13 QUESTION: “He who wants to win his life will lose it. He who is ready to give it up will win it.” What does that mean?

ANSWER: 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.

But those who do not take themselves so seriously, whose comfort and everything pertaining to the ego is not so terribly important, whose own little pains and hurt vanities do not matter so much, who do not think constantly, “If I show my affection or my true feelings, what will people think? I might be hurt or I might jeopardize something,” they who truly give up their ego-selves, will receive life, again in the spiritual sense.

They will find harmony within by going with the law, and will find the love and respect from others they could never have found by holding on to themselves so tightly.


23 QUESTION: Could you please explain what Jesus meant when he said to Peter, “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it; And I will give thee the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and whatever thou shalt loose on earth shall be bound in Heaven.” (Matthew 16: 18-20).

ANSWER: The meaning is this: Jesus entrusted Peter with his teachings, that he might organize the spreading of his teachings. It is a well-known fact that the Catholic Church builds on the belief that from that time on everything is so settled that nothing this Church says could be wrong – based on the saying you quoted.

Here, I do want to explain this: what Jesus meant was that Peter should spread the teachings exactly as he has brought them. But that definitely included a communication with the Spirit World of God. This communication existed very actively at that time, the time of the first Christians. Jesus was much too wise to suggest that any truth could be kept undiluted by spreading from one human being to another, from one generation to another.

He knew that human failings are still much too great not to let errors and false interpretations slip in – not to speak of the danger of the twisting of truth the world of darkness has always aimed for, and which will succeed as long as there are unpurified beings on this earth. Therefore, direct communication with the World of God is the only way possible.

Unfortunately, human beings have – sometimes ignorantly, sometimes deliberately – misinterpreted these words, as they have many others, for that matter. If these words had been taken in their true sense, exactly as Jesus had taught and as Peter had meant then, which included such a communication with the world of God, many things would have been very different in your human history. I know this will shock some friends, but I cannot help it. This is the truth.

If you read the Bible with true understanding and openness, you will find many, many instances where the sayings of Jesus cannot be interpreted in any other way. As a matter of fact, you will see particularly from the lectures my friend will start now that this is so. You have one demonstration there that Jesus always meant you to contact his spirits of truth. It was part of Jesus’ teachings that Peter was supposed to spread.

Also – which was not published, or later taken out – how to go about it, what the laws are to have communication with the spirits of light and truth. When it was said that Jesus appeared to his disciples after his death, it was also a form of communication. There are many different forms.

Later on Jesus would not appear himself anymore, but send his emissaries. And when he said before his death, “There are many things I cannot tell you as yet, but will tell you later,” how do you imagine he could tell that, unless through such a communication for which certain laws have to be obeyed and certain conditions prepared?

This was an integral part of his teachings that was, unfortunately, for various reasons, not maintained or even distorted. Furthermore, this quotation means that anyone – then or now – who binds himself to God through adhering to the teachings of Jesus that Peter was to maintain, spread and organize, would also be bound to the Father in the Kingdom of Heaven and could never be lost anymore. But anyone who refuses these teachings and loosens himself thus further from God, will also be lost after death – not forever, but for as long as this attitude prevails.

This inner declaration to put God above everything else and follow his will in every respect marks a decisive step in the development of a soul; sometimes this is called an “initiation.” This is the meaning of it in its essence, and certainly not that God and Christ would only manifest through one human church organization which alone should be immune to human failings and thus to the influence of the powers of darkness. This would make no sense.

Whoever follows the real teachings of Christ and seeks the development and purification through which it is possible to hold the laws of God is indeed immune to all evil – “Hell will not prevail” – and will thus gain the Kingdom of Heaven. That is the only way that this can happen – the only way, my friends! And I believe that this must make sense to you.


24 QUESTION: The Book of Exodus says that the people were told to collect manna only for one day and on the Sabbath for two days. If they collected for two days on any other day but for the Sabbath, it rotted but for the Sabbath it did not. What is the meaning of this?

ANSWER: The manna is the symbol for spiritual strength, spiritual truth, divine blessing, all the material you need to advance spiritually, to find yourself and God. With the people of the best intentions – the most diligent workers in God’s vineyard – it is often timing that is so important: the proper distribution, for instance, of the active and passive forces. I will soon give a lecture on this subject [Lecture #29 The Forces of Activity and Passivity – Finding God’s Will].

Both forces have to be utilized harmoniously in the human soul so that each fulfills its function properly. Often one side of your nature tends to be overactive in the wrong way while your other side is overly passive, again in the wrong way. When you are spiritually active, you tend to hoard the strength you may need for the morrow, or the knowledge that you may need for the morrow. This cannot be done.

The text you quoted says, in different words, that you have to live in the moment, or what you call the Eternal Now. Each moment has its own requirements, and meeting them can only be done by living completely in this moment. It also says: you should not take on more than you can chew at the present time.

However, you do need a little reserve at certain times for the periods when you cannot muster the strength to have inner or outer activity. The Sabbath, as you know, signifies among other things the day of inactivity, the day of rest. In life, everyone has to go through periods when they cannot muster the force to be active. They are tired, they have to rest. And this may also be good spiritually.

Everything absorbed in the period of activity has to be assimilated in the period of passivity. And for these times you need a little reserve. But ordinarily, if you feel in the full strength of active life – spiritually, physically, emotionally, on all levels – you cannot possibly hoard. Human beings do that often, again on all levels.

They are so anxious, they are so full of fear that they do not trust God, do not trust the harmony of their own innermost selves that will fit into the scheme of divine law, that will go with the stream. They think they have to take care of the future. By this I do not mean that you should be careless. No extreme is ever right. But live in the Now and make the best of each moment.

Then your manna will be always fresh and will be given to you every day anew. Simply because you live that way, when the next passive period comes around, you will quietly nurse what has so beautifully grown during the active period. You will instinctively sense that you have received enough.

This will happen only when you live in harmony with the movement of the active and passive streams of your personal life, only when you have refined your inner senses so much that you feel clearly what each period signifies: the active or the passive – the weekday or the Sabbath. The analogy applies also to the duration of the periods; the active periods have to be longer than the passive ones, although the latter always have to reoccur regularly.


26 QUESTION: Would you please tell us what Jesus meant by “the meek shall inherit the earth?”

ANSWER: By “meek” are meant all who have no hatred, no resentment, no self-will, and no fear. They will be able to be understanding, loving and humble enough not to have to prove themselves right all the time. Many people may lack the courage to put this in practice, but inside they feel frustrated when they are not able to do it.

To be like this is to have a very healthy soul, because this means having strength, power and independence. Such a person lives with the divine law that works for him or her, instead of swimming against the stream of the law which then sets up very disharmonious currents.

On the other hand, it should be clearly understood that meekness in the way Jesus meant it does not mean that you should let the lower self of your brother triumph. Oh no. Jesus Christ himself has not done so. Jesus Christ has fought many a time, and often quite strongly. To fight evil in the other fellow, as well as in yourself, also includes being able to accept a hurt and perhaps learn from it. But you must not allow the lower nature of others to take advantage of your meekness.

Finding the right course between these apparently contradictory courses of action is not as difficult as it may appear at first. Test yourself first where your own ego is involved, your pride perhaps or your self-will; right then and there you should learn to accept humbly that your ego prevents your seeing the truth.

The fighting spirit that then arises should be curbed and only allowed to function if the ego can be neutralized. After a while, with proper self-development, objectivity and impartial judgement are attained. If you can clearly feel how your ego is gradually disappearing, and you are not in the center of your own universe anymore, you will be able to stand up for a right principle and know how to fight in the right way.

Of course, this cannot happen as long as you allow anything that touches you personally to influence your course of action. When your small ego stands in the center, your judgement is always colored. Until you can clearly distinguish if your ego is still involved and to what extent, you will have to accomplish some work on this Path. For quite a time you will find that your reactions, your feelings and your views, even on quite general subjects, are at times colored by your own personal ego-stake.

Not to have this ego in the foreground any more is to have the humility we are always talking about. This is the meekness Jesus mentioned. This humility alone will make you really strong and give you the power to distinguish when to keep still after a personal hurt or injustice and quietly forgive, and when to stand up and fight against something evil, whether or not it touches your life. To come that far, you have to be a keen detective of your most hidden feelings and their true nature; you have to train yourself to acquire the strictest possible self-observation.


27 QUESTION: May I ask a question from the Bible? What is the true spiritual meaning of the statement, “To those who have, more will be given, and to those who have not, what they have will be taken away?” Does this refer to faith, or what does it refer to?

ANSWER: It refers to all spiritual qualities. Take love, for instance. To those who have love, more love will be given, because it is the nature of all pure spiritual qualities to regenerate the same quality from themselves. If you have love, so much more comes to you, and you can give it to many. But if you have very little of it, and this little is diluted by impure currents, you will lose the little you have. It wastes away.

The same applies to all other divine aspects, not only to faith or love. So you must break the vicious circle. Everything goes in cycles, as I always say, both negative and positive. The negative cycles work as long as you are in the state of mind in which you break the respective spiritual law. Then the negative currents in you are so much stronger that you lose the little positive quality you have. But if you break this negative circle and set up a positive one, then the positive quality becomes inexhaustible. The more you give then, the more will come out of you.


32 GUIDE COMMENT: “All things work together for the good for those who love God.” Let us examine this statement of the Scriptures to find its deeper meaning. The words, “those who love God” do not mean merely that you believe in God or that you profess to love him or that you recite some prayers.

As you know, the true love of God means to work spiritually, to develop, and to get to know divine law in all its psychological aspects as they pertain to you personally. You have to get to know yourself so thoroughly that not only are your deeds, your words, and your thoughts in conformity with spiritual law, but also your emotions. You must come to love God in your emotions. To achieve that is, of course, a lengthy process.

Only a person on the road of spiritual development can truly love God. How then can we explain that “all things work together for the good?” And this is, indeed, the truth, my friends! For the person who follows the path of development and purification, whatever happens must be for the good!

Only when you have reached a certain stage of development will you come to realize the truth of these words. There is no apparent tragedy, mishap or misfortune that does not carry some good for one who follows this Path and thus proves his or her love for God. Yet so many of you do not know this.

You are still living under the delusion that this is a world of coincidence and chance, or even a world of injustice. Though you may not think this is true, many of you feel so. And that is your great error and your tragic illusion.

On the other hand, a person who is not following this Path – in other words, a person who does not love God above everything – will find that the best things happening to him or her will not be for the good. Later on these supposedly best things might create difficulties and tests that might only begin to work for the good in future incarnations at the moment this Path has been started.

Up to that time in a person’s development, nothing is for the ultimate good. However, from that time on, which is the crucial period in a soul’s evolution, everything that happens, has happened and will happen, must be for the good.


76 QUESTION: Will you explain the saying of Jesus, “Come as a little child?”

ANSWER: The childlike attitude that Jesus refers to is the lack of prejudice so necessary in the approach to this whole Path. Prejudice is something extremely widespread and general. We can observe human beings who are constantly suffering because of the prejudice of others. Why are they suffering? If there is a consistency here, this is a good indication of an image and the chances are that they themselves have the greatest prejudices, perhaps in a different way.

Prejudice is a wall of darkness, while a child is usually without prejudice, an unwritten page, at least so far as the outer subtle body is concerned. All these influences that later form prejudices and images have not yet had a chance to work and build such a wall. That is why children can often approach truth with clearer eyes than grown-ups.

At the risk of boring you, I must come back again to images [Lecture #38 Images], for that is our main concern now. Another indication of help in finding your images is to think where your prejudices are. And later, when more of your images come to the surface, you will clearly understand why you have them, and what defense mechanism and rationalization has made you adopt them.

What does the word “prejudice” mean to you emotionally? Everyone has a different concept of this word. What people usually are most emotional about concerns the prejudice to which they happen to be most sensitive, and they overlook the fact that prejudices also exist in their own minds. Perhaps these are even stronger than those that one encounters in others.

One who is constantly haunted by the prejudices of others finds a pattern here to look into, to dig for. This would be a strong indication that there is an image in the soul which magnetically attracts prejudice. Therefore you project on others what you actually feel in a different way yourself.

Another hint, my dear ones: think of what you are constantly concerned with. For one person it will be rejection, for another prejudice, for a third the fear that somebody will steal something from him – each has a pet idea. Become clear about yours. Do not go on living with all these emotions without clarifying them. Once you have clarified them, you will get a good idea what to search for.

There are so many who feel rejected. Those who constantly feel rejected should think, “Perhaps I am rejecting others in one form or another.” It may be done out of fear, it may be done because you are so afraid of rejection that you reject others before they can reject you. And then, when they react, you are hurt because you have been rejected. Yes, my dear ones, that goes on constantly. We see these soul forms.

Only an extremely wise human being will react to your obsession with rejection in such a way that the vicious circle between you will be avoided. That is, a mature person will not hook in. But most people, in one form or another, are so insecure that your warding-off attitude will have an effect on them. Then you misunderstand and hurt each other – and reject each other.

The only way to break the circle is by not waiting for others to be the first to open their arms to you, in spite of the soul picture that your emotional currents show. Forget about your own vanity and insecurity, and open your arms yourself – and then see what happens.


76 QUESTION: What did Jesus mean when he said, “Unless you eat of the flesh of the Son of Man and drink of his blood, he has no life in you”?

ANSWER: Of course, you realize, my friends, that this saying is entirely symbolic. As I have said repeatedly, the flesh means the Earth matter that has to be accepted. The question for humanity always revolves around the unwillingness to accept the difficulties of life with all its obstacles.

You reject matter, you reject the difficulty of life, you try to escape these difficulties by various, often unconscious means. Imbibing matter – symbolized by Jesus’ body which came from man – means to say Yes to this Earth life and all it stands for, good and bad.

Everything is included in that. It may be a good mediation exercise to think what Earth life includes and what should be accepted. Many people reject different things, even good things, either out of fear to sin, or fear that these good things bring increased unhappiness. The symbolism of Jesus’ blood is pain. Blood is associated with pain. You also have to drink pain, my friends.

Again, accept it instead of escaping from it. Accept it in a healthy way, not fleeing it. Accept it as a necessary byproduct of life and your own temporary state of imperfection. Accept it as the effect you have set in motion through your own inner causes. And if you drink the pain instead of turning away from it, you will be revived and come out of pain, as Jesus demonstrated by his death and spiritual resurrection. That is the symbolism of these words.


78 QUESTION: Can you explain the Biblical passage: “The word of God was given to Moses: Thou shalt give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning.”

ANSWER: The meaning of these words has been grossly misunderstood by humankind. It has been interpreted to mean that God is a punishing, cruel God of retribution. Of course, it is not so and the words were never meant to imply this. The real meaning simply affirms the utter justice of cosmic law, or of your inner psychological law. The more you work on the path of self-finding, the more you are bound to find this to be so very true.

You will find how you cause all your difficulties. You have already stopped regarding these words as mere theory, but the better you progress, the more will you truly understand just how and why you cause your hardships. By so doing, you gain the key to a change in your life.

Most of you have begun this self-search in good faith, yet at this early stage you can barely see how you are responsible for your misfortunes and, therefore, how just this universe is. Only when you reach certain inner depths, perhaps after a long time of hard and sincere endeavor, do you begin to see clearly what in you has so precisely brought about the hardship that you feel as injustice.

The more connections of this sort you make, the better you can realize the true meaning of self-responsibility and of divine justice, without any thought of punishment and retribution. You begin to understand that whatever you give forth, no matter how hidden or subtle, is returned to you. And you deeply feel and know that this is not due to a stiff, rigid, merciless law – but it is your own inner law.

In that you realize the glory of God’s love and wisdom. The better you understand your own causes and effects, the more convinced must you become of the marvel of this benign Creation. That is the meaning of these words. The various items cited in this saying are, of course, symbolic. If you want me to, I shall explain the meaning of these symbols. {Please}

Eye: The eye symbolizes seeing, the capacity to see, not only outwardly, but also the inner view and vista. In other words, understanding. The more you understand yourself, the better you understand others. You know this. But also, the more you understand, the better you will be understood. This truth may have dawned on some of you as you made real progress and the haze and fog of your confusion lifted.

As the fog lifts, your real self reveals itself automatically and others perceive you in truth as well. There is no better or other way of finding this to be true than through the path of self-searching, self-understanding and self-analysis. Any one of you who has reached some victory within will understand exactly what I mean – not only theoretically, but through having experienced this truth. Your real seeing and understanding begin only when you see and understand yourself. And in that measure will you be understood.

With such understanding, you will see that the meaning of these words has a positive, rather than a negative implication. It does not mean: “If you do wrong, you will be punished by retribution.” It means: “As you see and understand yourself and others, so you make it possible, by lifting the veil, to be seen and understood.”

Life: If you heal yourself of your conflicts, if you integrate and become one within yourself, you become alive – vibrantly alive. To a small extent those of my friends who really work on this Path have experienced this to be true. Perhaps you experienced it only temporarily; nevertheless you know what I am talking about. You understand these words in a deeper sense than just as theory.

There were those moments of finding the truth within yourself when, all of a sudden, your weariness, your deadness was lifted from you. You vibrate life. You are life. And therefore you give life to others. The life force penetrates through you and finds you an instrument through which to manifest only when you are alive, when you are the life force. You have a life-giving effect on others. Life can only coexist with truth.

Where the truth is blurred by your fear, cowardice and the erroneous belief that life can be dealt with by evasion, deadness results. No matter how unpleasant the temporary truth in you may be, facing it results in a vibrant feeling of being alive. Most of you know this from your own experience in this work.

Tooth: What is a tooth? You need your teeth to bite, to chew, to prepare the physical food so that your body can assimilate it. The intrinsic meaning of a tooth is that of an instrument of assimilation. As you properly assimilate life, incidents could truly become an experience, and you are bound to exert a similar effect on others. On the other hand, your lack of assimilation causes blindness.

Your blindness in turn must create blindness toward you. I have said that before in connection with the eye – seeing, understanding. But the tooth refers specifically to the process that makes it possible to see while the eye symbolizes the end result. Some time ago, I mentioned the contagiousness of inner attitudes and reactions. All this is an explanation of that factor.

If you train yourself to follow this through in your observations, you will gain an entire understanding of this meaning. You are so often puzzled by certain situations in your life. You cannot assimilate this situation because you have as yet not found how you caused it.

Only in understanding the causes that you have set in motion will you be able properly to assimilate your life. Whenever you are puzzled, it means that you have not properly understood and assimilated the experience. This creates negative emotions which are bound to affect your environment.

People who live with this attitude will tackle any event coming their way in an entirely different spirit than people who still ascribe certain happenings to a fate outside their control. People understanding and living according to this truth will take any event and examine it profoundly as to their real reactions and hidden trends.

If done sincerely, astonishing insights must follow – perhaps not immediately, but insights must come if you persevere. You will then see that the negative result is the only medicine, the only remedy you need to change the underlying incorrect attitude. This, and this alone, is proper assimilation of life and its experiences. You often suffer because others do not understand you. I assure you that this only happens because in some way you have not assimilated life as it could be possible for you.

Some of you, my friends, have experienced that people in your environment suddenly began to react differently toward you, even though they themselves did not pursue such a path. The mere fact of your own inner growth and change has made it possible for others around you to react more positively toward you.

To the measure that you assimilate, to that measure do you affect others, and subtly enable them, to a degree, also to assimilate a little better.

If there are any questions at this point, please ask them, and we can go on with the next symbol after that.

QUESTION: You mentioned an “inner psychological law.” Would you explain that, please?

ANSWER: Whether you call it psychological or cosmic law makes no difference. It is one and the same. However, when I refer to “cosmic law,” you automatically think of something that is way outside yourself. When I say “psychological law,” you automatically associate it with yourself, as you should. The latter directs your thinking and feeling and perceiving into a more correct channel; you assume self-responsibility when you know it is you, your own law.

But “cosmic law” seems to you as if it were something that has nothing to do with you. It seems instituted from the outside, and you have no influence over it. This is an error, even if it is only in a vague feeling. In reality, the two are the same. Now let us go to the next symbol.

Hand: What does a hand stand for? Has anyone of you an idea? {Giving. Friendship. Action. Taking.}

ANSWER: Taking and giving. Yes. All that. Action includes all that – and more. The hand is the instrument with which you do, manufacture, execute an idea; with which you give, take, receive; which can be extended in friendship. Hence, the symbol of the hand represents a certain type of action, and therefore also “re-action.” As you act and react, so will be given onto you.

I hardly need elaborate on this. You all know it to be true, not only as a known religious concept, but also from your personal work experience as you work on yourself. This is very different from the concept of retribution. Thoughts and emotions are actions and reactions too. They inevitably have an effect on others and this effect comes back to you.

QUESTION: As you have already stated, this whole text is taken out of its setting and given a distorted meaning. It suggests a negative fear as though this is the rule by which one is to be governed and to retaliate by the justification of Scripture.

ANSWER: Of course. It is a typical human misunderstanding to think of this in terms of retaliation, rather than in terms of cause and effect due to a wonderfully just law that is mercy, grace, wisdom and love.

QUESTION: May I add something too? In Matthew 5:38, Jesus says: “Ye have heard that it hath been said, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth: but I say unto you, that you resist not evil.”

ANSWER: Yes. Understanding the real meaning of the quotation we are discussing here will show you that Jesus’ statement is not a contradiction at all. It may seem so, it may seem like a paradox on the one hand, or a correction on the other. It is neither. It is merely an amplification, an extension.

With the understanding that you gain on this Path, you are bound to see that all evil is self-created, and thus it is your lesson and medicine. It is the only way in which you can learn to liberate yourself from the responsible inner factors. Resisting evil, translated into terms of your personal life and reactions, means your cringing from the consequences you are directly or indirectly responsible for, therefore not learning from life.

It is the attitude in which you blame others, God, fate, life, rather than finding your own causes. It is withdrawal from life, or antagonism against it, due to failure to understand life’s real meaning. “Resisting evil” means all that. As long as you resent certain happenings in your life, as long as you disclaim responsibility for such happenings, you cannot even begin to set out finding this responsibility. Thus you are not in reality, in its true sense.

By facing yourself squarely and courageously, you must eventually find your causes and be liberated by this insight. You do not have to look to past incarnations, for if you really want to, you can always find in yourself, in the present, the root that has caused an “evil.” So this saying of Jesus is no contradiction, but serves only to extend and amplify the meaning.

QUESTION: It only sounds that way, because he said: “But I say unto you that you resist not evil; but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” So it sounds like a paradox.

ANSWER: Yes, if not taken in its superficial meaning, it is just the opposite of a contradiction. All sayings in the Scriptures have a much deeper meaning than their surface suggests. If you grasp this deeper meaning you will gain an entirely different understanding of Scripture.

QUESTION: Another saying of Jesus has been misunderstood, I believe. It has been distorted as meaning injustice. The words in Mark 4:25 read: “For he that hath, to him shall be given; and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath.” This seems to refer to the principle of the vicious circle.

ANSWER: Exactly. You see, my friends, I believe it almost impossible for anyone to truly understand Scripture, unless one does this kind of work on the Path. With this work of self-finding, the sayings will have a very clear meaning for you. You now know quite well that wherever a deviation, misconception or conflict exists in you, vicious circles result [Lecture #50 The Vicious Circle]. They snowball. They become bigger and bigger so that you continually worsen the situation.

That which you originally wanted to run away from gets much worse. Out of this evasion, you create conflicts and wrong attitudes which result in bringing more misery than you would have without such evasion and cowardice. The bargain you wanted to make by assuming a defensive, wrong inner attitude has much stronger repercussions than you realized. That is exactly what Jesus meant.

On the other hand, when you are in health, in harmony, whether in minimum or in optimum state, no hardship would have to come to you. I venture to say that anyone who has progressed somewhat in this work has personally experienced this to be true, at least to some degree. Only then will the spiritual teachings of all times be understood in their true meaning. Only then will you see that God does not sit on a throne above you, arbitrarily handing out reward and punishment, fortune and misfortune.

In your health, in accord with reality on all levels of your being, you produce more and more happiness. In your fullness, you progressively attract more positive experience. In your soul-sickness and error – productive of fear, pride, arrogance, ignorance, darkness, confusion – you are not only unhappy, but with these trends causing unhappiness, you compound the unhappiness.

Thus, from the poor will be taken away. The poor meaning the sick, the ignorant, the ones in error and darkness. The rich meaning the ones who understand. Now let us continue.

Foot: What is a foot? {Moving. Standing on. Progress.} Again, activity, but of a different kind. Let us examine the difference in activity between hand and foot. The hand’s activity is of a nature that may take place without causing a change of position of the person himself. People can produce, manufacture and do things with their hands while they remain in place. This symbolizes a certain kind of inner action. Such actions may be significant and important, but only cumulatively so.

If a whole series of such actions is added up, they point to an inherent pattern; they show an underlying principle and concept of life. In different words, the actions of the hand symbolize your everyday activities and reactions – the outer and the inner – the many little, in themselves seemingly unimportant events, and your attitude to them.

The activity of the feet, however, symbolizes movement of the entire person – or lack of it if you stand still. This can be positive in the sense of taking a firm stand, of not running away. Or it can be negative in the sense of a standstill, or stagnation. The feet involve the entire body – or person. In psychological terms, applied to your life, the movement of your feet symbolizes major changes, decisions, attitudes.

All life is differentiated between these two kinds of actions: the actions that are of minor importance if they are not a repeated pattern – passing, fleeting ones, those that do not necessarily involve your innermost being, unless they are a repeated pattern. It is the action that does not necessarily affect the inner being. The outer being, perhaps.

This is not to be taken to mean that such actions do not produce effects that come back to you. The major actions – feet – symbolize decisive change, great decisions, self-propelling movement – or the lack of it. These actions determine your spiritual stand, your basic attitude toward all major issues of life.

I need hardly emphasize again that one’s conscious attitude is not necessarily the real inner and unconscious one. It determines whether or not you choose the way upward – with all that this calls for in order to pursue it – willing to pay the price by overcoming a special resistance. Such overcoming necessitates more movement or action than just the minor ones of your hands that allows you to remain in place, so to speak.

Needless to say that such major activity has an even greater effect on yourself and others around you than the minor actions and reactions. The major activity establishes your place in life, your major events. With it you build your fate, and with it you determine the minor actions and reactions.

Burning: Do you have any idea what it could symbolize? {Sacrifice. Purification. Inner desire for development.}

ANSWER: The fire of love. The burning of being alive, of action, of doing in the right, organic way. It contains all of what you said. Love, sacrifice, purification, everything – that spark, that burning spark contained in all living organisms. If you let this spark free to become a burning flame, instead of burying it in ashes, you will incite the spark in others.

QUESTION: Is that the Divine Spark?


QUESTION: May I ask something that I think has been asked before, but I still don’t quite know the answer. Why is it that all these things were not explained with enough clarity so that they could not have been misunderstood?

ANSWER: My dearest friends, as long as one’s inner growth is not sufficiently developed, there is absolutely no way of understanding a spiritual meaning, whether clearly and directly expressed so that misunderstanding can be ruled out, or conveyed allegorically and indirectly. In fact, the more direct the explanation, the more dangerous it is for those whose understanding has not reached a higher level through development.

Even today, when humankind is in many ways more developed, if my teachings were presented to people who are far away from such thinking, such concepts, such ideas, my words could not possibly be understood. The little that might make some sense to them would have a worse effect than what they do not understand at all. They would be bound to misunderstand – which is not at all the same as not understanding – and therefore abuse would be inevitable.

QUESTION: I didn’t mean my question in such psychological terms, but in simple terms, like some sayings in the Bible which are clear even today. For instance, “Do not do unto others what you do not want to be done unto you.” This is similar in meaning, but is much clearer.

ANSWER: I can only repeat that great truth cannot be revealed to one who is not yet capable of understanding. That person is just as apt to misunderstand the “simple” explanation as the concealed one. But for those who can understand, the concealed one, hidden in symbols, has an additional meaning and revelation that cannot be found in simple statements.

Today, when the masses understand much more than they did thousands of years ago, truth can be given more directly, less veiled. But still, misunderstanding cannot be avoided, and therefore the dosage or proportion, as to how much chance can be taken, how much can be revealed, has to be well weighed. Sometimes more truth can have a worse effect and lead to greater harm than less truth. For misunderstood truth leads to half-truth which is the most dangerous of all.

Much of this has happened and is bound to happen in the future. It cannot be avoided, because the benefit for those few who derive real understanding from revealed truth will balance it out. This is why there must be a constant weighing between the benefit and the harm that truth can bring. Hiding the inner sense behind symbols is one way in which both considerations can be achieved. The symbolism protects the truth from those who would misunderstand and abuse it. And it reveals it to those who are ready for it.

But since no one is developed and fully open in all areas of their being, those who passed on the truth, who translated it, have misquoted, misunderstood and distorted the original meaning. Everyone who ever did so, did it in a different respect. But this did not happen because the truth was presented in symbols and parables, but because the person’s understanding was not sufficient. It would have been worse if the truth had been presented directly.

Truth can be a very dangerous weapon, my friends. Even the truth that I present to you can have such a result. If people are unwilling to apply it personally, in the deepest possible sense, they will assume judgement over others that may be all the more dangerous in that it would be partly true. Without recognizing their own negative tendencies people would gain an acute perception of other people’s negative tendencies, on which they then can focus out of all proportion, ignoring other factors that change the overall view.

With this outlook, they become arrogant. They judge wrongly, although what they see may be correct. And such teaching of truth may just enhance the negative outlook toward others, if they themselves do not sincerely search within themselves for what is most painful, and from what they cringe most! Truth has to be handled with care and responsibility. If people are inwardly ignorant, it is better not to feed them truth, but leave them rather in outer ignorance.

QUESTION: Jesus himself said, “For the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.”

ANSWER: Yes, that is it. You will all see more and more that this holds true.


78 QUESTION: The word “image” brings to mind an essay I just read, Imago Dei: the Image of God. I wondered often why you chose the word “image” to suggest a negative attribute within us, when in Scripture we read that “we were created in the image of God.” Is it meant that humans are not supposed to create an image of God since human-made images are only projections, but that only God can create the image of himself in man?

ANSWER: I chose the word “image” because, as again the symbol will clarify, an image is something like a picture. I could have used this expression as well. Both are rather static, dead, and an imitation of life, depicting pseudo-reality. It may be very artful, but nevertheless it is not nature, it is not real. If you now ponder the significance of the images within yourself, you will clearly see how aptly this expression has been chosen. Your images are pseudo-defenses. They are based on unreal assumptions.

They are supposed to bring you happiness – beauty. But it cannot really be so. Since human language is limited, it is always easy to misunderstand and find a different meaning for the same word. We have to keep this in consideration, and adopt the attitude that words are merely an expediency.

This will prevent you from making them a stumbling block or a rigid factor that stands in your way. When we speak of images in our sense, we know what we mean. But we can always keep in mind that other people or schools of thought think of something different. This will retain flexibility of outlook and prevent misunderstanding.

QUESTION: Even in Scripture this word is used in the negative sense. We read in the Ten Commandments, “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.” So the way we use the word “image” corresponds to the meaning of the Bible: something negative, imagined, frozen, petrified. And we do worship it in our way of catering to it.

ANSWER: Yes, exactly.

QUESTION: It would seem that people are not capable of creating an image of God, because it would be a distortion.

ANSWER: They cannot create an image of God. It is an absolute impossibility. It is inconceivable for the human concept, the human brain. It is utterly impossible. The truth of the commandment lies in the proof that, in spite of this commandment, people have made an image of God and it turned out to be so tragically damaging. This led to the anthropomorphic concept of God who is supposed to be like a person, arbitrarily meting out punishment and reward. That is the result of making an image of God.


101 QUESTION: In the traditional Scriptures of Judaism and Islam, the texts are specific regarding the consumption of fish, flesh, and fowl. It is commanded that “of their flesh shall we not eat.” Christianity has no ban against pork. In the fifteenth verse of Matthew, Jesus said, “Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth the man, but that which cometh out of the mouth.” However, during Lent, dietary restrictions are observed by Christians. My two questions are: Are the dietary laws based on that which is unclean, or on that which is holy? And what is the meaning of Lent and of the counting of the days?

ANSWER: To your first question: the dietary laws were given at a time when human beings’ scientific and hygienic knowledge was so insufficient that such information was connected with religion. Merely sanitary or health reasons dictated them. In certain periods of history, under different circumstances, the laws were changed. Nowadays, it is unnecessary for religion to set up such rules. At no time did these laws have anything to do with spiritual life. They were merely safeguards to protect health.

If humanity at this time still clings to them as a spiritual necessity, it shows a gross misunderstanding of what true spirituality is. It shows the superficial approach of humanity: people’s disinclination to think.

Your science today may find certain conditions that make it necessary to observe certain laws as long as the specific conditions prevail. When the conditions change, the laws will be eliminated. To persist in keeping them without any purpose or reason would be senseless.

As to your second question: the original symbolic meaning of the time of Lent was to give people a period of going into themselves, of purifying their systems, not only physically, but on all levels. Again, the outer is merely a symbol of the inner. A combined purification of body and soul is often healthy, provided it is done in an individual way and not merely by adhering to dogma.

Under whatever guise dogma appears, it shows rigidity and lack of self-responsibility in thinking for oneself. Thus it becomes something dead. The living spirit has gone out of it. The original symbolic meaning was that of purification, contemplation, a time of looking within the self and preparing for a new influx – a new strength with which to reach out.


102 QUESTION: I wanted to ask about the fear of the Lord. In the Bible it is said that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Have we properly understood the fear? Have we evolved beyond this?

ANSWER: This question has been discussed before. It is a question of semantics and of wrong translation. The word “fear” is extremely misleading and damaging. The original meaning is “respect” or “awe” before the greatness of the Creator. God’s infinite greatness is such that no human being can even remotely understand it.

As you grow into emotional and spiritual maturity, you realize your own limitation in understanding the greatness of Creation and of the Creator. That is the awe or respect that comes out of wisdom. The wisdom, however, lies not in the unhealthy attitude of making yourself a small sinner, of flagellating yourself, or diminishing your own value. In so doing, you would diminish the value of the Creator.

Only the very immature, the spiritual infant, will abuse himself, not knowing that it cannot possibly grasp the universal mind: God. Knowing that is wisdom. As you grow, sometimes, perhaps in a few short moments in a lifetime, you will sense your inability to comprehend him. In the moment you become aware of this incapacity, you are already much greater than you were when you ignored it.

QUESTION: Is not the fear of the Lord an element out of the ancient religions where religion had a punitive character?

ANSWER: Yes, it also comes from that time. But there is also a question of wrong translation, perhaps because of the remnants of that earlier time.

QUESTION: How about sin from the spiritual point of view? If you don’t actually commit the sin, though you are thinking about it, but out of fear or any other reason do not execute the sinful act, does this still count as sin?

ANSWER: Jesus said all there is to say on that topic. The difference between action, feeling or thought is not half as great as human beings want to believe. This happens especially when not committing the act is due to fear and not due to love and understanding. You know that you all have an aura. What you feel and think emanates from you and is somehow always perceived by others.

The higher the level of the other people’s consciousness, the more aware they may be of the emanation they perceive from you. The lower their level of consciousness, the less will they be aware of it, but unconsciously they would still know. Hence your “sin” affects others, even if it is not acted out.

On the other hand, if you repress these feelings and desires out of fear and guilt, the results are even worse. You will never get to the roots and you will not understand what makes you feel that way. You will not accept yourself as you now are and will deceive yourself into believing that you are a more evolved person than you happen to be. But if you freely admit your feelings and desires, if you acknowledge them in yourself and face them, then you can find the underlying causes. Thus you will do the one thing that will free you from fear and guilt.


QA244 QUESTION: What is the true meaning of “turn the other cheek”?

ANSWER: To break the vicious circle of negative interaction between human beings. You, on your path, have often discovered this insidious vicious circle that goes on and on, forever perpetuating negativity between persons by justifying one’s own destructive attitude, by dint of the other person’s destructive attitude. Of course it is always so much easier to see the destructiveness in the other and consider it as the reason, the primary cause of one’s own response.

“Turn the other check” means precisely to interrupt this vicious circle by taking responsibility oneself, by looking at the issue in a new light and with a fresh approach. As you have so often witnessed, this immediately dispels the destructiveness on both sides and creates unity, understanding and love. In short, Christ can reign in the soul and consciousness of those involved in such interaction.


QA244 QUESTION: The way certain things are put in the Bible seems to encourage moralizing, perfectionism, and other distortions that humanity has been trapped in, especially with regards to sexuality and the non-acceptance of it. For example: “Do not fornicate,” in the Old Testament, or the passage on adultery that Christ preached on the Mount: “But I say unto you. That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”

Do I perceive it this way because of my authority problem which applies to God and Christ too? Was what was expressed in the Bible a distortion of what and how Christ said it? If it was said that way, was it done so because it was directed to the needs of the people of that time and we today need to interpret it differently? Or is it also given as a goal that we gradually and acceptingly need to work toward?

ANSWER: Here it is a combination of several factors. In the first place the word “fornication” had a different original meaning, before it was translated. It really means sexual contact without feelings of love, caring, compassion and tenderness, but rather based on feelings of hate, contempt, dominion and often cruelty. This kind of sexuality is indeed an expression of distortion, immaturity and separateness, and must therefore lead to more frustration and unhappiness.

In former times development was much less advanced. At the period of Jesus Christ’s life, what I say here could not possibly have been understood. Such fine differentiations were inaccessible to the human consciousness because the various levels of consciousness were completely ignored and people were unaware of them. It was very simply then a question of do’s and don’ts.

It was either a question of acting out, which created chain reactions of negative events within and without the consciousness of man on the level of manifestation, or it was a question of refraining, which might have created thoughtfulness and opened the possibility of seeing things in a deeper, truer light. But at any rate, the advice at least prevented destructive action on outer and inner levels.

However, this does not mean that in your own era all sexual impulses should be denied because they are not yet merged with your hearts. In that way, such merging could never take place at all. But what is necessary, again in your time, is to recognize and understand what I said here: to be aware that sexual impulses of intense driving force without positive feelings are a displacement of real needs and make fulfillment less possible.

The word “lusting” for example, does not in its original meaning merely refer to desire. It contains a whole additional attitude. It means intent to steal, a sly envy, an attitude of saying in effect, “Why should you have what I want. I am entitled to it, not you.” It hides the deepest rebellion against God and doubt about his justice, the fairness of all spiritual laws that give everyone what he or she has earned – no more and no less.

So you see, my friends, you need to re-evaluate certain words when reading the Bible and consider them in a deeper context, rather than interpreting them on the most primitive, literal level, often in order to justify your resistance against this document.

It is true that the Bible contains a lot of sentences that sound very punitive. But here you must understand that this tenor is totally a product of what was in the consciousness of people who wrote these words. At that time God was an externalized authority figure. He could not be anything else, in spite of many sayings by Jesus to the contrary – such as “the Kingdom of God is in you.”

Jesus himself never inferred this punitive concept, but many of his sayings were interpreted that way, misunderstood, misperceived and mistranslated. Things were not helped by the attitude of later authorities, who used Christ’s teachings in order to foster their own power drives to thwart the development of autonomy – or even to convey such a possibility – long before it actually existed as a realizable factor.

I would like to add something about the aspect of punitiveness so often found in the Bible and in other spiritual Scriptures. There is, as a result of the primitive state of consciousness that prevailed at the time, a genuine misunderstanding about cause and effect. When you act out, or feel, or think in a destructive, distorted way, there are very definite consequences.

Now you are able to see that these consequences were the result of these attitudes or acts on your part. You can see that there are logical laws involved, like the law of gravity. But then, at a more primitive time, these consequences were seen as acts by an externalized, angry, punishing deity.


QA244 QUESTION: Can you shed some light on the nature of the symbolic language used in the Bible? For example, in a passage like this: “And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee, for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.” To take it literally would, of course, be disastrous and I am sure it is not meant that way. However it does have a harshness to it and I personally react angrily and rebelliously to it. How is it really meant to be read and interpreted – in the spirit of love?

ANSWER: The true meaning of this saying is, of course, that anything that keeps you from your ultimate fulfillment, in all respects and on all levels, should be cast out and denied. This refers to an attitude, a thought, an opinion, an act, and obviously not to a physical organ. A physical organ in itself could never have such an effect on the personality.

Specifically the eye symbolism applies to distorted vision of life, of God, or Creation, of things the way they really are. The strong language attempts to emphasize the severity of the consequences when man turns away from the truth of God’s laws in self-will, stubbornness and pride, in lack of faith and in the fear that God’s laws will not do right by him.

The immense damage he inflicts upon himself in that way by far outweighs the pain of even a loss of an eye or other physical organs. This particular symbolism merely tries to stress the relationship of these elements that man sees in such a blurred way.


QA244 QUESTION: In the Bible it says: “In the beginning there was the word and the word was God.” I have heard the word is “OM.” Could you explain?

ANSWER: OM is another word for God. There are many languages with many different words for the Ultimate Creator. It truly does not matter which language you use, provided your mind connects with the source of all that is.


QA244 QUESTION: What did Jesus mean when he said, “But when the Counselor comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of Truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me.” (John 15:26) Also in John 16:13-15 he speaks of the Counselor or the Spirit of Truth who will “answer you into all the truth.” Who or what is the Counselor, or the Comforter, or the Holy Ghost?

ANSWER: The Counselor, the Spirit of Truth or the Holy Spirit are all the same. It is the ever present, available Voice of the Living God at your disposal, if only you wish to hear it and to open yourself to it. It comes from within you, but also from outside of you, perhaps imbedded in another person, through someone else’s consciousness.

The Holy Spirit exists in all truth, in all voices that express God’s truth. It exists in the form of angels and highly developed spirits who come to your aid and voice what you need to hear. 1t comes as an inner voice. It comes as your conscience. The Counselor always advises according to the deepest and highest truths. The Holy Spirit is also the Comforter, who dispenses peace, hope, light and new bright visions where it seemed hopeless before.


QA244 QUESTION: In Chapter XXIV Verse 52 of the Gospel according to St. Matthew, Jesus says to one of his disciples who defended him against the servant of the high priest as he was captured: “Put up again thy sword into its place, for all that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” How does this refer to the struggle against evil that you have discussed in the last lecture [Lecture #244 “Be in the World but not of the World” – The Evil of Inertia]?

ANSWER: Again and again man hears a statement, an injunction, a spiritual law and he wants to apply this particular facet of spiritual reality to all situations in life. He resists the unalterable fact that different laws exist for different situations; that opposites contain a unity; that one mode of behavior or action cannot apply to all situations.

What is appropriate in one situation may be utterly wrong in another. There is a time for fighting and there is a time for peaceful yielding. The forces of evil always try to confuse man, so that he applies the yielding attitude when fighting is right, and fights when yielding is right.

This applies, of course, to many other apparent opposites, as I so often explain to you, my friends. It would be so wonderful if you could all begin to be aware of the temptation to use one attitude when the other is appropriate, in any duality – to be aware of giving in to evil temptation and creating a thick cloud of confusion, fear and pain.


QA244 QUESTION: I understand that the Bible contains both truth and distortion since it was written by man. My question concerns truth and distortion in the book of Revelation, the last book in the New Testament, John’s vision. For years I have been puzzled and disturbed by its abstract symbolism and violent quality. I feel a lot of fear when I read this book.

Much of my confusion comes, I am sure, from the rigid interpretation the Seventh-day Adventists gave to both Daniel and Revelation – to the entire Bible for that matter. But even having realized that their literal interpretation of everything in the Bible is not truth, I am still perplexed and uncomfortable with this book, especially with such symbols and events as: the beast with ten horns and seven heads, ten crowns and a blasphemous name on each head; the mark of the beast, 666, which is man’s number; the 144,000 sealed on the forehead with God’s name who are untouched by the doom at the end of the world; the pregnant woman, the dragon and the woman’s fleeing to the desert for 1260 days; the thousand years of Satan’s imprisonment.

What meaning does this book have for me and for those of us here at this time?

ANSWER: My beloved friends, how in the world can you – whoever believes in and fears those horrors depicted in the Bible and elsewhere – assume that a loving God could punish with such vicious vengeance and sadism, with such vindictive cruelty, as all these threats imply?

It is indeed true that the lower self of man creates events and situations that are painful to him, that can kill his physical body and can create a climate of terror and senselessness. This happens precisely because of man’s belief in terror and senselessness.

However, if you but look around yourself and see Creation – its unchanging goodness, mercy, kindness, beauty and grace – you will see that it is senseless to fear that you are victims of a general and overall fate which will affect you, regardless of your own state of consciousness. These fears are exactly the expression of the existential fear I discussed in one of the recent lectures [Lecture #243 The Great Existential Fear and Longing].

This fear exists individually in man’s soul and also collectively. It is the height of lack of faith. This fear induces religious leaders to disseminate a philosophy of fear, thereby hoping to alleviate – in themselves and in their flock – the ultimate threat of a senseless, cruel universe and deity. No matter how enlightened Jesus’ apostles and disciples were, for the times they lived in, they were oblivious of these levels of consciousness.

All was projected outward and nothing seen in the light of self-creation. They were deeply influenced by the manifestations of these inner fears and the separation in consciousness, between cause and effect. They disregarded their own perception of Jesus’ glory and the courage with which they stood up for him.

Testimonies must be read with the understanding that their authors operated only within the framework of their era, their culture and their development. When for example, spiritual leaders who are enlightened in other respects have certain visions of horror, these visions are usually interpreted as objective outer facts and as events that will outwardly occur.

They are not understood as expressions of the inner world of terror and fear that exists in the visionary’s soul, that part of the soul which is still separated from God’s truth and which is unaware of doubting God’s reality. Today you have gained sufficient knowledge in the course of mankind’s general development, to recognize that a nightmare is not heralding an objective event, but signifies a personal and subjective inner condition.

Jesus always tried to convey this in all his teachings, but all these references were misunderstood and often totally deleted. Often he tried to show that these inner fears have the power to manifest outwardly, that they can create an outer reality, as you all well know. But it is impossible to draw people into these creations if they have not themselves created them too.

Therefore all such references in the Bible are descriptions of inner states of consciousness, whether the narrator was aware of this or not. Do not forget that the Bible has gone through many translations. It has been rewritten many times. This is why any kind of orthodoxy in these subjects is so foolish and so destructive for the soul. It hinders growth and expansion of consciousness.

At those times even dreams, regular ordinary dreams, were interpreted as outer, objective facts and events. The cosmic language is always symbolic – it cannot be otherwise, because it does not lend itself to be squeezed into human language. Do not believe for a minute, my friends, that my language to you is not also, in many instances, symbolic.

Symbolic language changes in the same way as human consciousness changes. What is now apparently real can only be a fumbling, symbolic description of cosmic realities and events – the same in essence, as was the case then. But obviously as man grows and his consciousness expands, his ability for abstract thinking also grows and therefore the symbolism alters. Similarly the myths of each era change.

There is no point in analyzing the exact nature of these fearful images you mention. With your understanding of dream interpretation and of cosmic symbolism, some of it will become quite clear when you meditate about it, as I suggested you do.

For example, “the beast with ten horns and seven heads” refers to the ability of the Forces of Darkness to confuse man with contradictions that are not contradictions. Evil speaks with many minds – seven heads – always splitting off consciousness from the truth and the simplicity of divinity. This is their weapon – the horns. There are many weapons, just as there are many heads – contradictory messages.

Numbers have a particularly symbolic significance. If you study some of the old mysteries and myths, allowing your deeper mind to inspire you, you will begin to discover some of the miracle keys of numbers. But I warn against the common mistake among numerologists who interpret all numbers uniformly for all situations.

You will never be able to totally understand the interaction of cosmic and personal forces that are all contained in numerical keys. But you can at least become aware of these mysteries and thereby open your minds for more inspiration and deeper enlightenment.


QA244 QUESTION: I don’t understand the saying in the Bible about turning the other cheek when you are slapped.

ANSWER: It really has the same meaning as “do not resist evil.” Again I want to emphasize not to confuse this with passive endurance when it may be appropriate to stand up and fight for what is right. Turn the other cheek merely means to use your powers of differentiation, to judge when fighting back may be perpetuation of aggression and further involvement into evil with no purpose and no chance of dissolving the negative interaction.

Perhaps we can say that positive assertion can happen fruitfully only when you are truly filled with one single motive: to further the will of God; to express the Christ in you; to expose yourself, to stand up for the truth without personal gain in any way or on any level.

When you fight, you must fight for – for the truth, for justice, for a good cause – rather than against – against someone who has angered you. When you are motivated by the cause of God, rather than by your self-will and your pride, you will feel strong and secure and therefore not inhibited by guilt.

Turn the other cheek means, in a different terminology, to let go of your self-righteous case and look into yourself, where you may possibly be contributing to the negative interaction, where you are perhaps provoking the aggressive action of your opponent. It is a habit you must practice over and over again.

You must learn to give up the temptation to stand for a self-righteous position that can always be rationalized by total concentration on the other person’s wrongs. Sometimes these wrongs actually exist. Other times they only exist in your wishful thinking, in your distortions, in your wish not to take responsibility for your lower self. Fighting with such an attitude is indeed damaging and perpetuates evil.

On this Path, you learn that the victim is often as responsible as the perpetrator. And what a liberation this is! Only when you live this injunction will you find secure self-esteem and genuine strength to fight when it is desirable and necessary. The shackles you now so often feel when you know, in your mind, that fighting would be appropriate, are exactly the result of fighting in the wrong way – of insisting on your self-righteous position without looking into yourself.


QA245 QUESTION: I am a new member of the Pathwork and have just completed the Core weekend working with John Pierrakos. I have reached a new, much deeper level in my sense of myself, as well as my relationship to God, to others, and the world. I can only suggest my deep feeling of gratitude at this time of Thanksgiving.

I have a question about the first Beatitude, which Jesus Christ gives in his sermon on the mount, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

I was first exposed to these teachings when very young, and the feeling reached me in a pre-rational place. When I think rationally about “poverty of spirit,” it does not seem at all to be desirable. On the other hand, my deeper feeling about this teaching is like a block, which keeps me from claiming the abundant rewards, which my work in this world should provide.

I discover that I am arrogant in my feelings of poverty, and feel superior in a moral sense to those who have ostensible wealth. Yet my desire for material riches is unabated and at the same time unfulfilled out of a fear for my “heavenly future.”

ANSWER: To be “poor in spirit” means to be empty, without preconceived ideas. Man’s mind is often “rich” in the wrong way. He knows all the answers. His knowledge often sterns from associations based on incorrect information, on misunderstandings. The images, in the sense I have taught you, are products of such fixed ideas based on faulty and emotionally tinged associations.

Only when man can empty himself of all these notions and thus become “poor in spirit,” or in mind, will the true riches flow into him – from within and without. For example, in the discussion about Jesus Christ, many of you “know” that Jesus was not the Messiah, that he is responsible for the Jew’s sufferings, that he is the product of primitive distortions, that he is a fairy tale, that such a person never existed. Or that he is a stern, forbidding master who demands deprivation from you and who prevents you from happiness and self-fulfillment.

The atheist “knows” that there is no God. The scientist only “knows” his most recent discoveries – anything beyond that is often ridiculed. All these are some typical examples of a filled mind, a “rich spirit” that prevents the true treasure. I hope you will not interpret my words to mean that you should discard all genuine learning and knowledge in order to be “poor in spirit.”

What I mean to say here, and what the Bible means to convey with this saying, is that you should learn to discriminate where your knowledge is limited and distorted and where you therefore need an empty mind, an unprejudiced clean slate, in order to be receptive for real wisdom.

Material wealth does not need to be a hindrance to spiritual wealth. It often can be, just as other kinds of power can be. If knowledge is used to deny the Holy Spirit, it is as much of an obstruction as money or any other kind of wealth can be.


QA251 QUESTION: In reading the Bible, I came across this passage in which both phrases seem to be distortions of all we have come to know as the truth and as the basis for mutuality between husband and wife. Can you help me understand this? Also where does the current inside me come from when my life is not lived that way at all?

Matthew 5:32, “But I say unto you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication causeth her to commit adultery; and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.”

In the next passage, which is part of Christ’s message to his disciples, I can understand the concern for more than the physical, and not making food, clothes and all that, your focus. However, I do not understand why Christ would say to take no thought for these things, since they seem in direct opposition to all we have learned through your teachings and inner guidance to honor our bodies, to look beautiful when we feel this is an expression of our inner beauty and to cook and eat with love honoring our physical reality and the vessel of our spirit. Can you help me understand this passage further?

Matthew 6:25, “Therefore I say unto you, take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body more than raiment?”

ANSWER: Fornication and adultery in the Bible mean loveless sex, sexual activity that leaves out the being of the partner, that merely uses her – or him, for that matter. As to divorce, many biblical sayings were destined for humanity at that particular time. What was right and important then is no longer valid now.

At that time, people were very split and it was difficult for them – much more difficult than now – to combine the heart with sexuality – to be committed to a relationship and build it painstakingly. The natural tendency then was promiscuity; it was natural and instinctual on the outer level. In order for these instinctual levels to develop, outer rules were then necessary, so that at least attempts could be made to stay together and work out difficulties.

Only when the rules became overpowering and stifling, when the spirit became thwarted by them, and when, at the same time, development had sufficiently proceeded for individuals to comprehend the need to develop partnerships of their own free will, only then could new societal mores be instituted.

The Bible combines sayings that were appropriate only for that specific period of history, with sayings that contained eternal truths – although perhaps often in a veiled form. It requires a great deal of spiritual understanding to sort these out – to distinguish which is which.

As to your second question, again you have to see that Jesus’s saying was appropriate at that time, when people were inclined to be superficial and focus exclusively on the outer level of life. Therefore religion – all religions – had to stress the inner life. Again, the pendulum went too far into the opposite direction. Again, this had its purpose and meaning.

Now it can be righted and hold a position of unified truth. When spirituality totally negated outer life, beauty, feelings, the body and even nature in the surroundings to a degree, mankind became ready to make the unification of this duality, so that inner life could be expressed in outer life. But before this could happen, the awareness of an inner life first had to be cultivated. For that, the focus on the outer life had to be temporarily removed.

Why is it so difficult for people to understand that Jesus spoke to the people of his time, as well as for all eternity? If he could be heard today, many of the things he said then, he would say again, although perhaps in a different way. And instead of many things he said then, he would say now something entirely different. This is why it is so absurd to take the Bible literally.

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