Pathwork Lecture 144: The Process and Significance of Growing

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Pathwork Guide Lecture No. 144
1996 Edition
June 10, 1966

Greetings, my dearest friends. I usually start these sessions by giving a blessing. Now what does the word “blessing” mean? Let us consider its deepest meaning. Your ability to understand it today may be entirely different than before.

“Blessing” means the vigorous total wish for good, coming from the innermost self, from the divine inner being, the wish for the good of the unitive principle, which holds that there are no opposites and no conflicts. When this unobstructed wish flows directly into the deepest regions of consciousness of another person, a vibrating energy force is created that affects that person’s consciousness.

Whenever you hear, directly or indirectly, the word “blessing” from now on, it will be very helpful for you to remember that your response is necessary to make the blessing effective. Openness, willingness, and complete inner cooperation are necessary to enable two forces to meet, for a one-sided blessing is no blessing. It may be intended as a blessing, but it reverberates on a wall either of resistance and opposition or of noncooperation and neutrality.

Tonight’s topic is the process of growing. Since this lecture is a continuation of the last one, it might be difficult to understand for those who have not heard or read the preceding lecture.

To recapitulate briefly: We were discussing the unitive and the dualistic principles. Human consciousness, perception, and experience are generally geared to the dualistic principle. This means that everything is perceived in opposites — good or bad, desirable or undesirable, life or death. As long as humanity lives in this dualism, conflict and unhappiness must persist. Absolute, universal, cosmic truth is always unified and transcends opposites in the realization that the belief in opposites is illusion.

Unification does not mean, however, that the good of the dualistic either/or is realized. People who believe this misconception follow an erroneous path: they hope to attain one of the illusory opposites as the “salvation.” As long as one opposes one side and clings to the other, self-realization or liberation — that is, the unitive principle — is unattainable.

The good of the unitive principle is of an entirely different nature than the good of dualism. The former conciliates both sides, while the latter separates them. This can be ascertained in any individual problem once it is thoroughly understood. This point is extremely important to understand, my friends. For when you seek one side of a pair of opposites, you must oppose the other side. In that opposition your soul is agitated and fearful, and in that state you can never attain unity.

Let us apply this distinction to the growth process. As long as human consciousness is geared to duality and cannot transcend it, the growth process is very problematic. Growth is movement in time and space; therefore, growth on the dualistic plane automatically moves toward its opposite. From the moment you are born you move toward death. From the moment you unfold and grow toward fulfillment, the downward curve of destruction begins. From the moment you strive for any kind of happiness, you must fear its opposite. In ever-changing rhythm, the cyclic, eternal movement of growth must inevitably approach its opposite. It moves from life to death to life and back; from construction to destruction to construction. One brings forth the other.

It is exceedingly important to understand this concept, for it is one of the major reasons you resist growth. It is a deep resistance, beyond the psychological quirks of neurosis. This fundamental opposition to growth is still found even after neuroses have been transcended and dissolved. It explains why, as long as you perceive life in dualistic terms, you fear growth; for you fear that reaching a goal will bring on its destruction. You delude yourself by stemming against time, by “postponing” fulfillment and thus also the feared opposite. The status quo, stagnation, creates agitation, or movement in the distorted sense.

As long as growth takes place on the dualistic plane, there is always a peak to be reached, and after that peak, a descent. And so all living things on the dualistic plane move in a perpetual cycle of life and death, construction and destruction, of being and becoming. In nature, the plant grows in spring toward fruition in summer. In the fall it slowly dies. In the winter it is no more. Only its dormant life potential slumbers in the soil, waiting for the seed to grow again in spring. This is the growth process. The joy during the upward curve can never be full and carefree, without anxiety, for even before the peak is reached, the downside will be anticipated.

On the unified plane of consciousness, because there are no more opposites to be feared, the dichotomy no longer exists. Self-realization always leads to the experience and perception of the unitive state. Conversely, the unitive state cannot come about any other way than through self-realization.

Self-realization means shedding the layers of error so that the real self, the divine, eternal inner being, comes to the fore. You can shed these layers of pain, error, confusion, and limitation only when you no longer run away from yourself; when you are willing to look at yourself as you really are instead of as you want to be; when you accept yourself in the moment, when you do not struggle against your temporary state, even though you understand its error. This is the work you are doing on this path.

It is entirely erroneous to assume that unitive perception cannot occur on the earthly plane. It is possible, absolutely possible, for anyone willing to expand his or her consciousness. Expansion is a very simple process of questioning the verity of your limited ideas, the correctness of what you assume to be unalterably thus and so. This, in turn, can be done only when you honestly look at your most subtle moods and reactions and translate them into concise words. You then find out that these reactions and reflexes, these emotions and moods, are based on certain assumptions you have never questioned, since all is kept in the dark of vagueness and easy rationalization.

This is why your pathwork is of such immeasurable importance; for without recognizing the daily little dishonesties, self-deceptions, and erroneous assumptions, you cannot question them and loosen them to make room for a new reality. Whenever a vague disturbance is honestly examined and verbalized, the concept on which the disturbance is based can be revealed and questioned. This step widens your perception, enabling you to transcend your dualism and perceive the unitive state. This has to be done in every area of consciousness, in every facet of your existence, for it is possible to realize the unitive principle in some areas, while other areas are still deeply submerged in the illusion and pain of dualism. We shall come back to this a little later.

It cannot be emphasized strongly enough that self-liberation, or the transition from the dualistic to the unitive state, cannot come about by accumulated knowledge and theoretical understanding, by study or aiming at an outer goal. It cannot come by wanting to be different, by striving to attain a state that does not already exist within. It can only come by being in the now, by discovering that everything already exists within, behind the levels of confusion and pain. And this state behind the acutely, momentarily experienced state can be liberated and brought to the surface only when the level of confusion and pain is totally understood.

The natural cosmic flow, existing within the psyche of every living being, in everything that lives around and within yourself, is a powerful bubbling life stream, carrying you automatically and naturally toward the state of self-realization where there is no longer any opposition and painful conflict. This is the natural state, so you have nature on your side. By entrusting yourself to the life stream, by allowing yourself to perceive it, you will facilitate the unfolding of your natural destiny.

Unfortunately, people struggle against their natural destiny, which is so good. You put all your faith in a principle of opposition. You invent ifs and buts that really do not exist. This is why you invite pain; for all pain, in the last analysis, is utterly superfluous. These are not just words, my friends. Any of you on this path of self-realization who have taken some steps toward evolving out of your errors have found these truths. All of you who work intensely have had at least moments when you have completely understood how needlessly you have opposed that natural stream in which there is no pain. You have understood also in these moments that truth never really hurts, nor does it destroy or endanger you. But you constantly embrace pain, either by believing it is inevitable, or by believing that it is safer than the unitive state toward which you naturally gravitate.

If you entrust yourself to the unitive state, you will find these words to be utterly true. I realize, of course, that the mere abstract principle I explain here can never suffice. Regardless of how open you are, no words can ever, by themselves, be responsible for helping you make the transition. But they help you profoundly understand your present position in life; your inner and outer state. They can help destroy illusions and erroneous ideas. You cannot do this by embracing a new, and perhaps more evolved, philosophy of life and discarding a less truthful general concept you have held until now. You can begin only by destroying those little personal errors from which your daily disharmonies and disturbances arise.

The most insignificant problem can show you how you embrace error and opposition, a no-current, out of fear and ignorance. It can show how you stop the natural cosmic movement of which you are an integral part and which is an integral part of you. Only by a very personalized look at your reactions to daily occurrences can you make these words a personally experienced truth. It cannot happen by paying lip service to the principle behind them, even if you understand intellectually what I am saying. Intellect will not suffice to bring you to the transition from dualism to unity.

Growth on the dualistic plane must always be fraught with fear of the undesirable opposite. Therefore your growth process will be stunted as long as you view your goal of growth as good, as opposed to bad. On the unitive plane, growth is not threatened by an opposite; hence it need not be feared, nor opposed. But growth cannot come by opposing the opposition; it comes only when the feared opposite can be envisaged and accepted if need be. When you no longer fear one opposite, no longer cling fearfully to the other, then, and only then, can you reach the unitive state. But you cannot do so as long as fear is in your heart.

The process of growing in the unitive state means forever increasing unfolding and expansion. It means a widening experience of the infinite possibilities of beauty, life, and goodness. But remember, beauty is not the opposite of ugliness; life is not the opposite of death; good is not the opposite of bad, because in the unitive state they are never threatened by an opposite.

The two ways of growing — on the dualistic and on the unitive plane — are entirely different. Dualistic growth is a cyclic movement, with an upward curve, a peak, and a downward curve that perpetually recycles itself, always expressing two opposites. It is the state of cause and effect.

Growth in the unitive state expands infinitely. It never repeats and never needs an opposing motion. It has transcended the principle of cause and effect. When somehow you grasp this, no matter how vaguely, it first appears in your inner feelings — and this grasp comes from facing personal inner errors and self-deceptions — then an entirely new approach to growth takes over.

Along the road of transition from the dualistic to the unitive state it is important to understand a few further landmarks, which might help you to understand your own life right now. When you are engaged in intense self-search, when you vigorously confront yourself and face truth upon truth, setting up new inner conditions, your psyche goes through profound upheavals. The painful past state, as you know, was a result of false ideas. As these false ideas begin to crumble, the destruction may bring about more or less drastic outer changes. When you are in a transition period, it is possible for you on some levels to have reached the beginning of the unitive experience. You feel a deep peace and joy in every moment, regardless of whether the experience accords with the desired good. You perceive that every living moment contains the potential for joy and peace. Being in truth with yourself, you no longer fear anything, nor do you cling and tightly insist that your good should be given to you. You are then open for the divine source to fill you and convey the reality of life where there is nothing to fear and only good exists. You can reach for this good without urgency and obtain it precisely because you know it is yours. You do not fear missing it because you derive joy from both opposites of the dualistic state. This is, briefly, as well as it can be conveyed at all, the essence of the unitive state.

Now this state can begin to exist partially, particularly in certain areas of any individual’s life. You have not yet attained the total transition, the awakening in which you find the truth of life to have always existed for you without needing to fear or struggle for anything. But your emerging awareness eventually brings an increasing unfolding and enrichment into your outer circumstances so harmoniously and organically that it may appear almost coincidental.

The outer improvements may or may not coincide with ideas and ideals you have held on the dualistic plane, but the way you experience these ideas and ideals is entirely different. In other words, your goals may remain unchanged, but your experience of the goals will be different. Also, even when you have not reached a goal, you will not suffer as you did when you perceived reality dualistically. The growth into the unitive state definitely manifests in increasing trust in the self, in life. Growth also brings with it a peaceful joyousness that makes every moment vibrant, interesting, and totally free from anxiety or boredom. Each moment is rich in possibilities, and harbors widening vistas of perception never before experienced.

At the same time you continue to react in the old way, with fear, distrust, anxiety, despair, and tight selfwill, usually in the areas where your psyche is afflicted by images, by neurotic behavior patterns, and misconceptions so deeply engraved that you require more extended and patient work to change your inner picture. This other side very gradually catches up, as it were, with the side that is already very close to and already partly in a new land where light is never threatened by darkness.

You have constructed the old state on a foundation of errors, and this foundation must first crumble before a foundation of truthful concepts can be erected. Structures built on erroneous concepts must inevitably be destroyed. This law points up the falsity of dualism, whose earmark is always that one position is flatly and unchangeably perceived as desirable and its opposite as undesirable. Thus you cling to the idea that construction is always good, while destruction is always bad. The unification of these two opposites can come only in the unitive state as both sides are reconciled. To understand the unitive state you must recognize that destruction of error can be desirable, and construction of error is undesirable.

Now, destruction is always a painful process, whether or not it is desirable. While the edifices of error are being destroyed your life may be upset. You feel inwardly threatened and at a loss. Outwardly, even the apparently desirable aspects of your existence have disappeared and no adequate structure has taken their place. The bigger the erroneous constructs are, the greater the period of upheaval, which is naturally painful. But, my friends, it is painful only because you misunderstand what is happening and assume it to mean relapse and your personal inadequacy. Thus you become discouraged, fall into despair and stem against the flow that could carry you into a new state of mind. This state, however, can come about only through the destruction of the old state. Stemming against the organic and desirable movement, you prolong the painful, transitional period — painful primarily because it is misunderstood. You feel, “Here I am, trying so hard, yet look what happens in spite of it all! Everything seems to run like sand between my fingers; I not only fail to find fulfillment, but even the pleasures I had are gone.”

When you understand that crumbling of the old structure is desirable because the old way only appeared to give you satisfaction, then you will not cry over something that is actually no loss at all. Nor will you be misled into believing that you have not progressed. This state may be the best possible proof that, to a greater extent than you know, you are evolving into a new reality, but you still block it out because you ferociously refuse to allow your intuition to tell you where the cosmic life stream is carrying you. Instead, you continue to evaluate your life in limited dualistic terms — ignoring the new direction.

You have come to see and deeply sense that what happens is not a relapse, but rather destruction of the old, a process that actually is the very germ of a new construction. You begin to sense that in the act of destroying error, truth reconciles construction with destruction and makes them one movement, instead of two warring opposites. Hence you will no longer be discouraged, nor will you particularly suffer when you do not expect that your life should be different, for you will know that all is as it should, even must, be! For the actual loss or absence of a desired good hurts much less when one does not see this “loss” or absence as a negative sign. But when one believes that “If I were where I should be, things would not happen this way,” the loss is much more painful. When, instead, you see this transition period as an organic step toward wholeness, you will find the pain much easier to go through.

This should not be misconstrued to mean that you should not seek an intelligent solution to a particular problem. But when you find all the doors closed and life seems to show you quite clearly, from within yourself as well as from the outside, that you cannot find a solution, then you may rest assured that old structures, based on the error of dualistic perception, are crumbling. When you encourage this in your understanding, you will go with the stream instead of opposing it.

Now there is one more aspect of this topic that I would like to discuss. But since it is difficult to explain, it requires your cooperation from your most intuitive being. And you must trust your intellect to avoid the typical dualistic confusion.

The unitive state can be reached principally by two roads, both opposites of the dualistic state. It can be reached on and through the “good” side as well as on and through the “bad” side. When you are in a relative state of inner health and truth, where you are already somewhat free from fear and possess confidence and a genuine sense of the benign nature of the universe, you can find within yourself absolute health and truth and become free of fear and distrust. You quietly know the truth of life, that all good is yours, that the universe contains all good, that there is an abundance free from conflict; in other words, that your good never interferes with anyone else’s good. Your good does not bring any bad for anyone. When you have reached this state, then you can find the unitive principle deep within yourself. This happens without fear, without opposition, and without guilt. It happens because you feel deeply deserving. You will know that no one is deprived by your fulfillment, nor will you fear lack of fulfillment. You will know that infinite good exists, with no conflicts between you and others — hence unity.

Where the psyche is still deeply afflicted with doubt, fear, guilt, conflict, and error, this road cannot be taken. If it is nevertheless attempted under a misunderstanding, it becomes an artificial manipulative act that can lead only to self-deception. It is attempted not in the unitive knowledge, but out of the dualistic fear that nonfulfillment is dangerous. And this fundamental error barricades the door to transition into the wide open world of the unitive state.

When you are still in a state of untruth and distortion and therefore fear and distrust yourself and the world, you can transcend this state only by accepting what you fear, if need be; by not running away from yourself. Since the unitive state is free of opposition, you must stop opposing what you fear. But this should not be done in a spirit of masochistic self-denial. It should be done with the open question whether what you fear is truly fearsome. In other words, you must question the concept that causes the fear of the alternative instead of opposing the alternative itself.

This is directly connected with relinquishing what one insists upon to the extent one fears that the desired alternative will not occur. I have discussed many facets of this relinquishing and showed you again and again how inner peace and harmony cannot be reached when the soul is in a tight cramped state. Letting go induces relaxation, without which contact with the divine inner self or ultimate reality is impossible. Letting go does not mean self-defeating, sacrificial self-deprivation. It means merely that wherever you recognize a point of fear and hopelessness, you must relinquish the concept underlying this fear; you must relinquish your tight grip on certain attitudes that are obviously destructive but “protect” you from danger. This makes it appear as though you exposed yourself to what you consider most undesirable. Now, this chance must be taken in order to find out that the whole idea was an illusion; otherwise, you cannot come out of your perpetual state of fear and conflict.

Let us take for example a particular fulfillment that you greatly desire. You have done everything possible to attain it, but the door remains closed. You discover that you are terrified that you won’t attain the fulfillment, despite experiencing the truth of the unified principle in other areas of your life. Still, in this area you still fear and oppose the undesirable alternative. Even when you try to superimpose the truth that the universe knows no limitations — or just because you do so, covering up your fear — the fulfillment remains elusive. The only way you can transcend this state is by temporarily accepting it, knowing that it is not final. This means that you not only accept the limitations of the outer situation, but your own limited state at this time. When you give up your opposition to your present undesirable state, you can find the truth, and it will be possible to conciliate two apparent opposites.

The state of unity is a fearless state, but fear cannot be relinquished by insisting that what one fears stay away. For even if you succeed temporarily, you remain perpetually dependent on certain circumstances — hence fear can never be quite absent. The only way to genuinely free oneself from fear is to taste and discover that it holds no terror, that it can be coped with, that one remains essentially intact. No theory can bring about this safe state. Only one inner act can do this: testing it, going into it, relinquishing the insistence that it needs to be feared and therefore avoided.

When you embrace one alternative and say, “I must have this in order not to have that,” it keeps you from the transition into the fearless unitive state. You keep stemming against the flow of the universal stream that wants to carry you, but can do so only when your psychic movements are relaxed.

To remember that an untruth must exist somewhere in you whenever you find yourself in an undesirable inner and/or outer state will help you search for and abandon the untruth. You will then inevitably find that, on a deeper level, you oppose what you consciously cling to and embrace what you consciously oppose. This opposition must exist whenever fear of one alternative prevents you from being in peace and joy.

For instance, when you fear death — and it makes no difference whether this is conscious or whether it manifests only indirectly — and tensely hold on to life, pushing away and opposing death, you cannot come to the unitive principle unless you discover your particular untruth. With this untruth you oppose life and secretly wish for death. Only when you find the untruth can you relinquish the fear of death. This, of course, does not mean that you should want to die.

To find these deep levels which make relinquishing a natural act, and to perceive unitive truth through repeated insights into oneself is, of course, impossible without help. It can be done rather easily in the framework of what this path has to offer you — all its tools help you in different ways. But you can let go only when you totally want to. Every one of you, my friends, is still filled with oppositions of one sort or another. Becoming aware of them, verbalizing them, is the first step.

Again, I hope I will not be misunderstood and my words interpreted to mean that you should embrace injustice and destructiveness around you without a responsible attempt to eliminate them. I am not talking about outer levels, for, like destruction, opposition, too, can be part of a whole and can thus lead to unity. Never must any concept be flatly accepted or refuted as such. The opposition I am talking about refers to a state of mind and emotions, to aspects of life and the self that cannot be changed at this moment. When you find where and how you oppose something because you tightly cling to its opposite, you will again be making a substantial step toward growth into the unitive principle.

I extend the deep and vigorous wish, coming from the deepest regions of universal consciousness, or reality, to reach each and every one of you. It will touch you if you open yourself to this force and unite with it. When you unite with this force within you, you will not want to oppose truth in any form, and you will want to pursue your inner truth. You will begin to feel the effects of this power only later, but it is nevertheless very real, constantly flowing deep within you.

Be in peace, be in that deep region of yourself where all is one.

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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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