It is often forgotten that the human personality has many, many facets and, therefore, one seldom understands what is really meant by “knowing oneself.” Certainly you know a bit about yourself — your conscious aims and reactions, your tastes and idiosyncrasies, and so on. But there are so many other facets you completely ignore, my dear ones. Just think of yourself and of the many people you know in your present life circumstances, as well as in the past. Think how different you are and how differently you act with certain people, with your family, or friends. In each situation there is a different “you.” Try to imagine how it would be if you acted toward person “A” as you act toward “B.” You can go through the whole alphabet and you will find that there are that many facets of you. And that is only on a superficial level, for many other facets never manifest in your surface personality. How then can you know more deeply who you are?

The first and most important step is to find out your desires, my friends. And when I speak of desires, I do not mean the important aims and goals in your life or the big issues. No, I mean that any small — and apparently insignificant — reaction on your part contains a desire of one sort or another. Think of any unimportant incident on any day when you feel disharmonious, angry, irritated, or, for that matter, joyful and optimistic. In each of these reactions lies a desire. If you wish to find out who you are, you must first ascertain the desires in each of your daily reactions. That is not as difficult as you may think, neither is it as easy. It calls for a certain technique, a training. First you must learn to conduct your daily review, which I have often suggested. The next step, instead of merely acknowledging, “I felt angry or hopeful or unhappy or joyous on such and such an occasion,” is to ask yourself why you felt these reactions, no matter how obvious the reason may be as far as other people and outer circumstances are concerned.

Ask yourself, what might be the desire behind your reaction. Ask yourself, “What do I really want in connection with this situation that makes me angry or fearful now? I am angry because I want something different. What is it that I want?” Or, “I am joyful because a desire of mine has apparently been fulfilled. What was this desire? And if I feel hopeful, is it because the chances seem greater now that some desire of mine will be fulfilled? What is this desire, in clear-cut, simple words?”

Try to make a habit of such self-questioning, my friends. Take all your reactions, every day, and examine them from this point of view. What is the desire? That will help you a great deal, my dear ones, to understand yourself much better. It will also help you understand why you became as are now and why you have these desires. But that is the next step, which at this point is premature. One thing at a time. Learn first to establish a concise, articulate awareness of your desires. Then we will examine the reason for their existence.

Your unconscious desires often deviate from your conscious ones. I think you all understand by now that this is one of the main reasons for your conflicts and frustrations. You often create similar conflicts and unfulfillments, while ignoring their full significance. The fact is that your conscious desires and aims that guide your actions are in accord with the goals of your higher self, but simultaneously lower and selfish aims are also present in your motivation. These lower aims find justification in the higher aims, which serve very well to hide their existence. It is very important to find this fact out, my dear friends. Although your actions are worthy and good as such, although the high and noble motives truly exist in you, they lose their splendor if you cannot see the lower motives coexisting with the higher ones in the very same goal. Even long before you can purify yourself to such an extent that these selfish, proud, vain, and fearful motives cease to exist in you, the fact that you simply recognize their existence purifies you to a considerable degree and therefore also purifies your right action.

You are often puzzled because you find out that you want something pure and good, and yet it brings you disharmony. The reason is that you ignore the different motives existing within in relation to the noble desire. The conscious noble motive convinces you that there is nothing wrong with your aim, and yet there is in fact something wrong, namely, that you do not know the other part that coexists in the same desire-current. You are used to an “exclusive” attitude; you think the truth of one motive excludes the truth of another, often quite contrary in nature. It will take much self-realization for you to truly understand that one motive does not exclude another. Purification does not mean merely that you change desires. It means that you separate the good motives from the wrong ones, at first by simply observing them. Do not ever try to force your feelings. It cannot be done. I cannot emphasize this point often enough. But try to become capable of saying, “Here my desire is this or that. The conscious desire is good. But I recognize that this or that selfish motive also plays a role. I will continue to perform the good act, but I will not deceive myself that I am utterly free of selfishness, vanity, or whatever other trend may be involved. I can only pray and hope that these unruly currents will weaken with time. I cannot help feeling that way now, but I hope to become free of them.”

By doing this work you will understand not only your problems and conflicts, but also your images and how they were formed. To find the images, you have to work from two sides: (1) examine your childhood and your reactions at the time and (2) examine the desires in your present reactions to daily occurrences. They will form one whole picture. When you search for your desires now, you will understand why some are stronger than others. Some are broken by countercurrents, whereas others flow rigidly in one direction, consisting of several layers of your personality and both good and bad motives. Then you will understand why you felt it necessary to hide the existence of the bad motives from your consciousness.

I would also like to discuss another possibility confronting you when you attempt to find yourself by finding your desires. Although consciously and outwardly your life may appear well directed, within you are in turmoil. You may find that you do not really know what you want. This is puzzling and often upsetting. There is so much confusion in your soul due to the suppression of conflicting or unwanted desires that everything is entangled, and it will take a bit of doing on your part to untie the knots. At first, it may be most frightening to find out that you actually do not know what you want. And because of that, you will try first to escape into subterfuge-desires.

To see your subterfuge-desires, you must pick out the various strings of your inner knot one by one, pull them apart, and then trace their directions. Each of the little strings in the knot represents a little desire. Each has a different motive behind it. Unconsciously, you have believed you could not afford to become aware of all the different motives, because, knowing that you are an intelligent and highly developed person in many respects. How could you admit that you have several completely contradictory desires, that cancel each other out? Yet the child in you desires two impossibilities, and often more. By hiding this conflict, you thought that you would rid yourself of it. In reality, however, in this hidden nucleus lies the very nature of your disharmonies and disappointments.

The only way out is to have the courage and patience to take each string and ask yourself what you desire in each and every one of your daily reactions. To begin with, simply register the desires. Refrain from judgments and evaluations such as, “But this is silly, this is impossible, this is unworthy of me,” and the like. Such an approach will only make it more difficult for you to untie the knot, and perhaps render the task impossible. Know that your hidden emotions have nothing to do with your outer common sense! Know that the part in you that could not mature because you kept it suppressed wants just that: the fulfillment of two or more contradictory desires. The child in you wants an impossibility because of its persistent desire to cover up the nucleus of conflicting desires by reasonable surface desires, while the conflicts ferment underneath. And since your desires, feelings, and thoughts are potent magnetic fields, they attract circumstances that correspond to the inner conflicts. And you never know that your conflicting desires are responsible for your outer miseries and unfulfillments. The latter are a logical result, an inevitable projection of the former.

Perhaps you desire fulfillment of a certain kind. Yet at the same time you desire the advantages of the opposite desire. The motives in the latter, conflicting desire may not be flattering for you, therefore you repress it and keep it under lock and key. The more unconscious an emotion or desire is, the more effect it has in your life. Consequently you get exactly that which you consciously do not desire, but which you want unconsciously. Only you want it without strings attached, without the disadvantages. And then you do not understand!

So in finding yourself, you must consider not only that you need to separate the good motives from the bad ones in a particular aim, but also that you may not know what you really desire. Only after you have found the reasons for all your conflicting currents and understand your hitherto unconscious confusion, will you be able to have one clear desire, going steadfastly in one direction. You will then become mature enough in your soul to realize that the price must be paid. That is the way. It is not easy, but it is certainly feasible for everyone who goes at it in good faith and with perseverance.

Pathwork lectures depth search:

About pathwork:

You and

Site about pathwork in Dutch:

Padwerk: Psychologie en Spiritualiteit


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

Topical keyword click-search:

fear truth experience feelings love God consciousness reality negativity spirituality soul pain spiritual_paths mind attitudes emotions power destructiveness movement ego energy pleasure awareness personality development lower_self divine desires change guilt childhood create conscious spirits thoughts spiritual_laws fulfillment spirit_world death happiness unconscious problems positivity earth give growth images pathwork spirit understand pride evil creation body life_force higher_self exercises cause_and_effect needs parents time prayer center duality reactions New_Age freedom sex life contact beliefs universe individuality control relationships expression meditation discipline values motives doubt reincarnation Jesus_Christ women inner_child wish faults will confusion spheres strength men illusion struggle activity shame faith maturity demands idealized_self self-image self-will authority acceptance hurt selfishness real_self frustration resistance meaning connections soul_substance receive knowledge responsibility conclusions bliss life_task Christ mass_images free_will trust observe lectures know denial intellect pretense decisions conscience perception birth Lucifer salvation religion reason marriage light identification courage laws rebellion words union humanity long receptiveness surrender misconceptions mask let_go vicious_circles communication instinct concentration no-current tension commitment fantasy involuntary_processes opinions secrets contraction expansion difficulties punishment evolution space divine_substance obedience emptiness male female passivity darkness self-responsibility grace inner_will conflicts self-confidence anger suffer groups nature cruelty pulse_of_life unity energy_centers chakras openness negative_intentionality order spiral exposure self-respect universal_self affirmations visualization laziness background_thoughts foreground_thoughts daydreams wishful_thinking superstition appearance_values being_values inferiority assumptions obligations danger defensiveness superimposed_conscience divine_conscience compulsive_conscience universal_spirit divine_spark vacuum self-awareness dimensions rigidity tradition Christianity Judaism automatism reflexes education mediums masculine feminine purification fall subtle_body God_image self-love spirit_language approval unhappiness outer_will fight forcing_current success isolation think self-discipline self-preservation criticism peace relinquish defenses sin self-alienation sadness psyche crisis yes-current intelligence effort chain_reactions perfection opposites error envy existence organism life_substance impress avoidance channel now blame fusion abundance psychic_nuclear_points Christmas leadership eternal_life admit Dottie Titus harm self-knowledge lightforces daily_review immaturity tendencies egoism ideas dependence karma Eastern_Spirituality Western_Spirituality atheism transcendence centeredness attention constructiveness world_weariness war ambition positive_thinking forms ecstasy sacrifice psychology life_plan dignity shock eros guardian_angels inner_wall blindness Eva_Pierrakos homosexuality bondage cosmic_principles static_principle restriction self-importance rulership utopia sickness betrayal weakness rejection progress prove rituals intuition subconscious transition motivations impatience exaggeration myth cooperation serenity defeat safety pseudo_solutions universal_life self-pity Tower_of_Babel false_religion true_religion rules gratification repression compassion inner_split alternatives neurosis unfulfillment imperfection perfectionism joy self-rejection masochism sloth lust gluttony depression blessings restitution hope habits security determination displacement substitution respect unknown moralize intensity self-realization universal_power childishness inner_self numbness relaxation inner_control outer_control closeness vulnerability negative_desires magnetic_fields destruction character transformation false_feelings human_nature unpleasure blocks cosmic_pull self-liking regulate flow spontaneity impulses anxiety universal_consciousness guidance health unselfishness forgive abandonment aliveness self-esteem traits dislike disunity unification interaction fate mutuality stagnation negation terror tricks cosmic_feeling force_fields disorder exchange moods devil greatness richness distortions divine_voice service group_consciousness hate self-forgiveness balance imbalance distrust omnipotence immortality pessimism manifestation self-hate boundaries abuse government political_systems lose inertia acts christians jews injustice justice deficit heal privacy win inner_space autonomy positive_aggression community
This website is not created by, affiliated with, or endorsed by the Pathwork Foundation, Gerard van de Lustgraaf is solely responsible for this website and its content. The Pathwork Lectures are used and displayed on this website with support from the Pathwork Foundation. Pathwork ® is a registered service mark of the International Pathwork Foundation.

Alphabetical keyword click-search:

abandonment abundance abuse acceptance activity acts admit affirmations aliveness alternatives ambition anger anxiety appearance_values approval assumptions atheism attention attitudes authority automatism autonomy avoidance awareness background_thoughts balance being_values beliefs betrayal birth blame blessings blindness bliss blocks body bondage boundaries cause_and_effect center centeredness chain_reactions chakras change channel character childhood childishness Christ Christianity christians Christmas closeness commitment communication community compassion compulsive_conscience concentration conclusions conflicts confusion connections conscience conscious consciousness constructiveness contact contraction control cooperation cosmic_feeling cosmic_principles cosmic_pull courage create creation crisis criticism cruelty daily_review danger darkness daydreams death decisions defeat defenses defensiveness deficit demands denial dependence depression desires destruction destructiveness determination development devil difficulties dignity dimensions discipline dislike disorder displacement distortions distrust disunity divine divine_conscience divine_spark divine_substance divine_voice Dottie Titus doubt duality earth Eastern_Spirituality ecstasy education effort ego egoism emotions emptiness energy energy_centers envy eros error eternal_life Eva_Pierrakos evil evolution exaggeration exchange exercises existence expansion experience exposure expression faith fall false_feelings false_religion fantasy fate faults fear feelings female feminine fight flow force_fields forcing_current foreground_thoughts forgive forms freedom free_will frustration fulfillment fusion give gluttony God God_image government grace gratification greatness groups group_consciousness growth guardian_angels guidance guilt habits happiness harm hate heal health higher_self homosexuality hope humanity human_nature hurt idealized_self ideas identification illusion images imbalance immaturity immortality impatience imperfection impress impulses individuality inertia inferiority injustice inner_child inner_control inner_self inner_space inner_split inner_wall inner_will instinct intellect intelligence intensity interaction intuition involuntary_processes isolation Jesus_Christ jews joy Judaism justice karma know knowledge laws laziness leadership lectures let_go life life_force life_plan life_substance life_task light lightforces long lose love lower_self Lucifer lust magnetic_fields male manifestation marriage masculine mask masochism mass_images maturity meaning meditation mediums men mind misconceptions moods moralize motivations motives movement mutuality myth nature needs negation negative_desires negative_intentionality negativity neurosis New_Age no-current now numbness obedience obligations observe omnipotence openness opinions opposites order organism outer_control outer_will pain parents passivity pathwork peace perception perfection perfectionism personality pessimism pleasure political_systems positive_aggression positive_thinking positivity power prayer pretense pride privacy problems progress prove pseudo_solutions psyche psychic_nuclear_points psychology pulse_of_life punishment purification reactions reality real_self reason rebellion receive receptiveness reflexes regulate reincarnation rejection relationships relaxation religion relinquish repression resistance respect responsibility restitution restriction richness rigidity rituals rulership rules sacrifice sadness safety salvation secrets security self-alienation self-awareness self-confidence self-discipline self-esteem self-forgiveness self-hate self-image self-importance self-knowledge self-liking self-love self-pity self-preservation self-realization self-rejection self-respect self-responsibility self-will selfishness serenity service sex shame shock sickness sin sloth soul soul_substance space spheres spiral spirit spirits spirituality spiritual_laws spiritual_paths spirit_language spirit_world spontaneity stagnation static_principle strength struggle subconscious substitution subtle_body success suffer superimposed_conscience superstition surrender tendencies tension terror think thoughts time Tower_of_Babel tradition traits transcendence transformation transition tricks true_religion trust truth unconscious understand unfulfillment unhappiness unification union unity universal_consciousness universal_life universal_power universal_self universal_spirit universe unknown unpleasure unselfishness utopia vacuum values vicious_circles visualization vulnerability war weakness Western_Spirituality will win wish wishful_thinking women words world_weariness yes-current