Pathwork Guide Lecture No. 254
October 18, 1978
My beloved friends, the light of the Eternal One streams as a great blessing to all of you, and to all your endeavors that are sanctified by your commitment to serve God and His magnificent evolutionary plan.
The hand of God can be recognized in many earthly manifestations. His presence can be keenly felt and so can His absence when you block it out. One of the earthly manifestations in which the divine creativity of the Eternal Spirit can always be seen is nature. You cannot help but marvel at the wisdom and foresight manifest in the smallest details designed to protect, sustain and maintain each species. The abundance, the beauty and the richness that all created entities manifest proclaim clearly and eloquently that only the greatest of all imaginable minds could have devised the many systems that maintain life on earth.
It also has become clear to many human beings that the balance of nature is being disturbed through humanity’s thoughtlessness or greed. The recent growth of awareness in this area is most important. But there is also an aspect of nature that seems contradictory to divine love, an aspect that seems cruel. Nature’s destructive forces, the storms, the floods and the earthquakes do exist, but seen from another angle, they are only the necessary crises every entity must go through to reestablish inner harmony with divine law.
Other manifestations of nature’s cruelty fall into a different category. For example, one species may depend on another to maintain its very life, surviving at the expense of the other, hence predators and victims. Although the victims are always equipped with specific defenses so that the individual animal can have what you may call a sporting chance, on a grand scale one species serves to sustain the other. These conditions contribute to maintaining an overall balance in nature. Yet one animal killing another for its nourishment appears cruel and seems to deny God’s presence. It is also true that animals can never indulge in the useless cruelty and destructiveness which human beings are capable of. It is precisely humanity’s more evolved consciousness that can always choose to channel human action into the direction of good or evil. Yet it does seem, and in a sense is, tragic that an animal needs to endure panic and pain in order to serve the total life process.
I want you now to understand that this manifestation in nature reflects precisely humanity’s overall state of consciousness which is dualistic, being a combination of good and evil. Humanity’s beliefs are always characterized by this polarity. Since the totality of human beliefs creates your environment, the earth sphere reflects this polarity exactly. Its presence can be observed in the most remote manifestations which on the surface appear to have nothing whatever to do with humanity’s state of consciousness. While these manifestations appear to be given as facts created independently of human beliefs, attitudes, feelings and intentions, in reality this is never so. Every sphere, realm or world, from the lowest to the highest, is always a total reflection of the overall state of consciousness of the beings who have congregated in that sphere. It has often been said that heaven and hell are nothing but states of consciousness. This is true in one sense. However, the same people who make this statement often overlook that states of consciousness create even the physical conditions within and around them.
If this world reflects the combination of both extremes creating this polarity, there must also exist other worlds in which one side so outweighs the other that the polarity disappears. Spheres of evil or of hell would therefore manifest only pain, fear and suffering and no beauty at all, while spheres of good would not have any pain, fear and suffering. Imagine a world in which the tiger and the deer lovingly befriend each other! In that world no animal needs the life of another to sustain its own life.
Art sometimes reflects this blissful world because the soul deeply knows it and longs to return to it. Thus painters, musicians, poets and dancers reveal a small measure of this complete world of bliss in which nothing ever dies or wilts, in which life gloriously finds forever new expressions without any break in consciousness to blot out life’s continuity. Those of you who are ready for or are closer to this state of consciousness will experience such artistic expressions, or the beautiful expression of nature, as intensely healing and soothing, as encouraging and incredibly desirable. But to those who are still deeply submerged in darkness, such divine reminders and expressions are as painful as they are nourishing for the more enlightened spirits. This is why there is no light — no truth, no love, no divine reminder — in the spheres of hell. It cannot be borne. The entities there need to grow gradually into more evolved states until the light of these states can become a means to make further growth possible.
I want to remind you once again that you inhabit an in-between sphere, in which one side of the polarity does not exclude the other, and this reflects exactly your own state of mind. Perhaps you can best understand the state of those who cannot bear the light when you think back to a time when you were experiencing the fullness of love, light, and bliss and yet your thoughts were drifting to certain discomforts you might occasionally experience. Negativities, dissension and destruction still give you at times a certain negative pleasure and excitement. For beings in the lowest, darkest states of consciousness, or worlds, all light is unbearably painful.
Now, why am I telling you this at this time? The emphasis of your next work is clearly on overcoming and transcending duality, after first thoroughly understanding it. You must therefore recognize that your present sphere of life and consciousness can only be a combination of what also exists in other combinations and in different distributions on the total spectrum of consciousness. And if such variables exist at all, which is reasonable to assume, then spheres of consciousness must also exist in which there is no duality — either in the positive or in the negative sense.
When consciousness first meets the void, the darkness is so great that a negative unity comes about temporarily. Only as consciousness gradually expands does the other positive polarity appear on the horizon and creates duality. In that phase, duality is already a forward movement in the evolutionary plan. Only when consciousness reaches its full potential does the unity become totally positive. In that completed state there is no longer any pain, strain, or death, be it ever so temporary. There is no conflict any longer.
It is my task now to open to you more and more approaches to comprehend and overcome duality so you can see the pitfalls and mental difficulties that assail the human mind in its present state. Duality always spells conflict and strain. In the last lecture I expounded on one very specific aspect of this strain. Now I shall broach another topic that is extremely important for all of you. When fully grasped, it will aid you further in overcoming another aspect of the ever present, painful polarity against which you constantly battle.
You often use the word “surrender.” You sense that this word contains an important aspect of spiritual fulfillment. Yet there is also a great deal of confusion attached to this word which needs to be explored. Human beings who are incapable of surrendering cannot find their core, or their divine nature, cannot love, and cannot truly learn and grow. They are very stiff, defended and closed. Yet the ability to surrender is an essential inner movement from which all good can flow.
You need to surrender to the will of God; otherwise you will always remain attached to your very shortsighted self-will, which brings you pain and confusion. Surrender means a letting go of the ego, of cherished ideas, goals, desires, and opinions — all for the sake of truth. For God is truth.
You also need to surrender to your own feelings. If you do not, you will always impoverish yourself and shut out your feeling nature. You will become an automaton.
You need to surrender to those whom you love. This means trusting, giving them the benefit of the doubt, being willing to yield, as long as this serves the cause of truth.
You surely need to surrender to a teacher in any field you wish to learn. If basic surrender is lacking, no matter how much the teacher is capable and willing to give you, you can receive very little, if anything. This applies also to a spiritual teacher. If you constantly withhold your trust and maintain reservations, you do not allow a most important dynamic to develop. You may assume that you can absorb mental knowledge from a teacher from whom you inwardly keep aloof, and this is true to a degree. But in true learning much more is involved than outer mental processes. You have an inner, emotional, spiritual, and involuntary level that needs to learn also. On this level nothing can be absorbed unless you surrender to the teacher. This rule applies to the most mundane things you wish to learn. A process learned merely as a mental deduction is not truly absorbed. It has to become an inner reality before it can become your own. How much more does this hold true for spiritual growth!
Your refusal to surrender has to do with lack of trust, with suspicion, fear, and with the misunderstanding that if you surrender you will lose your autonomy and your ability to make future decisions. The refusal to surrender creates an overdeveloped self-will which takes its toll on the personality. The person who refuses to surrender becomes truly impoverished. Surrender is such a movement of fullness, of giving over, of letting go, that enrichment must follow it according to natural law. Overdeveloped self-will always brings strife. You can see in your world how two self-wills clashing create war on a small or a big scale. To make peace possible, whether between individuals or countries, there has to be a yielding.
Yet we cannot just state that surrender is the key. It is never as simple as that. Should you surrender to a person who is truly untrustworthy? Should you give in when the situation requires a fighting spirit to stay in truth? The need to stand up and fight for a good cause, to defend a right position, to assert justified claims, is indispensable in any productive, healthy life. The need to discriminate when to trust and when not is also indispensable. “And how am I to know?” you often ask yourself.
A very great confusion arises right here. There are few issues in human life about which there is as much misunderstanding and displacement as about false surrender and false assertion. How do you become more aware of this very important aspect of living? How can you avoid capitulation and resignation under the guise of surrender? How can you avoid a false, stiff holding on when surrender would be appropriate? Let me show you a few important keys which will eventually enable you to find this fine balance.
For a dependent ego that denies self-responsibility it is quite impossible to surrender. In such a case, surrender becomes a giving away of autonomy. This is why those who are secretly and often unconsciously most dependent, those who crave most for a perfect authority to take over, are also the most defended against all yielding. They vaguely sense that the giving away of self can only occur when the self is strong and healthy; then the self will grow even stronger and healthier through the very act of giving itself away. So, my friends, when you find in yourself or in others an inability to surrender, to trust, to give over, to yield, look for the undercurrent of dependency and the denial of genuine self-responsibility. The greater the rebellion, and the greater the show of “I must protect my autonomy, so I will never be told what to do,” the more desperate is the inner wish not to govern one’s own life, not to be made responsible for one’s decisions and their outcome.
When you choose a mate, a friend, a teacher, or someone with whom trust and at least some degree of surrender is necessary, how often are you blinded by wishful thinking, by your self-will which demands that the other person be a certain way in order to accommodate some of your distorted desires and aims? Since a part of you knows this, your distrust is to a certain degree justified, even if the other person happens to deserve the trust in realistic terms. In order to trust and give over, you need to be free to a considerable degree of unrealistic expectations. Your gaze has to be clear and undistorted by childish or destructive motivations. When this is the case, your intuition will function; your observations will be clear and reliable; your channel will come through. You will know that the person you trust does not need ultimate perfection in order to warrant your trust. You will simply be able to yield where this is necessary.
Surrender never means that you give away your ability to discriminate and to make independent decisions forever. It may perhaps indicate a change of course if that is appropriate. For life is in constant flux. Everything and everyone changes, and there is no fixed guarantee that what is right today will be so tomorrow. The greater your ability to surrender in the right way, the stronger you find yourself becoming, and the clearer your visions are.
At present, many of you find yourselves in an interim stage where the self is not yet complete and whole enough and your vision is not objective enough for you to truly let go into the inner yielding attitude without which it is quite impossible to become a whole person. Therefore you need to attempt, very consciously, to further self-responsibility in every possible way — overtly and subtly, on the inner and outer levels. At the same time, you need to pray consciously and deliberately to be able to trust those who deserve your trust, to follow their leadership, and to surrender your self-will. This surrender of self-will is always an act toward God. His will alone must replace your self-will, but sometimes His will can function only through others before it can manifest directly through you. It is God’s will that you also surrender to the spiritual leadership he has guided you to. It is God’s will for you to surrender to some of the most beautiful involuntary processes within yourself — your love feelings, for instance, and your deepest intuitions. It is God’s will that you become capable of yielding as well as that you become capable of fighting and standing firm. As you grow in autonomy and self-creation, you will sense very clearly that there is no contradiction or duality between surrendering and standing firm. In fact, it will be clear to you that one presupposes the other and is not possible without the other.
Your human struggle is tragic. You long so deeply for a fulfillment that is indeed possible and not as unrealistic as you sometimes suspect. Yet you make the fulfillment of this longing impossible by blocking your soul’s natural inclination toward surrender. All truly good things can come only when you surrender to the greater forces of the universe, both within and without, whether it be to the Creator, to another human being, or to being a follower.
Yet you also need to fight for these fulfillments by relinquishing your passivity, your irresponsibility in wanting an ideal authority to do it all for you. You need active, positive aggression to never allow the dark forces within you to conquer you, or make you believe that all is futile, or convince you to give in to their whisperings of hopelessness and false surrender. Here you must stand firm and realize the power embedded in your thought processes, in your inner will, in your ability to choose faith over fear, courage over cowardice. For what requires more courage than believing in God’s truth and your power to live and demonstrate it?
There is a finely calibrated balance between the active movement of the personality — whether in action, thought, or attitude — and genuine surrender. Genuine surrender never weakens the personality. It makes the positive ego healthier and stronger. It enables you to be more autonomous and active. Genuine positive activity and self-affirmation renders you sufficiently strong and resilient so you can dare to let go of self, to give over, and to allow yourself to flow with a new movement stemming from sources as yet unknown. These forces, as I mentioned before, may come from within you; they may ask you to risk following a teacher or loving a mate. This never means closing your eyes to reality. Quite the contrary; you should always open all your faculties and observe objectively, without personal motivation. Check whether you may want to see the other person as more perfect because you still wish to abdicate self-responsibility, or whether you want to be always armored against any kind of yielding, following, or surrender and want to justify it. You may wish to see the other person as worse for the same reason. Then you can say, “No one should be trusted. I must always be on guard.”
You all have surrendered in some areas of your lives, otherwise you would not know the fulfillment and positive states you now enjoy. The growth you have experienced on this path is in part due to having allowed yourself to trust this process, your helper, your leaders, me. All of this has helped you to open up a little further and to give your trust to God. This trust may not yet encompass all areas of your being. But to whatever degree trust does exist, you are liberated, free, strong, and self-confident. So what I am saying here sounds indeed like a great paradox: only when you give yourself over can you find your real strength and autonomy.
It is equally correct to state that all of you still withhold a part of yourselves from this movement of completely giving over. There always remains a little corner of your soul which you hold in reserve, protecting it from the beautiful movement of merging with the all. The more you hold in reserve, the greater the problems will be, the more fear, pain, and conflict must exist in your life. The irony is that you believe exactly the opposite. You believe that you are safe only when you hold yourself separate, suspicious, and stiff. The truth is that by total surrender to God you not only find true safety and security; you also become capable of surrendering to others if and when this is appropriate in your life. Only when you totally surrender to God is your channel clear enough to recognize truth from falsehood, to see who should and who should not be trusted and followed. Then you can shed your selfhood in safety, as your soul demands, without the danger of losing yourself. Or perhaps I can state it differently: only when you can lose yourself can you find a more complete and real you.
The ability to give yourself over, to lose yourself, is tantamount to being a healthy and whole person. First, you should mentally fully comprehend the importance of surrender so that you will be motivated to set the further process in motion. Next, you need to make the decision on the voluntary level. It is not difficult to see how you, quite consciously and deliberately, deny this movement. The conscious decision, to deliberately let go of self and give over, will at first seem frightening, but after you have summoned up the courage to do it again and again, you will discover the great safety and security that arises from it.
Then you will have to deal with your involuntary levels that hold you back from surrendering. You may first recognize the existence of this reluctant aspect of yourself only indirectly, by manifestations rather than by direct awareness. You will need the usual honesty and stamina to explore some of the less pleasant manifestations before you can recognize your hard inner nucleus that withholds and denies. This involuntary part needs to be approached somewhat differently than the conscious part. The conscious part can respond directly to your will direction, but the involuntary, hidden part does not. What you need to do is ask the Christ within to make this change possible. Pray for that part of yourself that does not directly respond to your positive intentionality and your goodwill. Be fervent on the conscious level in your desire to unify all of you in your desire for a total giving over to the Creator. You also need to cultivate the ability to yield to other human beings. But realize that this involuntary part of you will at first lag behind, as it were. It cannot immediately respond and often stubbornly holds on despite your conscious power to effect any change. Make room for a process within the greater process, in which a hidden corner of your soul catches up with the rest of you.
You have no idea how strong your own spirit is. You constantly underestimate and believe yourself to be much weaker and much more ineffectual than you actually are. Since you must experience according to your belief, it is difficult to find out how strong you really are. You can create anything, for you have all divine creative forces at your disposal. And of course you do exactly that. Some of your creations are undesirable, springing from negative beliefs and distorted notions. If you could only see the immense power that dwells in your thoughts, your beliefs, your attitudes, and your desires!
The power of your own living spirit still needs to be discovered. There is a block to this discovery. You often wallow in the notion that you are helpless and beaten by adversity. Even the popular belief in God can contribute to the notion that you are helpless. Again it is not contradictory to say that all the power is with God. He is the source of everything. Yet this by no means excludes your own potential to unite with this divine power and allow it to flow through you. You are capable to become receptive to it and become an active agent of this greater power. You have the inborn ability to be a relay station of creative forces, if only you knew this and used it wisely.
The block exists on the one hand because the limited mind’s self-will is often contradictory to divine will and law. Insistently holding on to your self-will, you become less powerful, because your creative forces are paralyzed. There is, on the other hand, a part of you that does not wish to be a fully grown, self-creating entity. It wishes to be given to and avoid the responsibility for your life-creation. This immature part weakens you in a different way. Neither of these weaknesses are inherent. They are unnecessary artificial constructions due to a false attitude and ignorance. Once you awaken to your inherent potential to create, to change, and to affect your own soul substance, as well as people and your surroundings, you will know who you really are.
This new awareness unifies — among many others — the specific dualities I have discussed in this lecture: surrendering and standing firm, yielding and self-assertion, giving in and fighting for the good cause of truth.
As you grope for the fine line of when and how to express both sides, you will find that they are not mutually exclusive alternatives. It is true that both attitudes are necessary ingredients of life, but it is equally true that the ability to fully give over strengthens you to fight for and in truth. Conversely, the courage to fight objectively for truth and to disregard self-interest and hidden agendas will give you sufficient strength to risk letting go and shedding your ego-self. You will create a harmonious automatic response that will be adequate and right for each situation. But it requires a great deal of deliberate awareness and groping while you grow into this state, until your responses can readjust themselves to the way they were originally and naturally meant to function.
Surrender amounts to a certain kind of inner, involuntary relaxation. The involuntary process comes about gradually as a result of much voluntary work on the outer level, yet it seems to just happen. A phenomenon some of you may know may serve as a helpful illustration. When people go through extreme states of pain, there comes a point when the pain is no longer bearable. At that point the fight against pain is given up on the involuntary level, and total surrender to the pain, transcending the conscious, volitional mind and will, takes over. In that moment all pain ceases and transforms into ecstasy. This phenomenon is known to the devilish practitioners who torture human beings for political and other power reasons. When they see this transformation happen, they stop their torture, allowing their victims to regain once more a state in which they again begin to resist surrender. My point here is to show you how everything including pain can be transcended if the concept of surrender is properly understood and incorporated into the soul.
Take in these thoughts and give them space and scope in your mind, my beloved friends. This will start a new process that will enrich your personality with new ways of self-expression. There will be room for firmness, for standing in self-affirmation, and for the ability to surrender whenever and wherever this is an appropriate and fruitful attitude. Surrender to God is always appropriate and fruitful. Surrender of all of yourself and your feelings to a leader, a teacher, a helper, a mate, and to certain conditions is often a necessary movement without which you cannot complete yourself.
My dearest, most beloved friends, you are all so blessed, so richly held in God’s hands. Know the strength of your spirit that becomes manifest when you know your connection with the ultimate source of all.
To my teacher Marieke Mars who taught me self-honesty. To my courageous and loving pathwork helper Dottie Titus.