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From lecture 41, IMAGES: THE DAMAGE THEY DO:

The only way you can reach the freedom that you strive for is to delve into yourself. In that way you will go through a tunnel of darkness and emerge on the other side to encounter the light of true independence. Only after you have recognized your own responsibility for the darkness while passing through the tunnel — which is not an easy experience — will you have truly gained real independence. So do not seek this liberation outwardly. It is of no avail. If you have not yet found and dissolved your images you are ensnarled by them. You are constantly reenacting the drama of your own errors and wrong conclusions. You are caught in them unawares, and you repeat and repeat and repeat throughout your life, and, as I said, often through many lifetimes, what your own wrong conclusions are leading you to and actually drawing toward you.

At one time in your childhood you had a shock. When you think of a shock, you think of a sudden experience with a very strong and unexpected impact, like an accident. But a shock may also happen, particularly to a child, in a more gradual discovery that things are contrary to one’s dearest and most cherished expectations. For example, a child lives with the idea that its parents are perfect and omnipotent. When the realization dawns upon the child that this is not so, it comes as a shock, although the realization may often come by a series of events until the new discovery makes its lasting impression. When a child finds out that what it used to believe about its parents, or the world as such, is not true, it loses its security. It is frightened. The child does not like what it finds and therefore will push this unpleasant knowledge into the unconscious and, because it feels guilty, will also build defenses against what it considers a threat.

Whether it happened suddenly or in a slow realization, this threat is the shock referred to. You all know that shock causes numbness. Your body, as well as your nerves and your mind, become numb, even to the extent that you lose consciousness temporarily or have other symptoms. Thus the child will experience a shock because parents, the world, or life, are not the way the child thought them to be. Although the impression that created the shock may or may not be objectively correct, still, the deduction the child is capable of making must be wrong. Because children tend to generalize, they disregard all other alternatives and project their conclusions onto all other situations. A child’s parents are its world, its universe, therefore what the child concludes after the shock must be applied to everyone else, to life in general. This is the wrong conclusion that creates the image.

The image was created when the orderly world and concepts of the child were destroyed. The wrong conclusions derive, first, from the generalization. The reality is that not all people have the same shortcomings as the parents; not all conditions of life are similar to those the child discovered in its own surroundings. Second, the defense mechanism the child chooses with a limited understanding of the world is wrong as such; it is even more so when applied to people and situations other than those in the early surroundings. This, my friends, is the way images are created. But you will not remember offhand your emotions, your reactions, your inner intentions, and your conclusions. You cannot remember them because you felt the need to hide this whole procedure for its lack of rational logic, and also because you were ashamed that your parents were not what you thought they should be.

In many of my lectures, a long time before we started to discuss the images, I mentioned the term “emotional maturity.” Now you will understand better how it happens that a part of an otherwise mature being remains immature. Actually, this part continues to make the same deductions, emotionally and unconsciously, as the child had made, so long as the image is not lifted into consciousness. Thus is it possible that you discover conclusions and faulty reasoning within yourself that do not at all correspond to the rest of your person. You may find it shocking, at least for a while, to recognize the primitive way in which your inner emotional reasoning functions. Considered in the light of this explanation, you will know that part of you simply could not grow up because certain parts were left submerged in your unconscious; and you will not be surprised to find, still living within you, the child that has not assimilated what you otherwise learned. That is why images cannot be found unless one relives emotionally one’s childhood and penetrates the irrational layers of consciousness. Merely remembering is not enough. Without some procedure to make this possible, it is out of the question to find your images. That is why I have suggested certain techniques. You will find that your image-conclusions are logical in their own limited way. You may even be surprised about the reasoning faculty, faulty as it may be, that exists in your unconscious. It is the reasoning of the child living in you. This is the way you reasoned when you were perhaps ten years old or less.

The tragic thing about the images is that they assume power. They will make you see and notice only certain things, connected with your image-conclusion, and in such a way that the image will be constantly supported and strengthened in later life. Your image-conclusions conflict with the grown-up desires and aims of your life, and thereby cause not only a painful discrepancy, but untold conflicts and problems with your conscious goals, as well as with the reality of life. This must be understandable to all, even if you do not believe that emotions and thoughts are forms, creating emotional magnetic fields that draw events, people, and experiences toward you.

The more unconscious the emotions and the greater the complexity of thoughts, the more powerful they must be, because while unconscious they are out of your control and cannot be adjusted to reality. Thus they are inflexible and rigid. Therefore, your images and their conclusions must repeatedly bring you into situations you did not consciously ask for. But your image-conclusions necessitate them.

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To my teacher Marieke Mars who taught me self-honesty. To my courageous and loving pathwork helper Dottie Titus.

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