P1 All physical growth happens gradually, and the process is not a bit different with spiritual or emotional growth. Shortcuts never have any lasting effect and are therefore always a farce.
P2 This part (Lower Self) fears the certainty of the spiritual world. For knowledge also means responsibility, and you in your lower nature prefer to remain ignorant because you are thus freed from the obligation to conquer your Lower Self, which is indeed not easy to accomplish. But your Lower Self with its fear, and for its own reasons, tries to make you doubt the part desiring truth in order to avoid disappointment. All you should do while you are in doubt is to retire into quietness. Formulate this argument in clear-cut, concise thought and ask God the simple question: Which is true? And then keep yourselves open for the answer.
P3 Since your thoughts are reality, they have form and substance. Unclean thoughts build disharmonious forms, which must eventually affect your lives and destinies. Not only conscious thoughts have this effect but also emotional reactions and subconscious thoughts. They are so concerned about not harboring any negative thoughts that they are inclined to push all negative thoughts into their subconscious and thus disregard the discrepancy between what they want to think and what they actually still think or feel. It should be stressed that thoughts can be controlled by your conscious direction of will, just as your actions can; however, you cannot directly control your feelings.
You may know very well that it is sinful to hate, but when hatred is still in you, you cannot change this inner current merely because you try to force yourself. Similarly, if you do not love a person you cannot force yourself to do so, as much as you may want to. The change can be brought about only indirectly, by remote control, so to speak. With every upward step you take on the path, your feelings will change automatically, naturally, and gradually.
P4 One way to bring this about is to make your subconscious known to your consciousness. But the system of positive thinking works the other way; it tries too hard to induce you to convince yourself about something that exists merely on the surface and has no root in you. Thus you live a lie, well meant as it may be. Certainly, you should practice positive thinking. Observe your thoughts, but observe them quietly, with detachment and in a relaxed way, without guilt feelings, so that you can perceive whenever your emotions are not always parallel to your thoughts or to the way you want your thoughts and feelings to be.
Everybody wants to be happy. This is a most natural wish, which comes from the Higher Self as well as from the Lower Self, but only the Higher Self knows that there is a price to be paid for happiness. The Lower Self, on the other hand, wants to attain happiness by outer means and without the price of conquering itself. Your Higher Self knows that only by perfection within can you achieve perfection without, and that is happiness. Your Lower Self is not prepared to pay any price; it wants to have its cake and eat it too.
Misapplied or misunderstood positive thinking wants to have outer perfection often too quickly, merely by learning thought control. The first step to true positive thinking is to take the consequences of what you have done in the past, whether they concern a previous incarnation or this very same life, and say: “I have gone against the law and the effects have to be worked out. This means among other things, that I have to accept the consequences in this life.”
P5 Happiness cannot come to you as long as you love yourself so dearly that a little pain becomes too terrible for you to bear. It means that you should be perfectly aware that every difficulty in your life is self-inflicted and therefore you have to go through it, bear it, accept it, find its cause within you, so as to eliminate it once and for all. You all have heard often, from me or others, that your difficulties are not as important as the manner in which you take them. It means that if you are constantly so afraid of a little pain, if you hold on so tightly to your ego and to your little sensitivity or vanity, you do not give up your life; rather, you hold on to it too tightly and therefore must lose it. To lose, in the spiritual sense, means you cannot find peace, harmony, or happiness either from within or without.
P6 Therefore, it would be very advisable to turn always to God with all things when you are uncertain. Ask for enlightenment; ask for truth. Ask for His will when a decision is to be made. By spiritual growth, what one desires merely changes. However, desirelessness should set in as far as the ego is concerned. Again, this kind of detachment cannot come by forcing oneself; it is the natural result of spiritual growth; you can attain this state of being only indirectly. You have to train yourself that your pain, your vanity, and your comfort do not matter an iota more than that of the next fellow.
When personal success or failure does not grip you inside—and both can do that: one pleasurably, the other unpleasurably—you have attained some of this detachment, in which alone you will find real security. For otherwise the security you are seeking is always dependent on things outside your control. Everything has to go your way so that you can feel happy, satisfied, and secure. But when it does not, you are lost and in the grip of forces within you that you cannot control. In other words, you are controlled by them and you lose your serenity, or what you thought was serenity when things went well.
P8 When you believe it important to think of tomorrow or the next hour, you do not live this very moment. What does that mean? It means that there is some desire connected with the future. Anxiety comes from the wrong type of desire. If you fear something, you desire that this thing should not happen. So it is with most of you; you live almost all your life somehow in the future, and thus you let life slip by. You miss out on seeing and appreciating the most beautiful things right in front of your eyes. Ask God, therefore, for your own truth, and be ready to face it. Above all else, pray to have the will for it by meditating on these words.
Observe yourself clinically. Then just note your feelings; register them with detachment. Say to yourself: “This is the way I want to think and feel, but in this or that respect my true feelings, my inner thoughts, still deviate from what I understand intellectually. This understanding has not yet reached my emotions.” Watch yourself continually, every day. First, you learn to take yourself as you are, and learn the humility that so many of you lack because you all want to be perfect and to be on the top of the mountain, while in reality you have not even reached the first valley. And this is also a kind of pride, coupled with laziness.
P9 Whoever sincerely wants to walk this path, will definitely be guided to the very teacher, the one best for his or her particular personality and problems. This must happen and always will happen because you cannot take this path without teachings from the outside. Take yourself humbly and without feelings of guilt: “This is the way I am, but that is the way I want to be, and to bridge the discrepancy I shall have to have patience and the willpower to work unceasingly, for otherwise I cannot expect to arrive at the spiritual place I seek.”
—The Pathwork® Guide