Key Extracts from Lecture 38
© The Pathwork® Foundation 1999
My dear friends, it is important to realize that every personality in the course of a lifetime, usually even in earliest childhood, often even in infancy, forms certain impressions – impressions due to environmental factors and influences or to sudden unexpected experiences. These impressions or attitudes are usually conclusions formed by the personality. Most of the time they are wrong conclusions. One sees and experiences something unfortunate, one of the unavoidable hardships of life, and the person then generalizes on account of these happenings, thus forming certain preconceived ideas. The conclusions that may at times be formed even in infancy are not thought out; they are more what might be called emotional reactions; general attitudes concerning life in one or several respects. They are not completely bare of a certain kind of logic, logic of its own very limited and erroneous kind. And as the years go by, these conclusions and attitudes sink more and more into the unconscious. Nevertheless, they are molding to some extent the life of the person in question. We call each such conclusion an image since we spirits see the whole thought process as a spiritual form – or an image. You might say a person can also have a positive, healthy image engraved in his soul. That is true only in some measure because where no wrong image has been produced, all thoughts and feelings are fluctuating, dynamic, and relaxed. They are flexible. You know that the whole universe is penetrated by a number of divine forces, currents, and influxes. Thoughts, feelings, and attitudes that are unconnected with an image flow harmoniously with these divine forces and currents, adapting themselves spontaneously to the immediate need, subject to change according to current necessities. But the thought and feeling forms emanating from wrong images are static and congested. They do not ‘give’ in accordance with different circumstances. Thus they create disorder. The pure currents flowing through a human soul become disturbed and distorted. I might say then that a short circuit is established. This is the way we see it. The way you see and feel it is through unhappiness, anxiety, and puzzlement over many apparently inexplainable things in your life. For instance, the fact that you cannot change what you wish to change or that certain happenings in your life seem to repeat regularly without an obvious reason for it are just two examples. There are many more.
An image always forms a pattern in one way or another – a pattern of behavior, or reaction on certain occasions, and also of outer happenings that seem to come to the person without his doing anything to call it forth. In fact, consciously the person may fervently wish something that is the very opposite of the image. But this conscious desire is the weaker of the two since the unconscious is always stronger… Outer events can be drawn to a person like a magnet; on account of such inner images: certain people one encounters in life, certain happenings, and so on and so forth.
…these images have seldom been started in this life, no matter how early they were formed. Most of the time, an image is of old standing and carried over from one lifetime to another… In one lecture, I gave an explanation of how an entity is prepared for life on earth; how plans are made according to previous existences and according to what should be accomplished and overcome in the next incarnation; how the subtle bodies are prepared according to these considerations so that the conflicts are arranged in such a way as to bring the problems to the surface. For that purpose, families and other life circumstances are chosen. When an image exists from previous lives, the incarnation takes place in an environment where provocations to the existing images are bound to occur, perhaps due to similar corresponding images in the parents or others around the growing child. Only in that way will the image bring out the problem. And only if it becomes a problem will the person pay attention to it instead of looking away from it. If the latter occurs, circumstances will be much more difficult in the following life on earth until the conflicts become so overwhelming that no outside factors can be blamed any longer. This is the time when the person begins to turn upward and inward. As I said, the only solution is to make these images conscious. I can give you certain advice and hints on how to begin, but you will not be able to execute it completely by yourself. You will need help. But if you are serious in your desire to find and dissolve the images that are in your soul (for your life is not without problems), then pray to God, and He will give you further guidance and help and lead you to the proper person with whom you can form a cooperation and work in that direction. To do that needs, among other things, humility. And we all know that humility is a very important asset for your spiritual development. He who is constantly reluctant to work with another person must lack humility even if it is only in this one respect.
The way to start searching for the image is by thinking back in your life and finding all the problems. Write them down. Include problems of all sorts. You cannot do it unless you take the trouble to put it down black on white, concisely. For if you merely think about it, you will not have the overall view necessary for comparison. This written work is essential… Do not put an occurrence aside superficially, designating it as being unconnected with your personal image merely because it appears that way at first sight. It is very possible, and even probable, that there are no such happenings in your life. All unpleasant experiences are probably due to your image and connected with it at least in some remote way. The common denominator may not be easy to find. Only after you have thoughtfully grasped your image will you be in a position to judge which of your experiences, if any, have something to do with it. Until then, you must keep all happenings in reserve, so to speak. In meditation, in serious self probing, in checking your emotional reactions in the past and present, and with the help of prayer, you will find, after a long and arduous search, what the common denominator is.
But the common denominator by itself is not yet the key to the image. It is a strong directive, but by no means does it open the door that will make you fully understand your whole life. In order to get to the image itself, to all the devious ways in which it was formed, and to the understanding of the processes of your reaction when you formed it, you will have to explore your subconscious more thoroughly. There are various ways and methods in which this can be done. You cannot do it by yourself. That is impossible. But if you make the beginning as I have suggested here and then pray for guidance, being ready to overcome your pride so that you can be open with another person who will be chosen by the spirit world to help you, then God will guide you and lead you to further victory.
…you can be quite sure that the images you do not dissolve in this life will have to be dissolved in a future one. This should not be taken as a threat, my friends. It is just a logical consequence. And how can anything be a threat that is supposed to liberate you from your own chains?... Actually, it may be a very good exercise for meditation to think about what your next karma may be. You are always extremely concerned with your previous incarnations. It might be even more beneficial to be concerned with your next one.
Do not forget an aspect of the law of cause and effect or the law of karma whereby every entity is always given the chance to solve his problems, conflicts, and disharmonies in the easiest circumstances possible. When not enough courage and will power is mustered in these circumstances, the life that follows must of necessity be a little more difficult. And if again the courage, humility, and will-power are not mustered, the life afterward will be more difficult still. When the time comes that the going gets really hard, you cannot help but face it instead of fleeing from it. So, by law, the increasingly difficult lives arrange themselves.
It is a long, drawn-out process. And even after you have understood it, the re-education of emotional currents and reactions that have long been conditioned in one direction takes time, effort, and patience. So as this one school of thought says, patience and humility are absolutely necessary… You must be in a relaxed state of mind, and such a state of mind can be yours only if you understand and accept the length of the search. And, also, if you accept your inability to become perfect quickly, thus you are accepting temporary unhappiness humbly. There is a vast difference in accepting unhappiness resignedly, without understanding why, and the course I have shown you here… Purification cannot come cheaply, and it would indeed be cheap if merely a list of faults and attempts to overcome them were all that comprise it. Purification is more than that. You cannot purify or become purified unless you understand and control your own subconscious. And that must be a long journey. However, you will receive the help if you are willing to do it. And you should understand that you are doing it for God and for yourself. What God wants for you must be your own best interest, so you are not really making a sacrifice to God since God and the true you are one!
…if there are limitations where you have a talent and cannot make sufficient use of it or you run against a wall with that talent, then it certainly has something to do with your image.