you never thought it possible that anything could be amiss with yourself, even though your rationalizations were most convincing and true. The more often you succeed in such recognition, the nearer you are to the solution of all your inner and outer problems. If you find your hidden emotions, you will understand why other people respond negatively to something that you were convinced did not contain any but the purest motives. What I said before about marriage in this respect holds true at all times and for all instances.

QUESTION:  Am I to understand that a woman should show signs of weakness so as to make the man strong?

ANSWER:  No. Quite the contrary. When you reread this lecture, you will see that this was not implied at all. She should show her real strength and not be afraid of it. Then she will be able to use it constructively instead of compulsively seeking to hide it, or using it destructively out of an inner rebellion that is not fully understood. Only in this way can she also help man to unfold his real strength. If she were to make herself weak out of diplomacy or flattery, it would be an enforced and ungenuine reaction. Nothing ungenuine and manipulative could ever be truly beneficial. It would only affect an unhealthy, superimposed, and equally ungenuine layer of the man in question.

QUESTION:  But if a man doesn’t communicate with a woman out of cowardice, what would be the corresponding feature to look for in the woman?

ANSWER:  You cannot generalize that. It might be one of so many alternatives. You can never make a general statement of this sort. That could be very dangerous and misleading. It can only be found by individual work. It could perhaps correspond to an overactivity in the woman, a mischaneled activity that was not allowed to develop freely. It could also correspond to a different kind of cowardice on another level in the woman in question. It could be any of a number of factors. It might not only be one factor, but a combination of many.

QUESTION:  What is the reason we have two kinds of hormones?

ANSWER:  The male and female hormones are a physical aspect of this entire subject. In fact, both sexes have both hormones. A woman could not live without male hormones and a man without female hormones. This physical manifestation is a proof of both aspects existing in both sexes. It is the outer symbol. It is only a question of the proper balance and distribution.

I might add here that the general impression existed for a long time that only woman goes through certain cycles in life:  the cycles of menstruation and the change of life. Man goes through similar cycles, only they do not manifest in the same way. When human beings become more advanced along these lines, these cycles and the principles by which they work will be discovered in man. In order to find them, psychological progress has to keep in step with the spiritual and metaphysical progress. Each man will then be able to find his own cycle which works individually, rather than by set biological rules as in woman. This will be a very useful recognition. Man’s cycle changes according to the individual. It might be compared to the principle of an astrological chart that has been made for each individual separately. The man’s individual cycle is thus similar in principle to a horoscope. The rhythm of these individual cycles has a great significance in a man’s life.

By the same token, it is not only woman who gives birth. Woman gives birth physically, while man can give birth in soul, so to speak. The same laws governing physical birth hold true for spiritual birth. According to the health of his soul, the births will be healthy or abortive.

QUESTION:  What exactly is meant by man giving spiritual birth?

ANSWER:  Man in his real creative self can give birth to beautiful and constructive ideas which can become useful and workable in all realms, not only in the physical realm. Ideas and thoughts are alive. You have often heard these words expressed, but you take them as a figure of speech. In reality the process of the birth of an idea takes place according to the same principles as physical birth.

Since woman is also creative, she too can give spiritual birth — and she does. It is only the female side in an entity’s nature which is capable of giving birth. In woman, the female side is mostly turned outward on the “disc,” so that physical birth manifests. However, this does not prevent her from also giving mental and spiritual birth at other times, when this face of the disc may tilt inward. Man, on the other hand, has the female, birth-giving side of his nature turned inward at all times. It is almost impossible to find the right words to explain these things to you, but this information may open new vistas for you to broaden your understanding and perception, even though my words are limited and may often appear oversimplified.

I retire again, my dearest ones, with blessings and love, with light and strength for each one of you:  those of you who are here and you who are far away and read my words. Continue on your path and it will free you forevermore. It will liberate you from your self-inflicted prison. Be in peace, be in God.

*  See lecture #44, The Forces of Love, Eros and Sex