Distortions of Spirituality

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From lecture 88, RELIGION: TRUE AND FALSE:

None of you are free of the distortion of spirituality; namely, its use as escape, as a substitute for your weaknesses, as a consolation for your fears, as an attempt to appease God to get what you could easily obtain by your own efforts. When religion is a substitute, it may help for a while. It may assuage unreasonable fear. But in the long run, it cripples you and your growth. I sometimes have to refrain from stating a spiritual truth directly because your subconscious would misunderstand and misuse it. But the more problems you resolve, the safer it becomes to tell you the truth without the danger of reinforcing in you the tendency to succumb to false religion.


Apart from these individual and very personal suppressions of your most creative forces, there are others which are universal, such as outlined in the lecture about the shame of the higher self. Another of these, to be found in every soul, is the suppression of spiritual unfoldment. This may no longer apply to you outwardly, but you may still find aspects of it within the depths of your being. If you deny yourself the expression of your spiritual nature, you damage yourself just as much as when you suppress any other manifestation of the life force. Although you may now give yourself the right to express your spiritual nature, you may certainly not have done so in the past; it will be important to learn why. It will also be important to find how much defiance and rebellion you needed to do that for which you should not need either defiance or rebellion; how much fear and shame still lingers in you about this facet of your personality, especially toward certain people. You may already surmise that the connection between the suppression of the negative and the positive aspects is often quite strong. Your dependency on public opinion and approval applies, therefore, not only to your faults, your selfishness, and your destructiveness, which causes you to form images in your unconscious mind, but it also causes you to forfeit the best part of your nature. And the latter makes you suffer just as much as the former.


And now, my friends, let us consider this subject in the light of spirituality. You all have come originally with the idea of growing spiritually. I might say that more or less all of you hope to accomplish this without tending to your emotional growth. You want to believe that the one is possible without the other. Needless to say, this is a complete impossibility. Because of the considerable success you have already accomplished through the hard work of facing yourself, sooner or later all of you will reach the point where you have to make up your mind as to whether you really want emotional growth or you still want to cling to the childish hope that spiritual growth is possible while you neglect the world of feeling and allow it to lie dormant without giving it the opportunity to grow. Let us examine this for a moment, my friends.

You all know, regardless of what religion or spiritual philosophy or teaching you follow, that love is the first and the greatest power. In the last analysis, it is the only power. Most of you have used this maxim many times, but I wonder, my friends, if you ever knew that you were using empty words, always veering away from feeling, reacting, and experiencing. Now, how can you love if you do not let yourself feel? How can you love and at the same time remain what you choose to call “detached”? That means remaining personally uninvolved, not risking pain, disappointment, personal involvement. Can you love in such a comfortable way? If you numb your faculty of feeling, how can you truly experience love? Is love an intellectual process? Is love a lukewarm matter of laws, words, letters, regulations, and rules you talk about? Or is love a feeling that comes from deep within the soul, a warmth of flowing impact that cannot leave you indifferent and untouched? Is it not foremost a feeling, and only after the feeling is fully experienced and expressed, will wisdom, and perhaps even intellectual insight — as a byproduct, so to speak — result from it?

How can you hope to gain spirituality — and spirituality, religion, and love are one — by neglecting your emotional processes? Think about this, my friends. Begin to see how you all sit back, hoping for a comfortable spirituality that leaves out your personal involvement in the world of feelings. After you see this clearly, you will comprehend how preposterous this attitude is. Your conscious or unconscious rationalizations in still denying the awareness and expression of your emotions, even though they are at the moment still destructive to quite a degree, will take on a different light in your own eyes. You will look upon your resistance to doing what is so necessary with a little more understanding and truth. Any spiritual development is a farce if you deny this part of your being. If you do not have the courage to allow the negative in you to reach your surface awareness, how can healthy, strong emotions fill your being? If you cannot deal with the negative because it is out of your awareness, this very same negative element will stand in the way of the positive.


Thought and will are temporary tools to give directive to your outer actions and intent. They can and should be used for your physical life, for outer actions, for deciding to know the truth about yourself. But they cannot be used for spirituality. Spirituality is, above all things, love, with all its derivatives. You know very well you cannot love by forcing yourself. You may believe you do, when in reality you do not, but that does not mean you love. Love can only come into being when you remove your errors, your confusions, your preconceived ideas, and your dependency on the opinions of others. These obstacles can be removed only by fully understanding them. Then love comes into being by itself, just as the real self comes into being by itself.

You cannot make up your mind to be a good person, to love, and have compassion or humility. But you can make up your mind to find out what causes you not to be all that and so to remove what prevents you from being a good and loving person and what stands between you and a full life, of being your real self.

Can you now perhaps understand a little better why thought process, intellect, mind, and will obstruct the birth of the real self, of love, of all the qualities that are called spiritual? All this happens by itself, as a result of knowing and understanding yourself. Thought and will can only produce thought and will, they cannot produce something that has nothing to do with them. Love, transcendent understanding, and all other qualities of the real self, have nothing to do with thought and will.

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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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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 body life_force higher_self exercises cause_and_effect needs parents time creation 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 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 evolution 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
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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