8 QUESTION: How about the connection between the material and the spiritual, God and mammon? What is the right integration of the two?
ANSWER: Again, with money it is as with all other things. The principle is the same. When money is used as a means to an end, not a goal in itself, then the integration is right. When a person consciously determines not to be bound to matter by money, but to use it like all the other gifts of God, such as health or any talent, in a spirit of gratefulness, to use the freedom from worries that money can provide to intensify his or her spiritual development, then the integration is just right. This is very difficult for many people.
It seems easier to take the way to God when they are in a crisis, while the freedom from worries would make them deviate from the spiritual path. This, however, does not mean that it is necessary for the person who has material goods to give them away so as not to be burdened by possessions.
You can enjoy wealth when you conquer the temptation that money, more than anything else, brings. It would be fanatical to say that a person has to give everything away and live in poverty so as to ascend spiritually. Such a task may sometimes be demanded from a person, but this is an exception.
For instance, that person might be required to set an example to others, to those who say that it is no great feat to develop spiritually if one does not have material worries, but when one worries about the daily bread it is impossible to occupy oneself with such questions. It also happens that a very developed spirit is entrusted with this special mission during his or her Earth life. If that is so, he or she will be led to it in meditation.
More often than not, a person whose life is marked with an absence of material cares is tested to prove that he or she will follow the way of God in spite of the temptation, and is not captured by the spirit that rules the world of matter.
One cannot set up a generally valid rule for establishing the right middle ground; everything depends on the character. If a person leans toward greed, the right integration needs to proceed differently from another type who spends carelessly. Everyone must find his or her own middle ground, and you will certainly find yours on this Path.
QUESTION: In other words, for those who strive spiritually, poverty is not a necessary condition, although this is assumed in many philosophies.
ANSWER: In no way does it have to be so, although it is possible in individual cases. When different philosophies establish this as a general principle, they do so because, again and again, it turns out that people fail to handle money rightly and find the Path easier when they are poor. What is left out of consideration here is that all entities must, in the cycle of their incarnations, prove themselves capable of standing fast under any circumstances.
QA172 QUESTION: Lately, my means of livelihood are all coming to me through slightly questionable channels and just enough to keep my head above water. I also fear that I’m going to get robbed, and there might be a reason for this – indeed it might happen. At the same time, I think there’s a little bit of penetration of the whole idea of inertia going on too, through the physical work that seems like such a torturous activity. What do you think of that?
ANSWER: The questionable sources as well as the fear of being robbed and the limited way of life in your material way of living are all expressions of a deep, inner consciousness of poverty in some way – if not directly of poverty, of limitation.
For you, it is that you must not have it or that you will not have it or that you should not have it. In other words, it is absolutely important for you to find out that this concept is imprinted into your soul substance and governs your life. Only when you become aware of it can you eliminate it and indoctrinate your soul substance with a positive consciousness.
This fear – I would even say conviction – that you should not have more than a minimum, has its effects on your personality inwardly. Again, this is not conscious. And this effect, of course, must be resentment. If a person feels he should not fully enjoy the richness and abundance of life, he must be resentful. In this resentment, he fights.
If, on the one hand, you believe that something has decreed over you that you must not enjoy life at its richest, the fighting spirit inwardly comes up and says, “If I am deprived of that, I will take it upon myself, even if it is set that I do not deserve it; even if life does not give it to me freely, I will take it. I will be a thief of the things that should be mine.”
Now, these thoughts are, of course, not conscious. But they express an inner conflict. It is like a person who is inwardly convinced he is no good. He must then resent that vague something that says he is no good and fight and say, “Well, I am very good.” But he does not have to do that if he were really convinced that he is good.
And so if you were really convinced that life is rich and the richest richness is yours, you would not have to feel defiant and resentful about it – you would not have to take it illegally, as it were. This inner battle creates this outer situation in which the questionable sources are not quite as you feel it should be.
At the same time, it is not quite more than to keep your head over water. All this stems from this battle in you. It is because there are guilts involved also that this self-depriving attitude exists, and the inertia stems from that.
If you would really feel that you deserve the best, then you would not have to feel activity is questionable and not quite to be trusted. For the way it is now, activity implies the battle against the imagined fate decreed upon you, which is very hostile and aggressive against the world and says, “I take; I hate; I resent, and I will take from you what you say does not belong to me.”
But this is an imaginary, illusory act. For no one really says it except your imagination. But you distrust your own activity because of the aggression and the hostility that are not conscious and that you do not know what to do with, when they threaten to become conscious.
QA251 QUESTION: The Pathwork community in the Washington-Virginia area recently dedicated our new building. While this was a significant event for us, we are still troubled by our difficulty in obtaining bank financing for this building. We would appreciate your guidance on the deeper meaning of this problem.
ANSWER: Any difficulty that is being encountered by man should first of all be approached in the spirit of “What can I learn from it?” rather than the spirit of “Is this given me to punish me because of something wrong I did?” This latter spirit is quite pronounced in many individuals.
There is always a sense of guilt that comes immediately to the fore when things do not go exactly as desired. Only when this attitude is no longer so firmly entrenched can you see the chain of cause and effect. For example, in this case, there is a strong fear of and dislike for dealing with the outside world. This creates an inner current of unwillingness.
If you examine the fear, it still contains some measure of doubt about your venture. The inner, not necessarily quite conscious argument runs somewhat as follows: “If we fail and we owe money to our own people, we have all failed together, it is all our common responsibility in a common venture. While if we do business with outside institutions, we, personally, can be held responsible.” Not that this is not understandable. It is no crime.
But there exists a lot of guilt about this unconscious or semiconscious reasoning, which in turn, creates a negative attitude toward receiving loans from banks. The guilt exists due to a sense of pulling in those who gave the money. You believe that you betray them with such thoughts.
The betrayal is really that part in you in which you do not trust God. Rather than feeling guilty, bring out this fear and doubt and deal with it consciously. Then the No-current against borrowing from banks will dissolve.
QA251 QUESTION: I find myself pulling back from the Pathwork lately. Part of it is the money problem – my recurring feeling that my Pathwork expenses subvert my positive desire for financial health. It appears to me that on this level, I must make one of two seemingly negative choices: either withdraw temporarily from the Pathwork and other commitments, or live in a state characterized by paralysis and worry over deficit spending. I know that simultaneous with the money problem is my pulling back from the increased level of giving, of commitment, of taking responsibility occurring now in the Path.
I fear that continuing my commitment in this negative way is harmful to myself and others, and I also fear pulling back. I feel that I want to make my decisions based on God’s will, on fulfilling the tasks for which I have come, for myself and the larger plan. Could you comment from this framework on my desire to pull back?
I know that on the financial level, the answer lies in my business producing more income. While I do feel good about the business, certain expansion plans have not worked out, and we have not been able to expand our income appreciably. Could you comment on this? I know that the leaving of my Helpers had an unsettling effect on me. Could you comment on the meaning of their leaving for me and for my Path?
ANSWER: The answer to these various aspects of questions is really one. It is the very basic struggle that all human beings go through at one time or another to give up the small self for the larger self. The latter is dedicated to God’s will, has faith in giving out of yourself, and trusts what seems risky and impoverishing – giving.
So you hold yourself together fearfully, hoarding yourself, as it were, and resent the Pathwork for forcing you, as it appears to you, to make the next inevitable step in your personal evolution. The fear of commitment to your total surrender to a larger cause manifests in guilt, which then makes you unable to receive all that you could so easily receive from life.
Then your resentments grow even stronger against the Pathwork, on which you project the feeling of discomfort about yourself, and the vague, nagging sense that there is something lacking in you for which you are more than ready. It is precisely for that reason that you do not have the financial success you desire and which indeed, you could easily have.
In your inner struggle, you set having enough money as an opposite to your Pathwork commitments. This is a falsity that tricks you into more confusion. The truth is exactly the reverse. If you see that the central point of your life is the will of God for you, and not as something generalized and vague, but concise – are you willing to trust to give all of yourself? – then all else will fall into place.
You will have sufficient money, time and energy to do what is your destiny to do. Your inner negative will created the financial problem in the first place, so as to have a good excuse not to delve deeper into your soul and give all of yourself to your life, to your Creator.
Doubts and resentments against the Pathwork and its leaders were created in you in a similar way, for the same reason as you created the money problems. They all serve the same purpose. And this is obviously also the same reason why you were affected in just such a way by the regrettable incidents of your former Helpers.
It would be extremely important for you to bring out this level of your consciousness where you choose, want and thus create all these attitudes and events, very deliberately. It is not as obscure and difficult to ascertain as you may believe.
I venture to say that it will be relatively easy for you, with the help of your Helpers and peers, to move out the intentionality to have insufficient funds; the intentionality to doubt this Pathwork and its leaders; the intentionality to be influenced and biased in an issue such as the one you mentioned with your former Helpers. Even your strong attachment to them cannot just be sloughed off with the label of transference.
How so? It is precisely because you received a nurturance, without helping you into these areas that you need to go into in order to become whole, in order to purify incomplete aspects in you, which are bound to produce pain, fear and frustration. You will be relieved and feel liberated when you bring out this intentionality in you. It will strengthen you, and you will see how much power you actually possess to create the life you wish.
But you will only be able to use this power for your fulfillment, without guilt and fear, when you give all of yourself to God and his plan and your task and the great movement to give all of yourself. You have nothing to fear in making this commitment – and all to gain. You must stop searching for a parental figure that will remove the sense of guilt from you, that is inevitable as long as you do not follow the plan of your soul.
You are ready for the next step, and your holding back must create guilt. This is not a neurotic guilt, it is a blessing that helps you find the truth and your way. Only by taking this next step freely, trustingly and generously will you emerge free from guilt and strong in a new joyousness.