The Fear of Loving

Pathwork Guide Lecture No. 72 | October 28, 1960

Greetings, my dearest friends. I bring you blessings. Blessed is this hour.

Many of the things we discussed in the last few months have helped you to gain insight into yourselves, proving again how contrary your unconscious concepts, attitudes, and ideas may be to your conscious ones. When you gain a little more overall understanding about these recognitions, you will find that, in the last analysis, it is always a question of love. Your desire for love and the lack of it is the result of the experience of the child in you. Realizing this will clarify in what way you fall short of loving wherever your conflicts and misconceptions exist.

As you all know, at least theoretically and intellectually, love is the greatest power in the universe. Every spiritual teaching or philosophy, every religion, even modern psychology proclaims this truth. Love is the one and only power. With it you are mighty, you are strong, you are safe. Without it you are poor, you are separate; you are isolated and fearful. However, this knowledge cannot really help you until you discover where deep inside yourself you cannot love, you do not want to love, and you do not know why you resist loving. Without this particular knowledge, the great eternal truth about love remains a lofty ideal you cannot possibly apply to your person or your life right now.

Those of my friends who really work on this path, who progress in their inner search have, after much digging and exploring, come across a fear of loving. Those of you who really work constructively have finally become fully aware that this fear exists. This is good progress, indeed, for without this awareness the further necessary steps cannot be taken. Again I say, it does not suffice to be aware of your fear theoretically. You must actually experience the fear. Most people who do not wish to know themselves are not even aware that this fear is in them.

However, even you who have finally become aware of the conflict do not yet fully understand why you are so afraid of loving. Yes, you do find some answers, but most of these answers are either theoretical and logical deductions or they are only vaguely felt emotions. This is not enough. Therefore I should like to discuss some aspects of this topic. By no means will it be all there is to say on the subject. We shall return to this very basic problem in the future and illuminate it from other angles.

We now know that those who cannot love are immature. Immaturity causes unreality. Unreality, being untrue, must perforce, cause unhappiness and conflict, darkness and ignorance. Thus, maturity is really the ability to love. We also discussed that the child in you requires an unlimited amount of love. The child is as unreasonable, as void of understanding, as demanding and one-sided as all immature creatures are. Its impossible wants are:  to be loved by all, to be loved totally, to have every wish gratified instantly, and to be loved in spite of its unreasonableness and selfishness. This is why you are afraid of loving.

Since the child in you desires complete surrender from others, being sure that this means love, how can it help but resist total surrender of itself?  The child in you makes you wish to reign supreme over those who are supposed to love you, and who become thereby hardly better than submissive slaves.

There are also times and aspects of yourself in which you become a submissive slave. This is not to be taken literally; it refers to certain emotional reactions. This happens if love, acceptance, and agreement from a particular person become a necessity for you, while you are aware that this need may not be gratified. In your fear of rejection and defeat such submissiveness seems the only way to achieve what you want. Since certain outer aspects of such submissive behavior seem superficially to resemble true love, it is easy, especially when you are in such a dismal state, to deceive yourself into believing that when you submit is when you truly love.

In other words, you often unconsciously create your own inner concept of what love is, which parallels the general concepts of love, at least in outer appearance, taught in some religions and philosophies. It seems to you when you submit that you are being unselfish and are offering a sacrifice. It seems to you that the other person is the center of your world. While this is true to some extent, it is not true in essence. In reality it is you who are the center. Your concern is to convince the other to love you according to your childish concept. He or she is required to worship you, to follow your every whim, to give up all self-direction, and to be governed by the child in you who cries inwardly when its wish is slighted.

Is it any wonder then that with this unconscious demand in your psyche you are afraid to love?  Since your concept — and being unconscious it is all the more powerful — is that love means slavish submission, you do not wish to love. You do not wish to follow another person’s will. You do not wish to give up your autonomy submitting to the rule of another person.

Hence only when you recognize your own unconscious childish distortion about love will you be able to sense or recognize the childish demands of the other person. You will then be uninfluenced by it, feeling neither obliged to give in, nor feeling guilty if you do not. You will see clearly that in such a case another kind of love can be given that is much more detached in character.

Also, when you discover and experience the existence of the unfair demands of the child in you, you can reason with it. You will realize that this misconception of love has nothing whatever to do with real love. Once you understand that, you will no longer be afraid to love. When you realize that love does not mean giving up dignity, self-government, and freedom, you will not fear it. If you do not make childish demands and are therefore able, gradually and little by little, to love maturely, you will expect the same in return. This way of loving bears no danger. In it, you remain free. You do not become enslaved. It is as simple and as logical as that. When you give up your childish idea of how others should love you, you will not fear loving others.

In the gradual process of growth and maturity, you will not immediately experience the great, encompassing love your soul strives for. For, it is one of the conflicts of your soul that you yearn for such love and at the same time hide from it in fear. The child in you knows only extremes. It is either the great height, the final goal, or it is nothing. The more the striving soul is thwarted in its healthy instincts, the stronger will it clamor to be heard. This manifests in a vague feeling of discontent, as of missing something, you do not know what. One part of your psyche sabotages the rightful demands of the other part. Since you are unable to achieve the final goal, you withdraw altogether. This is due not only to the either/or attitude of the immature part of yourself, but also to a tendency toward dramatization. If the great drama cannot be, then you withdraw altogether.

With growing maturity you will realize that you can only reach the final fulfillment of love by starting on the lower steps of its ladder. Perhaps one of the first steps is acquiring the ability to allow other people to feel about you as they wish. If you can give this inner “permission” genuinely, you will learn to give up your demand without feeling hostile; you will reach a point where you can truly like and respect others, even though they do not completely submit to your will. This does not sound like very much. In fact, many of you may believe that you have been practicing it all the time. But have you really and truly?  When things go wrong, test your emotions. As you analyze these feelings and discover that the child in you is strongly at work, you will have the tools to work with on this particular aspect. You will feel an entirely new emotional reaction in you as you learn to give up your subtle forcing current. You will feel as though a heavy burden were removed from your soul.

The next step is letting go of a certain hostility once you have become aware of it in this work. As you do this, you will find a new liking and respect for those whose “unconditional surrender” you unconsciously wished and whom you certainly did not like or respect when the surrender was not forthcoming. A tight band will have dissolved; now you let the other be free, liking and respecting him or her as a human being, without having to possess his or her love and admiration.

This is a decisive step, my friends, and, in reality, it is more dramatic than anything that can be seen from the outside. It will launch you on the ladder upward to the heights that can one day be yours, but not ever by skipping this seemingly trivial and undramatic step. In this way you will find it possible to truly apply the great concepts of universal truth about love in your practical everyday life, right here and now. This much is possible for you now. The final goal is not. You are not yet able to forget yourself entirely, to never think of yourself, to not have a certain amount of selfishness and vanity. To reach for the great goal with all these feelings present is not only unrealistic but unfeasible, and therefore discouraging. To learn of your emotions through painstaking and diligent analysis and to let them mature gradually — that goal is attainable. Before you can truly love others, you have to learn to like and respect them even though you do not get what you want. To do that, you have to find first where, deep inside of you, you really have not done that at all.

As already explained, ideal love often appears deceptively similar to the wrong, weak submissiveness which poses as love. It is this sham that frightens you — never real love. But it is impossible to sense real love merely by hearing about it. You have to experience within yourself where and how you deviate from it by your unspoken expectations and demands. If you are truly honest with yourself, you are bound to find these emotions. This applies to everyone, without exception.

As long as the child in you persists in its strong, self-willed current of subtly, emotionally, and unconsciously forcing others to submit, you construct unreal situations by wishful thinking. In doing so, you do not permit yourself to see that this may not even be what the child who has built this unreal form wants. The unreal form is a constant hazard, and you forcefully close your eyes to it. If you do not see what really is, because you do not want to see what really is, how then can you rely on your judgment and intuition?

Your psyche knows perfectly well that the way you perceive the other as a person in relation to you, or the situation as a whole, is not accurate. You do not see because you do not want to see. Therefore you do not trust your judgment, nor do you trust that the other person will live up to your expectations. Hence you vaguely feel that you do not trust the other person. This is an additional factor causing you to refrain from wholly loving. For how can you love as exclusively as you feel you ought to if you do not trust the other person?  In order to trust, you have to permit yourself to see if this particular person and situation calls for such a response. Perhaps it would be more appropriate to give simple respect and affection.

By giving up a little of what you want — most often unconsciously — you are willing to see what is. With such an attitude, you can perceive the reality of the situation. After that you can discriminate intelligently and you will respect yourself, not only for the ability to give up something you want freely and without hostility, but also because then you will be able to rely on your intuition. By being willing to see what actually is, you can deal with the situation. Therefore you will trust yourself, your judgment, and other people. In not overestimating them, due to your forcing current, you will be able to see, observe, sense, and feel what is true, and not merely believe what you want to be true.

As you learn to trust yourself and others, loving will cease to be a danger for you. But as long as you deliberately remain blind, because the child in you thinks that by willing something you will make it so, you have all the reason in the world for distrusting your judgment, your choice, and the other person. Therefore, you shy away from loving all the more, although there seems no danger to you in being loved.

Letting go of the self-willed forcing current results in your becoming objective in your evaluation of others and learning  to give up your will gracefully. Thus you learn human affection and respect for the person who thwarts your will. You refrain from constructing unreal situations which obstruct your view of that which really is. In that, you not only ignore reality, but you reject it. Accepting reality and seeing what is, your intuition will grow more reliable, and so your trust in yourself will increase.

There is much talk in your time and your world of “accepting reality.”  We have discussed this many times. You all know that your earth life is not perfect and this fact must be accepted if you wish to cope with life and make the best of it. Up to now this was a general concept. Henceforth you have the actual possibility of applying it to a particular aspect of your inner life. It may be that certain people do not feel about you as you would wish — and I do not merely refer to the love relationship between man and woman — but this apparent imperfection is your reality and has to be accepted. When you do so, an entire benign chain-reaction is set in motion, replacing the vicious circle that existed before.

Intuition is the highest sense perception a human being can attain. However, it cannot attain its full potential in you as long as the child in you is undetected and remains strong. Of course, as long as you are a human being, the faculty which you call intuition can never be one hundred percent perfect. But the moment you can say, “I do not know for certain, I may be wrong,” this willingness to learn from possible mistakes makes your ignorance harmless because you are aware of it. In the conscious, concise thought “I do not know” lies the possibility of seeing, learning, and eventually knowing. Intuition will never be a wall you can lean on with blind certainty and confidence. This is why it is so valuable. Think about that, my friends. It is substance for meditation.

When you consciously consult your intuition, free from the forcing current and free from wishful thinking, you will sense certain potentials, as well as certain limitations; the rest may be a question mark. This attitude promotes openness, a readiness for further observation and perception in you that is very fruitful. It is also a sign of maturity, because it is only the immature who must have the entire answer immediately; it is the child in you who cannot bear leaving anything open, unanswered, and in doubt.

You prohibit your capacity to love due to, first, your inability to distinguish between true love and weak submissiveness, because this is what you desire from those who are to love you, and, second, the lack of trust in others because you lack the courage to view the other person and the situation as he, she, or it, is. Both these elements keep your intuition from functioning, at least in the love-related areas of your life. The courage to see what is, rather than what you want, will heighten your intuition, your discrimination, your awareness, and therefore your self-respect. It will eliminate uncertainty so that when the right situation is at hand, you need have no fear of loving.

The courage to accept that which may be inconvenient means acceptance of reality, loss of your fear of loving, and the cultivation of your intuition as a growing force. It means self-respect, trust in others with discrimination, and, consequently, more reliable perception.

So you see, my friends, how all this is tied together with one string. Immaturity is non-acceptance of reality because reality is not always perfect or pleasant. Immaturity exaggerates the  imperfection so much that you close your eyes to it, thereby inviting more conflicts. Immaturity causes crippled intuition and crippled creativity, for creativity without intuition is unthinkable. Only as you grow and learn to face and accept that which is in your everyday life and emotions will you lose your fear of loving. This sentence alone, out of context, would not make much sense. But if you consider it in the light of the links unrolled in this talk, the meaning will become very clear.

When you think of loving, you can think of only one kind, the highest and most perfect. You ignore the fact that there are many stages and many kinds, many degrees and many variations. In your ignorance, you shy away from the kind of love you could be capable of giving right now, and, when such love is given to you, you dismiss it.

As you proceed on this particular stretch of our path, you will begin to function differently as a human being, in all respects. Your life-experience will become much fuller. You will be so alive in each moment!  You will be aware of yourself and others as you never knew you could be. Forces will develop in you such as you cannot imagine possible: creative forces, new perceptions, a growing and unfolding intuition that will give you a stronghold and security such as you cannot realize even now after all your progress.

Again I say, these words are not directed to your brain, but to those aspects of your personality you have discovered due to your work so far, or that you are about to become aware of. Apply these words to the respective emotions!  We shall discuss this from other angles in the future, when the need arises.

QUESTION:  It seems to me that with the new phase, a new group of subjects has begun this season. Until the end of last season, we were still talking much about images and various aspects connected with them. Now we seem to enter a new phase which I can’t put my finger on.

ANSWER:  Of course it is a new phase. I even said so before your summer vacation. I said that we shall deal with elements that prohibit your creative faculties in a more direct way than before. It goes without saying that any prohibition of creative faculties is due to negative aspects and deviations, images and misconceptions. We still have to deal with those elements, but the approach is different in this phase, as you rightly perceive, and as I indicated some time ago. While in the previous phase we concentrated mostly on obstacles that eclipsed or prohibited healthy functioning, in the present phase we are able to put the pieces together, so as to gain a more overall view with regard to love, maturity, creativity. This does not mean that we will not discuss details again, but if and when we do so, the approach will be different.

QUESTION:  I should like to discuss something in connection with the last lecture. In the second part, about the concentration exercises, you repeat the term “instructing the subconscious.”  I was wondering if this idea of instructing the subconscious is not in some way a paradox and may not lead to forcing the subconscious, instead of allowing us to realize what is in it. I am sure it is not a paradox, but in what way is it not?

ANSWER:  The question is good and constructive because it is so easy to go from one wrong extreme to the other. The best way of going about this is not to use such “instructions” as a force, but as the expression of your inner will. While you may realize perfectly well that certain of your emotions cannot function in the right way yet, you may express the desire that they should learn. This desire should be uttered without pressure or haste, rather with a calm quality, in the full realization that emotions do not change quickly.

An important part of such instructions should be that you wish to become aware of where, how, and why your emotions still deviate from the truth. Also, you need a growing awareness of where you are still confused and what your inner, unanswered questions are. Last but not least, there has to be a letting go of all resistance to facing yourself fully and honestly, without any restrictions. In this way you do not superimpose right reactions on still deviating emotions, and thereby avoid the pitfalls of self-deception and suggestion.

Prayer, if rightly understood and used, operates in a very similar way. When you pray, you should ask for help to be able to face yourself, or for strength and understanding for your current problems on your path. You should pray to apply the little, seemingly insignificant daily disharmonies to your work on the path, so as to gain deeper insight into yourself. By the same token, you may direct these desires to your own subconscious, strengthening the healthy aspect of your psyche, and weakening the aspects that are unhealthy, childish, and resistant. After all, God lives deep down within yourself.

I assume that when you pray you do not direct such prayer up into the sky but deep into yourself. So there really is not such an enormous difference between prayer and such “instruction”; it is only a slightly different approach. While prayer is directed toward that part of yourself that is most deeply hidden from your conscious — you might also call it the super-conscious, or the divine spark in you — the instructions which I mentioned are directed to a part more accessible to you.

Such instructions should deal foremost with the wish to face yourself, to understand and to assimilate what is in you, and to see where your emotions still deviate due to a lack of understanding. Your desire for understanding should be formed with a quiet, calm mind, and not with tense urgency. You should keep in mind and accept beforehand that change and growth are a slow process.

QUESTION:  With regard to the last lecture, and relating it to the lecture on “The Abyss of Illusion,” you say, “You are the master of your life and fate. No one but yourself creates your own happiness and unhappiness.”  Again in the lecture on “The Abyss of Illusion,” you state that “this basic spiritual truth has been obscured, and for good reason.”  You go on to say that “humanity in its development is required to reach a certain basic spiritual understanding before it can use this knowledge in the right way for, misunderstood, it could indeed be very harmful.”  Could you clarify this statement for us?  I think it might be helpful for us now, in the light of the last lecture. It seems to me that it represents a great step forward to the individual and to humanity and it would begin a whole new cycle of spiritual development for the individual in society; for science and philosophy could find unity in spiritual law — and to that end, a positive perception of our being in God.

ANSWER:  One of your questions seems to ask what would be the damage of such knowledge and of the resulting misconceptions for a spiritually unready humanity. Let us go into this first. One who ignores the existence and the power of the subconscious mind will take such knowledge on a superficial level. This can be dangerous in two ways:  first, the person who believes that one creates one’s own fate may, due to certain circumstances and conditions whose true origins the person ignores, come to possess certain powers. Such a person would be likely to abuse these powers, on the ground of the premise that one creates one’s life and fate. Second, people who have not attained such power would feel extremely frustrated and their sense of inadequacy would grow rather than diminish. Only by exploring the significance of emotions of which they were heretofore unaware would they acquire an understanding of the inner world, its laws, its reality, and the interplay of cause and effect in human relationship as this happens in the inner world of emotions.

Therefore, in order to understand the truth of the premise that man creates his own fate, self-search, the exploration of the subconscious mind, is a necessity without which humanity cannot grow sufficiently to make use of cosmic, spiritual, and universal truth. Such truth, if only half understood and digested, can be dangerous and cause damage to the individual, as well as to humankind as a whole.

The growing trend in our time of accepting and exploring the subconscious is indicative of the steadily increasing general development, despite the pitfalls, misunderstandings, and half-truths that go with such exploration. This is part of the growing pains every living organism goes through. As this general growth and awakening continues, mankind will perceive more and more the reality of the inner universe, thus also understanding the larger universe with all its spiritual laws. Only by perceiving the inner universe, with all its infinite possibilities, with its logical, just laws operating within man and between man and his fellow-creatures, can a human being truly sense God and His creation. Thereby unity will be achieved, slowly, laboriously, step by step. This will be the common denominator that will unite all sciences, all religions, as well as all the other branches of human knowledge, which still function separately at this time.

QUESTION:  I have been thinking about these things and should also like to know whether the persistent effort of humanity so far was in order to justify its existence and whether humanity’s creativeness was used toward that end. In line with your answer, this creativity abides with the spiritual perception of your remark about removing the bonds that prohibit creativity, so that the soul can freely express itself in accordance with spiritual law. If we are the highest reality, one in mind with God, then we will truly have self-responsibility. It seems to me, in contemplating the “Abyss of Illusion” and what you have been saying about love and creativity, our self-responsibility lies in the acceptance of the re-expression of that love and creativity, which has it source in God. In this regard, the attainment of self-mastery…there is a confusion here, I cannot express it….

ANSWER:  Could you try to clarify where the confusion is?  It would be helpful for you to clarify where the confusion lies. Also, I cannot answer your question unless I know what it is.

QUESTION:  It is about self-responsibility, and about certain philosophic fixations we seem to have which include both a fear of loss and fear of the unknown. This again ties in basically with love and trust as you mentioned tonight.

ANSWER:  You see, what you said here about the fear of the unknown is a very important element in most human beings, to some extent in every human being. But the unknown becomes known as you actually experience all the things I have been telling you in these lectures. This means, of course, a very serious effort in self-search. It is not enough to hear these words. That will never do anything really substantial, except perhaps serve as an incentive to begin, unless you experience all the emotions we mention here as living within your soul. When you do so, then the unknown becomes known. And where it remains unknown, it will lose its ability to frighten you because now you admit to yourself, “I do not know.”  That is an enormous difference.

Realizing all this, self-government will cease to be a “must,” and will be a privilege and a freedom, whereas the child in you rejects it as unknown danger.

The fear of the unknown makes humans distort true concepts into fixed opposites, thereby diminishing their truth. It was very significant that you put it in these words. Truth is flexible; by its very nature it cannot be fixed. Nothing that is true can be rigid, static, or fixed. It is always flexible. This very flexibility appears as a threat to people. They want the fixed pseudo-safety of a stone wall on which they can lean. It was this tendency which caused religion to be distorted into dogma.

Rigidity satisfies the very irrational, unfounded fear in the human soul. Humans think that what is fixed is safe, and what is flexible is unsafe. Since truth is alive like anything else that is alive, it must be flexible. So people fear truth and light and life. The belief that flexibility is unsafe is one of the great abysses of illusion.

As you proceed in this work, you will find first that this particular fear also exists in you and that you, too, cling to the supposed safety of the fixed rule. You seem to feel as though you could lean against a wall. It seems like a strong support while, as you will perceive a little later, it is not. Therein lies the confusion about self-responsibility. When leaning on the fixed rule, you shift the responsibility to the rule. When you realize that there is no such thing as a fixed rule, you are frightened, because you have to determine each time anew what your conduct and your attitude are going to be. With flexible truth, the responsibility is automatically shifted onto yourself.

When you no longer fear self-responsibility, because you have lost your self-contempt and mistrust in yourself, you will no longer fear the flexible universe. You will not need to cling to a rigid law. You will see the flexible law working, and it will not be a danger to you. The inflexible or fixed rule or law is for the child who cannot or dare not assume self-responsibility.

The fear of the unknown really comes from insecurity:  “Will I be able to cope?  Will my judgment be adequate?  Will my reactions be right?  Will I make a mistake?  Dare I make a mistake?”  In other words the deepest fear of the unknown is not knowing yourself. As you lose this fear, you will not fear self-responsibility and you will not fear the truth of the flexible laws of the universe. Nor will you fear life, which is flexible all the time. By its very nature flexibility, in the final analysis, is unchangeable, yet never static.

QUESTION:  The word “fear” has come up a number of times this evening. And you used the words “irrational and unfounded fear.”  This leads me to believe that there must be a rational and a founded fear. We are taught here, for example, that fear has a negative connotation and stands for a destructive emotion. And then we read in Scripture that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”  And also, in the Zohar (Book of Splendor) there is a comparison of “love and fear of God to the wings of the bird.”  I wonder if you could speak a little about these two kinds of fear?

ANSWER:  These are two distinct questions. The answer to the first, about the rational versus the irrational fear is this:  If you are in some kind of danger, your reaction to fear is healthy. It is like a signal, giving you the opportunity to do something about it, to save yourself from danger. In other words, it is constructive rather than destructive. Without this danger signal you would be destroyed. This is decidedly different from the psychological, unhealthy, destructive fears we generally discuss in our work.

As to the fear of God, this has absolutely nothing to do with the healthy protective fear we just discussed. Any reference to fear of God in Scripture is due to translations on a wrong and superficial level. But the deeper reasons, why such wrong translations could occur in this particular connection, have very much to do with the God-image, as well as with the fear of the unknown. On the one hand, people need the strong authority who upholds the fixed rule because then they do not have to be self-responsible. On the other hand, an unhealthy fear is generated, which always happens when maturity and self-responsibility are not attained. Whether you fear an avenging God, life, other human beings, or yourself, it is all the same.

Outwardly, there is simply a misunderstanding about certain terms in the Bible; in reality the word “fear” means something quite different, perhaps best described by the words “honor” or “respect.”  The respect paid to the highest intelligence, wisdom and love is beyond words. In the presence of such unlimited greatness, all beings must be in awe — but never in fear!  In coming across such wonder, one cannot help being in awe. It surpasses all understanding. That idea is conveyed in the word that was erroneously translated as “fear.”  But it is not meant that way. Is that clear?

QUESTION:  It is clear. I should like to add a thought that is related and which supports what you have said. In the Cabbalistic teachings pertaining to the word given to us as “fear,” the Hebrew word is Y(I)R(A)H. This word ties in with the ninth of the Ten Sephirot (Emanations) which is indicated as “Foundation.”  This is the turning point where involution ends and evolution begins. Here is the start of the upward turn toward God. The awareness of God is the beginning of wisdom.

ANSWER:  Yes, that is very true. Is there another question?

QUESTION:  Yes. What is the psychic law operating between the conscious and the unconscious mind?  Is there a strict dividing line and what is the law regulating what stays down and what comes up?

ANSWER:  There is no strict dividing line between the conscious and the unconscious mind. You may have noticed in this work that you often expect to find recognitions that were completely unknown to you, but in some way you know that what you are now finding as a new recognition, with a new understanding of its significance, is not really new. You merely looked away but it was always there. It was somewhere in a region between the conscious and unconscious mind. There is no strict dividing line between the conscious and the unconscious mind; there is rather a fading transition, so to speak.

Imagine the entire personality, psyche or mind, both conscious and unconscious, as a rounded form. The more evolved and developed a person becomes the more this form is free of haze and fog. The less developed a person, the greater the part that is fog-bound. The part which functions consciously is a smaller area. Spiritual philosophies and teachings use the term “raising consciousness.”  It means exactly that. If you visualize such a form, you can imagine that as the consciousness is raised, the form comes out of the fog of unconsciousness. Gradually the haze recedes and you become more and more conscious of yourself.

Since the universe is in you, and since you are a universe unto yourself, the universal consciousness can only be gained by this very process of self-finding through which you lift the fog. You cannot gain this consciousness by concentrating on things you learn with your brain alone. That may be valuable as a tool for the work of self-finding, which is the process of making the fog recede, so that the part which was unconscious becomes conscious.

QUESTION:  Does patience hinder ambition?

ANSWER:  Patience, if it is really just that and not a distortion, as for instance inertia, cannot be a hindrance to anything. Of course, it often happens that people make a virtue out of a fault. Those who are inert may deceive themselves and think they are patient. Those who are impatient may deceive themselves and think they are active and energetic. So it is always a question of finding the real trend or emotion. No asset can ever be detrimental.

Impatience, however, will hinder the fulfillment of ambition, because impatience is a form of immaturity. It is the child in you who wants everything, not only according to its own will, but also right now. The child cannot wait. As I explained last time, the child lives only in the now, but in the wrong way. It does not feel the reality of the morrow, therefore it thinks that what is not accomplished now does not count and has no reality. The mature being can wait. He or she realizes that if the desired goal is not accomplished right now, there must be reasons for the delay. Some of those reasons may be in the self, so that the time of waiting can be used constructively for finding and eliminating those reasons.

The time one has to spend waiting will be used to gain the necessary but still lacking insight, ability, or understanding. So patience, if it is purely constructive — not inertia, inactivity or laziness — can only be an advantage. True patience will always know how to discriminate. At one time, just waiting will be indicated; at another time, action will be right. But patience will prevail also during the time of most concentrated activity, because it is really an inner state and has nothing to do with the outer manifestation. The person who acts can be inwardly patient. The person who is outwardly completely inactive may be in an inner state of impatience. Is that clear?

QUESTION:  Yes, thank you. I would like to hear a definition of patience.

ANSWER:  Many definitions are possible. But in the frame of our discussion now I would like to put it this way:  Patience knows that one cannot always have exactly what one wants when one wants it. Patience is not hindered by the pressure and tension and anxiety of the soul. If you analyze it you will find through the experience of your emotions that impatience, whenever felt, is accompanied by such feelings as tension, anxiety, inner pressure — all of which are based on a feeling of inadequacy and closely connected with the sense of “I will not be able to accomplish this,” whatever “this” is. This is impatience. Patience can only exist in a securely mature person who knows his limitations, but knowing also his potentials, trusts in the self. The state of maturity that is your aim will bring, among many other assets, patience.

QUESTION:  I would like to go back to the question that was asked about fear and the mismanagement of instinct in that regard. Instinct is natural to us in the normally functioning human being. Would you comment on the mismanagement of instinct in that regard?

ANSWER:  It is connected with the question of trust in the self we discussed before. If you thwart your instincts, due to the deviations under discussion, you do not trust them. So often you have found that your fears were unjustified. As a consequence, you cease heeding them when perhaps there is good reason to do so. Then you are all the more engulfed in fear, never knowing when to trust your intuition or instinct and when not to. As you cease being fear-ridden for unrealistic reasons, when fear does come up you will question it intelligently, instead of burying it.

The last lecture, as well as this one, should furnish quite a lot of material for your further work, and also for questions and discussions.

Be blessed, all of you, my dear ones. May you find the way to maturity and love by finding where, how, and why you do not love now. May you find the courage to free yourself of this unnecessary burden of fearing love and life. Go in peace, my dearest friends, be in God.