Lecture 116 – Struggle between the Lower Self and the Superimposed Conscience | Abbreviated Version

P1             You may through a conscious or unconscious insistence expect that others bend to your will so that you may be happy. When this fails you become angry, resentful, and often full of self-pity. Another form of outside search may be looking for theories and answers in philosophy, religion, science. You may, indeed, find many valuable and valid answers from such sources.

However, they will not truly help, unless you use such answers as a guiding light to start an inner search, deep within yourself. It is one thing to go about the work of self-finding with the vague outlook of becoming a happier and more fulfilled person; it is another when the goal is clear, and you are aware of the powerful fact that deep within your soul you harbor a wealth of wisdom, knowledge, power, love—the solution to all that puzzles and confuses you.

P3             Any superimposed opinion, whether true or false, is a hindrance to self-unfoldment.

P4             Your automatic, unconscious reactions must be investigated as to the meaning and significance of their underlying concepts so that they can be lifted to the surface and evaluated. By this process you will understand how much you are still caught in unreality. One of the most tragically futile inner battles is the fight between what we have called the Lower Self and the superimposed conscience. So often an expression or a term used without truly understanding its deepest meaning finally loses its impact and one uses it like a parrot repeating a word. This mechanical usage is harmful.

The Lower Self is not only that part of human nature where faults and character-defects lie. It also includes something more subtle and less definable. The best way to describe it is as an emotional climate of egocentricity. Regardless of good intentions, unselfish acts, considerate attitudes, this inner world of egocentricity continues to exist. The more the childish, one-sided egocentricity is hidden in guilt and shame, the less can it grow out of this one-sidedness. You must become acutely aware of its often preposterous self-concern to the exclusion of all else.

In this area of your being you wish to rule supreme. You do not want to know another’s interests which you violate at any cost so that a small wish or a small gratification of your vanity overrules more important issues for other people. The misunderstanding comes from the idea that you, of all people, really should have already completely overcome the Lower Self and no such childish, preposterous selfishness and self-concern should have a place in you. Thus you start an elaborate system of self-deception and pretense which brings you into vicious circles and inner conflicts destroying your happiness and self-respect.

P5             Impulses and instincts which are potentially productive and life-giving, if they are not allowed to grow in the sunlight of awareness remain thwarted and, in their current form, are actually destructive. The repression of the Lower Self falls in three categories: (1) repression of the actual lower-self in its distinct and extreme manifestations and character trends, as well as of the subtle overall climate of egocentricity and self-concern to the exclusion of all other interests; (2) repression of creative and productive aspects and trends; (3) repression of instincts which are as yet unproductive and self-centered in their immature state, but are destined by nature to become creative and constructive if given a chance to grow.

Begin by looking at your attitude toward its existence. Are you shocked about certain of its manifestations? Are you impatient with yourself because of it? Do you feel it should already be gone, thus rejecting your state of being human? Do you also deny something in yourself that could be very constructive if you were to view it afresh and not be influenced by standards you have assumed without ever questioning their validity?

Begin to observe the subtle manifestations of the Lower Self in certain of your reactions and impulses. Observe how you tend to immediately push them away. Now look at the wishes and attitudes in such fleeting reactions. Pull them out into the open and calmly look at them. Determine your harsh, intolerant treatment of yourself in this respect, your rigid, uncompromising, self-destructive severity which is way out of proportion.

P6             In their eagerness to make the human being a better creature, the forces of society coerce the individual to follow and obey moral standards. Because of this pressure from the outside the superimposed conscience is strengthened and the inner, real conscience becomes more covered up. But the superimposed conscience hides also the most constructive and creative life-force and the impulses that would free the life-force. It is an unnecessary artificial creation instilling an unrealistically distorted view of oneself as well as of the way one believes one would have to be. It creates self-punishment and imposes shackles which prohibit the manifestation of every divine quality inherent in the soul.

P7             The fight between the superimposed conscience and the primitive, self-centered, destructive child is a tragic one—tragic only because of your lack of awareness of it. Personality problems and deviations come, as you know, from childhood hurts and frustrations—real or imaginary. The parent one feels uncertain of, in awe or fear of, usually stands for the superimposed conscience, because one so desperately tries to win his or her affection.

P8             It need not be that you fulfill yourself in one area of living at the expense of another. But you feel, deep inside, that you do not deserve all that. You do not even cultivate a concept of yourself in which you see yourself fulfilled in all directions. Observe how you shrink from such a visualization; how it seems that you are asking too much, despite the actual childish overdemanding that exists on another level.

Accept fully the primitive, selfish, destructive child in order to make it grow up. How you accept it without losing a sense of proportion about its “badness” determines the degree to which you are able to perceive, experience, and accept the highest faculties within yourself. You can only lose your sense of guilt about the former if and when you learn to look at the impulses coming from it and realize that although this undesirable side exists, you need not act accordingly.

—The Pathwork® Guide