Self-Knowledge—The Great Plan—The Spirit World

Pathwork Guide Lecture No. 11 | September 03, 1957


In the name of God and Jesus Christ I greet you, my friends. I bring you blessings, I bring you love. Because a few friends have found their way here tonight for the first time, some of what I will say will not be new to those of my friends who have been following my teachings or to those who have been on the path to God with the help of a different teacher. Still, each one of you might find tonight inspiration and help to overcome a particular difficulty, for it is often necessary to hear the same thing again and again until it becomes deep knowledge and enlightenment, as compared to superficial intellectual knowledge.

Deep within the heart of each human being is the longing for happiness. Now what is happiness?  If you ask different people, you will receive different answers. The spiritually immature, after thinking about it for some time, will say, perhaps, that if they had this or that fulfillment or a worry eliminated they would be happy. In other words, happiness means for them that certain wishes are gratified. Yet, even if these wishes came true these people would not be happy. They would still feel a deep-seated unrest, would have an undefinable bad conscience. Why?  Because happiness does not depend on outer circumstances or other people, no matter how convinced the spiritually immature person is of this fallacy. Spiritually mature people know this. They know that they themselves are solely responsible for their happiness or unhappiness. They know that they are capable of creating a happy life, first within themselves but then also, inevitably, in their outer life. The spiritually immature think that happiness has to be created first on the outer level because outer circumstances, which are not necessarily brought about by them, have to fit their wishes and when this is achieved happiness will follow. The spiritually mature know that it is exactly the other way around.

Many people do not want to acknowledge this truth. It is easier to blame fate, the injustice of destiny and higher powers, or circumstances brought about by other people, than it is to blame oneself. It is easier to feel like a victim. That way one does not have to search, sometimes very deeply and with a maximum of honesty, within oneself. And yet the great truth is:  happiness lies in our own hands.

It is in your power to find happiness. You may ask, “What must I do?”  But let us see first what happiness means in the spiritually mature sense. It means, simply:  God. Finding God is the only way happiness can be found. And it can be found right here and right now. “How?” you may then ask. My friends, so often people imagine God is way outside, far away in the universe, impossible to reach. This is far from the truth. The whole universe is within each person; therefore, God is within each person. Each living creature has a part of God within. The only way to reach this divine part within is on the small and narrow path of self-development. The goal is perfection. The basis of this is to know yourself!

To know yourself is indeed difficult. For knowing oneself means to face many an unflattering trait. It means a long, continuous, in fact, never-ending search:  “What am I?  What do my reactions—not only my deeds and thoughts—really mean?  Are my actions supported by my feelings or do I have motives behind these actions that do not correspond to what I like to believe about myself or what I like other people to believe?  Have I been honest with myself so far?   What are my mistakes?”

Although some of you may know your weaknesses, most people ignore a good part of them, and this presents a great hurdle, even for those who have reached a certain height on this upward path. You cannot overcome what you do not know. Each fault is nothing more or less than a chain that binds you. By the shedding of each imperfection you break a chain and thus become freer and nearer happiness. Happiness is meant for each individual, but is impossible to attain without eliminating the causes of your unhappiness, which are your faults—as well as any trend that breaks a spiritual law. Even if you have a karma from a previous, life it can be dissolved provided you work spiritually to find yourself—and thus find God.

People could be completely happy, without sickness, worries, or even death as you experience it. Yes, my friends, even death!  If people were really perfect—and this is merely a theory, for if this kind of perfection is reached, reincarnation becomes superfluous—your return to the spirit world would not happen by decay, old age, and sickness or accident. It would be a sort of dematerialization. But even if you have not yet come far enough to consider this, each one of you can approach this goal much faster than you may think possible. And for the time being, you can find out how advanced you are on this path by viewing your life and your problems. How happy are you?  What is lacking in your life?  To the extent that unhappiness or discontent exist in your life you have not fulfilled your potential.

For those who really fulfill themselves, even if the outside result is not immediately noticeable, and the residue, the outside manifestation of the past remains, inside there will be a deep and peaceful contentment, security, and a sense of fulfillment. If these are lacking, you are not completely on the right path, or you have not reached the liberation you are bound to experience after the initial difficulties on this path are overcome. Only you will know the answer, where you stand. No one else can or need answer this question for you. If you are on the right path, however, and you have that deep feeling of contentment and fulfillment yet there are still outer problems in your life, that should not discourage you. For the outer form of the inner conflict you may be working on right now cannot be dissolved so quickly.

The effects of the law that you have been breaking for a long time have to be readjusted, and this takes time. The outside forms have to be remodeled, remade. You yourself have to bring this about. The more you direct the inner currents into the right channels, the more the respective outside forms will change gradually but surely. Until this process is completely effected the outer problem cannot automatically dissolve. Impatience will only be a hindrance. If you are on the right path, you will live and feel the great reality of God’s world in your daily life. You will always be sustained by God’s spirit world, which works with you and around you, helping and guiding you. It will become just as real, if not more so, than your human surroundings. It will no longer be a theory, mere intellectual knowledge. You will live in this world and feel its effect on you.

God’s spirit world is constantly at work to help humanity as a whole as well as individually. It is part of the great plan that God’s spirit world has a task to fulfill and is bound by very definite laws. These laws are constantly violated by human beings or by spirits not belonging to the divine order. These laws contain, among other things, the stipulation, if I may use this expression, that the free will of an individual must never be violated. God’s spirit world is therefore always waiting for people—or spirits—to reach out for help, but it never forces its help on anyone.

In other words, each person has to wish for God’s help and fulfill the necessary requirements first, before this help is given. If this is not done, we can interfere only in very special cases, again, according to law. It would be too complicated to explain this now, but no error is possible. Helping interference by God’s world happens occasionally without the person having reached out for it, but only in cases when such help was earned, perhaps in a previous life or even in the same life in a quite different area.

Each spirit in God’s world, which is a world of order, has a definite task. Many spirits’ tasks relate to human beings. It is advisable for people to seek contact with the world of God and the spirits of God, for they, and only they, can help you and guide you on the proper path. There are cases when people think they have found this path of their own accord and without the help of higher entities. This is not so. For whether they know it or not, there must have been guidance and inspiration coming from such spirits.

It is extremely harmful, however, to seek contact with spirits other than those belonging to the world of God. The harm is manifold. It is harmful not only spiritually, but also physically. Human beings tend to arrive at two very contrary and extreme conclusions, each equally wrong. One group finds it useful to seek contact with any kind of spirit. Another group reacts by saying that any contact with spirits is wrong. Human nature tends, unfortunately, to generalize everything, instead of making proper distinctions.

The contact with God’s spirit world is, naturally, not easy to obtain. And it should not be easy, for it is the highest struggle. You must indeed learn many things in order to receive the gift of such a contact. First of all, you have to climb the steepest path of self-development and purification. And you have to learn the special laws governing the communication with the spirit world of God. These laws are very different from those of unclean or merely blind and unknowing spirits. There are many ways you can find out which spirits you are dealing with. There are many ways to test a spirit to see whether it actually belongs to God’s world or whether it only pretends to do so.

Although it would be impossible for me to tell you all there is to know about this subject, I will give a very brief outline. Whenever you wish to use these channels only for contact with the world of God, guidance will be given to bring you the necessary knowledge.

One test is that a spirit of God’s world will not seek to satisfy its own vanity. It will not demand admiration for itself. It will be a humble servant and will always give God the honor. It will not claim to be the highest, for there is always someone higher. The highest is God. Any claim that a spirit has so much power that it has no one above it to consult, that it has authority for all and can decide without consulting higher spirits should be enough proof that it is not a spirit of God. For whenever a spirit of God talks to you, it will tell you there are many, many gradations; many, many hierarchies. Above all is the spirit of Jesus Christ, and above Jesus Christ is God. So any spirit claiming it has complete authority is not trustworthy. Furthermore, a spirit of God’s world can be recognized by patience, love, and by the fact that although occasionally it has to say unpleasant things in order to help further spiritual development, it will never humiliate or hurt in an unpleasant way. On the other hand, it will not flatter.

These and many other tests can, and should, be made to recognize the identity of the spirits you are dealing with. Beautiful and even devout words in themselves are no proof. For many spirits bring certain qualities from their lives that continue in the beyond, but for one reason or another they do not belong in the order of God’s world.

If contact with God’s spirit world is made, it will result in a great blessing. For God’s spirits are concerned to help each one of you to find the happiness I was talking about, so that none of you will have an empty life, lacking love, affection, respect, and that deepest fulfillment that can come only with reaching for spiritual development. It is the only purpose for such a contact. Anything else would be secondary.

If other purposes seem to you also worthy reasons, never insist on the contact, but leave it to God. If God finds it useful that other purposes should also be fulfilled, then it will happen as a sideline you might say, but more efficiently than you can imagine. You will get exactly what you want. If you want happiness and are willing to pay the price, you must receive it. By the same token, if people want with all their hearts nothing else but God’s truth and the fulfillment of God’s will, they will receive that. So it is in the wish that the result is contained.

Often the result cannot come immediately—I mean that the spirits of God cannot possibly manifest themselves immediately—for there must be many obstacles put out of the way first. During this time, you are tested to see whether you are worthy of such a communication. If unclean or suffering souls find their way to a medium, the aim should be to teach them rather than allow them to have control. They need to be helped with a firm hand—not the way they, being blind, imagine, but to put them on the spiritual path. As you seek for contact with God’s spirits you should not give up, but persevere in humility. Seek what is within you that prevents the clean spirits from manifesting themselves.

Whenever you have contact with the spirit world of God it is the highest, the most beautiful, and the most useful thing you can ever attain. For that a price has to be paid. When you buy a house the price will be higher than when you buy a shack. You accept that as natural; it cannot be otherwise. But it is not so easy to accept this principle when it comes to spiritual development and spiritual values. Yet whatever you give you are returned a hundredfold when spiritual values are concerned; whereas in material goods, there is an exact exchange at best.

Salvation lies in the hands of each individual. Only you yourself can break the chains that hold you, but first your wholehearted wish must grow bigger than all else. Then the spirits of God will help you further.

And now I want to devote time to your questions.

QUESTION:  I don’t understand something. You say we should be in contact with the spirit world of God and that other spirits will harm us spiritually and even physically. But everything is God’s world. I don’t understand.

ANSWER:  It is like this:  there is God’s great creation with its wonderful laws and it includes all the spirits He has also created and to whom He has given free will. A great number of these spirits have voluntarily accepted God’s laws and His order and have thus remained happy. A great number of other spirits have broken that order, again voluntarily, and by that act they have created unhappiness and disharmony for themselves. For happiness can lie only in the wisdom of God’s laws. All spirits who have at one time or another broken this law and have not yet found their way back to recognize this law as the only wisdom, the only right course, stand outside this order—voluntarily. Just as they could voluntarily accept it. And one day they will. But as long as this does not happen by their own volition and conviction they will remain outside the world of God.

God does not force any creature:  choice has to come from the free will of each individual. Ultimately, and such is the beauty and perfection of God’s laws, every single child of God will return; return to the enlightenment and wisdom, to the happiness and freedom that can be found only in divine law.

There are almost as many human beings as spirits who fall into one or the other of these two categories; those belonging to the divine order and those outside of it. The former are perhaps helping, working, cooperating in the great Plan of Salvation. The entities in this group, among other things, find out in spiritual endeavor where they are still unconsciously deviating from the laws. And then there are those, many of them, who do not accept God’s laws, who create chaos in their surroundings and in their own selves by wanting to follow their own very incomplete laws.

QUESTION:  I would like to ask how it is possible to contact one’s personal guide.

ANSWER:  This can be done only if the purpose is to follow the path of perfection, to help one’s own development, to solve a particular problem. And this wish has to be very strong and sincere, not half-hearted at all!  This must be truly the only reason, with no sense of sensationalism or curiosity mixed into this wish. If and when this is recognized by the spirits of God—and it might take considerable testing, as well as patience and endurance, for the wish must not be given up too soon—such a contact will be established. The personal guide of the individual in question will make itself known, provided the answer cannot be obtained another way, let us say through other human beings. For God’s spirits do not answer questions that can be answered in your own world. It is not their task to help you avoid a little bit of effort to find out. They answer only those questions which would be impossible for you to find an answer to through human channels.

Now if all these requirements are fulfilled, you will eventually establish contact one way or another. There are many questions a personal guide can and will gladly answer:  if, for instance, you do not know what the will of God is in a particular situation, if you want to discover unconscious trends and emotions, or if you find yourself in some kind of disharmony with your fellow-creatures and do not know the reason. If such a situation occurs, you may be quite sure that no matter how flagrantly wrong the other person may be there must be something within you that is responsible. This and similar questions will be answered if you open the door for truth. And this can happen only if you are prepared to accept the truth under any circumstances, even if you should hear what you least want to hear.

If you overcome the natural resistance to hearing an unflattering or uncomfortable truth, your door is open and we can get through. I might add here that even if you do hear occasionally something you have feared to hear, you will be extremely happy after you have thus established contact. Not only because truth always has that effect, but also you will then know for the first time that this spirit world with all its laws is a reality and not a theory. This will make you very happy indeed.

The way the answer can be received varies greatly. One way may be that while you meditate and become still and ask this question, wanting only truth and God’s will, suddenly a new thought comes to you. This thought will grow, and the more it grows the more you will see how right it is. There will be no doubt about the rightness and truth of this thought no matter whatever angle you consider it from. This may be one way, and it is called the way of inspiration. Later on you may directly perceive a new voice within you that sounds quite different from your usual thoughts or ideas. Or you may see something that will give you the answer in picture form. Often such answers are given a little later through another human being who will be inspired. Just this kind of an answer may be a test for you, to gauge how you receive it, how you react. God’s spirit world has many ways of working and presenting necessary knowledge to you.

Establishing contact is always up to you, however, and it always requires your openness. Then you will receive. If you are patient and you do not want only one particular answer, or if you are not set in your mind to receive the answer in one particular way, but leave to God as to how it will come to you—then you will gradually establish a perfect and wonderful contact. Perhaps it will feel quite different from what you have imagined, but whatever God decides will ultimately be best for you. So when seeking such personal contact, this should be your motive and this should be the way to go about it.

QUESTION:  What is the relationship between the divine within and the master who comes to speak; for instance, you speaking through this medium, or the master who speaks to me?  How is my own divine self or this medium’s divine self related to such a master?

ANSWER:  I will answer this question, first generally speaking, on what the difference is between the divine spark or the divine self, as you call it, or an entity of God’s spirit world. For many people it is, indeed, not always clear what speaks to them:  is it the subconscious, the superconscious, or the divine spark or higher self—whatever name you care to give it—or is it another entity?  It is not very easy to answer that question, and it is even more difficult to determine the difference. I will put it as clearly as I can.

Let us begin with the subconscious first. The subconscious voice is very quick to answer and quite distinct and often loud. The only way for a person to determine whether it is the subconscious, or one of the other two alternatives, is to become still and do exactly what I have recommended in my answer to the question concerning contact with God’s world. If all the conditions mentioned in my answer are fulfilled, God’s truth and will can come through, and it does not matter whether it is through one’s own divine self or through an entity belonging to God’s world. For both abide by the spiritual laws and fulfill God’s will. If the wish to fulfill God’s will is more than merely wishful thinking or fear, then the answer will be given. Only the individual can determine whether the wish for truth is greater than any self-delusion, wishful thinking, or anxiety. This has to be done through objective self-analysis and self-testing. Vanity or the desire to impress other people may be in the way; this is the greatest stumbling block on the spiritual path.

If this test is passed and the resistance is overcome, the answer can be given from the self to the self—or from the guardian spirit or what you call a “master.”  The answer will come with a very small soft voice that will not be pushing or pressing. It does not shout; it is a quiet, almost impersonal voice without any force behind it, contrary to what so often comes from the subconscious.

This question has to be settled first, for the voice of the subconscious is often mistaken for one of the two alternatives you have mentioned in your question.

And now let us turn our attention to the part of your question about the difference between the higher self and a spirit creature of God. It actually does not make much difference whether a voice comes from one or the other. As I have said, both want the same thing. The point is interesting only in a technical sense. The higher self certainly manifests itself. But it cannot always come through clearly, for it is covered by many layers of imperfection, layers of dense matter, all the distortions that necessitate life on earth. If these layers were not present, life on earth would be superfluous. If the higher self could manifest itself as easily as all that, you would not have to live again and again; you would be advanced far enough not to have to go through further incarnations. Yet wherever there are faults and imperfections, the higher self is barred. And that is the reason God has sent His helpers, for they have the ability to work through your blocks where your own higher self cannot yet do so.

Furthermore, the voice of your own higher self is so far away and soft, sometimes so inaccessible, that it does not speak clearly to you in so many words, but acts simply by guiding you to heed what you call “conscience.”  Thus the higher self can influence you to fight your lower self. The higher self, when listened to, can make itself known in the course of life, through certain actions and reactions, but it cannot converse with you the way a spirit can.

For instance, in the case of a medium, the higher self cannot manifest itself to such an extent that it can lecture for an entire hour and answer questions. If this were possible, this medium would have reached such heights in development that future incarnations would be unnecessary. If this were accomplished by mere contact with the higher self, it would be just as easy to have the higher self always on the surface in all conditions of life. But it is easier to accomplish that the medium’s own spirit body leave for a time and give room to another spirit. Even this is difficult enough if a spirit of God’s world is to manifest itself. Enough blocks have to be cleared away for this one hour.

In other words, the higher self acts and guides to a certain extent, but it does not speak coherently. It inspires thought, but it does not speak the way I speak through this medium. Or it does not speak in a way capable of being heard. Is that clear?


ANSWER:  About the personal question you have asked me, I would like to suggest to you, my dear friend, that perhaps you come together with a very few of your friends one evening and I will speak to you then in a more personal way, if you so desire.

QUESTIONER:  Thank you.

QUESTION:  I understood you to say that if one is in disharmony with another person, it is necessarily one’s fault.

ANSWER:  I did not say that. The actual disharmony present does not always have to result from one person. But if disharmony can reach you, there must be some imperfection in you.

QUESTION:  But how is one to know that?

ANSWER:  For example, by asking the help of your spirit friends, if you cannot find the answer by following this path. By getting to know yourself, each corner of your soul, your reactions. The answer cannot always be found immediately. The cause of the disharmony is not always on the surface. It may be buried deeper. Its origin may be in a whole chain reaction, one fault leading to another, until finally the manifestation appears outside, brought about by the faults of others as well.

If you continue on this path, self-honesty becomes second nature so that you will have complete understanding about all your inner motives, past and present. When you know all your emotions, shortcomings, and wrong attitudes, you will be able to connect all outer happenings with them, following this chain reaction backward.

The immediate cause of the disharmony may be another person, either entirely or partly. However, when you are on this path, it is so important to know that whenever anything unpleasant occurs outside or inside it can only be the effect of a cause. Therefore you should find time to meditate as soon as possible and ask yourself what in you could have, directly or indirectly, brought this about. Which imperfection could be connected with this?  And if you really want to find out this particular truth, if nothing in you shies away from it, you will find the answer. This I can promise you. This is one case where God’s spirits can and will help you, establish contact with you. Your thoughts will be guided slowly, provided the wish for truth is sincere and not superficial.

This is quite an important point. Often, human beings want to be on this path, but their entire being is not in agreement. This agreement of the whole person must be fought for, which makes it important to first recognize the half-hearted nature of the wish, so as not to fool yourself into believing that you have done everything you could and yet no result is visible. If such is the case you should check whether there is a strong resistance in you to take this last and final step to discover-uncover the whole truth within you, including your lower self.

QUESTION:  Even the honesty is very difficult.

ANSWER:  Of course the honesty is difficult.

QUESTION:  Sometimes you think you are honest but if you go deeper and deeper you see something else there.

ANSWER:  The way is steep and narrow and long. Your own will is going to determine whether you will be victorious. But the difficulty of the honesty can be overcome first by the proper meditation about self-honesty, then by asking yourself why it is so difficult. If you ask yourself that question, you can give yourself the answer. If you have the “why,” it will be easy to meditate on the issue. The answer is usually—and here I speak quite generally—that one does not like to recognize and part with a weakness. One does not like to break a wrong inner reaction or attitude. One does not wish to pay the price. The lower self likes to remain in the same old hole—to strain rather than change. Once this is recognized, the next step is easier. The recognition that you dislike putting aside your ego or your vanity, or whatever else it may be, enables you to handle the sluggishness of your lower self using the spiritual truths you have learned so far.

Once you have found why you have such difficulties with the lower-self resistance, you have attained a great deal more than you think. It is better to find out about this inner resistance and treat it methodically than to overcome a superficial mistake in action only. For then the root may very well remain and nothing much is gained. As long as an evil is not torn out by its roots it can always reappear under certain conditions. The right outward action in such a case actually becomes a lie.

It is therefore better to commit a fault outwardly again and again, if it is recognized and treated by meditation, than to act unsustained by your inner nature. If you can find the answer within you in such a case, you will experience a wonderful victory, a sense of relief, of liberation, of peace and truth, and thus you will be a step nearer to God. Do you understand?


QUESTION:  In organized churches there are priests—and I have childhood memories in mind—and when you ask them, “Is this good?” or “Is this a sin?” they would always say, “You know the answer very well yourself.”  Do you think priests like that are inspired?

ANSWER:  Yes, of course. People can find many answers themselves if they really want to. But aside from answers that pertain to personal development, to self-knowledge, to one’s own faults, it is necessary to gain knowledge from without. For example, take the knowledge of spiritual laws, or knowledge how to overcome certain faults, and find help in attaining purification. If that knowledge from without is not given, it is often impossible to find the right answer or to know what to do next. The more knowledge is gained from without, the more right answers one can give oneself, from within.

QUESTION:  You speak of meditation as though it were something very easy.

ANSWER:  No, it is not easy, but it can be learned. If there is a will, there is a way. And whatever the difficulties, it is my task to help you overcome them.

QUESTION:  How come great individuals, scientists, artists—in other words the great geniuses of history—never manifest through a medium?  Do they manifest in direct contact with those who are the right “receptacles,” but are not mediums?

ANSWER:  This is impossible to answer in a general way. There are many whose task in the spirit world is to inspire people who have a similar talent. The reason that they very seldom, if ever, manifest through mediums, is a very good one, and although there are many mediums who claim that such and such has spoken through them, that is not true. God’s spirit world does not want this kind of contact because it tempts the respective medium or people belonging to a particular group to feel important and superior. That should not be. Besides, it does not mean more if, for example, a Goethe speaks through a medium than any other spirit of the divine order. But if Goethe should speak here it might give the medium the opportunity to say, “Goethe speaks through me.”  The others would also be impressed and would perhaps look down on those who have no Goethe. God’s spirit world wants to avoid this. So whenever such a thing occurs, it is to be taken very, very carefully. Further, not all of the great geniuses are in their spiritual development as far advanced as in their particular talent. Their fate in the spirit world may be no different than that of anyone else. So no general statement can be made.

Some of these geniuses are reincarnated; some of them live in the spirit world in a sphere of purification; some of them go to school there; some of them prepare for the next life; some of them have a task in the spirit world to fulfill, either in connection with their talent, or they have to perfect something else now. And some of them may have already reached a high sphere of perfection.

I will retire now and say to each one of you:  none of you should ever feel alone. God loves each one of you dearly. The love of God is with all of you. Be in peace, follow this path. It will bring you happiness. May God bless all my friends.