Pathwork Lecture 154: Pulsation of Consciousness

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Pathwork Guide Lecture No. 154
1996 Edition
September 15, 1967

Greetings, my dearest, dearest friends. Blessings for this entire coming working season — not only for this hour, but for all the subsequent efforts, endeavors, and steps on your path. Provided these efforts are sincere and whole, they must lead you home — to your real, innermost true self. Those who have found their real selves are at home in the world, in life — safe and secure, with a firmly established ground under their feet. Home means the inner place where all problems find their solution, where no fear and hate exist. When fear exists, hate must exist — and vice versa. They are really one and the same. Home is the inner place where eternal wellbeing and eternal life are reality — experienced as a fact.

At first, eternal life is relative. Gradually it becomes absolute. Relative eternal life may seem like a contradiction, an absurdity. Yet, eternal life in the absolute cannot reveal itself in one sudden manifestation. It reveals itself gradually, as consciousness expands and as time expands from one dimension to the other. Within three-dimensional time itself the sense of eternality grows, life itself expands. As a person becomes healthier and more whole, not only does the duration of life expand, so does the inner sense and experience of it. We shall talk about this another time.

Every fall, when we start a new working season, the first lecture sets the pace and stage, so to speak. It heralds the emphasis of our next overall concern, necessary repetitions notwithstanding. It represents a blueprint of the future work and, at the same time, it is the natural continuation of where we left off, as you will see if you study it sensitively. The topic is pulsation of consciousness.

Everyone knows that all living organisms pulsate, breathe and move. Strangely enough, these qualities are primarily ascribed to the physical manifestations of life and are ignored as far as consciousness is concerned. Yet identical laws must prevail for both.

Let me briefly enumerate certain basic aspects about pulsation. Everything that lives must pulsate, as it must breathe and move. Therefore pulsation and breathing are interrelated. The movement of life is contained in both. The movement is involuntary and occurs in rhythmic intervals, provided the organism is healthy, harmonious and undisturbed. Think, for example, of the heartbeat of the healthy person. It is very regular and rhythmic. A sick or disturbed and fearful heart automatically loses this rhythmic quality.

On the physical level the rhythm occurs according to that dimension of time which applies to all physical manifestation — three-dimensional time. From the three-dimensionally oriented observation, the rhythmic movement is regular in intervals and the pulsebeat can be measured according to three-dimensional time.

The involuntary movements take place according to the three principles outlined a while back — namely, the expanding, restricting, and static principles. Everything that lives must follow these principles. Breath and pulsation obviously demonstrate this truth.

All this is observable on the physical level. The identical laws apply to the level of consciousness, although there they are less obvious. It requires a certain amount of tuning in on the soul movements and inner reality of the self to realize these laws, to experience them. At first a sensing and intuitive knowing, it eventually becomes as definite and factual an experience as any “outer” fact of life.

When consciousness is harmonious and in accordance with the universal laws, the rhythm occurs regularly. The dimension of consciousness is not three-dimensional, as the physical organism is. The emotional or mental or spiritual organism belongs to another dimension. Therefore its rhythmic nature does not seem to have the same kind of regularity in its intervals as the physical pulsations. To the three-dimensionally oriented perception the pulsations or cycles of consciousness do not appear rhythmic. They appear irregular and haphazard. The expansion cycle, for example, may be longer or shorter than the restricting cycle. Or one expansion cycle may last longer than the next. Yet, according to this other dimension, such may be a lawful, regular, harmonious movement. The rhythmic nature of consciousness is meaningful within its own inner law and can only be understood in terms of the individual consciousness and those aspects of consciousness which each particular movement expresses and signifies.

In other words, the pulsation of consciousness expresses the state of consciousness at any given moment, the degree of self-realization and growth, or their lack. It expresses the particular meaning where growth is most needed, where it may be overemphasized at the price of neglecting other areas. The experience of each individual is, as you already know, a result of his or her innermost beliefs, concepts, attitudes, feelings, and actions. How each experience is met also determines the rhythm of pulsation. People are often aware of phases, or cycles, in their lives. They feel they have “good times” and “bad times.” They even sense occasionally that in certain periods they tend more in one direction and concentrate more on certain aspects of living, while in other periods they have quite obviously different emphases. These manifestations are, of course, aspects of the pulsation of consciousness. But they do not appear in regularly spaced intervals, as do the physical pulsations of the organism. However, when a person is very perceptive, intuitive, and finely attuned to inner reality — as a result of considerable self-knowledge and development — he or she clearly senses that these irregular phases are not chaotic or arbitrary. They, too, follow a certain order, although its nature may still be obscure.

Let us now try to understand what expansion, restriction, and the static principle mean in terms of the pulsating movement of consciousness. The movement of expansion expresses reaching out; the restricting movement means bringing or gathering into the organism; the static movement means assimilation of both and the transition from one to the other. I discussed this in greater detail several years ago. The significance of this threefold principle, as it relates to the living, breathing, pulsating universe in all its aspects, is very important.

In the healthy organism the changing from one to the other of these three movements occurs regularly and meaningfully. The spiritual significance of the transition is always in the service of growth, completion, perfection, additional creation, pleasure supreme. For growth and pleasure are one. One cannot exist without the other. Expansion represents the direct expression of development, while the restricting and static movements indirectly further organic growth — through assimilation, digestion, utilization of what was gained, and rest.

In the disturbed organism, distorted by misconceptions, the expanding movement appears fraught with danger. Misconception must always lead to resistance to growth. The disturbed organism is in fear, and fear makes expansion appear painful and threatening. Fear contracts into unpleasure. Hence the disturbed organism unpleasurably contracts when it should pleasurably expand. When the natural contracting movement is supposed to set in, in rhythmic change, it cannot do so, since it already is cramped, hardened, and so exaggeratedly contracted that pulsating life movement becomes impossible.

All outer, or apparently outer, experience coming to humans is, as we know, in reality self-produced. It is a reflection of what already exists within. It could not come your way from without if it were not there within your own consciousness first. For those who are disconnected from their unconscious, this idea seems at best theoretical and all too metaphysical. Those who explore and discover the mechanisms and reality of their unconscious, and can therefore identify and connect with it, experience what I say here as undisputable fact.

When negative outer experience comes to those who have not connected with that part of their innermost self that has produced it, they reject the experience, withdraw and cringe from it. The organism cramps up in a movement of fear, away from that which seems alien, as if it had nothing to do with it. Since in reality the undesirable outer experience is an aspect of an existing condition within, fighting against it amounts to fighting against the self. To restrict the pulsation of consciousness by hardening up and refusing the experience is therefore completely opposed to the law of growth. I shall explain how to react meaningfully and adequately to a negative experience in a moment.

This apparently theoretical discussion, my friends, is not half as theoretical as it may appear. I will show you how you can immediately, and very practically, apply it to exactly where you are on your path — provided you focus your attention and your awareness on your emotions and soul movements.

The previous years of work must have made you aware, to some extent at least, of what you feel at any given moment. You register when you cramp up in fear, for example. I discussed the phenomenon of soul movement again and again. Unfortunately, most people are not even aware that such a thing exists. But by turning inward — observing the distinct movements of your psyche — you will become acutely aware of their existence, of their meaning. You will see, for example, the tremendous difference in soul movements when you are in harmony with yourself, when you feel that all is right between yourself and life, and when not. The harmonious soul movements fill you with a wonderful, subtle, but distinct movement that is vibrant and pleasurable. You can feel yourself expand toward the outer world, your whole inner organism reaching out fearlessly and pleasurably — even when the outer experience is doubtful and not necessarily desirable. This fearless meeting of it enables you to transcend the experience, to truly assimilate it. In that way, the threat soon vanishes. The restricting movement does not cramp up and congest. It remains organic. During the inward movement the consciousness, on its deepest levels, corrects the misconceptions that have brought the outer unwelcome experience about. By not cringing away from it on the outgoing pulsebeat and by meeting what appears at first as pain, the ingathering movement may briefly intensify the pain. But soon, if the pain is truly met, it reduces itself naturally. On the next outgoing beat the waste — misconception, fear — is expelled, just as the physical organism expels waste. The movements that follow are soon in pleasure where first they were in pain. Safety and pleasure cannot be gained when the spiritual pulsebeat is stopped through hardening, refusal of the experience, and unnatural restriction.

The better you are attuned to your inner path, the clearer you will see how each phase of your life means something in terms of your evolution. Each phase concentrates on certain aspects of your being, and each difficulty and hardship requests something from you. It contains a distinct message — coming from your own real self. How soon are you going to understand this message and learn what you have to learn? How soon will you decide to go through it, in pulsating openness of your psyche, rather than attempting to go around? The latter is stark illusion, for meeting the difficulty cannot really be avoided. It must reappear, in different forms, until you have healed your spiritual organism from its afflictions. Fleeing the experience that seems painful, undesirable, dangerous, is fleeing from yourself, just as fighting it means fighting yourself. Giving in to the fear of the experience makes you refuse the experience. Since the experience is a result of yourself, your refusal of it amounts to refusing yourself. Psychologically this refusal manifests in denial of happiness and pleasure. This is why it is so true that only one who can stand pain can, in that exact measure, stand pleasure.

No matter how much theoretical understanding you may already possess about the principle and truth of the outer life being no more nor less than a reflection of your inner state of consciousness, it means little if you still shy away from going through the experience. Jesus expressed the same principle with the words, “Do not resist evil.” This sentence can, like everything else, be easily misinterpreted and distorted. Evil is nothing but the consequence of deeply lodged misconceptions with their inevitable further result: fear, guilt, anger, hate, greed, cruelty, selfishness, destructiveness of self and others — of life. All the negativity in the world stems from something one believes in that is not according to reality. No matter what the negative — or whether it appears in one’s private life or not — it must be caused from within, from a wrong inner idea according to which one functions, moves, lives, responds and reacts. Look at the illusion of separateness between your outer and your inner life as an optical illusion.

Nothing could be a greater folly and a greater act of warfare against your own self than to flee from experience which is apparently disconnected from yourself. The only course of action is to go into the experience. In terms of pulsation of consciousness, the following procedure is indicated and highly rewarding. When anything happens to you that you shrink from — whether it causes mild annoyance or stark fright or anything in-between — remain inwardly relaxed. Observe the automatic reflex reaction in your soul movement, how it automatically tenses up. By remaining open and relaxed to the experience, no matter how painful or frightening it may appear, you allow it to happen to you. You thus admit that it is yours and proceed to find its origin in you. You declare in your mind your intent to explore and understand its cause. You also live up to this commitment with your emotional self by allowing the healthy pulsebeat of the psyche to continue its natural process. Thus you remain in an open state that enables you to comprehend and respond in an infinitely more adequate way than being in a tense state of war and defense.

This new attitude seems to require a great deal of trust in life, the universe, others, and your own innermost self. By remaining relaxed and undefended in your soul substance, by allowing the flexible movements of natural pulsation to continue, you seem exposed to danger. But is it not a stark illusion to suppose that this unnatural, evasive way of self-defense is a more trustworthy protection than the way I suggest? The point could be argued at length, but the best course is to take a chance and find out. You are bound to discover the truth of these words. You will see how what seemed at first like dire threat or unbearable pain, to be avoided at all cost, soon turns into profound enlightenment, safety, well-being. You will feel your entire inner and outer organism vibrantly alive and growing.

When the restricting, tense, congested movement pulls in automatically where it should remain vibrantly pulsating, its meaning can be translated into words. They are, “I do not want this experience.” This presupposes that the experience has nothing to do with causes within yourself. It presupposes that others, circumstances, chance have brought this experience to you. Therefore, whenever you detect the shrinking back movement of your soul currents, you know that on that level you ignore the connection between outer and inner reality. You also know, at this moment, that you live in an illusion — and all illusion breeds pain. The painful experience you wish to avoid by interrupting your natural spiritual pulsebeat rests on just such an illusion. By refusing what is yours — good or bad — your mentality denies self-responsibility for the unwelcome experience, and your emotions disturb the natural rhythm of the pulsation of your entire organism. It amounts to a deliberate stopping of breathing and pulsebeat through some artificial, inorganic means.

Again, I would like to point out how parallel these laws run on the spiritual and physical levels of a human being. What I explained about the advisable approach to healing your disturbed psyche applies in exactly the same way to the physical body. Just as you should keep your soul movements untense, open and relaxed, in order to eliminate the disturbances in a real way, so should you treat your body. Assume someone has a damaged heart. Would the ailment be cured by shrinking back from this fact in tension, fright, and contraction? Certainly not. This would only make it worse. By fright and contraction the person would express a refusal of the fact that he or she has acquired a damaged heart. The only way to correct the damage is to relax what has unduly tensed up. For that purpose, a full acceptance of the condition is inevitable. Even purely chemical medication attempts to artificially loosen up the cramp and reestablish an easy, smooth, vibrant, flexible pulsation. Making such a comparison between the physical and psychic levels will be quite helpful. It will give you an idea of the unification of creation and make what I say here more practicable.

When you attempt to put into practice what I advise, it will at first seem quite risky to remain undefended and relaxed inside when something threatens you. I am talking about psychological reactions to outer experiences that cause negative, destructive emotions and reactions in you. I do not refer to occasional physical threats, where a quick defensive tightening is automatic and healthy. That lasts a very short time and is the exception. If an emotional condition recurs regularly in your life, that is an altogether different story. In these instances, when you notice the shrinking back of the restricting movement, try to remain open. Let the inner movements occur in their own natural way, uninfluenced by the fearful level of your consciousness. Allow the natural organism to continue the pulsation of expansion, restriction, and static movements uninterfered. The natural restricting movement will open up by itself. It will carry you quite naturally into the next organic expanding movement. You will distinctly experience how what was painful on the first pulsebeat of expansion diminishes with each pulsebeat. Each set of movements will expand your self-realization, your grasp of your own inner truth as it relates to the event in question. It will fill you with peace, well-being, safety, and pleasure. Each outgoing movement will increase this positive condition. Let it happen from within, just as you must let the physical pulsation happen without interference by a fearful, distrusting attitude. Cooperate with this inner lawfulness by simply wanting to see the truth in yourself.

I recapitulate: Observe your soul movements. Understand their meaning. Allow them to function naturally; do not let fear cramp up the natural pulsation. Let the involuntary, self-regulating lawfulness establish harmony within by not interfering with fear and resistance. Simultaneously, cooperate with your whole being, with all your sincerity and integrity, in your willingness to see the truth in you. Seek to understand the connections between yourself and unwelcome emotions and those outer conditions that cause these emotions. Do this ego-cooperation in a firm, relaxed way. Relaxation must be combined with full commitment. Often, tension replaces a lack of full commitment to the inner truth.

Let yourself vibrate without defending your soul substance, even though it may seem risky, as if you were too vulnerable and exposed. This is not true. Such undefendedness reestablishes the healthy heartbeat of your psyche. It does not mean that you invite damaging, destructive actions from others or yourself. To the contrary, healthy self-assertion can only happen when you are not cramped up inside, when your natural pulsebeat functions according to its own organic law.

As I said before, my friends, this material is not difficult or abstract for those who have already explored their innermost self to some extent or for those who take these words in with their full attention. If you think about them and apply them to yourself, you will see how immediately practicable they are. Look at what you really feel. See what fear, pain, guilt and anger cause you to do within, how you contract. Observe these soul movements. It will become obvious that all is as I say.

By shrinking from the undesirable condition or experience, the entity hopes to avoid and refuse it — thereby avoiding and refusing itself. This causes a hard, bitter, twisted pain because such pulling away is not organic and is utterly futile. When you openly meet the condition or experience in the manner discussed, there will be pain too, at first. But the pain will have a completely different characteristic. It will soon turn into a softness that can dissolve more easily. It will transform itself into meaningfulness and sense. It is a growing pain, not a death pain. It is a pain that creates more and better life and thus eventually transforms itself into pleasure. The energy contained in the emotion can find its way back to its original essence.

When you remain truthfully open to the pain, fear, or other destructive emotion, you will not masochistically aggrandize and exaggerate it. Nor will you deny it — either by deluding yourself that it does not exist, or by refusing to meet it by pulling away. You will simply go through it and thereby reconvert it to its original nature of bliss.

It always seems to require such an enormous amount of courage to do this. But that, too, is illusion, my friends. It actually requires infinitely more “courage,” in a wrong and futile sense, to go through all the unnecessary pain of avoidance and flight. The effort to shrink back from yourself and from what you have produced — both in inner and outer conditions — is much more strenuous than the effort needed for the course I show you.

When pursuing this course, the pain must become bliss because you have transcended it instead of fleeing from it; you have understood its deep significance in terms of your personal growth. You allowed the pain its natural healthy rhythm, you allowed experience caused by error, illusion and unhealth to take its course. This is the only way health, security, and well-being can be reestablished.

Until now we have concentrated on the mental activity involved in your search for your true self, for your misconceptions, and in the observation of your mental and emotional processes. In time, using various new approaches on this path, some of you will begin to experience what might be summed up briefly as a combination of the metaphysical and physical. You will learn to feel and observe the soul movements better than ever before. These soul movements, with their innate, inbuilt rhythm and lawfulness, determine your entire life. They determine your state of being, your state of consciousness, your freedom or enslavement to your images and misconceptions. They determine the depth and scope and nature of your experiences in life, the degree of aliveness and pleasure, your body structure, and your fulfillment and abundance on all levels of being. The soul movements are the heartbeat of the spirit.

Now, are there any questions regarding this topic?

QUESTION: What kind of experience do you mean? What if someone offers me a trip with LSD? Would you advise me to go through with it just for the sake of the experience?

ANSWER: No, certainly not. Nothing of the sort. I do not mean that a person should do anything or everything. This would be completely destructive and a crass misunderstanding of what I am talking about. A human being must exert discrimination and choice. You have the freedom to choose certain experiences or reject them. I refer to the principle of this question, not the matter of whether or not LSD is advisable. I have already discussed this some time ago, and do not see any need to repeat it now.

What I am referring to is the experience of events, conditions, and emotions one cannot choose. They come. A recurrent condition elicits, again and again, difficulty, crisis, disharmony, destructive feelings. These are the experiences people so often refuse, deny, flee from — when they are nothing but an expression of something in themselves that they overlook. As long as one prefers to overlook the condition, it must recur with reliable regularity. Of that you can be sure.

QUESTION: There are two experiences that come to my mind: one is orgasm, the other is death. It seems that the pulsation and vibration lead you to a point where these vibrations and pulsations cease. In both orgasm and death there seems to be no more vibration and pulsation.

ANSWER: It is an illusion that they cease. Of course, this illusion is much more difficult to establish about death because your three-dimensional orientation and perception is not geared to see that it is an illusion. You merely see the physical level, and that has indeed stopped living, vibrating, pulsating. You are unequipped to observe the consciousness behind the physical system, where living, breathing, pulsating, vibrating — and therefore thinking, feeling, being — go on and on.

As far as orgasm is concerned, it is certainly an illusion that pulsation or vibration stops. As I said at the beginning of the lecture: When the rhythmic manifestation of pulsation is not observable to the three-dimensional perception, the pulsation of various levels of consciousness is geared to different laws. Only when you become attuned to your innermost self will you perceive these manifestations. There is nothing on the three-dimensional level that you cannot and will not experience by a further expansion of consciousness into different dimensions — whether or not this occurs in a state of physical death or while in the body. In fact more, not less, can be experienced, nay must be experienced, as the being expands and grows into further dimensions.

The truth of these words will become accessible in this life when you do not cramp up against fearful experience, but allow your innermost soul movement to continue to pulsate into the experience you want to deny.

As you all know from our work together, this fear of experience does not only exist regarding negative, painful experience. There is as much fear, and often more so, regarding the positive, desirable, and desired experiences in the universe. Utter bliss, pleasure supreme, is feared to the extent pain is denied. One who can accept pain, can endure pleasure. The two experiences you mentioned — death and orgasm — are the deepest experiences a created entity can go through. They are that because the ego relinquishes its hold and the individual surrenders to the cosmic, universal forces — in love and trust. True orgasm is not possible unless this attitude exists. Healthy death only occurs with love and trust and it then becomes a joyful, growing experience. It is easily observable that the healthier a human being is, the less he or she fears this total, trustful surrender. Such an individual experiences the greatest amount of bliss and, also, does not fear death.

I repeat: The ability to stand pleasure, delight, ecstasy, depends on the ability to assimilate pain and frustration in an appropriate and truthful way, in the understanding that they are the production of the self. To put the same idea in different words: If you can meet your own negativity — your fears, anger, rage, the traits you do not like — in a rational and unexaggerated way, really meet it face to face and understand it, then you produce the love and trust I discussed. To that measure you become capable of experiencing delight, pleasure, happiness. There is a direct relationship between the two. You will invariably see that the person who cannot accept pain in a healthy, constructive and realistic way cannot accept pleasure either.

I shall be glad to answer more questions on this topic, as well as on any problems you may have, at our next meeting. Be blessed, all of you. May every one of you start this working season with a new approach to your path, to your blocks that prevent and separate you from life. Dip deeply into the reality of the divine within yourself, to strengthen you in your determination to grow, unfold, expand, unify, and correct the areas that block you from life, from all that is good. Let guidance come from within to help you realize the futility, the unnecessary waste of resisting this growth. May you become more and more attuned to these inner soul movements and thereby help to reestablish the beautiful cosmic balance. This will also affect the availability of the divine in you, with which you can then integrate and establish your full, independent selfhood. Be blessed, all of you. Be in peace, be in God!

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