P2 The interaction between consciousness and aliveness, that is movement, is easily observable in the manifestations of nature. A mineral has a very small degree of consciousness; therefore its movement is almost imperceptible. A plant’s degree of consciousness is higher. This is noticeable by its obvious response to light, water, darkness or dryness. Therefore its movement is also more perceptible. And so growth proceeds along the scale, from animal to human.
Now you may say that the human being’s movement does not exceed the animals. This is true on the physical level, but you will undoubtedly admit that in the movement of mind, thought, spirit, man is more alive than the animal. The range of the possibilities for the extension and movement of the spirit by far exceeds that of the body. Once this thought is truly understood in its full implication, any doubt about the continuation of life must cease.
P3 And only when you fully utilize your possibilities will you be in harmony with yourself and your life. These three aspects are direct manifestations of consciousness. They are: determination, perception and love. The higher the degree of consciousness, the wider the range of life, and the greater the freedom of determination. The freer the determination, the greater the scope and ease with which decisions can be made, the greater the capacity to love, to relate.
For example: If you are relatively free of error, of misinterpreted past experience—that is, images – you will have less destructive defenses. Therefore you can be more loving. This, in turn, will create good relationships, which will afford you a wider range for experience, more possibilities, more inner and outer resources that give you a greater scope for determination. Even if you experience a disappointment, you will be able to see other opportunities. The disappointment will not paralyze your faculties and freeze your feelings into fear and distrust, such as happens with incorrectly assimilated experience.
You are bound by the old images, the faulty perceptions, which make you respond and react in an automatic way, as though the new experience were identical in nature to the one that originally caused you to misinterpret a painful condition or occurrence. You saw that in a limited, one-sided way and generalized its validity for all similar occasions. The result is that you react in a way inappropriate to the occasion. You are unable to change this unless you bring the misinterpretation into consciousness.
P4 When religious teachers preach about the importance of love, they are right, but love cannot fill your being if you do not detect your wrong perceptions. No amount of knowledge you take in from the outside can be assimilated if you do not empty yourself of misconception. Therefore, self-knowledge is the prerequisite to love, to spirituality. There is no way around that.
My friends, try to see how your images limit your perception, your determination and your love capacity. Try to see how the faulty perception, responsible for the images, squeezes you into a very limited mold, no matter what you consciously think and strive for. The significance of misinterpreted material from the past cannot be stressed enough. Consider how you felt as a child toward each parent, then see how in your present responses you still react according to the same feelings.
P5 Only after material security has been attained do people discover that there is a type of insecurity they were not able to recognize as long as they were preoccupied with the material side of life. The only realistic way of meeting your insecurity is by facing it, admitting it, accepting it. That is the start. The basis of loving is healthy self-love. We have discussed this extensively in the past. But I will add this: If you are insecure, you cannot trust yourself.
P6 Lowest on the scale is surely love for inanimate objects. Next on the scale is love for abstract ideas, principles, art, nature. Next on the scale is love for living creatures other than humans: plants or animals. It does neither require the risk of rejection, nor taking the trouble of pondering what the other’s needs are, or the effort to establish mutual understanding. Next on the scale is love for humankind as a whole. Highest on the scale is the love for individuals in close, intimate relationship. It may be comparatively easy for you to cope with the difficulty of interacting with certain people, but you may dread relating to others.
P7 Humans need not preoccupy themselves with speculations about the inconceivable and incomprehensible existence of the Creator of all beings. Have the humility to admit the limitations of such understanding and turn your attention to the things human beings can learn, namely to give to and love other human beings. The only way to come closer to an experience of God is through inner growth and liberation of feelings, perception and determination.
—The Pathwork® Guide