P1 Nothing helps so much in the entire world, as every little step towards the further self-awareness of each individual. Nothing else will eliminate strife. Primitive man, during his first few incarnations, is still near to this state of being without awareness. He lives unto the day, tending to his immediate needs. As yet the mind is not developed and therefore not equipped to ask questions, to doubt, to think, to discriminate. He lives in the now, but without awareness. In order to live in the now in awareness, various stages have to be gone through.
P2 In other words, he first uses the mind concretely. But later, he begins to use it abstractly. He begins to ask the important questions that have preoccupied mankind ever since the beginning of time. Man begins to perceive nature, her laws. And he begins to wonder. This first wonderment represents the first conscious steps towards relating to the Creator. But simultaneously, man’s spiritual and emotional immaturity producing fear and many other problematic emotions, colors this concept of a superior Creator. Since he cannot yet separate power from cruelty, he begins to fear this God of his own projection.
Thus he begins to appease, to cajole, to submit to, and become subdued by, this imaginary God-image. When this goes on and on, man comes to a point, after his original genuine experience and perception turns to a superstition, that makes a farce out of God; when he can no longer continue in this trend, his intelligence, which has grown in the meantime, will prevent him from going on in this way indefinitely. And a counter-reaction sets in. And then, man often turns to the other extreme and becomes an atheist.
P3 In this second stage of atheism, man learns to assume self-responsibility. But when a certain point is passed in this stage, it is no longer possible to maintain the concept of atheism. The more any thought, concept, scientific fact, or philosophy is carried to its logical end and conclusion, the less is it possible to maintain an untruth or half-truth. He does not fear his imperfection and does not fear God’s punishing him for it. He can see it without becoming frantic. Yet understanding its harm, but not fearing it, he will then see that not the imperfection itself is so harmful, but the lack of awareness of it; the fear of being punished for it; the pride of wanting to be above it.
P4 If you are unwilling to live through, and be in your present confusions, errors, and pains, facing and understanding them, you cannot ever be in God. The mind is habit-forming. Habit is an intrinsic quality of the mind. Experience out of being never forms habits. It is only the mind that does it. The memory, combined with the tendency to form habits, is the danger of the mind in regard to true spiritual experience.
The more flexible you are, the less will you fall into the trap of set habit patterns; of clinging to old concepts and ideas that once gave you an experience and which you wish to recreate by holding onto it. Again, I wish to emphasize that whenever you discover such erroneous ways in yourself, beware of feeling guilty, of being frantic, of feeling “I should not.” This attitude is the greatest barrier, the very greatest of all!
P5 Man fears pain and suffering mainly because he believes he has nothing to do with it; that it can come without his being responsible for it. In other words, it is either unjust, or chaotic coincidence. But once he realizes that every pain he experiences is due to his own evasion of truth and reality; once he not only understands this as a principle, but actually connects the links, he will no longer fear it. He will see the key, long before he can even begin to use it.
If you observe this chain of events within, abstaining from perfectionism, moralizing, and justifying, the pain instantly recedes, although the outer situation may remain the same. But your conscious or unconscious expectation that life should be perfect, causes you to rebel, to resist, to erect barriers which cause more imperfection and suffering than life would otherwise contain. If man’s attitude toward suffering were not as distorted as it usually is, he would find that the problems he has to solve in conquering mind and matter are beautiful.
P7 His prayer is the action of self-awareness and of looking at himself in truth. His prayer is his sincere intent to face what may be most unpleasant. It is prayer because it contains the attitude that truth for the sake of truth is the threshold to love. Without truth and without love, there can be no God-experience.
But love can grow out of facing a truth, no matter how imperfect it is. This attitude IS prayer. Candor with oneself IS prayer; alertness to one’s resistance is prayer; owning up to something that one has hidden from in shame is prayer. When this proceeds, the state of being gradually comes into existence, little by little, with interruptions.
P8 The best prayer in the world, is the renewed constant intent to face yourself without any reservation; to remove all pretenses between your conscious mind and that which is in you; and then, to remove the pretense between what is in you, and others. Temporary suffering, parting, and death is, in reality, not what it means to you.
QUESTION: It is not his death that is so painful, but the leaving of small children, and so many things undone, brilliance and talent. ANSWER: Actually, what you think is inevitably lost because not concluded in this life, is not so. No one goes from this earth sphere if it is not right and good, unless he takes his own life. Nothing happens in the entire universe, that is meaningless, that cannot be productive. There is no waste. The waste exists only temporarily when you do not make the best of your life while you have it. But leaving earth life, as such, is never wasteful, regardless of how young a person is who leaves his body.
P9 The progress of the various groups depends primarily on the individual’s participation and willingness to penetrate the surface defenses; on his willingness to let go of resistance; on his willingness to see the truth within; on his willingness to dispense with justification, moralizing, rationalizing, intellectualizing.
P10 The world cannot be changed unless a sufficient number of people are doing just what you are doing. But every single human being helps toward that end. When we are angered or disturbed by the perversity, selfishness or cynicism of others, or disturbed by corruption in high places, is this a fault? What should be our attitude towards social problems? If you consider your question, you will discover the emotional dependency and moralizing character underlying it. Moralizing with yourself (what should be our attitude? Is it a fault?), and moralizing with others.
As I often say, you cannot find any true answer as long as the underlying attitude is thus colored. The productive approach would be, after discovering and removing the self-moralizing attitude, to ask yourself, “is my anger truly an objective one? Or am I involved?” You will then perceive the difference between objective and subjective anger. Whenever you feel frustrated and the anger personally hurts, it always hides something that you have not faced in yourself. This lack of peace, this disturbance, is always a sign of subjective anger, which is a sign of not being aware of what is really going on in you.
As long as man does not face his own injustice, greed, selfishness, onesidedness, pride, fears, all on a deeply hidden psychological level, these same attitudes are bound to continue in the world, regardless of what social reforms are instituted. If you truly want to contribute to the good of general conditions, apart from whatever you may be able to do in deeds, try to find these similar conditions within yourself that you so strenuously object to outwardly. They may exist in a much more subtle or modified form, but essentially they must be there.
P11 Your lack of peace is always due to somewhere not wanting to face yourself.
—The Pathwork® Guide