Pathwork Guide Lecture No. 37
September 26, 1958
ACCEPTANCE, RIGHT AND WRONG WAY -- DIGNITY IN HUMILITY
Greetings in the name of the Highest Lord and God. I bring blessings for all of you, my friends. Blessed is this hour.
Happy is the person who has truly declared for God! But how few such people are there in your world! Some of you have reached the place of surrender on the long road upward. Others think they have done so merely because they have made some half-hearted compromises.
What is a wholehearted decision for God? It always involves giving up something. It may mean letting go of an opinion, a desire, perhaps a way of life. Yet in reality you do not give up anything, but the act of "giving up," which is how this surrender appears to you, must be carried out. Only after you have proven your willingness and taken this step will you find that you actually receive much more than you have given up: you find that you have given up nothing! This paradox is veiled in a cloud of unknowing, which automatically disappears when a person has proven the willingness to sacrifice something important for God.
Many people have mistakenly interpreted the law that governs a decision for God to mean giving up the world and retiring to a cloister. Such ascetics often give up nothing, while others remain in the world and truly surrender their lives. In the wholehearted declaration that they have made for God, His will and its fulfillment is expressed in deed, in word, in intention. That others around such a person may never know this is quite natural. Often God gives back what one has first given up. If you have proven that you are not attached to something more than you are to Him, He will see to it that you receive it all over again, in a new and better way! What you have to give up is not necessarily bad, wrong, or wicked. It is sufficient that you hold on so very strongly and are incapable of letting it go for the sake of the Lord. That is the point, my friends.
How can you be on this path, my friends, if you are not willing to let God take over entirely? How can you be a child of God if worldly considerations matter more while considerations of your purification, your development, and your relationship to God are made secondary? You cannot compromise with God, though this is often what you want to do. You think praying and pondering a little bit about your mistakes is sufficient; and you go on with your life as though God and His call did not exist. You cannot stand with one foot on this path and the other in your old way of life. The old way has brought you nothing but trouble.
The basic test of any entity in the body or out of the body comes at the stage of its development when it is requested by the world of God to put belief into practice at last. But first for a long while there is no belief, no sight of truth. A turning point occurs when the entity begins to see the light, senses the existence of God, and comes to believe in Him. Then the belief has to be proven! Events will occur in such a way that God speaks clearly to the seeker: "Do you mean it? Are you serious in your belief? Do I matter more to you than anything else?" An occasional prayer is not enough. God wants the whole of you so that He can give you the whole of Him. Only by giving yourself to God will you be at peace with yourself. A lack of peace is always a sign that you have withheld from your Father in Heaven a part of your soul. A part of you wants God, wants to experience yourself as a child of God, wants to develop and purify. Yet with another part you think you know better. You want to come nearer to God on your terms, not His. You think it would be a disadvantage, in some way, for you to surrender yourself completely and wholly to God. Thus do you project your own limitations on the Highest.
Do not misunderstand these words to mean that complete passivity is called for on your part. The act of sacrificing for God and overcoming your self-will is the right kind of activity. You use the wrong kind whenever you struggle against your Higher Self.
In the course of the Fall every divine aspect in creation has been perverted into its opposite extreme. This is easy to determine. Love has turned to hatred and resentment, justice to injustice, beauty to ugliness, harmony into disharmony, and so on. For any child of God and for any created being no longer in deepest darkness, these extremes represent no danger. There is, however, a hidden and distorted wrong extreme masked and covered over by many layers presented as the good and the real. You, and many people like you, are unable to discriminate between the fake and the genuine goodness in the human personality, namely the higher self, the lower self, and the mask self. The same coexistence of truth and falsehood accompanies every divine force, aspect, or influx on this earth.
One of the most misunderstood divine currents is love. Many other things pose as love that really have nothing to do with love. The yearning of the ego to break through the barrier of loneliness poses as love. So does its possessiveness. I will be more specific about this subject when I speak to you about erotic love, its meaning, its perfect ideal, and its deviations. However, that is not my subject tonight.
Tonight we shall discuss how to live up to the Divine Law of accepting life's adversities without becoming pessimistic and negative. There is a great deal of confusion about this subject generally in your world and particularly among you, my friends. Acceptance of life is the divine way; to accept everything life brings, both good and bad -- and to retain a positive attitude. The distortion is in the struggle of self-will against accepting anything hard. The refusal to accept life's terms can be on the surface or be hidden, as is the case with almost everything. It is equally against Divine Law to be pessimistic and negative. Your lower nature, abetted by the forces of darkness, likes to believe that to be pessimistic and negative means to accept life's hardships. On the other hand, to deny that hardship can exist is a distortion of a healthy and positive attitude.
To find the right way is not easy. Self-testing and meditation will open you to the answers that you need; each of you will learn where and how you deviate from the right course. But let me show you in principle how acceptance can be practiced within one's soul.
To accept life's adversities does not mean to take a dark view of everything. The true and right course is: "I expect life to bring me unhappiness as well as happiness. I will not flinch from life's clouds. I will not fear the darkness. Only by going through adversity courageously will I be able to bear happiness and be able to give happiness." You can arrive at spiritual poise only if you do not flinch from unhappiness in distorted self-love, self-pity, and cowardice. If you learn from the hard times and ask God in your darkest hour what it is that He wants you to learn and what it is in you that has caused misfortune to come to you, then you have the right attitude. If you do not allow yourself to think the sun will never shine again you shall accept the darkness constructively, you will also find your own inner causes for the dark hours.
Apart from all hardships there are certain general lessons to be learned by everyone alike in every hour of test and difficulty about pride, self-will, and fear. Isn't the seeker who kicks and struggles against unhappiness acting out of pride? Doesn't the personality often react in emotional outbursts: "Why should I be unhappy? I do not want to be unhappy!" Only a perfect being could rightfully make the demands you so often make more or less unconsciously. Is it therefore not self-will that makes you struggle in unhappiness? Every one of you can learn that in difficult times. Your fear can only leave you if you learn to embrace unhappiness as a necessary medicine, without thinking that you will always remain sick or at all times be in need of this medicine. This is acceptance of life.
Your unwillingness to accept life, or your inner struggle with acceptance, may manifest in many ways. Because you have absorbed certain teachings with your intellect, you may not openly admit your refusal to be unhappy. By defiance, self-pity, wanting to flee life or escape your trouble in one way or another, you prove that emotionally you have not accepted all that life stands for. Any disharmonious feeling you have in connection with the adversities in your personal life will prove to you that within yourself you have not accepted life's rules, you are rejecting personal responsibility for your hardships, and you are unwilling to take the medicine. Try to translate your feelings and learn what they mean, so that they gain clearer form in your mind and help you to achieve a profounder consciousness of yourself.
Ask yourself: "What do I mean by feeling as I do? Am I struggling against life's realities? Does my struggle mean that I reject through pride and self-will the lesson life has to teach me? Am I afraid of this lesson, of this sign that I love myself too much? Am I afraid of all the little hurts and disadvantages? A searching inquiry is not being pessimistic, my friends, nor negative. Pessimism and negativity would say: "All I can expect is unhappiness; the sun will never shine for me anymore." You may indicate such despair with your feelings even though your intellect does not want to accept it. Test these feelings. People often think that by being negative and pessimistic they can prove that they are accepting life's lessons. Actually negative attitudes are just another way of kicking and struggling -- and refusing life's lessons.
Another distortion of a divine attribute concerns dignity. Dignity is a divine aspect. Its distortion is pride. How often do we notice human beings proud of their pride mistaking pride for dignity, which has no life apart from complete humility. The individual whose ego currents are so strong that self-will has the upper hand is necessarily proud and cannot simultaneously have dignity. In the measure that self-will, pride, vanity, and egotism are present in the soul, they inevitably bring fear in their wake. Fear and dignity cannot coexist. The soul that can humble itself when it is appropriate knows true dignity. Is there anything more dignified than saying humbly to a fellow creature, "I was wrong; forgive me." In spite of what you often think and feel, admitting a wrong will never injure your dignity. How often do you stubbornly persist in holding a point of view simply because you do not want to give in! Why not? Your misunderstood concept of dignity is nothing less than pride -- the exact opposite of dignity. Spiritually unawakened people easily mix up the two.
Be careful, my friends, with masked and misrepresented divine currents that pose for what is true and good and right. In your world the tendency to adhere to such distortions is now very strong. In former times the forces of darkness did not need to resort to such means. When humanity was at a primitive stage of development the outright lie was sufficient to draw one away from the Divine. Today, humanity has progressed so that what is obviously wicked will not tempt many; only the confusion and misrepresentation of the good will have the effect at which the forces of darkness constantly aim. Their new tactics do make it more difficult for you to discriminate but you are obviously strong enough to master the subtleties involved and to discover the false posing for the true.
Before we turn to your questions, there are two things I wish to say to you. The first is that there is a great blessing on this group, as well as on my group in Switzerland. The spirit world has planned great things. Some of my friends can begin to sense that it is so. We now have the joy of having two mediums in training, one here and one abroad. This endeavor will serve many purposes, not only when the training is terminated, but also while it is still going on. It will enable purification simultaneously for the mediums and the manifesting spirits and also for the human beings in attendance. I announce this development tonight so that all friends following the teachings of this group may be aware that it holds great meaning.
For practical reasons I suggest that the training sessions for our two mediums, including the discussions that follow, especially as they relate to the purification of the participants, should be tape-recorded and the tapes exchanged between the two groups. In this way you will learn from one another. There should be a constant and regular exchange. This is very important for both groups. What has started in my little group here will be very helpful for my group across the ocean.
Tonight I also want to ask a favor of some of you. This group is blessed, and blessed is every single person who is part of it. It would be a great joy for the world of God if all the very human animosities and misunderstandings, unavoidable in a group of this size, were straightened out and treated with a spiritual attitude. Of course you have your free will and can say no, but if you are willing, go to the person whom you do not like. Think carefully why you do not like that particular person. Try hard to be objective and you will surely find out that somehow your view is subjective; perhaps your vanity was hurt, or you have unwittingly hurt the vanity of the other person, and emotional reactions followed. One can then always rationalize one's dislike. If there was no particular incident, just try to find the good in the other and quietly look for the objective reason for your reaction. Just a little goodwill can often establish a bond of love between two people at odds. Try to find the common denominator. For there is a common denominator in all of you. Build on it and not on your thoughts and feelings that have probably been influenced by hurt pride. Show your own good sides in sincerity; show the generosity in your heart that sometimes seems to be hidden.
In cases where there have been actual incidents, consider the details with discretion and tact. When the incident should be discussed, or whether it should be discussed at all, depends on how free you are of resentment and of blindness. In some cases it would be beneficial if such incidents were brought to the inner circle. The time will come when you will be able to talk freely to your "adversary," explaining calmly what you feel has been a misunderstanding, the ways that you both were hurt, and why there is a dislike. Always both parties are hurting. If you can be honest and detached from yourself at the same time, listen quietly and try to understand the other person's point of view without letting your so-called dignity stand in your way. You will see there is no cause for disharmony.
All misunderstandings and all hurts are merely imaginary, my friends. They are the byproduct of this earth sphere in which you live, partly at least, in darkness. You think so many times you have reason to be hurt, but it is not true! Take your courage into your two hands and make that first step toward the very person you may misunderstand. You will purify all the better. You may see strongly only what you do not like or what you feel is directed against you in some way, and therefore you cannot see clearly. Intellectually you may acknowledge that the other person has wonderful qualities, but emotionally you do not really think so, or at least you do not want to find out.
By practicing what I suggest here, you will do good for yourselves and also for any other person involved. The reason I request it, however, is that the energy of reconciliation is important for the group as a whole. It is so beneficial, my friends, to give your heart to the person who you think has hurt you.
Bad feelings and bad thoughts add to the destructive forces in the universe. If you could even dimly realize how each of these feelings and emotions drain into a big ugly pool and finally are responsible for all the hurts of this world, for crime and injustice and the wickedness of wars! Such awareness should not force you to deceive yourself into having thoughts that are not true. Distortion is never the right way. The way must always be, first, to have the courage to say: "These are my feelings; I know they might be wrong, but they are that way." If you can observe the feelings with detachment and acknowledge them, then you have made the first step toward your own proper purification; the wrong thoughts and feelings that you cannot avoid having at present will be much less forceful, capable of doing less harm both to you and to the universe. The fact is that your courageous recognition and your goodwill changes and lessens their impact. Their impact is strongest when you are unaware of their existence, or when you try to justify them.
Be blessed, my dear ones.
Edited by Judith and John Saly
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