Pathwork Lecture 229: Woman and Man in the New Age

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Pathwork Guide Lecture No. 229
1996 Edition
March 1, 1975

Greetings, my very beloved, dearest friends. Blessings for every one of you here. I have promised to give a lecture tonight about woman in the New Age. I do so with great pleasure. I shall speak of the evolution of consciousness as it relates to women and the man-woman relationship. One cannot discuss this topic without noting the evolving relationship between the sexes.

As the planet is maturing, so are men and women. What does this really mean? How have woman and man evolved and where are they going? What is the ultimate realization of womanhood — and of manhood? Woman is coming into her own in this phase of history; she is coming out of her confinement.

At the dawn of history, humanity was in a very primitive state of development. Distrust of anything other than the self was rampant. People distrusted nature, animals, the weather, the gods, fate, other tribes — anything that was or seemed different, strange, foreign. Distrust of the opposite sex was also very strong, of course. Man innately distrusted woman, and woman, man. Each seemed justified in his or her distrust because of the other’s distrustful attitude. Since man was physically stronger, and since physicality was the sole expression of early humans, man also assumed a general aura of superiority over all who were weaker.

The mutual distrust and man’s physical domination was very overtly acted out in these early periods of humanity. Since then the same traits and attitudes have remained embedded in the consciousness of woman and man, though to a lesser degree. Today they may be overshadowed by more realistic and mature awareness; they may not be acted out in the same way, but a dark corner in the psyche remains that needs to be exposed to consciousness and changed.

When you look back in history, you can see that the entire species did what so many individuals do: it retained an attitude long after it remained useful. Man retained his superiority long after physical prowess ceased to be the prime value. Other values that apply equally to both sexes emerged as development progressed. Yet men — and often women as well — persisted in considering man superior and woman inferior. In order to justify this assumption, woman was supposed to be intellectually and morally the weaker. But you all know about this.

To the degree man did not deal with his own feelings of inferiority and weakness, and wished to pretend that he did not have these feelings, he assumed a position of arrogance and superiority over those who were physically weaker. He needed slaves in order to convince himself of his own value. This applied to animals, to peoples whom he subjugated through warfare, and also to women. Woman later assumed a mental and emotional position of dependency, thus actively choosing enslavement, no matter how much she tried to put the blame exclusively on man.

By the same token, man feared those who were physically stronger than he. And the more he feared them, the greater his urge became to subjugate weaker people. This human trait in the unenlightened person, which you well know from your own inner processes, is compensation. It still exists in human consciousness. It is not something that woman is free of either. When you look very deeply into your own consciousness, you will find similar attitudes.

Why has woman been subjugated and denied her birthright of self-expression, of mental, emotional, and spiritual equality with man so long after physical prowess has ceased to be an individual’s main value? Woman could not simply be a victim of man’s egotistical desires to feel superior and stronger and to possess her as an object. The woman also plays a role here.

You, my friends on this path, no longer find it extremely difficult to ascertain where you do not want to assume self-responsibility, where you want to be taken care of by a stronger authority figure. Again, similar attitudes exist in man. However, in the old relationships between man and woman, the woman victimized herself by acting out a denial of self-responsibility; she acted out taking the line of least resistance so she could be taken care of. She wanted an authority figure to make decisions for her, take the blame for her mistakes, and battle with the hardships of life. She wanted to indulge in the pseudo-comfort of subjugation. This has turned out to be a disappointing, unfulfilling way of life for her. All misconceptions sooner or later turn out this way. But woman still abstains from taking her share of responsibility. She still puts all the blame on man.

The new women’s movement contains a great deal of truth, but it is, like all dualistic approaches, a half-truth. The truth is that woman indeed possesses the same faculties of intelligence, resourcefulness, creativity, psychic strength, and productive self-expression as man. To claim that she does not makes no sense at all and has become a game on the part of man, who does not want to face his own feelings of weakness and inferiority and who therefore needs to feel superior to woman.

By the same token, woman, in order to make the new women’s movement truly meaningful, must ascertain within herself the part that has invited her enslavement. I would venture to say that the stronger the rebellion and the blaming of the opposite sex, the stronger must also be, within the soul of that individual woman, the desire not to govern her own life, not to be responsible, but to lean on someone else. To the degree she makes unfair and unrealizable demands, she must resent and blame male authority and play the victim game.

Similarly, to the degree man does not face his fears, guilts, and weaknesses, he will play a power game in one form or another and then resent the woman for exploiting him and overburdening him. The immature soul of both wants the advantage without paying the price: man wants the superior position but resents the price of taking care of a parasite. Woman wants the advantage of being taken care of, of not standing on her own two feet, but resents the price of losing her autonomy. Both play the same game but hesitate to see how they mutually create this distortion.

On a still deeper level of consciousness, one finds the opposite of the manifest behavior. The man also shrinks from the responsibility of adulthood and envies the woman her socially sanctioned position. He compensates for this by overemphasizing the power game. The woman hides the part in her where she, too, wants aggression, power, strength — not only in the real, but also in the distorted sense. She envies man too. In earlier times, this side of her had to be totally repressed. It was as socially unacceptable as the man’s hidden wishes. Only recently has this part emerged, but it is still often confused with genuine selfhood.

Both men and women must find their way out of the confusion: how can man be equal to woman without being weak? How can woman have her emotional fulfillment and still be an autonomous adult? These are not real opposites but consequences of the dualistic confusion.

When movements, orientations, and philosophies deal not with the whole picture but with only half, it is impossible to right the balance. Although in the course of evolution the pendulum must swing from one extreme to its exact opposite, deeper insight into the unitive truth can help one to avoid excess.

You already know the opposing principles of dualism versus the unitive consciousness. In duality, man will feel superior and believe woman to be inferior. He will consequently exploit her but will also feel exploited by her. In such a relationship fulfillment is impossible. The woman will feel that she is being unfairly exploited by the physically stronger man and will blame him for victimizing her. Both will fail to see the other side, where they are indeed very similar and where they complement one another in a distorted way.

Both the feminine and the masculine principles must be represented in the healthy individual. They may not be expressed in exactly the same way in man as in woman, since the differences make a complementary whole. But the differences are not qualitative; they must never lead to a judgment that one is better or more developed than the other.

Let me paint a picture of the woman in the New Age and then see how this applies to the relationship between the sexes. The new woman is completely self-responsible and therefore free. She stands on her own two feet, not only materially, but also intellectually, mentally, and emotionally. By that I mean specifically that she knows that no man can give her happiness and flowing feelings unless she herself produces them through loving and through integrity, through opening her heart to loving and her mind to her own inner truth. The new woman knows that loving a man and surrendering to her feelings for the man enhances her strength. There is no conflict for the new-age woman between being a productive, creative, contributing member of society, and being a loving mate. In fact, real love is not possible for someone to whom one plays a slave in order to avoid self-responsibility. The old fairy tale that a woman’s career will make her less of a woman, less feelingful, less loving, less equipped to be a giving mate, has never had any substance.

This new state requires a strength and autonomy that has to be earned. It needs to be earned by shouldering the weight of reality, with all it entails, but not in a spirit of hate, rebellion, competition, defiance, not by imitating the worst excesses and distortions of manhood, the negative aggression and the power games. It has to be done through the power of truth and love, from the higher self. Whenever something real is denied because of the misconceptions that it is too difficult, those difficulties must first be accepted. They will then prove not so difficult at all. Self-responsibility seems difficult, but is not once the apparent hardships are accepted, because such acceptance amounts to an honest approach to life.

Where distortion still exists, woman still wants from the man what she refuses to give to herself. For the new-age woman this will not be the case. This does not mean that two people sharing their life do not also share, naturally, their difficulties. But I am not talking about this here. You know perfectly well from your pathwork that what you secretly wanted from a superior father authority you have shifted onto a mate. You also know how such an implicit desire is bound to destroy any relationship. It is bound to make you resent and fear the very authority you wish to exploit. Love can flower only in a climate of true equality, where no fear exists and therefore neither defenses nor blame. Contrary to the fairy tale that femininity blossoms when the woman is just a servant to the man, feelings can actually blossom only when the woman is free, autonomous, independent in the best sense of the word. So fulfillment is completely dependent on a true state of equality. The moment one feels superior to the other, one’s respect is lowered and the feelings close. The moment one feels inferior to the other, resentment, fear, envy become inescapable, and that, too, closes the heart.

The new woman is neither a slave to the man, nor is she his competitor. Therefore she can love, and her love will not lessen her creative self-expression but rather enhance it, just as her creative contribution to life will enhance her capacity to love. That is the new woman.

The man in the New Age will no longer need a weaker mate in order to deny his own weakness. He meets his own weakness, faces it and thereby gains his real strength. He realizes that his weakness always comes from guilt, and his self-rejection is always a denial of the integrity of his higher self in one form or another. Therefore the need for a slave no longer exists in him. The man is then not threatened by an equal. He does not require an inferior mate to convince himself of his acceptability, which, of course, is then anyway illusory. Once he faces his weakness he must gain his true strength. Therefore his relationship to the woman is truly one of equality; he is not threatened by someone who is as creative, as adequate, as morally strong, as intelligent as himself. He will not need to play the master. Again, this enables man to open his heart and to experience a fulfillment that was previously quite impossible.

Whatever vicious circles used to confine him will now turn into benign circles. Instead of inferiority feelings closing the heart, creating resentment, hate, and therefore frustration and blame of the other sex, the benign circle will open the heart. The fully autonomous, self-responsible, self-actualizing man and woman have nothing to fear, to envy, to resent in the other sex. Therefore they can open all the channels of feelings and experience fulfillment as well as a sense of gratitude toward the mate. Thus two equals help each other in their growth as individuals, as man and woman. This is the new-age man, the new-age woman and the new-age relationship.

Where this does not yet exist, the mere fact that you can point out the fallacies, misconceptions distorted expectations, illusory aims and negative feelings within you and can recognize your stake in maintaining an inner warfare, will give you an entirely different stand toward yourself and the other. So the new-age man and the new-age woman are not necessarily perfect and totally developed individuals. Rather, they are individuals who look for the reasons of their lack of fulfillment just as much in themselves as in the other. Thus they can recognize a negative mutuality that needs to be worked on together. They do not assume the stance of self-righteous blame to widen the gap between the self and the other, between the self and truth. Autonomy is an ever-growing process that dissolves distrust. The distrust that still exists between the sexes is a residue of ancient times, when anything foreign and different was feared, rejected, and conquered by force. In the New Age, differences will no longer induce fear. When the universe is trusted, difference always possesses a special attraction. When you do not fear difference but are attracted by it, you fully actualize yourself and dissolve blocks of untruth. Thus you realize your highest potentials. But when you fear and distrust the difference and deny whatever is different, you can use this as a gauge of your intent to remain in untruth and suffering.

In the present state of humanity’s consciousness you find all these stages of development. The highest form may already exist in your consciousness to some degree. You may consciously embrace some of the ideas. But then there are also deeper levels where your emotional reactions do not at all agree with the ideas you consciously hold. It does no good to postulate these conscious ideas without also seeing where and how you deviate from them. For that is the only way to safeguard against imbalance and disharmony within — and thus against creating it externally.

There is of course one key to everything and that key is love. Without love nothing could be mended, nothing could unify, no truth could ever be gained. And yet it is equally true that love cannot be won without truth. In a deep corner of your hearts, hate and fear, resentments and distrust of the opposite sex still prevail. Even more important, the will to maintain this state, the intention to perpetuate and hide these feelings, prevent the flowering of the hearts and minds of both sexes. To the degree that you still cling to the old state, you have not gained your own self and are not able to relate to the other sex and fulfill yourself. To attempt such relating and fulfillment while the old attitude remains unchanged is sheer waste; it is utterly futile.

So, I say to you, my dearest friends, find that corner in your heart, that small hidden crevice where you hate the opposite sex. You also defend yourself against recognizing this by blaming, accusing, resenting, and closing your heart and your feelings with apparent justification. The woman will use the victim game; the man will use the blame and superiority game. He will blame women for exploiting and using him, and will feel superior to that part in her that makes her weak.

Temporarily, the pendulum has swung to the opposite extreme. The woman has become militant, thereby often forgetting her heart and her love for the man and rejecting love. In the countermovement of the pendulum, man has left his positive aggression behind and has expressed a weakness he would never have let himself expose in previous eras.

All these pendulum swings have a purpose: to find the true centered state. Man will now find his real strength. He had to leave the false strength, the false superiority, behind. He had to become temporarily weak, but he is now coming into a new strength because he is able to face his weakness. That is how he expands the real values and the real power in him. Therefore he no longer needs to be the superior member of the team. He can afford to relate from the heart, on the feeling level, to his partner. He can likewise relate intellectually on a level of equality with her. That is the man of the New Age.

For relating, my dearest friends, you need to go into this deeper part of you where you do not want to forgive, to understand the truth, and where you want to preserve your case and go on hating. You need to release the hatred toward the opposite sex. You have to pray for this ability: to love, to forgive, to understand, and to see that what you hate, fear, and distrust exists in you in exactly the same way as in the other, though perhaps manifesting differently.

The woman represents the active principle just as much as the man. And the man represents the receptive principle as much as the woman. In their coming together in sexual union this may not always manifest in the same way, but the inner forces must combine both the active and receptive principles, otherwise imbalance exists. No true man can be a man without incorporating the receptive, or feminine, principle. If he expresses only the masculine principle, he becomes a caricature of a man. He is then a bully, a tyrant, an exaggeration, a falsehood. By the same token, a woman who expresses only the receptive principle is a caricature of a woman and is truly an infant who leans on others, who negates her autonomy. So to be fully receptive on the feeling level, woman has to express the active principle every bit as much as man.

The two principles must be represented in both and must complement one another, while they are, at times, also parallel. This perfect balance cannot occur through an intellectual decision. It can be found organically only through the inner act of love, the inner act of releasing the opposite sex from the bondage of hate, distrust, and blame. When this release is pronounced in daily meditation, when God’s grace can go to work within the consciousness of the woman as well as of the man, then love will lead to truth, just as truth will lead to love. Individuals of both sexes will function as equally productive human beings in the new universe, complementing and aiding one another, loving one another, respecting one another and creating bliss and a new world for each other side by side. This is the way life should be.

You may have noticed a pattern on this path, my friends, in which an individual must first resolve career problems in order to resolve partnership problems. In the context of this lecture this will become very clear. When relationships are formed to act out dependency, parasitism, exploitation of the other, and/or the need to dominate and enslave, then, for a while, these individuals have to fend for themselves until a certain minimal autonomy and independence is established. Once this creative channel is established, a new freedom can release previously trapped energies, and people can begin to relate to the opposite sex in an entirely new way.

I was very happy to give you this lecture, for everything that leads toward the further unfoldment of the whole person — both man and woman — is a joyful experience for us in our world. See the beauty of Christ that goes through all of you. Be in peace, be your God.

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

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