Pathwork Guide Lecture No. 234
October 22, 1975
PERFECTION, IMMORTALITY, OMNIPOTENCE
Greetings and divine blessings for all of you, my dearest friends. Divine love is like an immense mantle of finely spun gold, permeating the universe, enveloping everything and everyone existing in all of creation. It is a permanent reality, always accessible in its essence. Only the disconnected mind fails to perceive divine love and moves itself out of grace, as it were. But being removed from grace is only an illusion. It becomes reality for the narrow consciousness that believes that the illusion is real. As you grow on your path and find forever more and deeper connections with yourself, with what is now in you, you finally connect with that essence of yourself that is the state of grace I just described.
Your innermost universe is also the outermost universe and vice versa. Truly, there is no separation between them. As time is an illusion, so is "inside and outside," and so is it an illusion that you are separated from that mantle of divine love, which is also you yourself, for you are part of that mantle. It is not merely given to you, or available to you -- you are it.
I know, my friends, these are difficult concepts to comprehend, let alone to experience in your present state, a state in which a condensation of energy and consciousness has created little nuclei, as it were. Perhaps I might use the analogy of an "airpocket" to convey nature or life of matter. In the immense sea of divine reality there are airpocket-like formations and configurations that are produced by certain states of consciousness. To those who created that particular condensation, who are in that state of consciousness, the creation seems unique and isolated. Nothing else seems to exist, because you cannot perceive what is produced from other states of consciousness and development. The "airpocket" you live in represents your present reality. It may be an entirely different "airpocket" for others whom you can see and hear, but who live in a different world and have created a different configuration.
Your higher self is of course the ever-existing grace of God, the mantle of love, truth and beauty that permeates all of existence. Your higher self knows states of reality that your conscious mind knows nothing about. Only on the journey to your innermost being do you gradually expand the experience and the knowledge that come from your higher self, allowing it to penetrate the mind of your conscious personality. In the limited state of perception of the conscious mind, the truth that the higher self knows to be real becomes somewhat distorted. Perceiving the higher self's knowledge through the maze of the ego consciousness makes the truth somehow untrue.
In tonight's lecture I will speak about three such particular states of reality, which in the higher self are beautiful, but in the ego-consciousness become untrue, off center, distorted and neurotic. You must therefore first abandon the distortions, on the level of ego-consciousness, before they can reemerge as truth on a deeper level of consciousness. It is very important to understand this. You struggle constantly because you always assume that something is either right or wrong, yet something can be truth on one level and untruth on another.
The three aspects I want to discuss this evening are perfection, immortality, and omnipotence. Let us see how these three states of reality compare when you experience them in the higher-self consciousness, and when you experience them on the personality level. I venture to say, my friends, it will help you a great deal if you can assimilate what I attempt to give you here.
Let us begin with perfection. The striving of the higher self for perfection is of course a legitimate movement, for the soul knows that this state of reality exists as a living, breathing reality of its own. Perfection of the spiritual entity is very different, however, from the way the ego conceives of it. Perfection in reality is an ever-changing flux. There is nothing static about it. One thing is not in opposition to another. Truth, beauty, love are ever-changing manifestations, changing always appropriately to the occasion. Therefore perfection is a constantly moving state. But the ego consciousness conceives of perfection as static, very limited and exclusive, rather than inclusive. Therefore perfection deteriorates into perfectionism. When this happens, duality takes its toll. One thing seems good, another bad.
You must give up striving for perfection from the ego point of view to truly reach the perfection of the higher self. Let us consider the motives for perfection on both levels -- that of the conscious ego personality and that of the higher self. Along with that, let us look at some of the qualities and traits manifesting in both states.
The motive -- if there is such a thing from the higher-self point of view -- for being perfect and wanting perfection, is love. It is the recognition that only a state of pure love can further creation, can aid the great evolutionary plan. God is perfection, therefore the Godself is perfect -- in wisdom, in love, in beauty, in unity, in all-inclusiveness and in the undivided reality in which what is good and desirable for one must also be so for all others. True perfection is a relaxed state of being in which no fear, pride, or self-will exist. It exists for its own sake, simple and pure. Real perfection harbors within itself a state of deep self-recognition that contains respect and love for the self as much as for all other things in creation. Hence no proving is necessary. Perfection is wide open and knows no formula and no rigid rule. Inner freedom and security make it possible for the entity to decide spontaneously when to be soft and when to strongly assert a position. There is no maudlin sentimentality that shrinks fearfully from confrontation. The courage to risk rejection for the sake of help and truth exists without becoming an extreme position of punitive self-righteousness. Expanding, giving, joyful and vigorous expressions of divine reality surge forth in the state of positive aggression, as well as in the state of soft receptivity and acceptance. Perfection is a breathing, living force that heals, grows and creates because it exists for its own sake. In that state it constantly expresses a variety of divine qualities, not only love, truth, justice, beauty, but also creative vigor, vitality, myriad expressions of self, of life forever alternating for the deeply innate purpose of spreading divine reality into all of the void. This is a very limited explanation, my friends, for human words do not exist to describe this state. So you need to use your innermost feelings, the intuitive faculties of your inner soul, to feel what I mean to convey here.
Now how does striving for perfection look when it comes from the level of the ego personality? What are the motives? What are the attitudes? Obviously there is pride -- the need to be perfect in order to be better than others. That feeling alone totally distorts reality. As I have often said, when you compare in this manner, you are in the illusion that there is a limited quota of perfection available, so that you have to jealously guard your own and take it away from others in order to reach your goal. At the same time, another person's already developed state appears to diminish you. Attempting to become perfect at the expense of others obviously defeats your very aim, for nothing could be less perfect than the inner greed, jealousy, envy, tight ambitiousness and vanity involved here, not to mention the very imperfect, limited view of life in which such exclusiveness seems a reality to you.
Another distortion in striving for perfection on the personality level is the fear of inner imperfection, a hidden sense of worthlessness that you never face squarely, comprehend, work through in its details and small everyday manifestations. Instead, you put on a mask of perfectionism to prove to the world and yourself that the worthlessness you fear and suspect does not exist. Perfection then becomes a superimposed solution for the worthlessness that you do not want to experience and examine. So here we are also dealing with evasion and untruth. You are untruthful in the sense of not wanting to see what you really feel and think about yourself, but rather striving to appear what you are not. On the ego level, perfection becomes, or is, outer-directed. It exists for the sake of others, for the sake of appearance.
So if you seek perfection -- a divine state -- in a state of untruth, the false search must lead to a rigid distortion, truly a caricature of the real state of perfection. Such a prideful, fearful, untruthful attitude indicates lack of faith in your own deeper nature. Therefore you hurriedly try to pretend that you are in a perfect state, without it having developed organically. The pretense of appearing perfect -- which may apply to specific aspects of the personality and not so much to the total personality -- implies a deep dishonesty on the part of the lower self. It is truly cheating, wanting to skip the laborious work of becoming, and wanting to attain the desirable result without paying the price. This, in turn, increases guilt and a sense of worthlessness that is diffuse and not pinpointed in conscious awareness.
The superimposed perfection -- or rather perfectionism -- is always blind, unsure, and therefore rule-bound. It uses truth often in a misplaced way, in generalizations that do not fit the occasion. The self then becomes at times wrongly soft where confrontation and assertion would be appropriate and intolerant where acceptance would be appropriate. For many personalities one or the other of these two attitudes seems to be "godly" or "right" and is used blindly, because it has become structured into the personality. Because you refuse to face your deep lack of faith in yourself, you always project it outward in a cynical and negative attitude toward the world. Alternatively, you may put on a false "appearance faith." The self-judgments that you do not face openly distort the personality into becoming self-righteously severe with others. Religionists often distort reality in that way and rationalize their narrow attitude by using religious doctrines. Or you may project self-indulgence and guilt in a different way by becoming overly permissive and sentimental, developing a false, mask-self acceptance that is only an appearance.
You can see very clearly, my friends, that you must abandon the claim for perfection for the sake of the truthfulness and the humility of accepting your imperfection. And that is indeed the threshold you must go through in order to make room gradually for the ever-existing and unfolding perfection of your soul, a perfection that you will experience so differently when you approach it in this way. The humility of giving up perfectionism and the honesty of paying the price for developing slowly into a more genuinely perfect being are indispensable prerequisites which are, in fact, aspects of your real perfection. It may seem paradoxical, but accepting humbly your imperfect state and looking at it creatively, constructively, and specifically so as to understand and make connections is already a manifestation of the Godhead within.
Now let us come to immortality. Again, immortality is the state of reality that the higher self knows exists. However, the consciousness that is disconnected from the higher self warps this truth. The conscious thinking process translates this awareness into fear of death, just as the message of the higher self that perfection is possible reaches the conscious personality as fear of imperfection. The fear of death says, on the deepest level: "I want to experience the state of immortality that I know exists, even though I am caught temporarily in the dualistic 'airpocket' of life versus death -- an either/or." In that experience, in that vision, when you are in one, you do not see the other, and you fear giving up one for the other.
Fear of death also implies lack of faith in the ever-ongoing reality of all life, all consciousness. However, when self-will and fear motivate the conscious mind of the outer personality, they both seek out and distort the truth of immortality in order to avoid the fear of death. Adopting spiritual truths in order to deny feeling your fear of death is a neurotic manifestation. The personality fears to go through the tunnel of that fear. Only when you face the tunnel with courage and go through it -- as you must face and go through all feared feelings -- will you experience the reality of eternal life, whether you are in the body or outside the body.
The motivation for believing in immortality plays a tremendous role here. If you hide your fear of death, your lack of faith, and disconnect your awareness from the inner source of this dark fear, then superimposing the truth from outside will not work. You must abandon immortality and accept mortality until you can truly become immortal.
And now let us look at the third of this triad: omnipotence. Again, the state of ultimate reality of the soul knows its own omnipotence, its own Godness -- knows of its power to heal, its power to create worlds and to re-create the self in myriad joyful forms, to dissolve these forms and re-create them. But the conscious personality vaguely perceives this state of omnipotence in a distorted form, like the other two concepts. When this distorted message from the higher-self state comes through the thin funnel of the channel that exists as yet very narrowly, its manifestation then is the childish claim for omnipotence that you all know exists in infants and in the infantile aspects of adults as well. In that distorted, immature state the self-will dictates total omnipotence: "I want it my way. There must be no obstacles, no delays, regardless of the cost to others. I must have my will immediately, regardless of the consequences." That sense of omnipotence of the outer personality is an insistence on magical solutions that are supposed to eliminate the need to learn and grow from dealing with the realities you have already created, such as frustration, pain, difficulties, struggle.
Obviously this distortion is destructive. It implies selfishness, lovelessness, ruthless disregard for others to the point of cruelty and unreality -- the belief that a sheer act of will can make obstacles disappear, when what is really called for is learning from them through acceptance and thus transcending them. This distortion also reveals a limited outlook on the reality of creation, lack of trust or faith, and again the cheating that wants to avoid the labor of the struggle of growth.
It is therefore obviously necessary for the growing, maturing individual to abandon the claim for omnipotence and magic, with all the negative traits that are inherent in this claim. If you have the humility to accept your limitations, you can go through the doorway and gradually expand your power to create. But this occurs then on that other level, in a totally different way.
The motive on the higher-self level for experiencing the true divine state of omnipotence has nothing to do with pride, self-will or fear. It does not exclude others. It always includes them. It is a powerful bright force of self-expression that never infringes on others. The kind of omnipotence attempted by the immature state always infringes on others and wants to limit them for the sake of its own greater power, to subjugate others as the tool for itself. The divine state of omnipotence enjoys the equal omnipotence of others. There is never a power struggle between entities in this state.
Let us see, my dearest friends, how you need to give up a pretended state in order to regain it on a genuine level. You need to lose sight, temporarily, of the goal. You need to give up your claim for the ego's perfection that is based on pride, comparison, vanity, fear of your own insufficiency. You need to have the humility to see your imperfections. That in itself is the surest, fastest way to get you closer to perfection.
Your belief in immortality needs to be abandoned temporarily, even though it may be quite accurate, because in spite of your belief you still cannot conceive of the change -- the switch of consciousness on a feeling and experiential level -- that takes place when you leave the body. These are still only words for all of you. It is important that you give up using these words to deny your vague unrest, your anxiety or fear of that unknown state by superimposing on them true principles and the facts of the greater life. You need to admit your fear, your puzzlement, your state of anxiety, the feeling of being at a total loss. For you truly confront a wall which you cannot penetrate as yet. This wall is of your own making. It is a result of your disconnectedness and the turn your mind has taken in the particular "airpocket" of your condensed reality. However, that self-created wall can crumble only when you accept its existence and let yourself feel the feelings that this wall elicits in you. You need not abandon the ideas, but you need to admit that the ideas are only ideas for you, that your feelings are far removed from them, and that you do fear the black wall of the unknown which you must traverse.
You have to go through similar walls of the unknown practically every day of your life, if you wish to live fully and not in self-limitation and self-deprivation. The more you do this willingly, the more the walls will dissolve, even the great wall. This will make it possible, even while living in the body, to truly experience a switch of consciousness. You traverse walls of unknown terror in your pathwork as a result of your commitment to your feelings that you had denied: pain, hate, self-rejection, guilt, rage, all shades of fear and terror, as well as the even more feared feelings of love, sexuality, bliss, oneness. As you learn to travel through these feelings, in spite of the initial fear to do so, you experience a wonderful new freedom, a wonderful liberation and enrichment. A previously unknown state becomes a known state. It does no good telling yourself how you believe that these feelings are not to be feared, while you avoid experiencing them and going through the dark tunnel they seem to be. Only going through them can truly free you so that you will never again fear them to the same degree. If you repeat this every time a residual fear of any feeling surges up again, eventually no residual fear of any feeling or state will remain. It is the same with the great fear of the apparently final tunnel.
When you embrace expansion into new territory in your daily life -- when you stop hindering your expansion because you have the basic faith and courage to go into an unknown state -- you make the unknown into a known. Every feared unknown, be it a feeling that you designate as negative, or an expanded new state of experience that is truly positive, seems to you a black wall that you fear and wish to avoid. Avoiding it prevents your ever-flowing movement of life from taking its natural course. So, by abandoning temporarily the outer theory of immortality and accepting your fear of mortality, you can go through a black wall and truly realize immortality as an experienced fact. The same with perfection, with omnipotence -- or with many other states of reality. This is also true of the feelings you are terrified of: once you traverse them you will experience the state that truly proves you need not fear them.
As to omnipotence, you already work extensively on that. You discover the infant in you who demands omnipotence and magical solutions. You express these claims and desires and your rage when these desires cannot be fulfilled. You learn to accept the limitation of your present personality. You need humility to accept this; you need faith to give up what you believe you must have right now, especially if it is a forceful movement that disregards the rhythm of life, in yourself and in the lives of others. Only by that action of love, trust, decency, honesty and humility can you then come back to omnipotence in an entirely new and different way. You are increasingly discovering new strength, new creative power, new abilities, new intuitive faculties that you never thought possible before. They are a direct result of giving up the false version of perfection, immortality, omnipotence and other states into which you need to develop gradually.
You can see, my friends, when states of reality on the level of cosmic truth and creation filter through the limited opening into the ego personality and the conscious personality misunderstands and distorts them, states that are divine truth become lies and neurotic manifestations.
Humanity's confusion of these states at this point of your time, of your history, is very significant. Let us shed light on the evolutionary movement in this respect. In previous times, when religion was strongly represented in the life of humanity, the postulated truth was accepted. Humanity, at that point in its development, had to consider these principles intellectually at first, being unready to deal with them emotionally. This was a necessary beginning at a certain stage of development. It is always so: first a new idea has to be considered before it can be incorporated into the deeper consciousness. The new, truthful ideas must come from the outside in order to facilitate the opening of the channel, so that the inner self can then bear them out through experience.
More highly developed followers of the inner religious movements always knew that these states of perfection existed within humanity as a potential to be realized. They always knew that God is within and they always postulated this. However, at that time, it could not be more than a theory and a faraway goal. This truth was then misunderstood, misrepresented and misused by the prideful, domineering, fearful ego, so that perfection was forced, pretended, punitively dictated, in order to allay the fear of facing those roots of the personality where these states of perfection could not yet exist.
This abuse and misuse, this dangerous escape from the necessary developmental steps, necessitated a new movement in your history, which came along with psychology. As psychology developed, it recognized the distorted manifestations as illusory pseudo-solutions and designated them as neurotic states that the maturing individual naturally abandoned, at least to some degree. Through psychology, a person could be led to accept his or her limitation, imperfection and mortality.
Eventually, however, this very important psychological movement also began to deteriorate as a result of the dualistic state. It lost sight of the fact that yet another step existed. There is yet another level in which the false becomes true again. The triad of perfection, mortality, omnipotence truly exist, so a total denial of these states by psychology is equally erroneous, although at first necessary in order to follow the curve of growth.
In the New Age, everything leads to a discovery of and a fusion with the inner levels -- a fusion of the dualities, of the either/or principle. You will find that you are neither perfect, nor do you give up perfection forever. You are neither immortal, nor do you give up immortality forever. You are neither omnipotent, nor do you forever remain limited and separated. You will find that different truths apply to different levels. On the outer level of your personality you are indeed not perfect, you are indeed mortal, you are indeed far from being omnipotent. But absolute perfection, immortality and omnipotence exist already within you. Only as you abandon your insistence of possessing them right away will you even know what is perfect and what is not perfect, what is life and what is death, what is power and what is weakness.
When you are in the dualistic confusion you do not know. You often think you know what is perfect and imperfect, but you do not really know, because you lack understanding and cannot see far enough into the chain reactions; you do not perceive the dynamics. You often believe something is death, when it is really life, and life when it is really death. For example, when you deaden your faculty to feel and your faculty to experience deeply and vibrate with life, you think you are alive. And you think slipping through the gate means being dead. Even during life in the body, you believe that experiencing your pain and terror -- or your imagined worthlessness -- is death, that it will annihilate you. When you muster the courage to go through it in a real way, you will find that you have gained new life. In fact, those very feelings you feared as death itself contain much of the life energy and vitality that you have deliberately deadened. So you see, my friends, even knowing what is the one and what is the other cannot truly be possible on the level of personality, of the conscious mind now. In knowing this, you will perhaps gladly learn not to insist any longer on the distorted perfection, immortality and omnipotence that grow out of fear, lack of faith, self-hate, limited vision, pride, impatience, distrustfulness. You will learn to abandon them, as you go through the feelings that create the urgency to be in these states. Thus you will traverse gates, tunnels and walls.
One more point about the connection between the conscious mind and the higher self: As you can perceive quite clearly from the foregoing, when the connection is partial, and if the fact that it is only a partial connection is not clearly comprehended, damage might occur. The same process I explained with these three aspects can exist in many other ways. I do not mean in the least to imply that the conscious mind should not attempt to connect with the higher self. Quite the contrary, of course. But what is important is to know that a beautiful opening in one area is no guarantee that a similar opening exists in all other areas. There are human beings who have established a good connection with their higher selves. In that area they may have a flowing, beautiful channel where the conscious mind can indeed be inspired, guided, instructed by the inner God. However, if the conscious personality then believes that he or she is now truly "safe" and has in all areas the connection, that could become a danger. Where the disconnectedness exists, the channel is not open and cannot come through, no matter how open and truthful it may be in another area. It is a great mistake to assume that an open channel guarantees that it can truthfully instruct or even point out the blind spots that still exist in the personality. Where the personality is still resistant, blocked, defended, and has a stake in not knowing or admitting this attitude, the open channel cannot function.
This is a specific danger point on the road to opening the channel. Many have faltered here. Before such a channel opens up, this danger does not exist to the same degree. Then other dangers exist. But once someone's channel has been established, the person often comes to believe that the divine self that functions and communicates so beautifully can point out all his or her blind spots. Such a person will then become self-enclosed. The remaining pride may close him or her to any help from others who may point out better what the channel cannot reveal. Now that more of you experience this newly-awakened channel as an immense source of joy and strength, let me particularly warn you about this, so that you can avoid the pitfalls. Many highly developed spiritual innovators and channels have later deteriorated because of the ignorance of these dynamics. The inner God never forces something on the self that the self does not actively seek. This is a law that is never broken, and this is why continuing pathwork with a helper and with your friends in groups is so essential -- perhaps in a different sense -- even more after the channel begins to work.
Ask yourself deeply, where do you still resist and defend, where do you hold on and have a stake in not letting in anything that might seem threatening to you. To the degree you can acknowledge that such an attitude exists, you are already better off, for you then have the tools to work on it and can understand that this limits your perception of reality and your channel to your higher self. Even where the open channel already functions, its messages might be mistranslated and misused in order to perpetuate the resistance. Such distortions not only exist in respect to the triad of perfection, immortality and omnipotence, but in many areas of life, too numerous to list. Be aware of this possibility! An incomplete opening and incomplete state of receptivity, a state of defendedness, distorts the messages from the higher self, whether they come in a longing, a striving that is not articulated or in actual instructions and words.
Your path is indeed a blessed, blessed venture. If only you could see the difference of your inner landscape after the initial steps you have already undertaken -- and the first steps are always the most difficult ones! And if you could only see the still more glorious, expanded inner landscape that will become your own home ground when your commitment to all of yourself and to the truth of all being is constantly renewed and rooted in you, if you learn to have faith in periods of darkness in your life, these very periods will -- and already do -- shorten as your path progresses. They become less fearsome and less frequent. Continue on your beautiful journey, there is no better one. All of you are blessed in the deepest possible way. You incur an extended blessing for every step on your way, in love and in faith. Be your God.
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.