Pathwork Lecture 243: The Great Existential Fear and Longing

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Pathwork Guide Lecture No. 243
1996 Edition
October 6, 1977

Greetings, my very beloved friends. I am here with you, I have always been with you, during all this time that was such a difficult test for all of you. I am here, once again, in immediacy so that you can hear and receive my words. This interruption was necessary for many reasons. Some of you may sense some of the reasons, but the full impact will dawn on you only much later. In the meantime, the purpose of the interruption of my direct messages takes shape in your souls gradually and, even more slowly, begins to manifest in your lives.

There was, understandably, fear in all of you, not only in the instrument through which I manifest — fear that I will no longer manifest to you, fear of untimely death, chaos, disruption, meaningless suffering. Again, not only my instrument had to experience these feelings, but everyone of you was given an opportunity to recognize these reactions in yourselves through their identifying with the instrument.

It is so important for you to truly grasp that these reactions, these feelings exist in you always; they are there, whether or not an outer event brings them to the fore. Such outer events are simultaneously the result of the existing feelings and inner attitudes and of the means to deal with and overcome them. If what caused a negative experience is not elicited into the foreground of consciousness, it can never be given a chance to transform itself.

In this case you fear that perhaps the world is an arbitrary, chaotic, senseless place without rhyme or reason; that there is no God, no eternal life, no eternal soul, no meaning to the experiences you encounter. As you so well know from previous discoveries on your path, your attitude may be totally different on one level of your personality from that on another level. This certainly applies to faith in God and His creation — and, as part of that, to faith in the meaning and purpose of all that comes to pass in your lives in an endless, ongoing chain of being, of consciousness.

It is the ultimate aim of self-realization to establish the truth of God, of eternal life, of the benign meaning of everything in every crevice of consciousness. This process is the very reason for incarnation and purification. What do you think purification is all about? It is not just to become “good.” “Being good” in and by itself is almost meaningless. The deeper you go in your work of fulfilling yourself, the more you become aware of goodness often being a matter of different approaches and values, of the mores of a particular culture. Sometimes what is considered “bad” by a certain society may be of the highest value on deeper levels of reality, and vice versa. Absolute good can be found only on the most profound levels of truth, through the mundane and personal “little truths” often so difficult to face. The greatest truth of God’s reality and immediacy brings you to the ultimate good that is beyond all question and doubt.

The path I have the privilege to bring to you and help you on prepares you for this process. Little by little you deal first with the personal, individual violations of integrity and truth, level by level. The more open you are to this process, and, consequently, the more you recognize and loosen up your defenses so that a state of open flow is established, the easier it becomes to lift out the existential fear that grips all humankind. This is the common denominator that unites all human beings on the deepest level. When you meet this deepest of all doubts and fears, existing in all human beings, and you deal with it individually and personally, then a new phase in the total process can begin.

It is very different to be clearly aware of this fear and doubt and, for a while, live with it and deal with it again and again, from being in the previous state in which these doubts and fears are covered up and consequently manifest indirectly. To know, feel, experience and suffer these doubts and fears is the first step on this vital new phase in your evolution. Your longing for eternal life must be totally conscious. This is by no means so, as a general rule. Usually the longing is suppressed and repressed. It then becomes transformed into subsidiary longings, such as longing for health, for happiness, for abundance, for avoiding physical death as long as possible.

Obviously, every one of these longings is most legitimate. Do not infer from my words that they are wrong and immature and that you should attempt to eliminate them. Quite the contrary is true. These longings are most legitimate. However, there is an enormous difference between seeing them as the original ones, or seeing them as natural byproducts of a genuinely basic state of soul that could exist, is meant to exist, and that the personality first unconsciously, and finally consciously, longs for.

When this longing is unfulfilled, the separation between the created being and the Christ exists in a part of the total personality. It exists not only between the Christ and the individual, to the extent he or she is still in darkness, but also within the personality. The personality is split; one part is in the light of knowing — and there the longing is fulfilled. The other part is still in darkness, therefore in fear, doubt, suffering; for that part the longing is unfulfilled.

When you are not even conscious of the dark part, it creates commensurately painful experiences. For experience is constantly being created as an ongoing process from the consciousness, attitudes, thoughts, beliefs and feelings of the person. How painful it is when the result of these inner creative agents is so separated from what created the experiences that the person is under the illusion that the experience comes to him without rhyme or reason! This is the most painful state of consciousness. It leads to the assumption that the universe is a world of chaos and meaningless arbitrariness.

When a human being dies in that state of darkness, the disruption of conscious connection will temporarily create the impression of non-existence in the life outside the physical body. That is, the personality aspects that are in light and true knowledge will experience life after death accordingly, while the personality aspects that live in the darkness of unconscious fear and doubt will remain unconscious after separation from the body. Because of this process, the illusion is perpetuated that physical death is an extinction of consciousness. The aspects that have not yet awakened are then incorporated into the reincarnating personality and carried with it, to be dealt with when the total personality is ready on its evolutionary journey.

When this separated, fearful, doubting part remains unconscious, the longing for eternal life is also unconscious. As the fears, doubts and terrors manifest indirectly, so does the longing for eternal life. It may manifest in various ways, such as the conscious, subsidiary but legitimate longings I mentioned before, or in displaced longings — longings for false, unreal fulfillments. The longing may also manifest in compulsive drives. Whatever it may be, it is important to make conscious the underlying, real longing for eternal life.

All this will make it clear that there is a direct connection between the dark corner of fear, doubt, terror, and the longing. To the degree the fears, doubts and terrors are unconscious, the longing is unconscious. To the degree they are conscious, the longing is conscious. To the degree they are conscious, the first step toward transforming the level of fears, doubts and terrors into faith, knowledge of truth, security, and peace can be undertaken systematically, meaningfully and intelligently. Obviously, it is exactly this process through which the longing is fulfilled.

As it required courage, integrity, openness, goodwill, positive intentionality and utter commitment to the truth to get to know yourself, to face the lower self and thereby begin to transform it, so does it require exactly the same courage, integrity, openness, goodwill, positive intentionality and utter commitment to the truth to face, live through, and transform the deep, universal, existential fears, doubts and terrors.

Let us now deal with two further points in this connection. The first is a vision, or concept, about the state of fulfillment which alone eliminates the fears and terrors and stills all doubt. Without even a vague idea that such a state exists, it is impossible to be conscious of your longing for it. Nor can you visualize it — which brings me to the second point: How to work on establishing awareness both of the dark level of doubt and fear and of the longing. And further, how should you work on directly establishing the state in which this basic longing is fulfilled, and from which all other fulfillments naturally derive.

I will first describe the fulfilled state. Let us be quite clear that we are not discussing any outer state of fulfillment. Health, abundance, success, a sense of self-worth, emotional fulfillment in love with a mate, all these are desired by all human beings. Yet even when achieved, they mean nothing without the inner state of fulfilled longing. That state is most difficult to describe in words. Once again we meet the already familiar obstruction of squeezing a cosmic state or concept into the narrow confines of human language, which is geared to three-dimensional concepts. Nevertheless, I shall attempt to give you a vision or description of this state, so that you can further attempt to grasp and sense it, to make it eventually your own.

This state has been variously described in mystical and spiritual literature and has been given various names, such as nirvana, satori, cosmic consciousness. But I am not interested to find a name. Let us rather see what this state — a deep union with and awareness of God — means in your personal experience.

In this state there is no fear. A sense of being utterly safe and at home in the world permeates your whole being: A sense of security about life, yourself, all things, that might perhaps also be described as “being cozy” with life. Life fits you like a glove.

It is impossible to attain this sense of safety, of living in security and without fear, unless you first ascertain that there is fear in you. For that is not obvious or self-understood, as I explained before. The fear is often submerged, covered up or displaced onto substitute levels and manifestations. Once the deep existential fear is conscious, you can sense the longing for another state in which there is nothing to fear. That is not wishful thinking, not escaping, but the deep, most realistic, experiential knowledge that you are held by God, that you live in a Creation in which there is absolutely nothing to fear.

There is a vibrancy in this state of safety that bears no resemblance to a false faith. It is not superimposed in order to avoid facing the underlying fear. In this vibrancy there is a most realistic attitude toward all things in life. Through this sense of belonging in the world you experience true joyousness, a joyousness combined with the peace which surpasses all understanding, an excitement and fascination with life and its manifold possibilities of meaningful experiences.

Part of the safety and peace consists in a deep knowledge and perception of the meaning of life and experience. You sense a deep meaning in your own existence, from the largest issues to the most mundane and seemingly insignificant ones. The more you become aware of the fear of chaos and meaninglessness in you, the more this state of emotion can be replaced by an experience of meaning and significance. And the more this is the case, the greater your sense of security.

Shall we simply say that this signifies the experience of the presence of God in your life? Surely God has always been present, only you did not know it, your mind could not perceive the immediacy of Him and the meaning He is bringing into your events and experiences, into the sequences of your days and into what they contain. Now the experience of the reality of Christ colors all you see, touch, hear and feel. A glow of joy and peace is attached to your own being and to your surroundings. The joyous excitement, the peaceful fascination with living and with all that is created in a continuum of creation, is the most desirable state imaginable. Whether you know it or not, you want nothing more than this state.

I could try to describe this state with more words, but I find it difficult to do so. You need to listen with your innermost potential to understand in order to glean what I mean. People usually assume that these higher states of consciousness — whatever name they are given in different cultures and eras — are removed from this world and that having them means living in another world. This is far from being so. The true and genuine state of union with the Christ means being deeply anchored in the life of matter. It is far more correct to say that the higher spiritual states I attempted to describe here are brought into the world of matter, into the matter-mind and the matter-body, so that they are being penetrated by the great light of eternal life, peace and joy. The state of union is most certainly not a separation from the matter you are meant to imbue with the spirit to whatever extent you can.

In this state you begin to sense the unification of all opposites. You no longer need to battle them. So, for example, you know your own power to create, to resolve, to heal in full autonomy. Simultaneously you know the necessity to be in a state of divine grace without which you cannot accomplish anything. You feel the compatibility and union of these two ways of being, in fact, their interconnectedness and interdependence.

When the great longing is being fulfilled, connections are discovered that give life a most exciting and safe new face. All the fragmentation that is the result of being split off from God is mended, and this new wholeness increasingly permeates your person. Your own possibilities become a new playground for living. Knowing your infinite ability to bend with life, you can “snuggle in with it sweetly,” as it were. In this soft, yielding, life-accepting, life-affirming attitude, your own strength grows effectively, powerfully, and yet so softly. Conversely, your softness can manifest in strong assertion and determination. But what a subtle and yet distinct difference there is between the brittle, stubborn, rebellious strength that is nothing but concealed weakness and the real strength that comes from being true to God’s will!

Knowing that life is unending, ongoing, eternal and infinite does not necessarily mean that God reveals an exact blueprint to you of how you are going to feel, think, sense, experience and be when you leave your present body behind. The sense of your eternal existence, of the impossibility of ceasing to be, may come in a deep inner knowing, without sight or sound.

Thinking of your desires and surface longings, your emphasis in prayer may be on outer needs, such as health, emotional and vocational fulfillment, and so on. Even the fulfillment of your spiritual task cannot in itself fulfill the longing we are discussing here. All outer fulfillment can be, and often is, a direct byproduct of the great, deep, universal longing for the state of consciousness in which there is no fear, in which the realization of God’s immediate presence is in you, now and always.

This leads us to the second point: What should be your activity or attitude so you can attain this state? First, to repeat, you need to look at your feelings, moods and various mental states in a new light. You will, for instance, find that many moods or states you have interpreted to mean one thing have a yet deeper meaning in the light of the topic of this lecture. A restlessness, a discontent, a vague feeling of insecurity may all be rooted in psychological problems on levels you need indeed to explore and resolve. But in addition to these psychological origins and explanations there is the repressed great existential longing as well as the fear of non-existence and meaninglessness that result directly from the unfulfillment of the longing.

So it is essential that you now uncover a yet deeper level of your being that lies beyond the mask and the lower self, beyond the psychological and emotional problems, beyond the images and mental misconceptions. All of these are the result of the great existential longing and the fear that it can never be fulfilled. On your evolutionary path you need to trace your steps back through the outer mazes, level by level, as you have learned to do. Only then can the discovery of the fear and the longing be a real experience, rather than a theoretical understanding.

Once you experience the fear and the longing, do not push it away and assuage it busily with substitute problems, pains and fears. Have the courage to fully experience the pain of the fear and the longing. Do not wait for the deeply hidden fear and longing to manifest in outer experience that forces you to turn inward in this direction. Unfortunately, most human beings do not heed the signs even then. They may go on and on during a succession of incarnations carrying these manifestations with them as karmic ballast. But the point must come when the soul awakens to the meaning of these manifestations and experiences and uses them as pointing arrows, as red threads leading to the source.

You are in illusion when you shirk full experience of the pain of this fear and longing. When you fully savor the experience, you dissolve it, little by little. Yes, it is necessary to go through these approaches and experiences many, many times, again and again, with patience, perseverance and wisdom. The wisdom to comprehend that the highest, most desirable, most unified state of consciousness, the ultimate of all fulfillment that includes and encompasses and transcends all other desirable states and attainments, cannot come quickly, cheaply, easily. By this I mean that your total focus, commitment, devotion must be generated by your active mind and will. Your total goal in life must be to find the reality of the living God as immediate experience — not as theoretical speculation and a luxury of belief, but as living reality in your inner and outer life.

You may have started the pathwork merely because you were unhappy and vaguely or specifically unfulfilled. You may even have been consciously seeking the spiritual meaning of life. But none of you started out being aware of this longing, of the pain and fear of not being able to fulfill it because you were too afraid to consciously deal with it. Perhaps you are not quite ready even now, perhaps you still need more specific purification work on other levels of your outer personality. But you may begin to contemplate this aspect in you and pray for direct guidance.

There may have been short spans of time in your life in which you experienced temporarily a state of ultimate fulfillment in mind and being, similar to the one I described. If this is so, it will be helpful to recapture the experience and coordinate it with the meaning I am giving to it in this lecture. These short periods of elation, vibrant peace and security, excitement, fascination, profound joyousness, and intense aliveness can then serve as the vision you need to motivate yourself with more vigor. But even if you cannot ever remember such a state, or if you experienced only lesser aspects of it, some deep inner knowing in you is fully aware of this as yet unrealized potential. And you can tap this knowledge.

With some effort and focus, you can experience the fear and the longing. These feelings may perhaps at first be vague, but as you allow them to rise to the surface, you will know their exact meaning, as I have described it in this lecture. As you experience the fear of a fragmented, meaningless, disconnected world in which you exist without rhyme or reason, in which you can cease to exist at any time, in which you seem to hang isolated over an abyss without an all-loving Creator and Creative Principle that gives sense to all things, you will also discover that you intensely long for this all-loving Creator, for a world in which you and all that exists has a purpose and a benign meaning.

Do not push this fear and longing away any longer, neither by false reassurances, without first knowing the fear and longing, nor by the false cynicism of accepting a mean, godless world, nor by simply displacing the fear and longing into more superficial, even though in themselves quite legitimate fears and longings. Have the courage and commitment to go deeply through these most essential aspects of your being. Repeat it, feel the feelings of pain, fear and longing most specifically. Pray in the simplest and most humble way for Christ’s intervention to help you attain the state that religion often calls salvation. Be wise and humble enough to know that you may attain an inkling of this new state for a short while only to lose it again, so that your battle and search may be repeated again and again, never ceasing the inner effort, never relinquishing this new goal.

Doubt is, of course, part and parcel of the state of separation. Meet the doubt, as you meet the fear and the longing for not being in doubt and fear. But make it an honest doubt, in which you give the state you long for at least as much possibility as the state you fear exists. Question yourself: Could there be a state of doubt, fear, pain and unfulfilled longing, if there would not also exist, on some other level of consciousness, a state of total certainty, joy and utter fulfillment of all longing?

We are now dealing with the most central of all issues of human life that every single religion has taken up in its own way. Salvation is a very real concept, by no means a religious fanatic’s whim. The terminology may possibly offend you because you associate it with a religion you have outgrown. But this does not alter the fact that your soul cries for salvation in the sense of this lecture. As long as all of your soul and mind, your total thinking, knowing, feeling and being has not experienced the living, eternal God as immediate presence, your soul is, at least in part, in a state of painful separation and darkness, in the fear of not knowing the reality of God, not knowing the continuum of your own life, no matter what you believe consciously.

Ask Jesus Christ to give you a hand. He is there, always with you, always loving you. But you cannot always sense it, your state of separation still prevents you. So be patient and surge on with this greatest of all surges of the human soul. In your terms, this particular journey may seem long; all else you have done so far was preliminary work. But according to the great clock of eternal “time,” it is but a minute, a second.

It is your task to surge forward deeply into the world of matter, filling the void with divine life. In this process, particles of your consciousness have temporarily separated themselves and lost their knowing, eternal and inevitable connectedness with the All-Consciousness. You need to re-establish this connection by the process I now describe and put all your heart, soul, mind, and will into this undertaking, for this alone will make all else you do, all your tasks, your duties, your fulfillments, your pleasures, deeply meaningful and joyous. It will lend to all else a new glow, a glow you longed for, but did not know you missed, did not know you knew.

My most beloved friends, let us terminate this lecture now. You can surely imagine that this new topic is only the beginning of a new phase that most significantly coincides with many an outward change in your lives. This topic is the blueprint for the new phase of our work together, that never ceased, not even during the time I could not directly speak to you.

Your growth and progress, as individuals and as a group, is most joyous. It spreads a stronger and stronger light into your environment. You generate a new energy you need to nurture most carefully. For the stronger these energy currents are, the most infinite the inherent creative potential for divinely positive and joyous experience becomes. At the same time these currents can turn more destructive when channeled into inappropriate and negative directions. Therefore I suggest that your meditation and your prayer be concerned with specific guidance so that you may never be blind to your inner direction, so that these energy currents would flow where they are meant to flow.

I have one more suggestion before terminating this first lecture of the new working year: It would be most helpful and beneficial for you, my friends, if you became more familiar with the Bible. I am most eager and willing to help you understand this great document, to disentangle for you what belongs on which level. For this great book is a combination of fragments of historical accounts, of symbolic meanings, of the greatest truths, of distortions deriving from human limitation of consciousness, as well as from the then existing cultural conditions that were “right” at that time, but are no longer so today. I would like to lift up the jewels of truth contained in this book, separating the grains from the husks, so that you can appreciate and benefit from the timeless wisdom of these messages. So I suggest that you ply me with questions. You have a whole month to prepare, and I promise you that I will give you interpretations and answers that will be most useful and helpful for everyone. This will open a new horizon for you.

The love and the blessings I send you and that surround you always in your endeavors and your beautiful struggle will become more palpable reality for you as your vision grows. Be filled with the love of Christ, be in God!

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