Questions and Answers

Pathwork Guide Lecture No. 54 | March 27, 1959

Greetings in the Name of God. I bring you blessings, my dearest friends, blessed is this hour. We have planned a Question and Answer session for tonight, but first I have something to say to you, my friends. Just now, in this symbolic time, two new groups have formed, and I would like to say a few words on that subject. Even those who do not participate in group work may derive some benefit from my words.

God’s world is with this endeavor of yours. We are with you with all our protection and guidance. Yet, there will be times when we leave you alone, when we do not interfere, for otherwise you cannot learn. A child cannot learn to walk unless it has fallen and stumbled a few times. It is the same with spiritual and emotional growth. Let the frictions and irritations be a lesson to you. They are sometimes unavoidable and will be a great test for everyone concerned. Your attitude toward a disagreement or any sort of upheaval determines your progress. Are you going to be involved with your vanity, in self-righteousness?  Must your little ego triumph?  Or will you take whatever comes and learn from it to turn inward, to see what you can learn instead of how wrong the other person is, forgetting your own little hurt and the apparent injustice?  That will be the yardstick, my friends. In that way you will honor the grace of this communication and preserve the teachings in their cleanliness. Do not ever forget these words. The only thing you can do, the only way to fulfill the bigger duty, beyond yourself, is to learn and to grow and to take everything that occurs in your life, the little and the big issues, and consider them from this point of view. If you learn to do that, none of you, individually, as well as the group as a whole, will ever fail.

Those of you who simply come to these lectures but do not participate in group work can observe the very same thing in your daily lives. You, too, can help build this wonderful temple and contribute in this work by learning from the frictions in your everyday life. Do that, my friends, and you will gain peace; you will see light at the end of the tunnel you may be in at any given moment.

With these words I bless all of you on this symbolic day. And now, my dear ones, I will answer your questions.

QUESTION:   The first is from someone who is not here. It concerns the Holy Ghost. It reads:  May I ask the cosmic sense and the human meaning attributed to the power of the Holy Ghost?  In some religions and philosophies the Holy Ghost is considered as a future leader and messenger to humanity. In our life and work can we or should we be so devoted to and helped by the Holy Ghost as we are supposed to be devoted to and helped by Jesus?

ANSWER:  Whether the Holy Ghost is in some teachings represented as part of the Trinity; whether it is represented as a whole body of the divine world comprising all the holy or purified spirits; or whether the Holy Ghost is interpreted as the divine spark in every living being — and all three interpretations are right, without canceling each other out — the essential is that your devotion to God and to Christ, who has contributed such great work in the entire Plan of Salvation, can only be determined by finding the Holy Ghost within yourself. How this is done, I have been showing you all the time, my friends. There is no other way than penetrating your own darkness and obstructions. I am afraid I have to repeat again and again: Whenever human beings try to seek salvation and union with God, with the divine, by outer means, by religious theories, theological interpretations — thereby forcing themselves to live by misunderstood dogma — they are living in error. Something is wrong. For the only way to find the true answer is by penetrating your own blocks, by overcoming your resistance, by knowing yourself in the deeper levels of your personality. Only then will you know the meaning of God. Then you will find Him, find union with Him. Then you will know what Christ means. Then your own Holy Spirit will manifest, at least occasionally. This is the only truthful way I can answer this question.

If anything in my answers is not quite clear to you, I invite you to discuss it with me before we go on to a different subject.

QUESTION:  Would you be good enough to give us some ideas on the subject of emotional bondage, especially on how to begin searching for it in the image work?

ANSWER:  There is not only one explanation for this, but as many as there are human personalities. What is the sum total of the human personality?  So many factors are involved: temperament, character, the way the various universal forces work in proportion, general development, the particular development of certain trends. Out of all these have arisen the circumstances in this life and also in previous lives. All these, plus additional factors, play a role. But let me try to find, briefly, a common denominator.

One inevitable factor in bondage is fear. As you well know, fear can only arise out of self-will and pride. It may sound like oversimplification, but this viewpoint may bring the beginning of clarification to a person who has an inclination to bondage.

The growing child strives for love, but it may not receive as much of it as it desires; or it may receive a different kind, an imperfect kind of love, leaving the child unfulfilled. Now, if the self-will-current goes into certain channels, subconsciously the person may think: “I must have love; I desire love, yet my experience has shown me that I cannot really get it; or rather, I can get it only by submitting to certain things I really do not like.”  On a primitive level, this happens when a child has to obey and do certain things it does not want to do. Partly it has to give in because the authority is stronger, but partly it gives in because it does not want to forfeit the love it craves for. These contradictory currents, or apparently contradictory currents — the desire for love and the fear of losing the love or of not getting it — put a strain on the emotions and create this conflict. More specifically, it creates in certain temperaments a tendency to be in bondage.

Of course, many other things play a role as well. But we cannot go into all of this in a general discussion. There are so many possibilities. Perhaps to a very small degree any unpurified human being may have a little of this tendency. Just think about how important it is for you to be in the good graces of someone important for you, or be approved by the people you love. The moment there is too strong a desire, or the inability to give up the desire, you act out of fear and out of a pressure that amounts to compulsion. This may not always be strong enough to be called a bondage. In principle, however, it is the same because you may be untrue to yourself in little ways. If the need and desire for love is stronger than being true to yourself, the bondage principle is at work.

It is my advice for anyone on this path to look for this current, even if an obvious bondage does not exist. You will find that many people who apparently have no bondage at all, who seem rather to be quite unsubmissive, quite rebellious, behave in such a forceful way only because deep down they are afraid of this very problem. By acting in the apparent opposite manner, they believe they save themselves from bondage. The healthier you are emotionally, the less of a show you will make about being independent. The more one is basically afraid of it and fights against it, the nearer one is to the extreme of outright bondage.

One more thing:  Where bondage exists — whether manifest or latent — a certain amount of masochism and sadism must always exist. Masochism arises out of the unhealthy reason of compulsive submission in order to get something, such as love or approval. Sadism is the consequence of detesting one’s submissiveness and resenting it. This resentment is, of course, projected onto the other person involved, although often indirectly and subconsciously. Resentment directed to the self is masochism. It is the very same resentment: in sadism it reaches out to the other self, whereas in masochism it turns back to one’s own self.

QUESTION:  It was pointed out to somebody that making decisions are  necessary in life. This person believes that this would be self-will and pride and that one has to wait for God’s will.

ANSWER:  Humanity always tends to go from one extreme to the other. Knowing that one extreme is wrong, one wants to believe that the other extreme is right. This would be so much easier, and there would be nothing to weigh. God’s will does not manifest so easily. God’s laws work within the soul. If people who are unable or unwilling to make decisions wait for God to take care of their decisions for them, what will happen will not be what God has decided but the result of their own weakness, unwillingness, or inability to make decisions. It is a fallacy to think you can go through life without making decisions. Actually, you make a decision every time you breathe. Not making a decision is a decision too, although a wrong or unfavorable one. It is God’s will that you become mature, independent, and responsible for your decisions. By no means do I suggest using self-will. Decisions may, but need not be prompted by self-will. It depends entirely on the motive.

Whoever interprets free, mature decision-making as self-will, should question himself — or be questioned by his helper — along the following lines:  Why do you feel God should make decisions for you? Didn’t God give you free will?  Does not free will imply becoming a grown person who can make responsible decisions personally?  Does the idea that God’s will cannot manifest if you make decisions hide a fear that you are responsible and may have to blame yourself?  Isn’t it too easy to do nothing and wait for God to run your life?  Is it really devotion to God that forms this concept or is something else hidden behind this point of view?  If you wait for God’s decision and it turns out badly, isn’t it much easier to say it is all God’s fault?  You may not pronounce these words even in your thoughts, but this is what you must feel when you hide behind this wall of a fallacy. Such fallacies very often turn into false piety. What in your view is obvious devotion hides something completely different.

No, my friends, it is much healthier if you say, “Even if occasionally my decisions will turn out wrong, I act according to my best ability, trying to consider everyone involved, making my decisions with as little egotism as possible, but with the healthy premise that I am to be considered just as much as anyone else. I realize that I am a limited human being and therefore I am bound to make mistakes. I am willing to pay the price of learning from my possible mistakes. In reality, by avoiding decisions I would only try to get out of paying the price for living.”  This is healthy. It is unhealthy if you let God make the decisions for you so that you may be absolved from the consequences of your decisions, their consequences, and the responsibility involved in making them.

Such shirking of responsibility — for this is what it amounts to — is just as wrong as self-willed actions in which one just goes ahead without consideration for another person. In fact, lack of decision-making will often produce the same results as inconsiderate, heedless and selfish decisions that are made without further thought. It is a complete error to believe that independent decisions are necessarily selfish and self-willed, it is equally erroneous that refusal of decision-making, under the mask of “waiting for God’s will,” lacks selfishness and self-will. It may be much more self-willed, in a hidden way, to refuse to make decisions; it may even be dishonest to say, “It is my desire to have God’s will decide for me.”  I do not say that whenever a person says this, the motivation must be a basic dishonesty. There is no black or white. God’s motives always mingle with wrong or sick ones. Certainly, a true desire to fulfill God’s will can coexist with a certain cowardice and refusal to assume self-responsibility. I am only pointing out that it is possible to use a spiritual truth to rationalize the weakness and sickness of the soul.

QUESTION:  Is making a decision a manifestation of free will or the natural result of the law of causality?

ANSWER:  Humans have been endowed with free will, contrary to beings still in a lower grade of development, such as animals or plants. Free will implies the ability and the responsibility to make your own decisions. Certainly it is advisable to trust in God and ask for guidance and not to go about making decisions without asking God for help. When you ask for guidance and wait for it to manifest through various channels, at the same time using your own brain, decency and responsibility, you are also using your free will. To ask for guidance already implies a certain flexibility, a lack of self-will. So ask for guidance in humility, knowing that you cannot always know the right answers, but realizing that you have self-responsibility and are, therefore, accountable for your decisions, whether they turn out right or wrong. It is inevitable in every human being’s life to make some wrong decisions, but you should certainly learn from them. Is that so difficult to understand?

QUESTION:  I am afraid it is, but I want to take a little more time to think about it. I don’t understand if the law of causality is extended in some cases.

ANSWER:  No, not at all. Free will works within the law of causality.

QUESTION:  But then one is not free… as an effect of a cause.

ANSWER:  No. You set your own causes in motion by your decisions or the lack of them. The law of causality or of cause and effect does not exist as a force that has nothing to do with you. On the contrary, it exists rather as an outcome of the free will of the individual. It is the product of it.

I suggest that you take up this question in your discussion later. I think most of my friends understand it quite well, so a discussion may prove to be illuminating for you. Or is there anyone else who does not understand it?  No?  So then take it up afterwards. If there is still a lack of clarity, bring it to me and I will try to shed more light on it at a future time. If there is a real block, however, this should certainly be considered in the personal image-work. For then you will find in this question a major key to your own problems.

QUESTION:  What happens to the spirits who do not belong to the Plan of Salvation and are being prepared for incarnation?   Are they subjected to this separation with their consent, without their consent, or in what way are they prepared?

ANSWER:  It works along the same principles. They are always consulted and are given a free choice first. Together, they then consider what this choice may mean, what results it may produce from the point of view that is important, namely spiritual development. A wiser and higher developed spirit advises and points out certain things that the spirit in question may not have the overall view to see as yet. As I explained in the lecture pertaining to this subject, in some instances their own choice is fully considered because it is wise. In other cases, it is pointed out that their choice may be dangerous. It is shown to them how and why. Then they may accept the advice or they may not. Still, their wish is considered. In other cases, their choice is too easy and therefore the coming life would not offer them any chance of growth. Again they are advised and shown; again they may or may not accept. And again, in yet other instances their choice must be denied outright because it is so blind and so far away from understanding the purpose of life that they would bring great harm to themselves and others by following through on their own suggestions. Besides, doing so would violate the law of cause and effect and free will. They must remain within the effects they themselves have brought about by their previous actions and reactions. There is some leeway to that, but it is limited. A spirit who has gained some understanding and vision, some self-awareness, even before he is part of the great order of the divine Spirit World, will make his choice within the framework of his own causes. If an entity stubbornly refuses to take advice, he will just naturally fall into the channels he has prepared for himself by his previous free will. Then his will seems limited, but this is erroneous, for the limitations are the product of his free will. In short, the same principle holds true for all spirits, whether they belong to the Plan of Salvation or not. The difference is only that the former will make wiser decisions for their lives from the viewpoint of reality.

QUESTION:  Do they all want to become incarnated?

ANSWER:  No, not all of them want to.

QUESTION:  Do they have to, nevertheless?

ANSWER:  After a certain time, they have to. Sometimes they are advised that it would be better to do it now and sometimes they accept the advice. If they do not, they are allowed some further time. Others are overeager and desire to incarnate too quickly. Then, too, they are advised accordingly and they may or may not accept the advice. Only when their choice is too obviously against the natural law of cause and effect are they drawn into incarnations almost like the development of growth that you cannot stop. If a human child wishes to remain a child in body, it cannot succeed. Natural growth takes place. It is similar in this respect. All these laws, the laws of reincarnation as well as any other laws, follow a natural procedure and do not happen arbitrarily or forcefully. They are created in infinite wisdom and farsightedness; not only the individual entity in question is considered in these laws, but his own fulfillment of the law is part of the Great Cause. One works within the other, one never interferes with the other. This is hard for humanity to understand, my friends. The concept is too broad for you to really comprehend.

Incidentally, by looking at and knowing another human being you may sometimes quite easily tell whether that person was eager to incarnate or whether it happened against his or her short-sighted will — which is not contrary to free will. People who do not like to live, who fight against life, are usually those who did not like to come, who would have preferred to remain in the Spirit World, where conditions are often easier, but the possibility to develop is so much slower. If the instinct of destruction is strong, it is a product of the anti-life force; if the life instinct is small, if the will to live is weak, you can be quite certain that the entity was not eager to incarnate because he or she did not understand some basic matters. On the other hand, with people whose life force is strong, who have a positive outlook on life, one can be reasonably certain that they liked to incarnate, but did not do it sooner than was good for them. It is also possible that a negative and weak person, destructively inclined, has incarnated sooner than was good for him. Is that clear?  [Yes, thank you.]

QUESTION:  The next question concerns the concept of sin in sex as pointed out in the Catholic religion in the postulate of overcoming, or the conquest of sex. This is also postulated in some of the oriental religions.

ANSWER:  The sexual impulse in the infantile and immature personality is entirely self-centered and egotistical; it is separated from the love force and the erotic force which include the other being, not as a necessary instrument to be used, but as a goal for unity. You all know that selfishness, self-centeredness, is contrary to Divine Law. Since humanity on the whole, even today — and much more so in former times — was and is emotionally undeveloped, and since in many civilizations mass-images came into existence as a result of the immaturity that said sex is sinful, the sexual drive was kept hidden. Nothing hidden can mature. As you know, it works the same way with your personal images which are the result of wrong childish conclusions: they remain that way because they are kept hidden in the subconscious and are thus paralyzed in your soul. Since the immature and primitive personality experiences the sex impulse in an entirely selfish and separated way it is “sinful,” if you want to choose this word. And because of this, people are afraid to face their sexuality consciously so that it can mature with the rest of the personality. Hence they cannot integrate sexuality with love feelings. This creates a vicious circle. The more the  existence of sexuality is suppressed by the concept of its sinfulness, the less can it mature and integrate with love. Whenever it manifests, the person feels guilty and ashamed, trying, erroneously, to tear out the sex force. True, in the way the immature person experiences sex, it is harmful because of its self-centeredness and separateness from love. But the remedy does not lie in tearing out a natural force that cannot be eliminated no matter how hard you may try; it lies in mature growth into integration with love.

No force, no principle as such can ever be evil or sinful in itself. It always depends on whether it is egocentric, separated and loveless because of emotional immaturity or whether it finds union and integrates with love and the life force. This applies to all forces, all emotions, all principles, and everything in existence. Once humanity will have understood this — and today you are beginning to — religious teachings will no longer hold that sex as such is sinful. Of course, lacking deeper knowledge, religions had to assert the sinfulness of sex because the raw and often dangerous and quite destructive sex force manifested in the wrong way in many individuals. Observing this, they came to the wrong conclusion and chose the wrong remedy. The opposite extreme is always the wrong remedy and much nearer the extreme one wants to avoid. The right alternative is to recognize the sex force as a living reality that cannot be torn out without grave harm to the human personality — if such an attempt succeeds at all — and to give it proper direction by recognizing its deeper meaning. It is not more correct to say that sex is good or bad, right or wrong, than to say electricity is good or bad, right or wrong. It depends entirely on what you make of it, how you use and direct it.

Many people understand this today. But I am afraid very few people understand it emotionally as well as intellectually. When you come into the deeper levels of your subconscious, you will find that your feelings seldom agree with your intellectual knowledge on this subject. Why not?  Because as a child you kept the infantile sex drive hidden. You were often made to feel how bad you were in this respect, and therefore the concept developed within that sex was sinful. Your unconscious wrong conclusions, plus your guilt and fear, caused your sexuality to remain almost as infantile as when you were a child.

QUESTION:  Will you tell us the spiritual significance of Good Friday, please?

ANSWER:  The spiritual significance of Good Friday is to take the cross that you have made upon your own shoulders. What does that mean?  That you have produced circumstances in your life, in your former incarnations as well as in this life, by conscious as well as unconscious deviations from truth and divine law. This is a heavy burden. By taking the cross upon yourself you say yes to self-responsibility and so to your fate. By the mere act of saying yes you are ready to dissolve this cross, to go through the difficulties, through the “crucifixion” in as positive and healthy a spirit as possible. And when I say positive, I do not mean for you to deny the existence of the difficulties, but to accept them knowing that you have produced them. They are of your own doing, whether you can see this, as you do in some instances, or not, as in others. By finding the cause in your own erroneous actions and reactions, you take the cross upon yourself. You neither rebel against the difficulties by trying to tell yourself that an unjust fate has come upon you,  nor do you indulge in a false piety by suffering the consequences of your wrong actions, thoughts, or emotions, without trying to find what in you has caused them, but rather believing it to be the will of God that you simply suffer without understanding the origin of your suffering. Only by taking the cross upon yourself in this sense will you be reborn in spirit. In that way, your own resurrection will take place. The new, free life will come to you by releasing your inner creative and healthy forces that are blocked as long as you ignore the cause of your suffering that must lie within yourself. The release of all the petrification will be possible whenever you find that you have deviated from truth. Thus will flow through you the life force that was turned into a destructive force by ignorantly using it in the wrong way. This is the rebirth and the resurrection that Jesus Christ showed in the symbolic act he demonstrated, apart from the spiritual meaning I have already explained in connection with the Plan of Salvation. Every individual entity, believing in Christ or not, will have to go through this procedure before true light and release can come. The inner soul-action is the same that Jesus demonstrated in outer deeds. But I would like to stress here that Jesus’ crucifixion did not merely take place to demonstrate symbolically what everyone must experience inwardly. The greater significance of his life and death in the entire Plan of Salvation I have already discussed and do not have to repeat now.

QUESTION:  In one of the lectures you mentioned the picture language which is used in the Spirit World and you also mentioned that it is rather difficult to translate it into human language. I  was wondering whether you can tell us more about this picture language so that we can understand it. I would also like to know whether you can understand every human language and express yourself through a medium in any language.

ANSWER:  As far as the picture language of the Spirit World is concerned, I am afraid I cannot possibly convey it to you. If I could convey it, it would be so much easier for me to express myself and many a misinterpretation of my words would be avoided. So it is not possible that I give you an explanation of it. Human beings simply cannot grasp this much wider means of communication. Their own language is only a small part of the wider scope of picture language. It is as though you would try to explain human language to an animal.

As far as my — or any spirit’s — knowledge of human language is concerned, I have this to say:  I do not have to understand the particular human language. I see the forms of thought in picture language and try to express it in the respective human tongue through the medium utilizing her sense organs as well as her language. Through the medium’s ears I hear while I manifest, and through her mouth and physical knowledge — language, for instance — I express myself.

Whether I could express myself in any language, regardless of whether or not the medium knows the language, depends on the type of mediumship. There are many types of trance mediumship, a fact that is for the most part ignored. A more direct and stronger kind of mediumship exists from the point of view of physical manifestation and phenomenology; it belongs more into the category of a psychic phenomenon. In this category belong materialization, transfiguration, direct voice, and aural transfiguration — speaking in a language the medium ignores — and a few other such phenomena. Aural transfiguration is referred to in the Bible as “speaking in tongues.”  Such phenomena take an infinitely greater strength on the part of the medium, as well as on the part of the spirits. It demands an entirely different kind of mediumship than ordinary trance mediumship. It is very difficult to explain all these manifold variations and possibilities to you. Perhaps on some future occasion I can give you a little more information on this subject, but the time is not quite ripe for it as yet.

With very few exceptions, higher developed spirits do not use the more direct and stronger type of mediumship, in the category of psychic phenomena wherein a much coarser force is used. This coarser force can be obtained more easily from spirits that are still closer to the earth sphere. Such manifestations also have their purpose and use, however. They serve to open the eyes of human beings to perceive that other worlds exist beyond their own. Through this realization, many may come to think a little differently about life. But once this different outlook is gained, it is more useful to be in contact with spirits on a higher plane who may not have the type of strength available that is necessary for striking “proofs,” but who can give you different benefits of a higher and more subtle nature. Even as far as this “proof” is concerned, it is not so simple. It may open the door, but it can only be the beginning of gaining inner proof through inner enlightenment and certainty. Outer proof is never sufficient. Besides, you can only prove something to someone who is open and without prejudice. No matter what startling “proofs” may occur here or there, someone who does not want to see and change his outlook will never be convinced, no matter what. Because here we are dealing with an inner block and that is much more difficult to eliminate than any outer obstruction. Hence, we, in the world of God, are not interested in producing phenomena. We are interested in individual development, for this is the only key to everything. Therefore we choose the simplest possible way which is the least ostentatious as far as phenomena are concerned. So we usually abstain from all manifestations such as “direct voice,” materialization, et cetera.

QUESTION:  The only thing I do not understand is, do you, when you talk through the medium, translate from your picture language or do you think at this moment of the language the medium is speaking?

ANSWER:  It is a combination of both. I translate from the picture language and use her thought process which I influence through her subtle bodies. [Thank you].

QUESTION:  Tell me please, why am I so upset?

ANSWER:  My dear, it would be much better to discuss this in your private session. But I may say that there is a great fear and resistance regarding recognitions. There is an unjustified fear of change. So do not fear, my dear friend. Trust in the wisdom of God, in the wisdom of nature, and everything falls into place. Go on developing, finding yourself, and believe that whatever happens in accordance with God’s laws cannot be in any way bad or harmful or disadvantageous. I beg of you, think about this, meditate upon it. You will see in your further work that it is exactly as I say here.

Incidentally, this applies to many people who are on the path:  You are afraid of change. If you analyze this, what does it amount to?  It means that your wrong thinking, your wrong trends and attitudes, your twisted emotions that have brought you nothing but misery, are supposed to be better for you than God’s nature. The forces of nature, if and when you permit them to work through you, are in fact and in reality the most healing and harmonious, the most blissful and creative you can possibly think of.

My dear friends, before I go I would like to remind you of my recent suggestion that when you have any friction, try to be the lawyer for the other person. Unfortunately, I have not seen very much of this. Yet there was a great deal of opportunity for it. Why don’t you try it?  It would be so beneficial for you if you heeded my words. You cannot lose anything by trying. There is no risk involved, except, perhaps, your little ego and your little vanity. But only by losing these can you become free!  If, after all, you still cannot do it, take it into consideration in your personal work. Why do you resist?  It should be interesting to find out. What is the resistance based on?  Ask yourself these questions. It may bring very fruitful results. It may show you that you actually do not like to see the other person’s point of view. It may show you that it gives you a certain satisfaction to be in your disharmony. It may show you how much you are involved in your pride and ego and therefore not half as objective as you would like to think of yourself. All this will open further vistas. So, at least, examine yourself as to why you do not want to see the other’s point. There is certainly enough friction in your life.

And now, dearest friends, may the Light of Christ shine upon you; may it lighten your soul and help you lighten your burden. Do not ever forget it is your own attitude toward your burden that determines its heaviness or lightness. Go in peace, my dear ones, be blessed in your work, in your relationships, in your endeavors, in everything you touch and do. Our love is constantly with you. Be in God!