QA135 QUESTION: Could you speak about fear, in particular the fear of being responsible for making decisions that may have irreversible results and for decisions that might bring mistakes and cannot be changed?
ANSWER: The question, to really simplify this, is that one’s own fallibility makes it unavoidable to make mistakes. These mistakes have their consequences. Therefore, an individual is afraid of the consequences of one’s own limitations, one’s own imperfections. Some of these mistakes may have an apparently irrevocable result. And, therefore, one fears making decisions and mistakes in the future or in the present. That is the question.
Now you see, here we again come to two extremely basic, universal approaches and concepts of life. There is the one concept that mankind is taught, which speaks of man’s self-responsibility and the consequences of his own action. And there’s the other precept which man is taught throughout the ages, in one form or another, that says man cannot be affected by anything else but by himself.
Yet, at the same time, he is, apparently contradictorily, told, “You have to love your neighbor, because your actions of hate affect him.” So he is in a confusion, for this question expresses exactly that confusion. Is man self-responsible – can he never be affected by those action of others? Then why is love so important? Or is everything he does of immediate consequence also to his fellow beings?
This is a very basic confusion of mankind. Of course, as is every confusion, this is a product of a split of concepts – the duality, this – of the unitive principle. From a practical point of view, I have this to say. On your immediate level of function, the human level, your actions affect yourself and affect others as well. But others can only be affected to exactly the degree they have their own problems and distortions.
You affect yourself only where you have your own distortion. You are affected by others only where you have your own distortions. And others are affected only where they have their own distortions by their – as well as your, as well as anybody else’s – destructive action. The moment this is clearly understood, the confusion dissolves.
Because then you will know, on the one hand, how important love is. For when you exude love, you do not activate the other person’s problems. The other person’s problems have to be activated by his own problems. But at the same time you cannot feel destructively guilty. Guilt has no room in understanding this. For what you do to another person, you can only do to him because he has to go through with it due to his own imperfection, his own confusion.
The negative result must lead to a positive outcome anyway, for all the negative experience you have must finally bring you to salvation, meaning the realization of truth, the realization of unity, the realization of the complete abundance of all happiness, right here and right now. This realization comes, when individuals so wish, only when they err and suffer. When they do not wish to err and suffer, they can come to it sooner. But if they wish this, their as well as your errors seem to create their suffering.
The only thing I can add is that when you conceive of yourself only as the human being you now see yourself to be – your outer ego, your little will, your intellect, all that which you are now aware of that you are, with all your neurotic fears and insecurities – you must feel inadequate. You must therefore also fear your decisions.
It might, for many – I do not say for all – but for many people on this Path, be a very useful device to remind yourself, again and again, when you discover yourself in this fearful state, that this is not all there is to you – that there is a larger, wider, deeper, wiser and fuller, more reliable self in you, which your goal it is through this Pathwork, to activate.
Directly address yourself to this deeper, inner self that has all you need. Now, I know I have said this many times before, but in this direct connection, with such a problem, it is very useful. Because you can go around in circles and know all the answers in your intellect and work on it – and you will still be in fear. But when you address yourself, very directly, to this wider being in you, you may get a faster result than ever before. The more vigorously and full-heartedly you do this, the more infallible the result will be.
Now, whether it is that you have a fear of an inadequacy in a certain action, or whether it is that you doubt that you can reach a certain state of maturity on this Path, or whether it is that you fear making a decision or not knowing which decision – whatever it may be – realize that there is something in you that is much wiser than that which you are immediately aware of.
Address yourself to this something. Very directly, inside, go into yourself, and if you doubt that this other, this wider, wiser, deeper, more reliable part of you exists, nevertheless do it and do it wholeheartedly. Say, “This is a theory, and emotionally I still doubt it. I can only convince myself if I try it. And I try it out. I have nothing to lose and nothing to risk by addressing myself to this wider being, this deeper self, this innermost being of myself, that knows all the answers, that gives me the right guidance. I take the apparent risk of entrusting myself to it. Fully and wholeheartedly, I commit myself to it. Nothing can happen. It cannot come out worse than it is now. It can only lead me or not, but I take the full chance of entrusting myself to it.”
The more you do this, my friends, on any question whatever, the more infallibly you will convince yourself of its reality and therefore your trust in yourself must grow. For, after all, all my friends, you who are here and all the others, what is the basic question we are so concerned with on this Path? Establishing self-respect, self-liking, self-reliance, self-trust! And that can only be done by bringing forth that part of yourself that is not out in the open yet, that which is utterly reliable, which contains all you need.
The more directly you address yourself to it, the faster you will convince yourself. Try. Do not postpone doing that! Do not just play around with the idea, theorizing about the idea. Do it! Do it right now, in every issue you want, and you will get the result, I promise you. To the extent you do it, you must get the result. It is merely a question of doing it.
QA174 QUESTION: I’m planning to leave for a few months on a vacation, maybe longer, to settle somewhere else. I consider this a very positive move in which I’m trying to go to an environment that will be conducive to more creative things. I’ve been told by my Helpers that this very easily could be a running away. I understand that there is certainly a lot of negativity in me. How do you balance that there’s something positive with the fact of something negative?
ANSWER: If you feel that strongly about it, you should do it. Part of being adult is “I go according to my inner feelings, right or wrong. If it turns out a mistake, I take the consequences of the mistake upon myself.” This is the nature of adult decision making. If you can do that, then you will be all right.
There is no guarantee that whenever one makes a decision it will not have disadvantages also. Or it may be a mistake, but sometimes one learns from mistakes. No act in itself is guaranteed to be right or wrong. It is always the underlying attitude.
If you say, “I have this strong desire; I have this strong feeling. I take the responsibility upon myself, even if it proves afterward that there’s some element that perhaps were this way. I will see it and I will correct it.” Then you are all right. But you have to take the consequences upon your own self.