55 QUESTION: May I ask about the difference and distinction of obligation as against gratitude? I mean that apart from the element of freedom and compulsion.
ANSWER: Gratitude has nothing to do with obligation. Now, I do not speak of compulsion either. If you make a contract with a person, then due to that contract you are obligated to fulfill certain conditions. This is your obligation. It has nothing to do with gratitude on either side.
QUESTIONER: I don’t mean it that way. I mean it in the way that there are people who feel, if they get any favor, obligated instead of grateful.
ANSWER: In that moment either a compulsive element, or any other number of sick or deviated reactions must exist. In a case like this, one must look deeper to find the reasons. For instance, there are people who cannot receive. They may be capable of giving, but when it comes to receiving, they feel humiliated – therefore often unduly obligated. Yet, there is not necessarily a compulsion there – not in the strict sense of the word. That would be using a label, and we must try to stay away from any labels, but rather dig out what goes on underneath.
Find out why the person feels that way. Where is the misconception? There must be a wrong conclusion somewhere. You will probably find the wrong conclusion that “to receive means to be humiliated.” But find out further why? What brought this misconception into existence, what led to it? That will show where the obstruction lies and therefore how it can be dissolved. It is not necessarily a compulsion, but even if it is, it is not enough to know that.
Any word can become a label if it is supposed to furnish the final answer, whether it is the word “pride” or “compulsion” or whatever it may be. It is dangerous to just call it by some name and then let it go at that. That will never get you any further. The person still cannot help it. The way, the only way, in cases like this, is to find where the misconception is, the wrong idea. There must be one.
110 QUESTION: How can one differentiate between hunches and psychic phenomena? What is the borderline?
ANSWER: I do not believe that it is possible, even desirable, to establish a borderline. It is not necessary to put everything into a pigeonhole, a compartment, to label human experience. This only rigidifies life and the experience of life. The dynamic process that life is cannot be defined by borderlines indicating where one manifestation of life begins and another ends. In many instances, what may appear to the human eye as two different life manifestations may, in reality, be the same one, expressing itself in different degrees and forms.
There are, of course, crass differences, as, for example, between physical psychic phenomena and trance mediumship, or automatic writing. There one can clearly define the difference. But when it comes to intuitive perception, there is no necessity to define whether it is the one or the other. Just perceive and experience, just try to live the experience.
Beware of labeling – it does not help. Be happy to widen your scope of experience and trust in your own faculties that develop through your growth. Your previous insistence on psychic phenomena was also a form of self-alienation, a lack of trust in your own faculties, as well as a means to seek self-importance. Now be content with your intuitive faculties.
QA115 QUESTION: I was present at a conference today that was attended by some notables. And one person suggested something that was perfectly sound, valid and far-reaching, and another person jumped up and said, “How unrealistic can you get?” In all our teaching here, you have used the word “reality” as meaning that which is enduring and in accord with divine principles. Yet all around us they say “how unrealistic can you be?” and follow that which is really unreal. Also, when you suggest something that is meritorious, the label becomes “hoping to do good.”
ANSWER: Well, you see, my dear, here is this good same old question of distorting words and meaning. The same fate has befallen, for instance, the concept of love. You all know that. How many times that word is used when in reality it has nothing to do with it!
The same with reality. There are many people who pride themselves on being very realistic, while in reality they are merely embittered, cynical, hopeless, and feel life is meaningless and worthless, and only the jungle animal wins, and there is no sense to anything.
It is their own distortion, bitterness, error, childishness and misconception that can be glorified with the label: “I am so realistic.” Isn’t it always true that man tries to glorify his errors? All that which is most destructive, he puts a glorified label on it. Here we have the same thing.
People do not want to admit – to say – that they are hopeless. They try to justify their own hopelessness by proclaiming they are the realists and, “This is what life really looks like. The others are only too dumb to see it.” They make a philosophy out of their own feeling of failure and inadequacy, so as to justify their bitterness and their sense of being a failure. This is a very current thing.
The more you, all of you, my friends, grow on this Path of self-finding, the more you will be able to distinguish, when people use a word: Do they really mean what it really means? Or are they going through a process such as I described here? It is the same thing as when a very possessive and jealous person, or one who is perhaps masochistic and self-destructive, uses all these aspects under the beautiful label of love. And he prides himself how much he loves, and the other people have no idea of love, because they do not destroy themselves for their love.
Again, this seems to alleviate the brunt of one’s own isolation and hopelessness that one does not know how to cope with. One makes an arrogant philosophy out of it. One lords it over the other person. One makes oneself superior with it. It is always the same, whether it be love or reality or peace or whatever it may be.