Pathwork Guide Lecture No. 3
April 9, 1957
CHOOSING YOUR DESTINY -- THE WILL TO CHANGE
Greetings in the name of God. I bring you God's blessings, my dear ones.
When an entity undertakes to incarnate into another life on earth, it brings to it the tasks it has to fulfill; the plan is outlined. And in many cases the spirit itself has the right to discuss its future life with those spirit beings whose responsibility this is: thus the incarnating entity can contribute -- to a certain extent, according to its already acquired vision and capacity to judge -- as to how its destiny will unfold. For in the spirit state the entity has a wider view than in the body and understands that the purpose of life is not to have it as comfortable as possible, but to develop toward a higher state, to reach perfect bliss as rapidly as possible -- a state that does not exist on earth. The spirit knows that only through spiritual effort can its spiritual knowledge penetrate its intellect; but as a spirit it also knows that it cannot easily achieve this, and that, once incarnated, difficulties, tests, and even so-called disasters are often necessary to lead one to the right path and the right attitude.
Memory fades automatically the moment matter envelops the spirit. This is essential, for spiritual awareness has to be fought for, and this can happen only when one takes the trouble to search within the self -- not only outside and in general terms -- for God and the truths of Creation. Only within one's own soul can one recognize the very special meaning and purpose of one's life, together with the individual tasks that one has to fulfill. However, those who constantly allow themselves to be impressed by the outward aspects of life on earth lose this inner meaning, and sometimes they have to go through life after life without much progress, incarnating again and again for the same purpose.
The spirit knows the danger of earthly life, but knows also that if one lives life in the right way from the spiritual point of view, one can develop on earth disproportionately faster than in the spirit world, exactly because it is easier there. The difficulties on earth are mainly connected with matter and all that this implies. This is so partly because the memory has been extinguished and needs to be regained, and partly because matter contains so much temptation. Only those who overcome these difficulties can win and make the best of their lives on earth. The spirits about to be incarnated know that they need hardship to shake them into wakefulness so that they do not get imprisoned in matter and in all that matter attracts to it. Before incarnation, therefore, a spirit may ask the higher beings: "I beg you, help me, not only with your strength and guidance, but also, when you see that I am not fulfilling my quota, send me tests and trials, for when these come, I have a better chance to wake up and look at my life from a different point of view than when everything functions regularly and without friction, that is, when all my wishes are always fulfilled within the scope of the possible."
So it is important for you, my dear ones, to recognize that many of the events in your life which seem to repeat themselves were chosen and planned by you when you still had your wider vision, before matter enveloped your spirit. It will be helpful for you to know this. A very ambitious spirit may sometimes even ask for a particularly difficult destiny, knowing clearly in the state of freedom from matter that the pain to be suffered is little and of short duration in comparison to the gain. This should give you food for thought.
I suggest to each one of you, my friends, to think about your life and your trials and tribulations. Ask whether they could not have been chosen by yourselves to make sure you do not remain unaware of something that you should fulfill. Contemplate from this viewpoint what you should still find and solve within you. If you search for it with your entire will, the answer will be given to you, you will sense it, you will be given insights. This, too, has to be learned; it needs practice. Do not believe that the ability to meditate will come by itself. It needs willpower, perseverance; you have to fight your negative currents. But the reward is great and truly blissful; the effort is worth it. When the spirit world recognizes that a person does this with sincere good will, then guidance will be given also from the outside, to help you achieve what you intend.
When a spirit realizes after life is over and it has discarded the material shell that it has not fulfilled everything it had planned, it is often allowed to bring the past incarnation to completion in the spirit state, to finish tasks already begun and to shed some burdens. One can then, as a spirit, continue to be involved with family or whatever group of people one had intended to accomplish a task with, only then it is much more difficult. It is easier in the sense that clear vision is restored, the extinguished memory regained, and one understands what it is all about, but it is more difficult because the possibility of effectively working is much reduced there.
For instance, a living person can influence another especially effectively by overcoming his or her own faults. Indirect influence is always effective and lasting. Example is always more convincing than words, persuasion, or forcing one's will upon the other, no matter how right or well-intentioned one is. To the degree you overcome your own weaknesses, affirm the spiritual laws within yourself, and learn to love, you will get closer to your fellow humans where you need it. It must be so according to spiritual lawfulness. This is indirect influence, but eventually the result becomes evident to everyone. However, as a discarnate spirit you cannot do this, for most people are not open to receive what a spirit is trying to convey through inspiration; even when they perceive it, they often misinterpret or forget it, so it is much more difficult and takes much longer for anyone as a spirit to finish the task begun on earth -- if it can be accomplished at all. One may still need another earth life for this purpose.
Thus every human being and every spirit erects the world in which he or she lives. You build your home in the spirit world after your life on earth, and you build your future life on earth. Every act, thought, feeling has its form, which then builds the spiritual home -- even though only temporarily -- as well as the destined events of the future incarnation. All this represents not only the natural outcome of the person's individual attitude and outlook, but the spiritual forms so constructed indicate exactly what this entity needs for its further development.
Meditate on these words, for they contain much. They again exemplify that the equation must always come out right: hardship is self-created, yet precisely because of that, it contains the only medicine there is. Through this you can fathom the vastness of divine wisdom in its magnificent lawfulness. Whoever understands this, will also understand that destiny and free will are not two mutually exclusive factors, but are interwoven and connected. The events that fate brings to you are spiritual forms which have to manifest in a concrete way. If through ignorance of these laws unfavorable forms are created, each being has to dissolve them himself, and this can happen only by entering a spiritual path of inner discipline, self-knowledge, and self-search.
For all this, my dear ones, you need willpower. Many of you, my friends, will say: "That's all very well, but one person is born with a strong portion of willpower, and another is not. So how can someone who hasn't got any willpower make use of it?" Let me explain.
Willpower, just as any other quality, has to be engendered and built up by yourself. It cannot be otherwise. A person born with a strong will must have worked to acquire it some time in the past, so he or she could bring this valuable possession -- if I may call it that -- along, and now it can be put to good use. If this has not happened yet, work for it in this incarnation. The same holds true for all the other qualities, whether it is the capacity to love, to have tolerance, kindliness, or anything else. And I would like to show you how each one of you can acquire willpower. For God never asks for the impossible from anyone, my dear ones, ever.
Willpower is a direct result of understanding, of knowledge, and of the corresponding decision. For every human being has a certain amount of strength, and it is entirely up to him or her in what direction to channel it. Many people waste this strength either in useless efforts which build nothing that is of spiritual value, or they give over to sick, unpurified emotional currents. These use up much energy. It is yet another spiritual law that energy used for spiritually positive goals is always replenished. But when your strength is caught up in negative circles of spiritually unproductive currents, it gets depleted and wasted, because it cannot be renewed, at least not sufficiently.
This is why you so often see that people who do a lot of good seem to have superhuman strength. Those who know what life is all about will channel the energy at their disposal wisely and reset the inner switches accordingly. When one just drifts along, without giving a thought to the true meaning of life, much of the energy will go into false channels and thus be used up without sufficient renewal. Thus the first step toward willpower is thinking, or, as you also call it, meditation, in the right way. Because for someone who has gained a certain understanding, it will be easier to draw the relevant inner conclusions and to make the outward decisions that follow from them.
It is a decision and an inner reorientation when a person can say: "Well, I live here on earth for a certain reason. Maybe I lack the willpower to fulfill the purpose of my existence as well as it could be possible by overcoming all my resistances, but I will ask God for this willpower, for basically I do want what is good, I do love God. And I will take the time and the little effort to reflect upon these things and open myself to divine enlightenment and devote regularly, daily, about twenty to thirty minutes to my spiritual life. And when I find that at first I still lack the willpower, then I will take this problem into my meditation, into my dialogue with God and with Christ, who is there to help me, and with my spirit helpers who are also waiting to assist me in case I fulfill the conditions to receive teachings, to gain insights, and thus to help my still weak willpower to grow."
Everybody can do that. This much willpower, this much self-discipline is available to everyone. You do not have to start with what is most difficult; after all, you do not start with the roof when you build a house, but with the foundation. The idea is to shift the energy and the emphasis. When a person finally makes this decision and abides by it -- a decision that is not too difficult or too much for anyone -- then the spirit world will also help to strengthen his or her willpower, so that the further and actually more difficult steps of development will seem much easier. I can promise this to you, my friends, and some of you can already confirm that it is so. And thus even the person who initially was lacking in willpower will, in due course, have just as much as those who were born with it.
Those who understand what is at stake and to what area to shift their main concentration, and who bring this understanding from a superficial intellectual level into deeper levels, will be able to take the necessary decisive step. It happens through the regular practice of the correct meditation, which of course has to be learned as part of this path. I talked about inner decisions in my last lecture. The decision to develop your willpower is such a decision, which has to be made at one time or another. To summarize: To obtain willpower you have to, first, gain understanding and, second, make the decision that follows from it. Therefore, if you feel that you do not have enough willpower, you lack the illuminating understanding of what it is all about. Yes, you may have a vague sense of it, but your soul is not yet penetrated by it, maybe because something in you resists and clings to the comfortable, undisciplined old attitude. You are then split inside. One part has some spiritual knowledge, yet the other part does not draw the conclusions from what you feel only vaguely -- the fact is, you do not really want to know. This is why the first step must be to deepen the superficial knowledge, to work on that first, so that the whole personality is penetrated by understanding. When you do this first -- and you can if you take a little trouble and time -- you will certainly make the decision and have the willpower to direct your life and your energies toward the spiritual, recognizing and fully understanding that only in this way can you also solve the problems in your earthly life. And this is how a person creates within the self such a powerful energy that all the subsequent steps upward on the path will become easier and easier. As always, and in everything, the beginning is the most difficult.
From our perspective, we often observe that people who believe they do not have enough willpower would have it if they directed the available energies into the right channels, if they only reset the switch. But only the insight into the necessity of this change will make you act. As long as you deceive yourself into believing that you can manage without it, you will not act but amble along as before. The pursuit of a path that seems comfortable, however, means that the relationship to God is not entirely harmonious. Therefore, if you find yourself in this situation, start thinking about God and Christ, instead of shying away from such contemplation. And you will have to admit, regardless of what exactly you believe or not believe -- assuming that you are not an atheist -- that you owe God some attention. And you can also give thanks to Christ for all that he has taken upon himself for you, out of his love. All those who meditate and reflect upon these things in this way will have to arrive at the right conclusion and will have to make the right decision, so that their lives become living religion and not just a theory.
Do you think that we expect too much of you? Is it too much to devote a little time and effort every day to look into yourself, to find the areas where something is lacking, so as to improve your spiritual awareness? And when the willpower is not there and it is so difficult to muster a daily discipline, then, after asking for help, search into yourself to find what it is that hinders you so much. If you are afraid that you might find something that you would much rather keep buried, then you will benefit from using simple, healthy logic, which will tell you that nothing can remain hidden from God and the realm of spirit -- and not even from yourself, once you return to that world. And the sooner it surfaces, the better for you and the easier to deal with. For you know that what is hidden brings far greater conflicts than what is out in the open, recognized, and integrated. Your psychologists know this, too, so that you are quite aware of the fact that you gain nothing when you close your eyes to what is in you. Think about this deeply, so that the knowledge takes root in your soul. It will be to your greatest benefit.
When you have overcome the initial difficulties and have won some mastery over yourself, at least in this respect, then the spirit world will show you the next step on your path, what has to be worked out and fought for. Life will present it to you. When you have learned to meditate in the right way, you will know how to view every event of your daily life with open eyes, so that you understand its messages.
Even those friends who have overcome the initial difficulties do not always use their quiet hour in the best way. They meditate too often in general terms, always in the same way, not only when praying for other people, but also for themselves. Your meditations and prayers must vary; you need to sense the next step of your development, and when you are not aware of it, the insight will be given if you search honestly, turning your eyes toward what has to be recognized, learned, overcome, and accepted. Take the specific problem of finding your path's direction to God and Christ, and to your personal spirit friends who are so close to you and whose task it is to help you with it. In this way your prayers will come alive. Then, after you have asked for help to recognize your problems and for the strength to solve them, be still and listen into yourself, and then think, or rather let your thoughts surface and allow them to lead you intuitively. After a while the connections will become clear. You will know where the problem comes from, why you react the way you do, and the increasing awareness of your inner currents will help you quite a bit forward.
Again and again take the resolution to face your inner truth with courage. Cultivate truthful thoughts; think everything through clearly, independently. Thus your spiritual life will become more productive, because it will be alive, and therefore also constantly changing. It will not be according to a rigid formula which is repeated daily. And so your relationship to God will unfold toward harmony.
Think about my words, which I was permitted to give to you today. They should take you a little further on your path. And then we have also fulfilled our task. When I say "we," I want to make it clear that I am not the only one who is involved in this contact, but other spirit friends participate in it also, who have their very specific functions, as it is my task to speak to you. For it is not as easy to establish such a contact as you may think, even when the ability of transmission is present.
We spirits who work here rejoice when we see that these words bring you a little closer to God, to your real self, to your happiness and to your inner harmony. Receive the blessings of salvation, may they penetrate you. Go with God, go in peace. God be with you.
Originally given in German, translated by Hedda Koehler and Judith and John Saly.
Edited by Judith and John Saly
For information to find and participate in Pathwork activities world wide, please write:
The Pathworkâ Foundation
PO Box 6010
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6010, USA
Call: 1-800-PATHWORK, or
The following notices are for your guidance in the use of the Pathwork® name and this lecture material.
Pathwork® is a registered service mark owned by The Pathwork Foundation, and may not be used without the express written permission of the Foundation. The Foundation may, in its sole discretion, authorize use of the Pathwork® mark by other organizations or persons, such as affiliate organizations and chapters.
The copyright of the Pathwork Guide material is the sole property of The Pathwork Foundation. This lecture may be reproduced, in compliance with the Foundation Trademark, Service Mark and Copyright Policy, but the text may not be altered or abbreviated in any way, nor may the copyright, trademark, service mark, or any other notices be removed. Recipients may be charged the cost of reproduction and distribution only.
Any person or organization using The Pathwork Foundation service mark or copyrighted material is deemed to have agreed to comply with the Foundation Trademark, Service Mark and Copyright Policy. To obtain information or a copy of this policy, please contact the Foundation.