Pathwork Lecture 197: Energy and Consciousness in Distortion: Evil

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Pathwork Guide Lecture No. 197
1996 Edition
January 14, 1972

Greetings, all my friends here. Divine blessings and divine force pour forth from the world of spirit toward and into you, and from the deepest well within you to infuse your personality. However, this force must not be used to avoid what you do not want to see and know. It should be used to increase your honesty with yourself. For only then can love grow genuinely. And only then can you be secure within yourself and in the world.

This lecture continues the sequence of previous lectures, particularly of the last two. As you know, lectures come in sequences, which then apparently stop and switch to a new emphasis. And yet all these topics and sequences form one whole, an ongoing chain or spiral, as all universal movements are spiral movements if they are in harmony with creation.

In tonight’s lecture I would like to deal again, from a different angle, with the concept of evil. There are many levels on which each part of creation can be discussed from many angles. Tonight’s approach is geared to the sequence of the last two lectures.

Some philosophies claim that there is no evil, that evil is an illusion. Others claim that evil is a fact observable by anyone who faces reality. Some religious philosophies contend that evil stems from one principal source, a specific entity called the devil — just as good stems from a personified God. Good and evil stem from two figures, according to this view. Still other philosophies say that the forces of good and evil exist as principles, as energy, as attitudes.

As I so often do, I wish to discuss evil first in its cosmic, spiritual and philosophical context and then on the personal level, so that you can use it in your own path of development. Any philosophy that is not put into practical use remains a shallow intellectual abstraction that fails to permeate the other levels of the human personality.

The various concepts of what evil is and where it comes from are all true, provided they do not exclude the apparently opposite approach. If you say that evil does not exist at all, on any level of being, this would be wrong. But if you state that in ultimate reality there is no evil, that is true. Any one of these postulates is incorrect when seen as the only truth. This may seem paradoxical, as is so often the case. But when we consider the question from a more profound and broader vantage point, what appear as opposites suddenly reconcile and complement each other.

I shall explain presently how these apparent opposites are all true. Let me first repeat that the universe consists of consciousness and energy. In the unified state, consciousness and energy are one. In the disunified state, they are not necessarily one. Energy can be an impersonal force that does not seem to contain or express consciousness. It seems a mechanical force that consciousness can direct but that is in itself alien to determination, to self-knowledge — in short, to everything that distinguishes consciousness. Think, for example, of electricity and atomic energy. Even the energy of mind seems often quite disconnected from the source of its consciousness. Perhaps you can feel what I mean, to a certain extent. For instance, many of you have experienced that the power of your thoughts, attitudes and feelings do not have an immediate effect in your life. They have indirect effect, which at first seems so disconnected from its source that comprehending the link between cause and effect requires focused attention and awareness. Only when your consciousness expands can you sense the oneness of this tremendous mind power and the energy it sets in motion. This oneness works in both a constructive and a destructive way. The principle is the same.

The separated, dualistic human mind creates the illusion that energy and consciousness are two different manifestations. The same split perception exists in human beings regarding life and self, God and humanity, cause and effect, and many other concepts or phenomena. There are people on this earth plane who experience the universe, the cosmos, as a purely energetic phenomenon. There are others who experience the universe, the cosmos, primarily as supreme consciousness. They are both right, of course. And they are both wrong when they claim that their view is the only truth. Both are one. Since thought is movement and energy, it is impossible to separate consciousness from energy in their essence, although in their manifestations there might be an apparent disconnection.

How can all the different philosophies and perceptions of life be true when they appear to be opposites? Let us look into this more closely. It is quite true that in the ultimate reality of the unified state there is no evil. Thought is pure and truthful; feelings are loving and blissful; the direction or intentionality of the will is utterly positive and constructive. Therefore there is no evil. But the same consciousness can change its mind, as it were, into an untruthful and limited thought process, accompanied by feelings of hate, fear, and cruelty: into negative will direction and intent. In that moment the same consciousness, or an aspect of this consciousness, turns into its own distorted version. If this happens, the energy also alters its manifestations.

Thus the manifestation of evil is not something intrinsic ally different from pure consciousness and energy. It has only changed direction or focus. Hence it is as accurate to state that in essence there is no evil as it is to state that on the level of the human manifestation there is.

Each individual must accept the reality of evil on this plane of development, in order to learn to cope with it and thus to truly overcome it. Evil must be faced and overcome primarily within the self. Only then can the evil that is outside of the self be dealt with. The attempt to reverse this process will fail, for everything must start from the inner center — and the center is the self.

Neither of these two extremes exists in the human consciousness. In the present development of human consciousness, both the pure and the distorted, good and evil, God and the devil, exist. It is the task of every human being, on the long road of evolution, lifetime upon lifetime — and it indeed takes thousands of lifetimes, not hundreds — to purify the soul and to overcome evil.

Let us look for a moment at what evil means, from the point of view both of energy and of consciousness. When energy is twisted, it produces a destructive manifestation. Its frequency slows down and becomes commensurate with the distortion of the consciousness which determines the state by choosing the will direction of the thought process and instituting the negative attitude pattern. The slower the movement, the more the distortion of consciousness has advanced, and the more we can speak of a manifestation of evil.

Another characteristic of distorted energy flow in its evil aberration is condensation. Condensed energy is the dualistic, disunified state. The more highly developed a being is, the purer is its energy, the faster its frequency and the more radiant its matter. The more distorted and destructive a being is, the more condensed is the form in which the consciousness manifests. Matter, as you know it, is an advanced state of condensation. The consciousness involved in this state must find its way back to an increased frequency of its energy movement by purifying its thought and attitude patterns.

What does evil mean as a phenomenon of consciousness? Religion has of course talked amply about this in terms like hate, fear, selfishness, duplicity, spite, cheating life by not paying the price, wanting more than one is willing to give, and other destructive attitudes. This is so obvious that it hardly needs further elaboration. But let us look at the phenomenon of evil on a more subtle level.

Jesus Christ said: “Do not resist evil.” This saying has been misunderstood in many ways. It has been interpreted too literally to mean that you should allow others to exploit you and that you should not assert your human rights and your human dignity. This interpretation has preached meekness and masochism that are not in keeping with divine truth. On the contrary, they help to perpetuate evil and allow the perpetrator to inflict evil on his or her environment.

Any truth can be interpreted in different, yet correct, ways. Since tonight we are discussing evil as a manifestation of consciousness and energy, I shall interpret “Do not resist evil” from this angle. “Do not resist evil” points to the fact that resistance itself is, and breeds, evil.

Unobstructed energy flows smoothly and harmoniously, like a gentle river. When resistance stops the movement of the energy current, its movement slows and its form condenses, clogging up the channels. Resistance tightens and thus coarsens the energy. It holds back what should move.

The consciousness responsible for the energy thickening must exist accordingly. This statement is not quite correct, but human language is incapable of expressing the essential oneness of consciousness and energy, so we must compromise and speak as though consciousness were “responsible” for the energy flow. Anyhow, from your vantage point this expression will be quite adequate. The distorted thoughts, intentionality, feelings, and attitudes resist what is: truth, life, God — any aspect of the goodness of the universe. Because it resists trusting the life process, this consciousness generates ill will or negative intentionality. No evil attitude can manifest unless resistance to good is also taking place. Conversely, wherever life flows without resistance, it must be harmonious, blissful, and creative.

The very manifestation of matter as you know it, which is a highly disunified state, is the result of resistance. Matter is thickened, coarsened, slowed-down energy. Existence in matter blinds true vision and is therefore unavoidably painful. Resistance, matter, blindness, spells dualism, separation, evil, and suffering — these are one and the same. Resistance stems the flow, closing up; it prevents the movement of the universal energy — of love, of truth, of the ever ongoing movement of life unfolding as divine manifestation. Resistance is always obstructing some valuable, beautiful aspect of creation. Resistance is therefore a manifestation of evil.

When you go deeply enough into yourself, you will relatively easily perceive your own resistance. Others always can see it in you unless they are extremely blind, undeveloped, or insist on not seeing it. They may have a stake in agreeing with you or keeping an idealized image of you. But if this is not the case, they are aware of your resistance. You, too, can be aware of it if you wish to be. You will then see what this resistance means.

The word “resistance” is used again and again in psychological terminology. Usually people even forget the real meaning. The word is thrown around, and people lose contact with its dynamic reality. Words become meaningless when they are used blindly and unfeelingly. This is why I deliberately and frequently change terminology — to give new impact to your understanding and prevent blind usage. But I use this word in this context because this is precisely the word used by Jesus.

The word “evil” suffers a similar fate. Religion has thrown it at humankind in such a mechanical, distorted, and often meaningless way that many individuals have become practically allergic to hearing this expression. This is why I have shied away from using this word and have mentioned it only occasionally. But once in a while it is good to return to basic concepts and expressions, to lend impact and new energy to your understanding.

When you face and accept your deeply ingrained negative intentionality, you can link it with your resistance. Resistance always says in one way or another, “I do not want to know the truth about this or that.” This destructive attitude must create an evil force because it obstructs the ongoing movement of truth.

In our approach to self-development, we find again and again that the basic evil triad is pride, self-will, and fear, which are always interconnected. All other manifestations of evil arise from this triad. Furthermore, each of these three attitudes is a result of resistance and breeds more resistance, or evil. Self-will says, “I resist any other way but my way,” and “my way” is so often anti-life, anti-God. Self-will resists truth, love, union — even if it appears to want it. The moment the tightness of self-will exists, divine aspects are hindered from manifestation.

Pride is resistance to the oneness between entities. It separates itself from others and elevates itself — and thus resists the truth and love that are creative manifestations of life. Pride is the opposite of humility, not of humiliation. The person who resists humility must be humiliated because the resistance must always finally come to a breaking point. The refusal to expose the truth and to admit what exists is due to pride. This pride causes resistance as much as it results from resistance.

Similarly, resistance breeds fear, and fear breeds resistance. The tightened state of resistance and the slowing of the energy movement darken the vision and the scope of experience. Life is perceived as frightening. The more resistance, the more fear — and vice versa. Resistance to truth arises from the fear that truth can be harmful, and in turn, resistance to truth compounds this fear. The hiding becomes forever more difficult and exposure forever more threatening. Fear of truth — hence resistance — negates the benign quality of the universe; it negates the truth of the self, with all its thoughts, feelings, and intents. This self-negation, rooted in resistance is, and creates, evil.

When you want to avoid your feelings and your hidden thoughts and intentions, you create resistance. Resistance is, in one way or another, always connected with the thought, “I do not want to be hurt” — whether this hurt is actual or imagined. The resistance may be linked to self-will that says, “I must not be hurt”; to pride that says, “I will never admit that I can be hurt”; or to fear that says, “If I am hurt I must perish.” The resistance expresses distrust of the universe. In reality, hurt must pass, for it is no more an ultimate state than evil is. The more pain is experienced in its full intensity, the faster it dissolves into its original state — flowing, moving energy, which creates joy and bliss.

Whether resistance comes from self-will, pride, or fear, whether it is ignorance and negation of what is, does not matter. Resistance obstructs God, the flow of life. It creates walls that separate you from truth and love — from your inner unity. A person on the evolutionary path, who searches and gropes — incarnation after incarnation — fulfilling his or her task, is in a conflicted inner state, as you know. A great deal in a human being like you is already free and developed. But there also exist in you distortion, blindness, ill will, resistance, evil.

The human being who is in a state of partial inner freedom — truth, love, and light on the one hand, and self-will, pride, and fear on the other — must find the way out of this conflict. One part of the personality resists the truth that these negative feelings and attitudes are there and resists giving them up, while the other part strives for development and self-purification. This dualistic state must cause crisis. I have previously devoted an entire lecture to this topic. Let me repeat that such a crisis is unavoidable. When two opposite movements and strivings exist in a person, a breaking point must be reached, which manifests as a crisis in the person’s life. One movement says, “Yes, I want to admit what is evil, I want to confront myself and dispense with the pretenses, which are after all nothing but lies. I want to expand myself and bring forth the best in me, so that I can contribute and give to life, as I wish to receive from it. I want to give up the childish, cheating position from which I grab at life angrily and resentfully while refusing to give anything to it except my demands and resentments. I want to stop all that and ride trustfully with life. I want to honor God by accepting life on its own terms.”

The other side persists in saying, “No. I want it my way. I may even want to develop and become decent and honest, but not at the price of looking at, exposing or admitting anything that is too self-incriminatory.” The resulting crisis must break down the faulty inner structure.

Where the destructive orientation is considerably weaker than the constructive one, the crisis is relatively minor, for the faulty aspects can be extricated without tearing down the entire psychic edifice. By the same token, if the movement toward growth and truth is considerably weaker than the stagnant, resistive, evil one, major crisis may again be avoided for awhile; the personality may stagnate for long periods. But when the movement toward good is sufficiently strong, and yet the resistance continues to block the movement of the whole personality which becomes confused, blind and caught in destructively acting out, something must give.

Suppose you build a house. Some of the building material is solid, beautiful, and of excellent quality. Some is defective, a cheap imitation, and rotten. When these two incompatible types of material become inextricably mixed, the structure cannot stand. If the rotten material can be extricated without tearing down the entire building, then profound shake-up of the inhabitants’ present life can be avoided. So it is with a personality — and such extrication depends entirely on the conscious determination of the person in question. If the personality is too entangled because it has been resisting for too long and still lacks sufficient impetus of goodwill, there is only one way out. The structure must be destroyed, so that it can be rebuilt in a pure form.

Such a process calls forth an energy movement that is almost impossible to describe. Resisting evil means not facing and accepting the evil in you. This resistance creates a tremendous accumulation of energy, which finally comes to an explosion. The deeper meaning of the ensuing destruction is truly marvelous. It destroys the very evil that has created it. Unfortunately it is impossible to convey the configuration that takes place. Much in the person’s life may go to pieces. The energy movement of the soul substance tears down the rotten structure, even if this means that temporarily all seems to go to pieces. However, what is of true value will automatically and organically rebuild itself.

Imagine a form composed of intense opposite movements that swirl and rush, explode and implode and destroy themselves. Soul substance is torn apart and rebuilds itself simultaneously. Creation is taking place. Every crisis is an integral part of creation. Therefore, wise ones embrace and accept crises, which remove more and more resistance. Do not resist evil in you. By that I mean, give up the appearance, the pretense that evil does not exist in you. Give in, go with the movement of life.

The process of destruction/creation is a magnificent sight for spirit eyes. The blind entity may suffer temporarily, but how good it is. The process is awesome in its benign violence. New movements come forth, old movements change direction, color, hue, sound. If you go deeply into yourself and intuitively feel into the meaning of your crisis, you may gain a glimmer of the creative process. It is apparently simultaneously both creative and destructive, as far as defective soul material is concerned.

The eternal, ultimate, essentially benign nature of creation is most eloquently demonstrated in the fact that evil must finally destroy itself. It can build up only for so long, but eventually the breakdown must occur. You will all agree that the destruction of destructiveness is a constructive, creative phenomenon. Thus, in the long run, every destruction is constructive and serves creation. Always. But in an individual’s life, this truth is not always obvious. The further you are on the path, the more you will see this truth. It will be helpful if you can meditate to truly experience this phenomenon, because then you will aid the process by your conscious determination to relinquish resisting the evil in you, which you mistakenly believe comes to you from outside — when it can never do that.

You can diminish the violence of the constructive destruction if your commitment to truth takes on a new impetus and if you unearth your negative intentionality and change it into a positive intentionality. When you express negative intentionality in concise words, you can create a new movement. It is up to you. But even before you do so, by your very admission of your deliberate ill will, you will be more in truth and less inclined to act out the evil, which you sometimes even do self-righteously. You will know who you are. And strangely enough, the more you own up to your evil, the more honorable you become, and the more you will know that and appreciate yourself.

It is the same with pain: the more you accept it, the less you will feel it. Resistance to pain often makes it unbearable. The more you accept your hate, the less you hate. The more you accept your ugliness, the more beautiful you become. The more you accept your weakness, the stronger you are. The more you admit your hurt, the more dignity you have, regardless of the distorted views of others. These are inexorable laws. This is the path we tread.

A lot of wonderful things are happening in this work. But there also must be a lot of cleaning up, for which a great deal of vigilance is needed. I want to say that your venture is very blessed.

Now, my friends, continue in your wonderful endeavor to be in truth. If your sincerity is doubted, you must know in your heart where you are — and that is all that matters. That is all that matters!

Be blessed. Be who you truly are — God!

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