Pathwork Lecture 185: Mutuality: A Cosmic Principle and Law

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Pathwork Guide Lecture No. 185
1996 Edition
October 9, 1970

Greetings, my friends. Blessings and love for every one of you. The topic of tonight’s lecture is mutuality. Mutuality is a cosmic principle and law. I will divide this subject into three sections: the first deals with mutuality as a cosmic principle and law; the second deals with how this law manifests in human life; and the third deals with the nature and origin of those hindrances which disturb the law of mutuality.

Mutuality is a cosmic or spiritual law. No creation can take place unless mutuality exists. Mutuality means that two apparently or superficially different entities or aspects move toward one another for the purpose of uniting and making one comprehensive whole. They open up toward one another and cooperate with and affect one another to create a new divine manifestation. New forms of self-expression can only come into being when the self merges with something beyond itself. Mutuality is the movement that bridges the gap between duality and unity. Wherever there is separation, mutuality must come into being in order to eliminate this separation.

Nothing can be created unless mutuality exists, be it a new galaxy, a work of art, or a good relationship between human beings. This applies even to the creation of the simplest object. To illustrate this principle, let us take this example. First the idea of the object must be formed in the mind. Without the creative inspiration and imagination by which the mind extends itself beyond its previous awareness of what already exists, not even a plan can be formed. This creative aspect must then cooperate with the second aspect of mutuality, namely execution, which implies labor, effort, perseverance and self-discipline. Unless the creative idea and all those activities which are more mechanical and ego-determined work together in harmony, the object cannot be created. The first aspect, creative thinking and inspiration, can never complete creation unless the second aspect of execution is brought to bear on the venture. This applies, without exception, to everything. Whether you create an object, compose a symphony, paint a picture, write a novel, cook a meal, search for new scientific discoveries, heal illness, create mutual love, develop on the path of self-realization, this law of mutuality applies to all endeavors, all successful completion, and all meaningful self-expression.

Such a synthesis of creativity, imagination, and ideas on the one hand, and execution on the other, must come about, even though these processes and attitudes appear to be quite alien to each other. The creative attitude is a free-flowing, spontaneous manifestation. Execution is an act that comes through the determination of the ego will. It is more mechanical and laborious, requiring consistency and effort. It has totally different characteristics from the spontaneous, effortless influx of creative ideas. Human beings are uncreative for two reasons: either they are unwilling to adopt the necessary self-discipline to follow through on their creative ideas, or they are emotionally and spiritually too contracted to open their own individual creative channels. In the first case, they childishly refuse to be bothered by the difficulties, the trials and errors; in the second case they lack inspiration. Both of these lopsided attitudes gradually balance themselves out when individuals grow on the path and begin to resolve their inner conflicts. Healthy, balanced people who have found themselves always find their personal creative outlets that yield the deepest satisfaction.

An imbalance of these two aspects of creation is particularly striking in the area of human relationships. The creative, spontaneous, effortless experience that initially brings two people together in attraction and love occurs all the time, yet this connection is rarely maintained. All sorts of explanations are given for this, yet what mostly happens is that the labor of working out the inner dissensions is neglected. The childish idea prevails that once the initial act has taken place, the self is powerless to determine the course of the relationship. Usually the relationship is treated as if it were a separate entity that, either favorably or unfavorably, runs its own course. We shall discuss this misconception further in the next section of our talk.

The whole universe consists of the harmonious mutual interplay between effortless creative imagination and execution, which always requires labor, investment, commitment and self-discipline. This bridge of mutuality is a very important aspect of unity and creation. Mutuality is not the same as the unified principle itself which is opposed to the dualistic principle. The difference between the unified principle and the principle of mutuality is that the latter leads to unification and is actually the movement toward it. It is not yet unification itself.

For mutuality to operate there must be an expansive reciprocal movement toward another attitude, aspect, or person. Two expansive movements must flow out toward one another in a harmonious interplay of giving and receiving, of mutual cooperation, of positive opening. This means that, in fact, two Yes-currents must move toward each other. The ability to accept, bear, and sustain pleasure can be increased in human beings only gradually and is one of the most difficult goals to obtain. This ability depends directly on a person’s integration and wholeness. Hence, mutuality depends on the entity’s ability to say “yes” when a “yes” is offered.

This brings us to the second section of this lecture. How does the principle of mutuality apply to humanity’s present state of development? With respect to mutuality, humanity’s development can be determined by three gradations. The human being who is least developed and still full of fear and misconceptions is able to expand only very little. Since expansion and mutuality are interdependent, mutuality is impossible on this level to the degree that expansion is denied.

All human beings are afraid of opening up to some degree, as you well know. At the beginning of doing this inner work you may not have suspected that such a fear existed in you. Or if you did suspect it, you may have explained it away because you were too ashamed to admit it. You erroneously thought that there was something especially wrong with you, something that no other valuable human being shared. Therefore no one must be allowed to suspect this flaw in you. But as you went on, you learned to fully admit, accept, and properly understand the universality of this problem of yours. Thus, after diligent work, many of you are now able to acknowledge your fear of opening up and expanding. You may at times be quite aware of this fear and see how you hold back your energy, your feelings, and your vital forces, because you believe yourself to be safer through the control you exert when you are contracted. To the degree that this holds true you must have problems with mutuality. People who are the least developed and the most alienated from their inner truth will deny any kind of expansion and therefore any mutuality. However, this does not mean that their longing for it is eliminated; the longing is always there. Yet it is also true that entities manage to squelch the longing for expansion and mutuality perhaps through entire incarnations without becoming aware of the feeling that so much is lacking in their lives. They content themselves with the pseudo-security of separateness and aloneness, for this offers less threat, or so it seems.

However, when development proceeds a little more, the longing becomes stronger and more conscious. There are many degrees and many alternatives, but — speaking in an oversimplified way for the sake of clarity — those people who are at the second stage are the ones who are willing to open up but are still afraid of doing so when an opportunity arises for actual mutuality. The only way the bliss and pleasure of expansion and union can be experienced for people at this stage is in fantasy. This leads to a very common and frequent fluctuation: such people are convinced that their strong longing indicates their actual readiness for a real mutuality. After all, they experience it so beautifully in their fantasies. That they still do not experience it in reality is ascribed to their lack of luck in meeting the proper partner with whom they could realize these fantasies. When a partner finally appears, the old fear is still rampant. The soul movements contract and the fantasy cannot be realized. This is usually explained away by all sorts of outer circumstances, which may even be true. The partner may actually have too many obstructions to help them realize the dream. Yet, does this very fact not indicate that some deeper force must be at work in the person’s psyche that makes sure to attract the partner with whom the contraction appears justified? For the deeper self always knows where a person stands. If the willingness is still lacking to face the deeper issues in truth, subterfuges and excuses are very necessary for the preservation of the ego. But failure in the relationship always indicates that the self is not yet ready to put true mutuality into practice.

Many people continue to go alternately through periods of aloneness and acute longing, then temporary fulfillment of a sort in which either outer or inner obstructions prevent full mutuality. The consequent disappointments may lend even more justification to unconscious fears which feed the determination not to open up and be carried by the stream of life. The pain and the confusion are often very profound in people trapped at this stage. But this pain and confusion will eventually lead to the full commitment to recognize the real inner source of this fluctuation.

The meaning of this stage is rarely understood. The pain and confusion are there because the fluctuation’s true significance is not recognized. When a growing person comes to see that periods of aloneness afford him or her some opportunity to open up in comparative safety and to experience, even though vicariously, some manner of fulfillment without taking the necessary risks, he or she has indeed made a substantial step toward self-realization. Concomitantly, when he or she recognizes the true underlying significance of the difficulties encountered during the times of tentative relationships, the same holds true. Alternating periods of aloneness and relating have their own, built-in safety valves: each preserves the self in its separate state and simultaneously helps it venture out to the extent the entity has become ready to come out of separation.

But at one point on the road of individual evolution, everyone comes to recognize fully how painful this fluctuation is, which subsequently leads to a commitment to be open to mutuality and fulfillment, to interplay and expansion, to cooperation and positive pleasure. This always requires relinquishing the negative pleasure and the pseudo-safety. The soul then becomes ready to learn, experiment, risk mutuality, love, pleasure, and to function safely in an open state.

At the third stage are the people relatively capable of sustaining actual mutuality — not in fantasy, not in longing only, not in an “as if” situation. Needless to say that all steady relationships on this earth do not indicate real mutuality. In fact, very, very few do. Most relationships are formed with other motives, or else the original motivation of mutuality was given up when it could not be maintained and other motives replaced it.

These are basically the three stages humanity goes through with respect to mutuality. Of course, these stages cannot be differentiated in such exact terms. They often overlap, fluctuate and interchange; many, many degrees exist and hold true for each of the various levels of the personality. What may be true on one level for a specific person may not be true on another.

Now let us come to the third and perhaps most important part of this lecture. What are the obstacles prohibiting mutuality between two human beings? Usually this is explained, and quite accurately in part, by the problems human beings have. Yet this does not really say enough.

Mutuality can exist only to the degree that the individuals involved know about and are in contact with the evil of their previously hidden destructive side. Conversely, if there is a rift between conscious striving for goodness, love and decency, and the unconscious, bent on destructiveness, hate and negation, mutuality cannot take place. I emphasize here that mutuality is not absent because the evil aspects are still there, but because awareness of them is lacking. This is an all-important distinction. Usually human beings approach this problem in precisely the opposite way. They believe that they must first eradicate the still existing evil, for otherwise they are undeserving of the bliss that comes from mutuality. The evil is too frightening to be acknowledged, so that the rift between the conscious awareness of self and the unconscious denial of self widens as life goes on.

If you are alienated from your own unconscious, you must act out what deep in yourself you know exists within you. You act it out with another person and affect the similarly unconscious and concealed level of that other person. Unless this key is applied, relationships must falter or become stale, and mutuality in the true sense cannot unfold. Therefore it is crucial for you to gain increasing contact with the unconscious destructive aspects of your being. We have had precisely this aim ever since we started working on this path, and yet, how very difficult it seems for the individual to bridge the gap between the conscious good and the unconscious evil! How much struggle everyone puts up, and how many people are tempted to leave this pursuit altogether because it seems too painful and difficult to accept previously unacceptable aspects of themselves. Yet life cannot be truly lived unless this happens.

You inner split must reappear as a split between you and others unless you are fully conscious of your own self. Becoming conscious is to begin mending the rift; consciousness diminishes the rift. Consciousness must eventually lead to acceptance of what has previously been denied. If there is no mutuality between you and all the aspects of yourself because your standards, your demands, and your expectations of yourself are unrealistic, it is absolutely unthinkable that mutuality between you and others can ever exist.

Mutuality between you and yourself is absent when you reject the evil within you. Rejecting evil, you ignore and deny the vital, original creative energy that is contained in all evil. This energy must be made available to you in order to become whole. The energy can only be transformed when you are aware of its distorted form: yet, when you reject its present manifestation, how can you reconvert it? Hence you remain split within yourself. And when this split is not conscious, the split mirrors itself in your relationships, or the lack of them. No matter how evil and unacceptable any specific traits in you may be, no matter how undesirable and destructive, the energy and substance they consist of is a vital force without which you cannot fully function. Only as a whole person can you sustain pleasure; only as a fully conscious person can you be whole. Only then can you not block the expansive movement and let yourself flow out into the universe of another entity, while remaining open to receive the other’s outflowing energy currents and soul movements.

Your disunity with yourself cannot bring unity with others. It is utter folly to expect it. You do not have to wait to become totally unified first, however. If you take your ongoing relationships and use them as yardsticks by which you gauge where your own inner split is and where you stand in your willingness to accept the negative in you, you will grow into greater self-acceptance. Simultaneously, your ability to have mutuality will grow in proportion to your self-acceptance. Hence your relationships will improve and become much more deeply meaningful. The acceptance of whatever in you has been rejected because you refused to become conscious of it, will immediately produce a greater acceptance and understanding of other people you have to deal with. Mutuality will then become possible.

By the same token, if you cannot accept the evil in you, thinking, in effect, “I must first be perfect before I can accept, love, trust, esteem myself,” you must express an identical attitude toward the other person. When the reality dawns on you that he or she is far from perfect, you reject the other person just as you keep rejecting your own self. The difference is that you manage most of the time to not know what you are doing with yourself. This is very unfortunate. You manage not to see this rejection of the imperfect self and of the other for what it is. There are always handy explanations, destined to get you away from seeing how you reject the unpalatable reality of yourself and others, and how this causes a rift in you that makes mutuality and bliss impossible.

All of you can use what I say here as a very practical and immediate key in your inner work. You can look at all your relationships with your family, your partners, your associates, your friends, your business acquaintances. Look at any life situation where you may be involved with others. Look closely at those relationships if anything troubles you about them. To what degree are you truly open to the reality of the other person? If you honestly answer this question, and you can see that you are not open, you can then use this key for yourself. Of course, you can easily shirk seeing it by busying yourself with your explanations, justifications, rationalizations — and even with your acute self-blame which may easily be confused with self-acceptance, but is just as far removed from it as is overt self-denial.

You know perfectly well in your mind that you and others are far from being perfect, and you pay lip service to this truth. But do you really accept it in your heart of hearts? When you attempt to answer this question on the deeper emotional levels, you will see that in many instances the willingness is very small. Your reactions prove contrary to what you know in your mind. As you slowly discover your intolerance, your criticalness, your refusal to accept others for what they are, you can automatically know that you do exactly the same with yourself.

Now, it is indeed difficult to accept the projected acted-out negativity of others which always involves the use of a defense that is more destructive than whatever they defend against in themselves. Your inability to cope with this acted-out, destructive behavior of others toward you again reflects your lack of awareness of when and how you are doing the same thing, though perhaps in a different way.

It is easier to first see your reactions against others. If you can use those reactions as indicators, it will be much easier for you to discover what you are doing to yourself. The harm you inflict upon yourself by the negation of the unacceptable part causes you to do precisely what I mentioned before: it makes you use subterfuges destined to cover up the unacceptable. Yet these subterfuges are more unacceptable than whatever you originally negated. Thus you compound your self-hate and widen the rift.

If you are in shallow, unsatisfactory relationships which lack depth, gratification and intimacy, where you reveal yourself only superficially — perhaps only revealing your idealized self-image which you think is the only acceptable part of you — again you will have a good gauge of where you are within yourself. You are not even taking a chance because you are unable to accept yourself. Hence you cannot believe that your true, genuine self can ever be accepted, nor can you accept others for where they are in their present state of development. All this excludes mutuality.

The movement of opening up and taking in, the relaxed bliss of streaming into another energy field and accepting the emanation of the other energy field — this bliss is unbearable and appears dangerous for those who hate themselves. When you contract after every temporary opening you can realize that this does not happen because you are evil and do not deserve the bliss, but because you cannot accept the totality of forces and energies as they exist in you now. Therefore you remain locked in the contractions and cannot convert them into expansions.

So, the principle of mutuality must first be applied to the relationship between you and your inner self. Only then can it be extended to your relationship with others. But let me say here, my friends, from the vantage point of a higher degree of consciousness, that all the separateness that appears so real in your realm is as much an illusion as the separateness between your two selves. It is an artifact that comes into being exclusively because of what is denied. By closing your eyes and your consciousness to the total person you happen to be at this stage, you create these apparently two selves: the acceptable and the unacceptable. But in reality there are not two entities: they are both you, whether or not you choose to know this now. But are you really two people? Of course not. The same illusion prevails about all apparently separate entities. Here, too, the separation is an arbitrary, artificial construct of the mind, as it were. In reality such a division does not exist. This may not be easy for you to feel at this stage, but the fact remains that human beings live in this overall illusion of separateness which is the cause of pain and struggle. In reality all is one and every entity is connected with everything else in the universe — and this is not merely a figure of speech. One consciousness permeates the universe and everything therein. But you can begin to experience this unity only when there is no longer any part of yourself that is excluded, denied, or split off.

Are there any questions in connection with this topic?

QUESTION: Can you discuss the aspects of mutuality on the physical, mental, and spiritual levels from the energetic point of view?

ANSWER: Yes. From the energetic point of view the expanding movement is an outgoing and outflowing movement. When two separate human beings open up toward one another in mutuality, able to accept an open flow without contracting, the energy from one interpenetrates the energy field of the other, and vice versa. It is a constant interflow and exchange. It is otherwise with the people who remain separate, who contract, and cannot open up to mutuality; two such people remain enclosed, each like an island, with little or no energy being exchanged. And when exchange of energy is blocked, the great evolutionary plan is delayed.

In the case where a person can open only when there is no chance of mutuality, or when a Yes-current must be met with a No-current because mutuality still seems too frightening, one energy flow streams out but reverberates and bounces back, thrown back by the closed energy field of the other. The latter is like a wall that throws off any incoming flow. Thus, the two flows can never become one flow. This phenomenon can easily be observed in the everyday life of people. They either always fall in love when it is not reciprocated, or, for apparently unfathomable reasons, they fall out of love when their partner has deep feelings. To a more subtle degree, the same principle exists in ongoing relationships: when one person is open, the other is closed, and vice versa. Only steady development and growth changes this so that both learn to remain open to one another.

On the spiritual and emotional levels, the lowest stage indicates an acute state of fear. The fear of accepting the self in its present stage is essentially the same fear that wants to run away from true mutuality and bliss. Since the fear is there, hate must also come into being with all its derivatives.

The mental levels are affected by this process of avoidance when a person seeks ready explanations for what cannot be understood unless the self is accepted for what it is now. The mental activity becomes so busy that it cannot attune to the higher voices within the self, to the deeper truths of the universe. More separation is thus engendered. Mental noise creates more disconnection from the feelings and from the state that first created this condition. Such a person or entity is forced by its own choice to live in a constant state of frustration and unfulfillment. Physically this creates, of course, all the blocks in the body which you already know so well.

In the second stage, where alternate opening up and contracting occurs, the mental activity of the person is confused. Search and groping cannot yield truthful answers as long as the self is not accepted with its very worst. Mental confusion creates more frustration and anger. The faulty interpretations which are supposed to explain why the person is always missing mutuality only increase frustration, and therefore anger and hate. On the emotional level, longing and disappointment alternate with fulfillment in fantasy. This indicates some degree of opening and flow, although without real mutuality. Withdrawal and contraction also include anger and hate, disappointment and blaming.

When self-acceptance makes mutuality possible and energy is exchanged, the universal movements flow evenly. The healthy alternation of the expanding, contracting and static principles prevails where individuals find themselves in the eternal rhythm, harmonious with the universe.

Be blessed, my dearest ones. May this lecture again be like a little light going on inside yourself, giving you hope and strength, showing you from yet another side the way, and leading you more strongly toward accepting yourself exactly as you are now. May you not indulge in anything, nor excuse it, but see it for what it is. Accept the imperfection fully, neither embellishing it nor exaggerating it so that you cringe with shame and fear. All these distortions must disappear, for they are pitfalls, much more disastrous than whatever aspects you hate yourself for. When you find and apply this attitude, you will find your happiness and the truth that unites you with yourself and the universe.

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