Pathwork Lecture 118: Duality Through Illusion * Transference

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Pathwork Guide Lecture No. 118
1996 Edition
October 18, 1963

Greetings, my dearest friends. God bless all of you. Blessed be this hour.

So long as human beings are negatively involved with life, they must remain in the earth-life cycles because this particular sphere offers the conditions that are compatible with their negative involvement. Only after having overcome negative involvements will the cycle of births into this sphere cease and human development continue in other spheres, offering new conditions, compatible with the new state.

What does negative involvement mean? It means, primarily, confused notions of reality, confused concepts. Where confusion, and therefore illusion, prevails there must, of necessity, be conflict — split concepts — which divides the psyche. Split and conflict is the consequence of illusion or misunderstanding. As people gain inner unity by perceiving and experiencing true reality, the split mends and negative involvement ceases.

This idea has been expressed in many different ways throughout the ages. If it is fully understood, no possible doubt can arise about reincarnation which, for many people, is but a vague belief, a theory. Everyone who has profoundly experienced the reincarnational aspect of creation recognizes that it cannot be any other way. For as long as a person has not dealt with the flaws in himself that separate him from truth and reality, he or she has to live within conditions that manifest the illusory state. That state produces the conditions and the environment which, in turn, offer the only possible means to learn, recognize, and overcome the illusions. Therefore this earth life expresses the general state of humanity as well as the split produced by a confusion about reality.

Many manifestations of your earth life symbolize duality because so many things appear as pairs of opposites. In philosophical thinking, humankind itself is paired — man and woman, night and day, life and death. These are but a few examples of how life on earth presents itself in two-way splits. Humankind thus expresses a twofold split that manifests in many other ways, though this phenomenon is not truly understood. The two-way split does not apply to the animal, plant, or mineral kingdoms, which are still in a lower state and find themselves in a more than twofold split.

Meditation on abstractions cannot bring forth a profound understanding of this split. Doing the work on this path, however, you will discover little by little your personal unconscious misconceptions, making abundantly clear how they create the various conflicts that force you to choose between two alternatives. Of course, both alternatives are unsatisfactory and create a state of hopelessness, simply because they both lead to an unsatisfactory conclusion.

Any one of my friends who has made sufficient progress in this respect can bring examples. These will offer the greatest possible enlightenment. The personal examples may then be extended, so that what I say in this lecture will become a personal experience of truth. This is the only way to understand fully the state of duality. Meditation on abstractions can never accomplish that.

When you are in a dualistic confusion, you are negatively involved with life and with others. The primary negative involvement occurs within yourself, in your misunderstanding of both concepts and other aspects of reality. Unresolved confusions remain in the psyche and are bound to recur in each lifetime. Life conditions then are bound to bring the confusions to the fore, unless the personality persists in disregarding them and evading the issues. This, unfortunately, happens only too frequently.

The most intense and dramatic karmic relationships are those between parents and children. The unresolved confusions, conflicts and the subsequent basic split must be challenged most dramatically in this relationship. The double relationship from the child to both father and mother is another symbol of the splits that mark this earth sphere. To the degree that the child’s psyche is free and healthy, the relationship with a set of parents manifests as an asset. But when the negative involvement is still strong, the parents represent the two sides of the inner split.

If you examine your main problems and conflicts, the images, the defense mechanisms, pseudosolutions and wrong conclusions you have found so far, they will eventually reveal a basic inner attitude by which you are governed. This basic attitude is always split in half, which means that the fundamental attitude that underlies your negative involvement fluctuates between two ways of reacting.

Such deep recognition can be found only by those who work intensely on a path of self-confrontation. It goes beyond isolated scraps of recognition of specific images or misconceptions. They all must form one nucleus, manifesting your personal two-way split. Full realization and recognition of this basic split indicates considerable progress and self-awareness. When this realization begins to take shape, you will come to see that these two fundamental attitudes, constituting your split, represent your basic attitude to your parents. One distorted attitude exists because of influence exerted upon you by one parent and your emotional response to it. An entirely different influence by and emotional response to the other parent produces the other side of your conflict.

You could not resolve this twofold split before you entered this life. Your parents, or rather certain aspects of their personalities and your response to them, personify the unmended split within your psyche. Hence, your parents are not responsible for your problems, and yet their faulty behavior toward you has to be faced and understood, even though it will seem to you for a while that they induced your particular way of reacting. And this is true, but only because you already came into this lifetime with your duality, born out of illusion.

When you perceive how you represent your parents within your psyche, when you sense the subtle interaction between identification, rebellion, and various other reactions to them, you must come to experience the basic twofold split that governs your life. This will persist until you resolve and mend it through insight and understanding. At this point theories cease to matter. It is not necessary to believe in reincarnation. The important thing is the discovery that your parents express and personify for you your duality, your illusory way of life.

When this is truly understood, the dividing mark between modern psychology and spiritual, metaphysical or philosophical ideas vanishes. The so-called spiritual, and until that moment, theoretical concepts become just as much a personal experience as any psychological discovery.

The “illusory way of life,” for lack of a better term, may describe as accurately as possible within the limitations of human language how this very distinct inner way of life governs you as a consequence of the negative involvement you reexperience with your parents. When I say “way of life,” I do not mean outer conduct, certain characteristics that are typical for you, although they, too, may be connected with the twofold split. What I mean is the automatic response, the stereotyped reaction that you repeat throughout life, reacting to others as you once did to your parents, without your being at all aware of it. These repetitive responses always apply to your basic split. Where your soul is healthy, you are free of the blind compulsion to relive the past.

We have often discussed this automatism, but none of you, my friends, are as yet completely aware of it. As your awareness grows, liberation becomes imminent. This can happen only when you glimpse your personal twofold split, symbolized in your attitudes to both parents.

The child, starting a new life cycle, contains its personal unresolved conflicts. Its duality is due to illusion and misconceptions. At the same time, its psyche is very impressionable. Everything it experiences has a much fresher and more intense impact. Impressions go deeper and remain more firmly rooted — but always according to the inherent health, or lack of it, which determines how impressions and experiences are assimilated.

The freshness and impressionability of the child’s psyche causes early experience to have a more extensive effect than a similar experience would have for an adult. This can be observed constantly with children. Children, for example, have a keener sense of smell, of taste. They are more curious about the most simple manifestations of life. This strong impact of life on the child’s soul can be clearly observed. How much more, then, must negative experience, resulting from previously unresolved conflicts, impress the psyche! But it cannot be too strongly emphasized that negative experiences and involvements occur only to the degree that the psyche is still in a state of duality, of illusory conceptual conflict when the entity is born.

This, my friends, is not the same as what I said about images. The principle is the same, of course, but I am applying it now on a much deeper level. Here I do not refer to a particular image you may have, or even to your most important one. I refer to the underlying basic conflict that is responsible for your being a human entity and living in this particular sphere of the universe. This conflict is not inaccessibly hidden once you realize how your attitude to both parents governs your basic life situations and expresses your basic personality difficulties. When you discover how you relive your father and mother within yourself and continue to respond to them, you experience your basic split, your very own brand of duality — for duality is not always the same — and, consequently, your comprehension of your personal limitations grows. As they are truly perceived, the limitations instantly lessen. Your range widens, your freedom increases, your vision extends, your security grows — and your inner harmony is established. This is so because split and harmony are incompatible, and therefore as the split mends through comprehension and realization, your inner harmony must automatically increase.

All this can hardly be understood if one is not active and rather advanced on a path of self-discovery. But even those who are may need considerable help to reach such deep levels of self-awareness. The discussion on this lecture may offer an opportunity for such additional help. To clarify confusions and difficulties, bring examples of the split concepts and subsequent conflicts that you may have found in yourself. As you understand them better, you may also see how they correspond to your attitude toward each parent. When you present practical examples, I can show how to go on from there in this particular phase of the pathwork.

Once you have comprehended this facet of your soul more profoundly and personally, once it becomes your true experience and is no longer a theory or a philosophical postulate, you will also understand something that we have often discussed but that you have recognized only to a minor degree so far. You will perceive the repetitiveness of your reactions, how you respond in later situations, to other people, in a way almost identical to the way you once responded to your parents.

First it is important to understand intellectually that your parents represent your personal split, each parent representing one side of it. This is the nature of the karmic link, the reason and the necessity of choice. You had to respond to them the way you did, not only because they were what they were, but ultimately because of your duality. Your brother or sister may have different reactions to them because they have a different kind of split. As you had to respond to your parents according to your split, so you have to react to other people, later in life, in a similar way, even if the situation resembles the original only slightly. So, in the last analysis, your repetitive patterns are not caused by the faulty ways of your parents, but are the manifestation of your duality, which this particular set of parents could best represent and therefore bring out in you. It is very important to understand how the unbroken line of the original split with which you were born, continues from your parents to the later, constant reenactments.

Needless to say, none of this is obvious before you have made sufficient inroads and have cultivated self-awareness. Then it becomes abundantly obvious. As long as your awareness of this chain is incomplete or missing, you are not in control of yourself and of life. I mean here healthy control, not the erroneous kinds that the ego personality seeks when true awareness is lacking and you therefore feel weak and helpless. False control is damaging and leads farther away from health. Only when you arrive at this awareness will you begin to live on the firm ground of peace and reality.

Now let us discuss the process of repetition, which is vastly underrated, overlooked, and misunderstood. At best, your understanding of it is not profound enough.

Modern psychology has discovered a small aspect of this phenomenon, which it calls transference. You may infer from this lecture that the truth goes farther and deeper than what is currently understood by this term. What you call transference happens constantly in a person’s life, in all his or her intense relationships. The original traumatic relationship to both parents is repeated throughout a person’s life, and reflects the degree of the intensity of that experience. Any negative involvement with another person will express this conflict. If there were no conflict, there would be no negative involvement. Since the involvement expresses conflict, it must manifest both sides of the split, and therefore relates to both parents. If only one person is negatively involved, then that individual’s duality is acted out, and his or her parental relationship reexperienced. If both, or more, persons are negatively involved, they will all become entangled in their first powerful experiences in this life, reenacting their duality with their parents, and in their confusion constantly engendering each other’s misconceptions and fortifying the split. This process is difficult to describe in theoretical terms, but one who attains a deep understanding will have no difficulty seeing the truth. I suggest you bring personal, real examples, for they lend themselves very well to the perception and amplification of my point.

Let us now try to gain a little more understanding, at least in theory, as to what this continual process of transferring does — from the inner split, to the parents, to other people, and to life situations. If the psyche is geared to the first response to the parents, you are unable to perceive what really is. You apply blindly to others what may have no application at all. You react and respond to illusion and not to the reality of the situation. The trouble is that you force the other person into the very reaction that would not have been forthcoming had you relinquished the false premise that you would encounter it.

Take this simple example: if you are convinced of being rejected, the rejection will finally become a reality, because then your own behavior must be rejecting. This example has often been found and discussed, but this particular process applies to any number of other facets of life and of the personality. Consequently, your false belief in your misconception is strengthened and you thereby widen the split. You must reexperience the same sequence, again and again, until you begin to see the real nature of this process and understand its workings. You cannot live in reality before you have pierced your particular unreality.

Being geared to the original experience, you are convinced that what is happening to you today is real. Though initially it is not, it becomes so only because of your reaction, which is based on a false premise. Therefore your reactions are not responsive to the real person, to the real situation, but to imagined persons and situations: your parents. You do not live in reality; you do not respond according to reality but send your responses forth into thin air, as it were, and not at all to the person in front of you. What comes out of you is directed to what you think exists and not to what really exists. Thus you cannot reach the real other. If the other person — and most of the time this is indeed so — reacts in a similar way, all relationships and interactions between human beings must constantly bypass each other. Outflowing currents crisscross, miss one another, and this in part is the reason for the prevalent loneliness of so many people, for their difficulty in communicating.

Humans believe that they react to one another, but usually this does not happen at all, or only on a very limited scale. The stream of your consciousness, supposed to be directed to, let us say, person A, never reaches A. Although you believe it does, it is actually directed to the parental situation. Not being applicable to A, A often may feel this as an injustice. He or she may feel excluded or rejected. If A happens to be comparatively liberated from his own blind prison, his response will not add fuel to the fire because, perceiving reality much better, he will know it does not apply to him. He will not react as he is supposed to react, and this may indeed help.

Only when one has recognized one’s own duality and stops transferring from one’s parents onto others will one be capable of withstanding the onslaught of misdirected responses. The person then refuses to represent one side of the other person’s duality, because he is aware of his own. Unnecessary pain is thus avoided and help is given in the most subtle way. The negative involvement ceases to provoke a response. This must finally bring the one who misdirected his stream of consciousness to the recognition that the original situation and the new situation are not identical. Even if this happens on an unconscious level, it is helpful, but then one is dependent on the health and liberation of others who do not respond to one’s unreality. It is certainly better to begin with the self, to find one’s own split, to see the transference from parents to others with whom one is now involved and gradually recognize that the emotional climate in which one lives is not applicable to the real situation.

Observing the earth sphere and humanity from our vantage point, it is indeed sad that people so rarely react to and perceive reality. The resulting confusion and chaos brings so much needless suffering. If you would start reacting to the real person and the real situation, a lot of pain would be avoided. Pain is the result of illusion, the illusion being the consequence of the split that informs the person’s basic way of life, first lived out in the parental relationship.

Some of you have an inkling of what I am talking about here, but only in a nebulous way. The more aware you become of reexperiencing your old way of life, the basic split represented by your parents, the more you will live in reality and free yourself of the repetitive chain of illusion. Once you cease reenacting the old drama of your duality, you will respond spontaneously to the situation, which will no longer appear as it had previously.

Psychotherapists and psychiatrists have understood this phenomenon in their relationship with their patients. But only segments of this human predicament are comprehended within the framework of the evolutionary process that determines the laws of reincarnation. I want to help you understand this phenomenon on a deeper and broader basis. This can happen only when you become aware of it within yourself. Then you will see the damage, the misunderstanding. Your eyes will begin to open to the real situation. The more conscious you become of your blind automatism, your stereotyped responses, the more they will diminish by the very act of consciousness. You will see how you never fully reacted to your husband or wife, your child or friend as their own selves but rather as extensions of a previous experience of yours.

This so-called transference from parents to others also applies to your children. For if this flawed way of life is not given up, no relationship is uninfluenced by it — certainly no relationship of any importance and intensity. You are caught in this trap until you become aware of it. This is the freedom that the pathwork is meant to bring you. Freedom can come only through self-awareness. Lack of awareness imprisons you and makes life not worth living because you are constantly caught between two unsatisfactory alternatives. You react forever to your father and your mother in the way of life that you had adopted to deal with them, and you keep responding to them and to life as a consequence of their impact on you.

Response to one parent may be reaction to, and correction of, an unwanted situation with the other parent — a compensation. The two sets of attitudes together form your basic split, your way of life, which is, at the same time, a result of this. A new experience of life’s manifold manifestations is possible only after you have broken the repetitive chain from the inner duality to the parents and so on to others. Then life becomes vibrant in joy, peace and meaningfulness, in newness and richness.

This subject is of the greatest possible importance. I do hope that many of you, my friends, who are active on this path will in the coming working season gain at the very least a vague glimpse into the condition I have explained in this lecture or, better, a deep understanding of it. This is the direction where the guidance leads you if you are willing to follow it.

A few years ago I gave a lecture on duality. Now you are ready for a deeper level of understanding. I have approached this topic from yet a different angle, according to your present state of development. I venture to say that it will take considerable time before you can truly apply this lecture to yourself.

Are there any questions on this subject?

QUESTION: Is not the influence of brothers and sisters almost as strong as the one exerted by parents?

ANSWER: It is only a result of the relationship to the parents. Even if a relationship to a sibling is outwardly more problematic and negatively involved, it is secondary. If the matter is profoundly explored, it must be found that the sibling relationship is always directly related to the parental situation. The parents express, symbolize or manifest your own basic split, your way of dealing with this split. All other relationships are geared to this inner conflict.

I have given you a lot of material, my friends. It will take considerable time to assimilate — at least months, if you truly wish to gain even an inkling of how these words apply personally to you. It might be years before you truly reach this knowledge. But when you do, the inner experience of this truth will be beyond your possible anticipation. It will release you from a straightjacket, from a hopeless choice between two dismal alternatives — your previous basic way of life. You will enter into a new freedom.

May the strength and the blessing given unto you, my dear ones, fill you with an energy, with an impact, that makes it possible for you to reach and confront these depths of your being. May you summon the courage to overcome the fear that produces resistance. Only then will you convince yourself how useless, unreasonable, unfounded was the illusion that reality is to be feared and that it is better to cling to the illusion. How false these unrecognized reasoning processes are! What a pity that you persist in poisoning your life with this falsity.

A few of my friends are very near to recognitions in this respect. Some have already begun to understand this basic conflict. But not one of you is aware of how you repeat the original situation with others. This awareness has to be more fully cultivated. You have to understand better and more deeply the repetition and recognize it more clearly. May the blessing here extended help you in this direction. No endeavor and no blessing could be more useful, more important, more vital, more rewarding, and none can bring you more to life — in the true sense of the word.

Be blessed, all of you, in this most meaningful work you undertake. Be in peace, my dearest ones. Be in God!

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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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