63 QUESTION: I have been wondering if physical pain has spiritual value and what kind of value it may have otherwise, especially with people who die in agony. Can they apply this experience in their spirit form toward further development?
ANSWER: Of course it is possible for the spirit of a human being to use an Earth experience in the realm of the Spirit World. It happens constantly in every respect. As to pain in particular, it depends on the attitude. Pain in itself is not necessarily beneficial if the attitude is unconstructive, at least not while the unconstructive attitude prevails. When one changes one’s attitude, the past experience will then become valuable retrospectively.
If a person has a healthy and constructive approach to pain – or any other unpleasant experience – the value is a tremendous one. The experience will be the medicine, as I have stated so often. It will give you understanding of the inner causes of this experience. It will thereby make you free and further your growth, independence and happiness.
QA134 QUESTION: I recently had the experience at the dentist where I received an anesthetic and went home and felt numbness in my face. I was wondering whether I wasn’t creating a numbness in me emotionally in order to avoid certain emotional pain? Also I want to ask, what is pain?
ANSWER: The first question is, of course, in the affirmative. It is perfectly true in your recent work you’re beginning to gain glimpses of this – that you have experienced great pain. Therefore, you have numbed yourself as a protective mechanism, which in childhood, in this case, was actually an anesthesia and it worked.
But it did not work when you maintained it where it had not only no use, but where it prohibited you from living. And you will now learn, gradually and little by little, to dissolve the numbing forces – to let the anesthesia deliberately wear out and become alive again – to realize that nothing could be as bad as the numbness, and that you’re perfectly equipped to live without the great pain you once experienced, and without numbness, but in dynamic aliveness. This will be your way now. It is your way now.
Now, what is pain? There is really a very, very simple answer. Pain is the result of not understanding. It is confusion. It is distortion of reality. That is pain. Visualize a perfectly straight and relaxed limb. In this relaxed limb that functions perfectly – take an arm – it functions perfectly. It is capable of fulfilling all it is meant to fulfill, without stress. It can do so much.
But when you distort the arm, it is painful and it can no longer fulfill its function. And that is exactly the same with the human personality, the psyche. Where the mind distorts, it cannot fulfill the function anymore and it gets into a state of pain. A distorted concept creates pain and cannot fulfill what is meant to fulfill.
QUESTION: Could you describe physical pain?
ANSWER: Well, I just described that. Whether it is physical, mental, emotional or spiritual, it is exactly the same on all levels. That is what it is. The more one strains against the false concept, the more one fights it by denying and rebellion, the more tension and distortion comes in.
The psyche has to learn to let go, to relax. And in that relaxing process, one seems to go the opposite way by temporarily accepting the negativity, not in a sense of believing “this is it,” but in a sense of facing it, of looking at it, of acknowledging it while knowing perfectly well that it is a product of unreality and illusion, and by accepting it is here at the moment.
That lets go of the tension, because it means living in the Now; it means not straining away from the moment. Accepting what is, transcends the error. Not by finding truth away from Now, away from this moment, away from the self, but by accepting the negative, finding the underlying truthful and blissful state, right here and right now – but only by the process of acceptance in the Now.
Therefore an untensing, a flexibility, a letting go, a relaxation of the whole psyche is instituted. By striving away from what is, be it in fight or in flight – and numbness is flight – one tenses, one is in a tense state, and therefore one distorts more.
Now, in meditation this too can be used by listening into yourself, listening into your soul movements, becoming aware of these soul movements within you, feeling precisely, pinpointing – first only vaguely and little by little with becoming more precisely aware of this tense soul movement that strives away from what is, in rebellion or hostility or submission, in fight or in flight, in denial or in repression.
Instead, leave the soul movement, look at the soul movement, speak to this soul movement, and allow yourself to be this soul movement while knowing this is not the ultimate truth, and being instrumental that you in this soul movement let go and be in the Now.
This may seem difficult for some of you to understand, but those of you who have come close or occasionally were near this will know perfectly well what these words mean.
QA147 QUESTION: Previously, you said that the higher developed the person is, the more pain he feels. I feel this is a discrepancy. The way I see it, the higher developed the person, the more of the pain of the other one he feels, but their own pain, through our Path, is diminished.
ANSWER: You are right, and what I said is also right; they are both right – I will try to explain in what way. You see, when we transcend the standards of duality, what seemed like an opposite no longer is an opposite. It is even also true to state that the higher developed the person is, the less pain he feels, and this is not a contradiction to saying the more capable of feeling pain he also is. These are stages in between.
In the first place, it is known to you already by many, many things I’ve said in the course of these years, that what one feels towards oneself is always, one and the same, what one is able to feel for others.
When I said the higher developed a living organism is, the more pain he can feel, this was applied specifically to the transition from the mineral to the plant state, from the plant state to the animal state, from the animal to the human being state. For the higher organized the consciousness, the more sensitive the nerve centers are.
So, on the transitory state of evolution, there comes a point when the consciousness is extremely sensitive to pain. Only when he transcends this stage does he reach a further stage where pain no longer exists – not because he is numb due to a lesser degree of consciousness, but because he discovers the illusory nature of pain.
It is the same cycle, for instance, as when I explained the evolutionary process from the God consciousness. A very undeveloped creature has no consciousness and therefore no God consciousness. Then the next stage, roughly speaking, would be a very primitive kind of God consciousness, where God is externalized, where God represents all his wishes and fears.
Then comes the next stage which seems so painful, when this illusory God consciousness is abandoned and one finds oneself alone, face to face with a need for self-responsibility, with a self-governing principle that you and you alone inflict punishment or reward upon yourself – which would parallel to the state of exposed painfulness.
The next stage will be the discovery of the divine nature of each being, which would parallel the stage where pain is no longer acute – not out of numbness, but out of realization and the activation of the divine center within that knows no pain in an absolute reality.
In the interim transitory state from one to the next, the awareness of others, of course, becomes very strong. The lesser state is merely concerned with oneself and the other has no reality – where the individual is not concerned with the humiliation of the other, when he tries to triumph, which is an emotional pain for the other.
This pain has no reality, but as the consciousness grows and expands, one perceives this pain of the other and is in empathy with it, and no longer is compelled to triumph. This is the evolutionary road one travels through.
Now, these are therefore not contradictions, but different stages. The least stage would be numbness, unaliveness, no sense of consciousness either of self or of others. The next stage would be the rising consciousness begins to feel and come out of a numbness.
But this feeling is limited and has very narrow boundaries, and the consciousness does not expand or extend over a feeling of self, where the concern with the self is primary and others seem like totally unreal creatures that one cannot feel any sense of reality for. That is the stage when one suffers pain of the self, but not of the other.
And then comes the next stage, where the sense of the other enters into the field of vision, and the difference between self and others seems to be wiped out to some extent, so that the concern for the other grows – as one becomes more constructive with oneself, one must be more constructive for the other.
This expands awareness, consciousness, and heightens the ability to experience, to feel. The more that progresses, the more the realization dawns upon the consciousness, that beyond the opposites of pleasure and pain is a conciliation of pleasure supreme that has nothing to do with the opposite of the pain one fears so much.
It is not the little pleasure that opposes the pain. It is a much wider pleasure that knows no fear of an opposite. This would be the next stage in the evolution of consciousness. And in that sense, what I said is by no means a contradiction.
QA204 QUESTION: I have felt for many months, pains in my back and in my legs. I have been aware of a lot of my negativity and a lot of my resistance in the work. I have felt now that my heart has been closed and is slowly starting to open. And it seems that as it opens, the pains in my body get worse. I would like to know how I can really open myself in my inner pain that has manifested in my body, so that I can find out the truth.
ANSWER: The pain, in the first place, is in itself really a sign of your progress in the sense that the pain was always there, only you were too cut off to be aware of the pain. So it is an illusion to think that the pain gets worse as you open your heart. But as you open your heart, you feel yourself more. You are more in contact with your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual reality.
If you do not foster and cultivate the belief that your illusion is the reality and the reality is the illusion, the pain will be a very temporary experience. The pain is really an expression of your fear and your contraction and your cramping up.
As you open a little, that which is not yet open appears in pain on the level of your conscious perceptions. The anesthesia wears off. And as the anesthesia wears off, there is first a temporary healing pain, as everyone who heals after an operation knows. Consider it as such. Trust it! Do not fight it!
Become more aware of the cramp that causes the pain and really nothing else, nothing else. And as you become more attuned to your inner being and are aware of the cramp, and simultaneously pray for the ability to give up the cramp, to relax into the pain, and to accept it, the pain will turn out to be the illusion it really is.
It will soon be soft, and a stream of blissful reality will go through you and show you that this was there all along, only you cramped yourself against it. The trust and the patience and the letting yourself go into it, and the new vision with which to consider this problem, is what you really need at this point.
QA207 QUESTION: Are my recent painful experiences, ordeals and disappointments related to my sickness, designed to teach me to trust in the goodness of life, whatever its manifestations might be? Is there a further lesson in this pain?
ANSWER: Yes, there is a further lesson in this pain. And that further lesson is very difficult to explain, because our friend really knows the answer but does not apply it always. She knows the principle of the answer. She has admitted it many, many times, but she chooses to close her eyes to where she is still expressing these things – blindly expressing them – and being convinced it is a certain way, when indeed she is really expressing in principle what she deeply knows about herself.
The pain she suffers is the pain of her delusions – delusions of judgement, of interpretation, and consequently of attitude and feeling. To whatever extent she has already worked on this and admitted this, there is still this part in her that does not go along and does not want to see how it is applicable and expressed in her life, in spite of the admission.
The admission has not eliminated it, and she chooses not to see where the delusions still work. That is the lesson – she still has to work and not matter how much pain she has. There’s always protection and guidance. There’s always the love of the universal accompanying her. That is absolutely so. For she is not being left alone.
But whether she chooses to see this lesson right now or whether she is not willing to see it right now on a deeper level, nevertheless, the lesson will have its purpose. And, to use your terms, the time will come when the lesson will have fulfilled itself by the very fact of her present experiences, which she has chosen.
But, of course, it would be a great, great benefit if she could bring herself to see the delusions right now, to see how she acts out these delusions every day of her life. The blessings are there. There is no separation. The love and the blessings are there.
QA233 QUESTION: I trick myself. I really realize where you say that I use injuries a lot to stay away from my higher self. One of the tricks that I now see as my lower self is that, if I don’t feel pain, then I’m really not being in truth. Somewhere I make a little trick, and in the guise of feeling my pain, I’m really actually disconnected from my higher self. Can you comment?
ANSWER: This is a very important thing here, where again it is one of those issues where it is not either/or and where it is a question of timing. Yes, you need to recognize the pain, but as you feel the pain and no longer push it aside or deny it, you can then ask yourself, “Is this a real pain, or is it a produced pain? Am I playing a game with it?”
When the answer will come forth as Yes you can then ask, “Why am I doing this?” Then after these three questions, you will already arrive at that deep level I was talking about here. As I indicated in the last lecture [Lecture #233 The Power of the Word], appropriate questions are often the word of truth most needed – questions to yourself.
You will then also see very clearly, the pain that is the result of a dishonest manipulation is unbearable. You may then blame the other guy, but nevertheless, you have produced it. It is unbearable precisely because you have used it as a manipulative weapon. If it were a real pain, it would not be unbearable. There would be no blame involved. There would be no demands that your way must be heeded or whatever it may be. So you have good gauges by which to recognize what is going on in you, if you so choose.
Again I recommend that this be deeply taken to heart and to mind and heeded by all of you – all of you who are involved in this venture but also who are not involved in this direct way – heeded for your personal lives. For in your personal relationships, these things happen just as much.
QA257 QUESTION: I observe that in groups and especially in the last Core weekend, I experience that when someone is in real pain, I feel my own pain and the pain of the other person. If I hug the person in pain, I help that person to travel with me on the same road at the speed of pain – a real pain.
Also, I understand that if the other person experiences acceptance of the pain, the effect of the pain will be experienced as a healing pleasure. And if I accept my own pain, I feel the healing pleasure. For lack of words to express my feeling, I will say I carry the person in pain to a crossroads. Self-responsibility and especially desire to feel the pain has to be acknowledged and wanted without any rigidity. And anybody could carry the other person to that crossroads if they understood the mechanism of the psyche and the pain. I would like you to correct me if I am wrong in claiming I understand the mechanism of the psyche with the pain, and how I could help further.
What I don’t understand is my ego walls with all the trimmings. I feel ashamed, and the ego trip makes me feel good and important. I recognize my ego trips, and lately I feel that I have been traveling in every season, and in each season is always a little springtime. Thank you for pointing out to me not to take the spring for granted. Also, I feel in the last month, that I have grown and you have been near me.
ANSWER: In all the years I have been able to help and guide you, you always have particularly appreciated it when I call you “my son.” So I shall do so again. Yet, as a teacher, I not only take a paternal role, I am always also a friend. And all of this goes, of course, for everyone.
If I usually avoid using the words “my son,” with most people, it is because it has a negative connotation for them. It either reminds them of a negative relationship with their fathers, or with an idealized, childish relationship with them, which they may still wish to have. Or it has a religious connotation.
And now to your question. There can be no doubt that what you now experience is a result of great progress. The fact that you can experience your pain, travel through it, and thus transform it into vital life currents is exactly what this Pathwork is – among other things – all about. I have often said that to the degree you know, feel and experience yourself, you can also do so with others and thus help them.
You are right that your ego is still an element that occasionally blurs your light. Just being aware of it, and praying that you no longer need this kind of inefficient self-confirmation, will increasingly free you of this burden. Your task will evolve naturally and organically as you continue this way. Do not fret over it, just follow your inner guidance. You have a part in this great venture.
After all, it could not be for nothing that you traveled millions of miles – allegorically speaking, in terms of your inner development – during the time since you joined this Pathwork. When you find yourself prideful, know it, but do not be too hard on yourself either. It is human and stems from our misconception that you have no real value and need constant confirmation through others.
You are blessed, and there is great joy among your spirit friends, for you have indeed gained several victories. It has not been easy for you, but you now begin to reap the fruit. You feel what it means to be adult, self-sustaining, self-responsible, and able to meet life on its own terms. These are truly most desirable fruits that make for fulfillment and happiness.