Pathwork Lecture 178: The Universal Principle of Growth Dynamics

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Pathwork Guide Lecture No. 178
1996 Edition
December 5, 1969

Greetings and blessings for every individual who searches and struggles for inner unity. Everyone here is motivated by this inner urge, which is a pull of the life force.

The life force contains the urge that motivates people to go in certain directions. They may be unaware of the deep meaning of this inner urge, or even that it exists. Many people experience a vague inner drive but do not know its meaning. Everyone can consciously experience this urgency at one time or another. Those who find their way toward a committed path such as this, in which they try to resolve their deepest problems and realize their dormant potentials, have made the urge quite conscious. Others are still grappling with the vagueness of the urge without really knowing what their inner unrest signifies. Those who steadily disregard the clamoring of their inner voice may confront deep crises in their lives. Many crises can be properly understood only when this deep urge is recognized.

Tonight’s lecture is a sequel to all the lectures I gave this year and can be fully understood only in that context. It will deal with the topic of dynamic growth, the spontaneous unification inherent in the process of growth. All life is to some degree a growth process, either quite deliberate and committed or haphazard and unconscious, obstructed by blind opposing forces that pull toward a state of stagnation.

First let us clarify the real meaning of growth. Usually people do not think profoundly enough when they speak of growth, life, death, love and pleasure. Growth is not merely an organism becoming bigger. It is an expansion, but in a particular sense. It implies mastering something that one was unable to master before. You convert obstruction — whether inside the self or in your surroundings — into a part of the realm of the self.

When you do not master an obstruction, a disunity is present, either within the self or between the self and the outside world. Growth unifies that disunity. Growth always implies bridging a chasm, resolving a real or apparent contradiction. This applies to all levels of being. When an infant learns to walk, it experiences a disunity between its physical powers, the laws of gravity, and the world around it. Once the child learns to walk the disunity disappears. What was a disparity becomes an extended field of operation. Its realm has been increased; it now possesses a piece of the world it has not possessed before. Growth brings expansion, increased capabilities, more power and unity where there was limitation and disunity. Not learning to walk creates unhappiness, weakness, pain and limitation, which are all overcome when the ability to walk is acquired.

Each phase of a human being’s life signifies venturing into a territory that has not been mastered before. The same applies to an entity’s overall evolution from one incarnation to another and later on to further stages of being and creating. At first the inability is taken for granted and not even recognized as a problem. Then it is recognized as an obstacle that could be overcome. Finally the entity confronts the block and makes an effort to overcome it. This is the only way to master new faculties.

Psychological conflicts follow the same pattern. Before a particular difficulty has been recognized you experience an unconscious helplessness and a sense of limitation. Then you become aware of the problem. When you decide to do something about it you begin a path of struggle, of searching, of testing your faculties. Eventually you attain a new unity that expands your power over life. You convert territory that was alien and inaccessible into familiar ground on which you feel at ease with yourself and life. You gain a new security and peace. This is growth.

All growth must combine the voluntary and involuntary functions. Growth cannot proceed harmoniously if the emphasis is not balanced. The result appears effortlessly, a manifestation of involuntary faculties responding to voluntary ones. The voluntary faculties require effort. You must persist, groping and searching for new approaches. This calls for self-testing, for removing defenses and vanity, for courage and truthfulness with the self.

You cannot discover a new dimension of life without birth pains, for each new unification is a spiritual rebirth. Being reborn is always a rediscovery of the self in a new form, with more faculties revealed and activated.

The actual unification happens involuntarily, as if it had nothing to do with the previous efforts. This can be so deceptive that people believe it would have happened anyway, without all the effort. Conversely, when the result is expected as a direct manifestation of your work, the expectation becomes frustrating and discouraging. It is important, my friends, to be aware of these two sides of the growth process. The balance of conscious effort and relaxation applies to the smallest details as well as to the most significant aspects of your spiritual development. It applies to meditation, which must combine the two sides, as well as to the acquisition of any new skill. You need to create a right attitude toward the voluntary and involuntary functions, balancing poised effort and discipline with relaxation. Each step of growth, each victory over conflict, confusion, ignorance and helplessness, represent a new skill and mastery over life, a new unification — first of all within the person, and consequently between the person and life.

I have spoken frequently about the dualistic state of your consciousness, as opposed to the oneness of ultimate reality. All of life is a progression to attain further unity. Each step toward unity creates a new safety zone, a new home base, so to speak. As growth continues, you discover further disunities within you. Again you venture forth into new territory, struggling to unify the discovered disunity. And so it goes on until total unity is found.

It may appear safer to remain in the old disunity than to venture forth into a new unity because of the effort that is necessary. If the effort is perceived as something that you should not have to make, it seems malignant and undesirable. If you perceive it as a movement that is part of life, you will find it challenging and pleasurable. Within this attitude you will find the right distribution of effort and effortlessness, the right balance of voluntary and involuntary faculties.

When the involuntary faculties finally manifest, the new skill becomes an effortless, natural part of you. On the physical level you experience the voluntary hard labor giving way to naturalness when the skill suddenly becomes second nature.

On the mental level, when you first deal with a specific negativity, you cannot change it simply by wanting to. Instead you must use your will to grope for a deeper understanding of the problem, seeing its origin and its effects, facing the results and really wanting to change. All this is volitional. Then suddenly you become aware of a new constructive, positive way of reaction. This is spontaneous unification. When it occurs you no longer need to put laborious effort into the new way.

While you are torn by the apparent futility of equally undesirable alternatives which make life itself futile, you are in a state of utter disunity, of duality. Your assumption that there is no way out is a denial of the growth process that life always is. Your willingness to find a solution is a commitment to find a new mastery over present helplessness and constriction, a commitment to life itself. The first step is always the most difficult. You do not even know what your specific disunity is. Actually, there are many. It is crucial to consolidate your voluntary faculties to identify and confront the specific disunity of the moment. The inner commitment toward overcoming that disunity is then the task of the volitional faculties. Only after this step does an alternative process develop. The involuntary yields recognitions, inspiration, guidance and revelation until the puzzle fits together. In this alternation every new insight requires new commitment to search until the next organic step reveals itself. So it goes on. This is a description of the path of dynamic growth.

Use your voluntary faculties to make room in your mind for a particular unity where there is now disunity. Affirm that the unity which still eludes you can be attained, and that you will attain it. What you invest will determine the outcome. Humans often desire a change but avoid taking some of the more difficult steps out of a reluctance to face apparent unpleasantness. The self does not wish to expose its vanity, its cherished prejudices and illusions. Yet your total personality must cooperate and invest in stirring up your areas of stagnation if spontaneous unification is to occur. Where emotional, psychological and spiritual growth is concerned, the investment of the mind and will, of the emotions and attitudes corresponds to sustained practice in building new physical or mental skills.

The first appearance of effortless, spontaneous unification will be incomplete. It will disappear because the unification is not yet total. More voluntary effort must follow suit, new material must be unearthed, until the second, third or fourth manifestation of this specific unification spontaneously reappears. Very gradually you incorporate the new skill into your personality. The acquisition of a new mastery always means overcoming an imaginary rift that you experience as a painful chasm. You must always bridge an illusory duality to reach your natural and real state. Disunity is always painful. Pleasure always depends on unity. Expansion into life is a constant forward movement that turns an alien and apparently hostile world into your home. It is exceedingly important to understand all this, my friends.

To recapitulate, effortless and spontaneous unification is the result of effort and struggle. It requires a poised and relaxed forward movement into life. The effort must be disciplined and relaxed rather than tense and rigid. When you feel that relaxed effort is impossible, search for unconscious reluctance to move forward. Relaxed movement is pleasurable in itself, while rigid, reluctant movement is painful. Rather than denying the hidden reluctance, focus on it. Relaxed and determined movement into life is pleasurable in itself, however difficult and challenging. Each completed unification brings further pleasure. Further pleasure leads to more unification. This benign circle is the stream of life. Unification brings pleasure when it is no longer considered something that should already be over with. Ultimately you and the whole cosmos will be one.

Constriction and stagnation connote that you are content with a very limited state. Therefore, dynamic growth is also mastery over misconceptions. Misconceptions always lead to more disunity. They stem from an erroneous attempt to find unity. Neurosis is in itself an erroneous attempt to find health and well-being. It makes, in its own blind way, peace with something traumatic and painful. On your path you have found misconceptions that equate love with pain and danger, pleasure with humiliation and shame, self-assertion with unacceptable aggression. These are typical examples of false unifications that must first be disunited in order to find harmony, fullness and real unification. As a result of such misconceptions, all forward movement appears dangerous. The stagnating, restricting, limiting life in which one dares not venture forth seems to give safety.

Every one of my friends who is already involved in this pathwork has gone through and confronted such hidden and irrational feelings. If you really question them with an open mind and in a very simple fashion you will find that resistance to growth is fear. Your insistence on remaining as you are sacrifices happiness, pleasure, wholeness, love and expansion, yet it appears to make you safe. Seeking a tiny point of security within a narrow circumference is an abdication of your universal destiny. It denies pleasure, wasting the most valuable spiritual power you possess. Once you choose this power freely, growth becomes adventure and joy.

Many people increase their physical and mental skills. This is also a valuable movement toward life that represents mastery over disunity. The steps leading to this new mastery are essentially the same as the ones you use to discover and enlarge the inner universe. One deals with outer and often mechanical aspects of living while the other represents one’s innermost self. When the outer serves as a mere substitute for the inner enlargement of life, it is still preferable to total stagnation. Human beings go through several stages in their overall evolution. When they are more primitive, they must deal with the outer levels. Later their task lies in the unification of the inner world.

Real spiritual growth and mastery on the inner level, spontaneous unification of emotional, psychological, and therefore spiritual rifts, hold the inner balance and harmony out of which grow intuitive guidance and knowledge toward true outer unifications. Physical and mental skills have their value, but they miss the mark as a substitute for inner growth. When inner growth is the center of one’s being, everything else falls into place without the pendulum swinging from one extreme to the other. Inessential goals fall away.

Ignoring cosmic truth always creates disunity. It is every single entity’s destiny to bridge ignorance by struggling toward these unifications. The most difficult challenges are on the most hidden emotional levels, since emotions cannot be directly willed and are never quite conscious. You must identify the disunity before the work of unification can begin.

Trust in the involuntary functions can be gained only slowly, but it is essential. Give yourself the opportunity to experience it. All your effort will be wasted if you do not allow the involuntary functions to manifest. Make room for them in your consciousness and pay attention to them in a relaxed and trusting way. This is a vital part of the growth process.

Once you realize that the result of your efforts will be unexpected and spontaneous rather than direct, then harmony between the voluntary and involuntary faculties will establish itself. By harmony I do not mean that the effort is equal in measure. Months of groping with the voluntary processes of mind and will may spontaneously bring forth an inner feeling that springs up in the fraction of a moment when you least expect it. It does not last long but its depth and intensity and significance are so profound that you cannot measure them in terms of your volitional efforts. Harmony between the voluntary and involuntary faculties exists primarily in making room for both in your attitude. Wait with an inner readiness. It requires your intuitive groping to combine and alternate these two functions.

The final step in giving up negativity, as I have suggested, is to want to have the positive attitude as opposed to the negative one, to give up your fear of and resistance to pleasure, and give up the roles and pretenses that stand in the way. The wanting must be affirmed in calm trust and firm conviction. The voluntary must make room for the involuntary until the spontaneous unification occurs. You will let it happen, wanting it in a relaxed and determined way. This is the marriage of the voluntary and the involuntary, the active and the passive principles.

If you see growth in this light you will eliminate a lot of fear and hopelessness and wasteful effort. You will become more patient with the time it takes.

The sequence of the lectures I have given this year began with the creative process itself, with every human’s creation of positive or negative life circumstances through beliefs, thoughts, feelings and will. I have shown that living inevitably means creating. The person who ventures forth into life in the spirit of overcoming disunity creates an altogether different life than one who is content within narrow confines. I also discussed how negativity creates misery and yet how fascination with the creative process makes it seem difficult to abandon negativity. Yet the creation of negativity and a narrowly confined life leads to disunity rather than unity, pain rather than pleasure.

Unification depends on your inner commitment to create an expanded, unified life of bliss and pleasure rather than one of narrowness, disunity and pain. Pleasure is possible only in a unified, expanded, ever-enlarging state. The voluntary and involuntary functions seem separate only when you split them in your consciousness. In your present state of awareness in your limited human frame, you seem to be dealing with two entirely different faculties and two entirely different “brains”: the inner and the outer, the conscious and the unconscious, the directly available and the indirectly available. By taking down your self-imposed fences you make more and more of the universe your own, thereby fulfilling your destiny.

You can create spontaneous unification out of disunity. Out of a highly differentiated disunity, you can work toward an undifferentiated unity. It is a sin against life to not grow. You are an expression of the divine. You are God. It is your birthright and your destiny to fulfill yourself by making more and greater unifications, to expand your spiritual skills so that you can do away with disunity and create bliss by spreading unity.

As your life expands, you become the master where you are now weak and dependent. You become blissful where you are now in pain, in truth where you are now in error. Commit yourself to pleasure, growth, unification and expansion, to that which is truth, to that which is love. May you make your choice over and over again. Be the Gods you truly are.

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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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