In connection with the assassination of President Kennedy, what was the meaning – psychologically and metaphysically – of this event?
The Guide: All right, my dearest friends. First of all, I would like to say that the spirit of this man has undertaken a task which had to be completed – or if not completed, continued – and the lifespan of this person was not to last longer. This was this particular personality’s plan, so to speak – to spend that many years at this particular time on this earth, and in that time to fulfill a task.
It is not written or destined how or through what means the shedding of the physical body was to occur. But the forces, the laws of cause and effect, and the interaction, which is much too complicated for the human being to remotely comprehend, would make it expedient for the constructive forces in the universe to allow the destructive forces to manifest in such a blunt way, because in the end this would prove more advancing.
The best comparison from a psychological point of view I may give is the following. Take the individual personality. Look at this humanity on this earth plane in the same way as you look at the human organism of the individual. When you become aware of your own destructive forces, it’s much easier for you to understand, deal with and come to terms with them, and to grow out of childish destructiveness. It is the same way with the individuality of humanity as a whole. It too consists of constructive and destructive forces.
Suppressing or repressing the destructive forces will only make them fester underground. But bringing them to the fore may not mean that you can only eliminate them if you live them out. If you, as an individual, find hate in you, you do not have to act upon this hate. You can become aware of it. But you often are not capable of not, in some subtle way, acting upon this hate. And if you do so, you become more understanding of what happens within yourself.
It is the same with society as a whole. If the destructive forces, the evil in this world that exists, is so rampantly, flagrantly manifest, mankind will eventually as a whole grow faster than if this evil does not manifest.
If you look back in former years – in the past – many, many very evil forces have manifested. Of course, there are those who say mankind has not grown from it. But this is a very limited and shortsighted view. I say that mankind has grown from it, and only within the last twenty years this is very noticeable if one is not blocked or prejudiced, if one is willing to see the whole and not just particles of the whole.
This by no means implies a condoning of these facts that have happened. Quite on the contrary, my friends. I only try to explain the metaphysical, spiritual and psychological – and they’re all one, as you know – connotations and significance of these events. If this great, courageous and developed spirit would have gone from your world by natural causes, the awakening would not be as rude, as you may say, and the lesson to be learned would not be as strong, because such occurrences can, of course, be avoided.
They can be, as has often happened, eliminated. But in this case, since the lifespan was not supposed to last longer, it was for the better of all mankind that the negative, destructive, evil forces manifest in the most obvious way. If some individuals learn or do not learn from it, it’s not so much the point as of now. But in the long run mankind will learn, as it has learned from these things in the past.
To the question of individual responsibility – how each and every human being is involved – I think the answer is very obvious: as long as any human being harbors little resentments and hostilities for personal and subjective happenings, it is the same germ, it is of the same material. But nevertheless, I would like to emphasize very strongly – and this goes to you as each individual works on this Path – do make a distinction between living out these destructive forces or seeing them. For this is not quite the same.
Your own sense of guilt is more conducive to destruction than the destructive, negative forces themselves. There is a difference between the little hates and the committing of overt destruction and malice. Please realize this difference, because if you only see the negative in yourself and equate your own little guilts completely with such forces as happen occasionally and again and again, you will only thwart the natural good and constructive forces in yourself.
You have to balance the extremes – the extreme of irresponsibility, denial of your negative tendencies, and shifting the responsibility on others. But it is of equal importance not to be burdened by false equations, and to distinguish between the act and the feeling so that you can grow – so that you can lift your head and do not say this is the same, for this will only hinder you.
So to what extent do we form our fate or to what extent is our span destined for us?
The Guide: It seems to humanity, of course, that his mission could not possibly have been fulfilled because he had so much to give to this world, and he certainly could have gone on doing so, but this specific individual life, it had to be at an end. Now, you ask, if I correctly understand, what are the processes – what determines it – that a life is cut short.
This, of course, I have gone into in the past to some extent, but it is extremely difficult to generalize an answer at least on the level of understanding you have all reached now. Perhaps a few years ago I could have given you the simple answer – a karmic condition. But now these are just words for you – they do not mean anything. Because, in the last analysis, you do form your own fate, and dying on this earth is certainly not to be taken as punishment from the point of view of reality.
What determines your fate – whether it applies to a short life, a long life, a happy circumstance, an unhappy circumstance, or whatever it is that you encounter within your life span – is your own determination on the deepest level. Take any psychological factor you uncover in your work. How often has it happened with every single one of you that when you approach this Pathwork, you are convinced that certain conditions in your life are fate – it appears that you have absolutely nothing to do with it.
Let us take a simple example that a person experiences a pattern of losing his job, one after the other. Or of not being able to make a relationship with the opposite sex work. In each of these instances, the person can, with all justice and fairness, quote a number of reasons why it is a fate that seems to have nothing to do with himself.
Only by going much deeper, on a deeper inner level, do you find, let us say, a rejecting aspect, a not wanting the relationship, or of not wanting to fulfill this job well, and you therefore encounter how you determine what seems like fate.
The same can work and does work about positive aspects. When something good happens consistently, if you look deep enough, you see that you have a very positive mental and emotional attitude about this good circumstance that you seem to be so lucky in. This is the way you determine your fate, right here and right now.
The same applies – only expanded over a wider span – about a future incarnation, because the personality, the psyche, is still the same. The shortness or longness – the duration of a lifetime – should not and must not ever be evaluated in terms of good or bad, right or wrong, reward or punishment.
If a personality chooses a short life span for a specific incarnation because he is convinced that this condition he comes to this life, to this earth, for can be accomplished in a relatively short time measured in human measurement, this is determining the fate. It is his will that determines it – a will that is to be found on a much, much deeper level than the outer conscious will.
We discuss repeatedly the various levels, and specifically in Lecture #119 Movement, Consciousness, Experience: Pleasure, the Essence of Life. The more you resolve your problems, the more you function from your inner brain, your inner conscience and your inner will, when your real inner person is no longer split from the outer level – which may go into different directions – it is this deep inner will, determination and personality that molds a fate. This happens according to many factors that have to be taken into consideration and about which we cannot possibly generalize.
Think these words through and compare them with the example I gave you which you encounter every day in this Pathwork. It represents the greatest victory, step forward and growing process when you finally realize that what seems like an unkind fate, you have determined yourself by a will that you have not had access to so far in your conscious mind.
When you understand this process, you will understand the process of life and death and you will understand what I said in this particular case.
It seems that former President Kennedy had reached an impasse in his endeavors and that he perhaps accomplished more by his departure than he would have been able to do further in fighting with the forces that were opposed to him. Is that right?
The Guide: Let us put it the other way around. If such an impasse were reached, it was because the inner personality lost the life spark in the deep inner knowledge that this span has ended. You have to put it this way around. The span would not have ended in this particular case – I do not say in all cases – but in the case of an evolved human being, it is not because an impasse has occurred that the will to live is lessened.
It is because the inner personality knows the life is ending that the energy diminished. With many people who have not reached this kind of development, because the personality has reached an impasse, the will to live diminishes. So it can exist in both ways.
If this is so, what brings about the agency that terminates the existing life span?
The Guide: Certainly such a terrible act need not have determined the end. Now, what causes such a terrible act? Crisis, ignorance and unchecked self-righteous hostility. This is the evil of this world – to reverse truth into falsehood and falsehood into truth, and therefore let loose streams of hatred.
These forces exist on this earth sphere. Now, when a life span ends, it certainly need not end through the existence of such, what Scripture would call, evil forces, or what psychology would call ignorance and hostility. It could be an accident; it could be an illness; it could be a heart attack, as it happens in so many, many cases of human beings.
If in certain instances in the world history, where souls have come to fulfill a specific task for the general goodness of the world, their lives end through these evil forces, it is just to reveal the manifestation of these evil forces. The evil forces exist whether or not they manifest in such a visible way. If they do manifest in such a visible way, or the more they do, the more they defeat themselves.
This is why great spirits, again and again, when they fulfill their own development in conjunction with a task for the good of the world, permit, so to speak, or choose, as it were, to end their predetermined life span, not through a so-called natural cause, but through the manifestation of the evil forces – in order to defeat these evil forces all the quicker.
What I said here may be difficult to understand when you look at it on a very short-term view. But on a long-term view, you will not fail to see that the more the evil forces manifest, the more they defeat themselves. The more they live in hiding and underground, the more rampant and dangerous they become.
On the subject of Kennedy, I would like to ask a question I wanted to ask for a long time. How does a Roman Catholic reconcile the Roman Catholicism in the last review of his life? What does he do with the last judgment and so on – all the things he practiced here?
The Guide: Well, my dear, if a developed soul enters into the world of the spirit, he will simply see that certain assumptions are just a little bit different, because a developed soul – or one of the predominant aspects of a developed soul – is very flexible. He’s not cramped in his beliefs. He may believe outwardly and even inwardly up to a degree in his own religion, but never in a cramped, rigid and inflexible way. So the transition will not be a shock. On the contrary.
The highly developed being will find it very possible to consolidate his deep insights with the religion he has been brought up in and will not make a tremendous issue out of the fact that even while he lives, he takes certain dogmas of his religion with a grain of salt. He does not pay too much attention to it.
He emphasizes those aspects which he feels as truth. Those he feels as untruth, error or misconception, he realizes these are man-made errors and he does not dwell on that. So his transition will never present a shocking change. Because he, deep inside, feels the psychological and spiritual truth of life.
But when an undeveloped human being clings tightly to postulate, then, of course, it is a difficulty when he awakens in the world of the spirit – but not because of a specific wrong belief he had, much rather because of the attitude in him that made him cling to something. He may just as well cling to a truth and it would be equally harmful, because in this tight inner soul picture, even the truth becomes distorted – even if he clings in that way to a true belief.
You see, you human beings are always so tempted to pay too much attention to the “what” rather than to the “how.” It is possible that a human being has all the correct concepts but his inner state is tightly cramped, compulsive and inflexible. This is the harm. All the true beliefs will not help him.
While by the same token, it is possible that someone in a very light, flexible and open way lightly assumes an untruth but it is not a deep inner cramped thing. Therefore this untrue belief will not be a hindrance. So the “how,” the inner condition, the way one believes or not believes, the open-mindedness, the attitude, these are the things that count – not whether or not you believe a truth or a nontruth.