Problems and Difficulties

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From lecture 69, THE FOLLY OF WATCHING FOR RESULTS WHILE ON THE PATH; FULFILLMENT OR SUPPRESSION OF THE VALID DESIRE TO BE LOVED:

It is understandable that you often start on the path of self-recognition because you are tired of life’s problems and hope to free yourself of them in this way. However, are you quite honest with yourself when you expect major changes to bring you happiness from without simply because you have made some small efforts? Doesn’t it seem more realistic, and therefore more reliable, to start from the premise that major changes from without can only come after you have brought about major changes from within? To accomplish that, your efforts must be directly related to the change you wish. To determine the relationship of effort to desired change, you need maximum honesty with yourself. It is easy to deceive the self by shifting the emphasis of effort into another direction. For instance, some people put a great deal of effort into some work they may do for others. While this is good and commendable and is bound to bear fruit too, it has nothing to do with facing the self. It is also possible that someone may use a great deal of outer effort in order to camouflage his or her inner resistance. Only the inner will to face and change oneself determines the outcome. To know what your inner will strives for, or does not strive for, you have to go into deep meditation.

The idea that because you started to work on the path, your difficulties will cease is just as wrong as the idea that because you are on the path, added difficulties will come your way. Both errors are represented by schools of thought on your earth plane. Life in itself is a school. The curriculum of this school is made up of the outward-manifesting conditions of your inner life. This includes the positive and the negative conditions. It is sometimes more difficult to assimilate and constructively absorb the positive results of your inner life. The existence of the negative and erroneous side in you may prevent you from taking life fully at its best, as well as at its worst. The rhythmic change from positive to negative outer manifestation, and back again, alternating in cycles, applies to all human beings alike, whether or not they are on any kind of path, spiritual, psychological, or otherwise. As I said before, the only difference between these two types of people is that the person who searches in the right direction will learn to have a different approach to both the positive and the negative manifestations. Only thus will the searcher gradually master and control the self and also life. This control comes with gaining a deeper and more meaningful experience of life. The constant changes between “good” and “bad” will reveal meaning that will be missed by the person who lives ignorantly in this respect. Thus, in the measure that he or she progresses the searcher and worker on the path will experience the essence of life in a fuller dimension.

The person who faces what is inside thereby begins to understand life differently. But the person who does not will also learn from the experience that life offers. Awareness of the significance of this experience may not come until later, however it may come cumulatively, so to speak. For both types the ups and downs are equally necessary. They are part of the law of cause and effect that applies to all beings alike. Hence, any theories which proclaim that a little effort of spiritual and psychological work will either exempt you from life’s downs or bring you more difficulties than you would otherwise have are totally wrong.

When you gain clarity on this subject, you will no longer feel it an injustice that undeveloped, selfish people seem to have an easy life. You will understand that they are merely going through a period — which may happen to be an extended one this time — of favorable outer manifestation. Nor will you feel it an injustice that you, or others who are on the path, have to go through difficulties, or that “the path does not work” in spite of “one’s having tried so hard.”

No, my friends, you neither have more nor fewer difficulties because you are on the path now. The difficulties you now encounter are the fruits of what you sowed some time ago with tendencies that are still alive within yourself, whether you are fully conscious of their far-reaching significance or not. But, to the degree that you are conscious of their significance, the difficulties will be easier to tackle, will be handled more constructively, and will be strengthening instead of weakening.

I repeat, my friends, it is very necessary that you revise your views, conscious or unconscious, on this subject. Revise them according to truth, and not according to wishful thinking. You unconsciously claim a maximum of favorable change in return for a minimum of effort in facing yourself and in the willingness to change and give up obsolete, damaging tendencies and inner reactions. When you become aware of this unfair demand you extend to God, and change it, you will notice that the help God gives you in finding yourself always exceeds your efforts, once you really and unconditionally decide for it. But your efforts must be wholehearted and transcendent.

If the difficulties in your life come to a climax shortly after you started work on this path, this did not happen because you have just started. The problems would have come up anyway. Your psyche, which is far more knowing and far-seeing than your conscious mind, knew that this culminating point was bound to occur soon. The knowledge in your psyche led you to be on such a path at such a time, so as to be better equipped to deal with the culmination of your deviations that have finally manifested openly. You have chosen to search because the inner need pulled you in that direction and tried to convey to you, “Search now. Be on the path to find out what all this means, so that when the time comes you can use your knowledge most constructively, instead of being pulled deeper into despair.”

On the path of self-search one learns not only to deal better with difficulties, but also with happy times. The person who is still in darkness and ignorance about the facts of human existence and the significance of life can handle the good happenings no better than the adverse ones. Both need wisdom, maturity, and the spiritual knowledge that gives the true incentive for self-knowledge, so that your search can be conducted constructively.

From lecture 131, INTERACTION BETWEEN EXPRESSION AND IMPRESSION:

One of the most important aspects to look at is your struggle to resolve problems on false premises. The question slumbering within yourself — the question you unconsciously pose regarding a certain attitude toward life — is based on an utterly false premise. It is often a nonexistent problem in itself, or it exists in an entirely different way than you consciously, or unconsciously, consider. When you build defenses against a nonexistent problem, no matter how you struggle, no matter how you defend yourself, you must entangle yourself deeper into a web of confusion. This is the general difficulty confronting all humanity, even those who are already on a path of self-realization. For each one of you has yet to get disentangled from such predicaments: struggling and defending against false assumptions, nonexistent dangers.

You have already made such discoveries and some of you have already liberated yourselves from some of the false struggles. You have understood them to some extent, but I venture to say that every one of you here — and every one of you who reads these words — still struggles against a problem that does not exist.

Let us take a very simple common example so as to make it easier for you to follow me. Every one of you is constantly afraid, in one way or another, of being inadequate, of being rejected, of being looked down upon or not taken seriously. Whether or not you consciously consider this as a problem in you, you battle against it, trying in your own way to solve it. Trying to solve a problem that does not exist must create real problems. The predicament against which you battle is a nonsensical idea, for others are not out to reject or diminish you, as you often emotionally perceive. Whether or not you are aware of it at this moment, nine-tenths of your attitudes to life — to yourself and to others — are a struggle against this false premise. To defend yourself against this dreaded happening, you build an elaborate structure.

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Thanks:

To my teacher Marieke Mars who taught me self-honesty. To my courageous and loving pathwork helper Dottie Titus.

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