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But why is the emotional nature generally neglected? There are good reasons for that, my friends. To gain more clarity, let us first understand the function of the emotional nature in human beings. It includes, first of all, the capacity to feel. The capacity to experience feeling is synonymous with the capacity to give and receive happiness. To the degree you shy away from any kind of emotional experience, to that extent you also close the door to the experience of happiness. Moreover, the emotional side of your nature, when functioning, possesses creative ability. To the degree you close yourself off from emotional experience, to that very degree the full potential of your creative ability is hindered in manifesting itself. Contrary to what many of you may believe, the unfolding of creative ability is not a mere mental process. In fact, the intellect has much less to do with it than may appear at first glance, in spite of the fact that technical skill also becomes a necessity in order to give the creative outflow full expression. Creative unfoldment is an intuitive process. Needless to say, intuition can function only to the degree that your emotional life is strong, healthy, and mature.

Therefore, your intuitive powers will be hindered if you have neglected emotional growth and discouraged yourself from experiencing the world of feeling. Why is there such a predominant emphasis in your world today on physical and mental growth and a conspicuous neglect of emotional growth? Several general explanations could be advanced, but I would like to go immediately to the root of the problem, bypassing the outer, general causes which are only symptoms of the root anyway.

In the world of feeling you experience the good and the bad, the happy and the unhappy, pleasure and pain. Contrary to just registering such impressions mentally, emotional experience really touches you. Since your struggle is primarily for happiness, and since immature emotions lead to unhappiness, your secondary aim becomes the avoidance of unhappiness. This creates the early, mostly unconscious conclusion: “If I do not feel, then I will not be unhappy.” In other words, instead of taking the courageous and appropriate step to live through negative, immature emotions in order to afford them the opportunity to grow and thus become mature and constructive, the childish emotions are suppressed, put out of awareness and buried, so that they remain inadequate and destructive, even though the person is unaware of their existence.

Unhappy circumstances exist in every child’s life; pain and disappointment are common. If such pains and disappointments are not experienced consciously, they are allowed to stagnate in a vague, dull climate you cannot even name but take for granted. Then the danger is that an unconscious resolution will be formed saying, “I must not allow myself to feel if I wish to prevent the pain and the experience of unhappiness.”

In the past we have discussed why this is a wrong conclusion and solution. But may I briefly recapitulate? Although it may be true that you can anaesthetize your capacity for emotional experience, and therefore cannot feel immediate pain, it is also true that you dull your capacity for happiness and pleasure while not really avoiding the dreaded unhappiness in the long run. The unhappiness you seem to avoid will come to you in a different and much more painful, but indirect way. The bitter hurt of isolation, of loneliness, of the gnawing feeling of having passed through life without experiencing its heights and depths, without developing yourself to the most and best you can be, is the result of such cowardly evasion, such a wrong solution.

Using such evasive tactics you do not experience life at its fullest. By withdrawing from pain, you withdraw from happiness and, most of all, you withdraw from experience. At one time or another — and you may never remember the conscious declaration of intent — your solution was to dull the capacity to feel in order to avoid pain. From that moment onward, you withdrew from living, loving, and experiencing — from everything that makes life rich and rewarding. In addition, the result is that your intuitive powers are dulled together with your creative faculties. You only function to a fraction of your potential. The damage you have inflicted upon yourself with this pseudo-solution, and go on inflicting upon yourself as long as you adhere to it, is one that eludes your comprehension and evaluation at the present time.

Since this was your defense against unhappiness to begin with, it is understandable that unconsciously you fight tooth and nail against giving up what seems to you a vital protection. You do not realize that not only do you miss out on life’s richness, life’s rewards, your own full potential, but you do not really avoid unhappiness, as already indicated. This painful isolation was not willingly chosen by you and therefore it is not accepted as a price to be paid. Rather, it came as a necessary byproduct of your pseudo-solution, and with this defense mechanism at work the child in you hopes and fights for receiving what you cannot possibly receive. In other words, somewhere deep inside, you hope and believe that it is possible to belong and to be loved while you dull your world of feeling into a state of numbness and thereby prohibit yourself from truly loving others. Yes, you may need others and this need may appear as love to you, but now you know that it is not the same. Inside, you hope and believe it possible to unite with others, to communicate in a rewarding and satisfying way with the world around you, while you put up a wall of false protection against the impact of emotional experience. If and when you cannot help but feel, you are busy hiding such feelings from yourself and others. How can you receive what you yearn for — love, belonging, communication — if you neither feel nor express the occasional glimpses of feelings that the still healthy part in you strives for? You cannot have it both ways, though the child in you never wants to accept that.

Since you “protect” yourself in this foolish manner, you isolate yourself, which means exposing yourself much more to that which you strive to avoid. Hence you miss out doubly: you do not avoid that which you fear — not really and not in the long run — and you miss out on all you could have if you would not run away from living. For living and feeling are one. The love and fulfillment you must increasingly crave for makes you blame others, circumstances, the fates, or bad luck, instead of seeing how you are responsible for it. You resist such insight because you sense that the moment you see it fully you will have to change and you can no longer cling to the comfortable, but unrealizable hope that you can have what you want without meeting the necessary conditions to get it. If you want happiness you must be willing to give it. How can you give it if you are unwilling and unable to feel as much as you are capable of feeling? Realize that it is you who caused this state of unfulfillment, and it is you who can still change it, regardless of your physical age.

Another reason for resorting to this unsuccessful pseudo-solution is the following: as in everything else, feeling and emotional expression can be mature and constructive or immature and destructive. As a child you possessed an immature body and mind and therefore, quite naturally, an immature emotional structure. Most of you gave your body and mind a chance to grow out of the immaturity and to reach a certain physical and mental maturity. Let me give you an example on the physical level: an infant will feel the strong urge to use its vocal cords. It has an instinct with the function of promoting the growth of certain organic matter through strong use of the vocal chords. It is not pleasant to hear a baby screaming, but this period of transition leads to strong healthy organs in this particular respect. For the baby, not going through this unpleasant time by suppressing the instinctual urge to scream, would eventually damage and weaken the respective organs. The urge to indulge in strong physical exercise has the same function. The same is true of the urge at times to eat perhaps more than necessary. All this is part of the growing process. To stop the growing process with the excuse that there is a danger in overexertion and overeating would be foolish and damaging. I do not mean a reasonable halt to something that is obviously harmful; I mean ceasing to use the muscles at all, to feel the child’s emotions at all, with the rationalization that such exercise and eating, in itself, might lead to painful experiences.

Yet this is done with your emotional self. You stop its functioning because you consider the growing transitional period so dangerous that you proceed to stop growth altogether. You not only hinder excesses as a result of this reasoning, but you also hinder all the transitory functioning which alone can lead to constructive mature emotions. Since this is more or less the case with every one of you, the growth period of experiencing and maturing has to happen now. It just cannot be skipped altogether; if you do, your overall development will be lopsided, leaving your personality structure crippled.

When your mental processes mature, you have to go through transition periods too. You not only learn, you are also bound to make mistakes. In your younger years you often hold opinions which you later grow out of. While later you perceive that these opinions are not as “right” as they seemed to you during your youth and see another side that earlier eluded you, it was nevertheless beneficial for you to go through those times of error. How could you appreciate truth if you had not gone through error? You can never gain truth by avoiding error. It strengthens your mental faculties, your logic, as well as your range and power of deduction. Without being allowed to make mistakes in your thinking or your opinions, your mental faculties could not grow.

Strangely enough, there is much less resistance in human nature to the necessary growing pains of the physical and mental sides of the personality than to the growth of the emotional nature. Hardly anyone recognizes that emotional growing pains are necessary too, and that they are constructive and beneficial. Without consciously thinking about it in these terms, you believe that the emotional growth process should come about without growing pains. Most of the time it is completely ignored that this area exists at all, let alone that it needs growth; neither do you know how such growth is to be accomplished. You who are on this path ought to begin to understand this. If you do, your insistence on remaining deadened and dulled will finally give way and you will no longer object to going through a period of growth now.

In this growing period, immature emotions have to express themselves. Only as they are allowed expression for the purpose of understanding their significance will you finally reach a point when you no longer need such immature emotions. This will not happen through a process of will, an outer mental decision which represses what is still a part of your emotional being, but through an organic process of emotional growth wherein feelings will naturally change their direction, their aim, their intensity, their nature. But this can only be done if you experience your emotions as they exist in you now.

When you were hurt as a child, your reactions were anger, resentment, hate — sometimes to a very strong degree. If you prevent yourself now from consciously experiencing these emotions, you will not get rid of them; you will not enable healthy mature emotions to follow in their place, but you will simply repress existing feelings. You will bury them and deceive yourself that you do not feel what you actually still feel. Since you dull your capacity to feel, you become unaware of what exists underneath. Then you superimpose feelings that you think you ought to have but which you do not really and truly have.

You all operate — some more, some less — with feelings that are not genuinely yours, with feelings you think you ought to have but do not have. Underneath, something entirely different is taking place. Only in times of extreme crisis do these actual feelings reach the surface. Then you believe it is the crisis that has caused these reactions in you. You wish to ignore the fact that the crisis only made it impossible for you to deceive yourself, that the crisis reactivated the still immature emotions. It just does not penetrate your mind that the crisis itself is the effect of the hidden emotional immaturity, as well as of the existing self-deception.

The fact that you put raw, destructive, immature emotions out of sight instead of growing out of them and then deceive yourself, believing you are a much more integrated and mature person than you actually are, is not only dishonesty, hypocrisy and self-deception, but it also leads you more deeply into isolation, unhappiness, alienation from yourself, and unsuccessful, unrewarding patterns that you repeat over and over again. The result of all this seems to confirm your pseudo-solution, your defense mechanism, but this is a very misleading conclusion.

Immature emotions earned you punishment as a child; either they caused you actual pain, or produced an undesired result when you expressed them. You lost something you wanted, such as the affection of certain people, or a desired object which became unattainable when you expressed what you really felt. This then became an additional reason for you to hinder self-expression. Consequently, as you perceived such emotions to be undesirable, you proceeded to whisk them also out of your own sight. You found it necessary to do so because you did not want to be hurt, you did not wish to experience the pain of feeling unhappy. You also found it necessary to repress existing emotions because the expression of the negative produced an undesirable result.

You might say that because the latter is true, your procedure is therefore valid, necessary, and self-preserving. You will rightly say that if you live out your negative emotions, the world will punish you in one form or another. Yes, my friends, this is true. Immature emotions are indeed destructive and will indeed bring you disadvantages. But your error lies in the conscious or unconscious thought that to be aware of what you feel and to give vent to it in action are one and the same. You cannot discriminate between the two courses. Neither can you discriminate between a constructive aim for which it is necessary to express and talk about what you feel, at the right place, with the right people, and the destructiveness of heedlessly letting go all control, of not choosing the right aim, the right place, and the right people, of not wanting to use such expression as would yield you insight into yourself. If you merely let go because you lack discipline or an aim, and expose your negative emotions, that is indeed destructive.

Try to distinguish between constructive and destructive aims, try to realize the purpose of exposing your emotions, and then develop the courage and humility to allow yourself to be aware of what you really feel, and to express it when it is meaningful. If you do this, you will see the tremendous difference between merely allowing immature and destructive emotions to come to the fore in order to relieve yourself of pressure and give them an outlet without aim or meaning, and the purposeful activity of reexperiencing all the feelings that once existed in you and that still exist in you — even if you are convinced that this is no longer so. What has not been properly assimilated in emotional experience but has instead been repressed will constantly be reactivated by present situations. These remind you in one way or another of the original “solution” that brought on such unassimilated experience in the first place. Such a reminder may not be factual. It can be an emotional climate, a symbolic association that lodges exclusively in the subconscious. As you learn to become aware of what is really going on in you, you will also notice such reminders. With this may come the realization that you often actually feel very much the opposite of what you force yourself to feel.

As the first few tentative steps are taken in the direction of becoming aware of what you feel and expressing it in a direct way without finding reasons and excuses, you will gain an understanding about yourself such as you never had before. You will feel the growing process at work, because you are actively engaged in it with your innermost self, not merely with outer gestures. You will not only come to understand what brought on many unwelcome results, but how it is in your power to change them. Understanding the interaction between yourself and others will show you how your unconscious distorted pattern has affected others in exactly the opposite way to what you originally wanted. This will give you an inner understanding about the process of communication.

This is the only way emotions can mature. By going through the period that was missed in childhood and adolescence, the emotions will finally mature and you will no longer need to fear the power of those emotions which you cannot control by merely putting them out of awareness. You will be able to trust them, and to be guided by them — for that is the final aim of the mature and well-functioning person. I might say that this has happened to all of you to some degree. There are times when you allow yourself to be guided by your power of intuition. But it happens more as an exception than as a rule. It cannot happen as a rule as long as your emotions remain destructive and childish; they are unreliable in this state. Since you discourage their growth, you live by your mental faculties only — and they are secondary in efficiency. When healthy emotions make your intuition reliable, there will be a mutual harmony between the mental and emotional faculties. One will not contradict the other. As long as you cannot rely on your intuitive processes, you must be insecure and lacking in self-confidence. You try to make up for this by relying on others, or on false religion. This makes you weak and helpless. But if you have mature, strong emotions, you will trust yourself and therein find a security you never dreamed existed.

After the first painful release of negative emotions, you will find a certain relief in the realization that poisonous matter has left your system in a manner that was not destructive for you or for others. After thus having gained insight and understanding, new warm, good emotions will come out of you that could not express themselves as long as the negative emotions were held in check. You will also learn to discriminate between genuine good feelings and the false good feelings that you superimpose out of the need to maintain your idealized self-image: “This is the way I should be.” Because you cling to this idealized self-image, you cannot find your real self, and do not have the courage to accept that a comparatively large area of your personality is still childish, incomplete, and imperfect. It falls considerably short of what you want to appear to be.

You hold on to the illusion of yourself, in the wrong belief that if you acknowledge the fallacy, you will be destroyed. You never realize that this is the first necessary step to destroy your destructive processes and to build a real solid self that will stand on firm ground. For only in the mature emotions, in the courage to make this maturity and growth possible, will you gain the security within yourself you so ardently hunt for elsewhere. But you constantly reach for false solutions in order to create an illusion of security that can be pulled from under your feet at the slightest provocation because it is unreal.

So, build your true security. You have nothing to fear from becoming aware of what is already in you. Looking away from what is does not cause it to cease to exist. Therefore, it is wise on your part to want to look at, to face, and to acknowledge what is in you — no more and no less! To believe that it harms you more to know what you feel and are than not to know is extremely foolish. Yet to some degree that is exactly what you all do. That is the nature of your resistance to accepting and facing yourself. Only after you face what is in you will your much more mature intellect be able to make the decision as to whether these inner behavior patterns are worth keeping or not. You are not forced to give up what seems a protection to you, but look at it with the clear and lucid eyes of truth. That is all I ask you to do. You have nothing to fear from it.

After you have evaluated the childish emotions, you will hold in your hand the key to growing up and becoming a wholly integrated and healthy human being. You will soon discover the fallacy that there is a danger in becoming aware of and expressing childish emotions. There is danger only if you let them get out of control and express them without the discipline of having a specific aim, namely that of gaining insights about your inner self in a meaningful experience. It is not enough to say that there is no danger in such a constructive activity: it is the only way to alleviate the danger of your insecurity and of your pretense which you sense all the time and which makes you even more insecure and fearful of exposure. Deep inside you know of your pretense, of your false maturity, of your idealized self-image. And you tremble because you know it and you think you defend it by continuing to close your eyes to it. You think you can whisk away the falsity by not acknowledging it. Actually, the truth is that you can grow out of the falsity only by first of all accepting its existence at the present time and owning up to it. Then and then only can you build a genuine self you can trust and rely on. Then you do not have to fear exposure.

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.

Those of you who now follow this path and do what is so necessary will first experience a host of negative feelings. But after these are dealt with and properly understood, mature, constructive feelings will evolve. You will feel warmth, compassion, and good involvement such as you never thought possible. You will no longer feel yourself isolated. You will begin to relate to others in truth and reality, not in falsehood and self-deception. When this happens, a new security and respect for yourself will become part of you. You will begin to trust and like yourself.

QUESTION: I would like to ask, how about the prophets or other holy people? Were they grown emotionally? Wasn’t it just love they gave?

ANSWER: Just love they gave? Could love be given without emotional maturity?

QUESTION: Is a faith in God and love without emotional maturity possible?

ANSWER: That is impossible, if we speak about real love, the willingness to be personally involved, and not about the childish need to be loved and cherished which is so often confused with love. For real love and real, genuine faith to exist, emotional maturity is a necessary basis. Love and faith and emotional immaturity are mutually exclusive, my child. The ability to love is a direct outcome of emotional maturity and growth. True faith in God, in the sense of true religion as opposed to false religion, is again a matter of emotional maturity because true religion is self-dependent. It does not cling to a father-authority out of the need to be protected. False faith and false love always have the strong emotional connotation of need. True love and true faith come out of strength, self-reliance, and self-responsibility. All these are attributes of emotional maturity. And only with strength, self-reliance, and self-responsibility are true love, involvement, and faith possible. Anyone who ever attained spiritual growth, known or unknown in history, had to have emotional maturity.

QUESTION: If someone doing this work finds wild emotions going back to childhood, how is it possible to handle them and substitute for them and let them disintegrate without the person who helps in this work right there? At the time, let us say twice a month, when we have the opportunity to express them with a helper present, we may not feel such emotions, while we strongly feel them at other times. If one is on one’s own, what is the right way to handle these emotions at the moment they come up?

ANSWER: In the first place, it is significant if emotions only come out when one is not actively doing this work with the so-called helper. This in itself points to a strong resistance. It is the long, drawn-out result of consistent repression. Due to such repression, the emotions that come out first will appear at inopportune moments and will be so strong as to confuse the person. But after a comparatively short time, with the inner will truly determined to face the self in its entirety, destructive emotions will not only appear at the proper time and in the proper place, but you will be able to handle them with a meaningful result. The state of resistance points to the fact that inward struggle and hate still exist along with the child’s desire that manifest conflicts should be resolved while the basic defense-mechanism is left untouched. If destructive emotions govern you, instead of your being able to govern them without repression, it is a form of temper tantrum in which the psyche says, “You see, you have forced me to do this, and now see where this leads to.” If such subtle hidden emotions can be detected, it will alleviate any danger of negative emotions taking on a power that the personality cannot handle.

In the second place, it is important that you do not feel guilty about the existence of such emotions which are probably incompatible with the image you have of yourself. If you learn to accept the reality of yourself instead of your mistaken self-image, the strength of negative emotions will abate. Yes, you will, of course, experience negative emotions, but you will never fear that they can lead you into losing self-control. Let me put it this way: the strong impact of negative emotions, to the point where you fear that you are unable to handle them, is due not so much to their existence per se but due to the lack of acceptance on your part of the fact that you are not your idealized self. The negative emotions in themselves would be much less disturbing if you did not cling to the idealized self while struggling to give it up. Once you have accepted yourself as you now happen to be, and have made the inner decision to part with the illusion of yourself, you will feel much more at ease. You will become capable of experiencing negative emotions in a way that promotes growth. You will derive insight from them, even if you are alone at the moment. Moreover, emotions will come up during working sessions and will yield even greater insight if they are expressed and worked with.

So, I cannot give you rules to observe. I can only point to the reason behind this manifestation. If you truly absorb it, wish to understand it, and go on from there, this will help you a great deal. Of course, this is addressed to all of my friends.

QUESTION: That means that the emotions as such are not dangerous, but it is our disappointment in ourselves that makes them so powerful or dangerous?

ANSWER: Yes, that is right. But they need not be dangerous, if you do not want them to be. If inner anger is not properly understood and released in a constructive way, such as you learn on this path, a so-called temper tantrum takes place and the child in you lashes out, destroying others and the self. Find the child who wants to strike out and you will be in control of evolving negative emotions without repressing them, but expressing them constructively and learning from them. Find the area in which you resent not being taken care of, not being given all you want. Once you are aware of the reason for all this anger, you will be able to humor yourself because you will see the preposterous demands of the child in you. This is the work you have to do in this particular phase. It is a crucial and decisive milestone on your road. When you get over this particular hump, the work will proceed much more easily. Whenever you are afraid of losing control, I advise to think of the image you have of yourself, of what you think you should be, as opposed to the emotions that actually come to the fore. The moment you see this discrepancy, you will no longer feel threatened by the negative emotions. You will be able to handle them. This is the best advice for you in this respect. Find in yourself where you are angry at the world for not allowing you to be your idealized self-image, where you feel it prevents you from being what you could be without its interference. Once you are aware of such emotional reactions, you will again come a great step forward.

You see, my friends, your misunderstanding is that you think the harm comes from the existence of the negative emotions as such. It does not. It comes from your non-acceptance of your real self, from the blame you throw into the world for not allowing you to be what you feel you could be if the world would let you. This is the nature of such strong, powerful emotions, and they can endanger you only as long as you are unaware of their nature. Therefore, seek their meaning. Seek their true message and you will never have to fear.

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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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