Lecture 183 – The Spiritual Meaning of Crisis | Abbreviated Version

P1             Crisis is an attempt of nature to effect change through the cosmic lawfulness of the universe. If change is obstructed by the ego, the part of the consciousness that directs the will, crisis will occur to make structural change possible. Every crisis ultimately means such a readjustment, whether it appears in the form of pain, difficulties, upheaval, uncertainty, or merely the insecurity that comes from starting out on unaccustomed ways of living after giving up a familiar one.

Crisis shakes loose ingrained, frozen habits so that new growth becomes possible. Crisis is necessary because human negativity is a stagnant mass that needs to be shaken up in order to be let go of. On the path to emotional and spiritual fulfillment you need to work intensively in order to free yourself from your negativities. What are they? The misconceptions; the destructive emotions, attitudes and behavior patterns that arise from them; the pretenses and the defenses.

P2             All thoughts and feelings are energy currents. If the underlying concepts and feelings are founded on error and are therefore negative, the self-perpetuating momentum of the energy current will compound, though not ad infinitum. If the underlying causes of the original feeling of depression are not courageously exposed, you become depressed about being depressed.

Contrary to truth, love, and beauty, which are infinite divine attributes, distortion and negativity are never infinite. They come to an end when the pressure bursts. The negative self-perpetuating principle is most obvious in the case of frustration and anger. Thus the “crises” of emotions such as anger, frustration, impatience, and depression are not recognized for what they are. This makes the negative self-perpetuation stronger and stronger, until the inflamed boil bursts.

P3             Yet it is possible after a certain amount of awakening has taken place in the consciousness that the person does not allow the negativity to become too firmly entrenched. Thus the negativity is prevented from starting the self-perpetuating cycle. It is confronted right at the start. Crisis can be avoided by looking at the inner truth when the first inklings of disturbance and negativity manifest on the surface. But a tremendous amount of honesty is required to challenge one’s tightly cherished convictions. True inner looking and deep concern with the inner being as well as giving up pet attitudes and ideas must be cultivated.

The process of death itself is such a crisis. Consciousness always expresses to itself, “I can no longer deal with the situation.” If the situation is specific, a specific crisis occurs in life. If it is a question of one’s present incarnation as a whole, then physical death will occur. In the latter case, the eruption takes the form of the spirit’s breaking out of the body, until it finds new life circumstances in which to deal with the same inner distortions all over again. When necessary change is not accepted willingly, you automatically put yourself into a state of crisis.

P4             The severity and pain of a crisis is by no means determined by the objective event. Thus we can say that an outer crisis may leave you inwardly in greater peace than an inner one. In the former instance the necessary change takes place on an outer level, which your inner being accepts more, adjusts to better, and finds a new way of dealing with. In the latter instance, the need for inner change meets with greater resistance. When the process of the crisis is accepted and no longer obstructed, when one goes with it, instead of fighting it, relief will come comparatively quickly.

The negation of this process, the inner attitude that says, “I should not have to go through this. Do I have to? This and that and the other is wrong with others. If it were not, I would not have to go through this now,” prolongs the agony. Every negative experience, every pain, is the result of a wrong idea. A critical aspect of this work is the articulation of these ideas. Once you take on the habit of first questioning your hidden wrong assumptions and destructive reactions when anything unwelcome comes your way, and fully open to truth and change, your life will alter drastically. Crisis becomes superfluous; therefore, death eventually becomes superfluous.

P5             The more you love, the more you can produce genuine love feelings without impoverishing yourself and others. The only difference (with the negative process) is that the positive process is infinite. Once you establish the contact with your innate wisdom, beauty, and joyousness and allow them to unfold, they will increase themselves.

But how deeply do you know that this is a reality? How deeply do you believe in your innermost potential to be self-creating, to be in bliss, to live the infinite life? How much do you truly believe that you can unfold qualities of peace, coupled with excitement, of serenity coupled with adventure, through which life becomes a string of beauty even though initial difficulties are still to be overcome? If you do not truly believe this, my dearest ones, it is because there is something in you that you desperately hold on to.

P6             No matter how any one of you experiences crises, there is always a message in them for you to discover about your own life. It is up to you not to project your experiences outwardly, on others, which is always the most dangerous temptation. Or, for that matter, to project them into yourself in a self-devastating way, which avoids the issue just as much as when you project it onto others. If you learn eventually to take the smallest shadow of your everyday life and explore its deepest meaning, you will handle the little crises in a way that makes the swelling of the boil impossible.

Every smallest shadow is a crisis, for it need not be there. It is only there because of your turning away from the issue that creates crisis. What do you not wish to see and not wish to change? When you project all your old negative experiences onto others, it is impossible for you to have adequate awareness of what actually goes on in the other person, and therefore you cannot deal with it.

P7             Do not use the knowledge you have already gained about yourself as the answer. It may even be correct, but previous recognition can subtly serve as a barrier. The difficulty of changing come to a large extent from having forgotten that you cannot do it without divine help. Resistance is partly an expression of avoiding the frustration of wanting something that cannot be done and must prove a disappointment. So does the opposite extreme, in which you profess the belief in higher power, or God, who is supposed to do it all for you.

The way to go about making a positive change is to want it; you must be willing to be in truth and to change. And you have to pray to the innermost divine functioning within your soul to make the change possible. Then you wait for the change to take place, in a trusting, confident, and patient way. This is the absolute prerequisite for change. This approach conciliates the attitudes of adult self-responsibility that takes action by facing the self; by wanting truth and change; by the willingness to expose hidden shame; and the receptive attitude in which the ego knows its own limitations.

P8             Since you are not honest with life, you cannot really believe in the power of the Universal Intelligence dwelling in you at all times, which goes to work the instant you make room for it. Not knowing the total answer right now is part of it. Your commitment to the Ultimate Creator must become total, applied to the most seemingly insignificant aspect of daily living and being.

You remain in the cycle of death and rebirth, of pain and struggle, of conflict and strife—physically as well as spiritually and psychologically—precisely because you cling to the illusion that going through can be avoided and taking refuge will do some good. The momentary relief is illusion of the most serious nature. It is so because the crisis inevitably comes later on, but by then is no longer connected with its source and therefore it hurts more. When you make up your mind, however, saying, “I will not take refuge, I will go through it,” the resources within the human soul will become almost instantly available.

P9             It is important that you simply want to do the best you can.

—The Pathwork® Guide