56 QUESTION: I wondered if you could explain about the different new movements that claim that a shortcut is possible to partake of the life force by simply exchanging a truth for an untruth.
ANSWER: Unfortunately, it is not as simple as all that, for the human personality is a very involved and complicated machinery, if I may use this word. If it were merely a question of substituting a truth for an untruth, that would be fine. But do you realize what truth is at all times? You have to find truth.
Before you can find the great universal truth, you have to find your own truth. That is the only way you can get to universal truth. You cannot get it outwardly by learning things, or by performing certain rites, or whatever it may be. You can only get it by looking at and into yourself. And I hardly need to say – you will all readily agree with me – that it is not an easy matter to find your own truth, your distorted and temporary truth.
What may appear true to you today – and it may even be true on a certain level as a half-truth or a quarter-truth – may no longer hold true tomorrow, when you have gained additional knowledge, not only generally speaking, but also about yourself. Only after you have removed all the layers of falsity and half-truth, of distortion and confusion, can the great universal truth, as well as the life force, have access to your soul.
I do not say that many of these new movements do not bring some good. I will now explain when such shortcut methods are successful. No human being is in untruth and deviation or imperfection in all areas of his personality. Complete imperfection in a human being exists no more than complete perfection.
This Earth plane incarnates only those in whom there is a mixture. You all have some healthy elements in you. If a person joins a movement such as you describe and learns certain practices, in areas where he was healthy anyway and where he may just need a little outer push, he will respond. But he cannot respond where his problems lie in uncleared areas.
There is no shortcut. I would say that this Path is a shortcut. It is the shortest “cut” there is! Time is relative. The years you need to learn to know yourself and gain a firm stronghold on life count as very little time indeed.
The movements you describe may have their good points and their truths. They may also be beneficial in waking people up to wider awareness. They may also be helpful wherever people have a healthy element within to begin with, which for lack of incentive and because of intellectual ignorance could not unfold.
But where deviations, complications and confusion reign in the soul, there is no other way than the labor of the search and the pains of growth. It is good that way, it could not be any other way. If you think objectively, you will surely see that this is so.
QA114 QUESTION: How do you ask, in prayer, and carry through after the asking with a creative attitude that does not lead to unreality. For example, as Jesus said, when you ask, believe that you receive and you will have. Now, I don’t want to cover over my own thought or feelings with an imposition, a superimposition. How do we follow through with the asking with a creative attitude?
ANSWER: In the first place, listen into yourself and see whether you feel deserving of what you want. So often a feeling of “I do not quite deserve it” may exist over which a strenuous will is superimposed. Then the more strenuous this will is, the more the feeling of being undeserving is hidden. Nevertheless, it creates an obstruction.
Therefore, your own readiness, willingness and openness are determined by the feeling of deserving. Once you can bring to the surface a slight feeling of being not quite at ease with your wish, then you have the very tool you need to understand the underlying obstructions. It is this that always stand in the way of asking and receiving, of unfolding and experiencing life in its fullest. It is this feeling of “I do not quite deserve it” that hides the psychic problems and deviations.
Now, when you pray in this way, open yourself for receiving. Do not go over this feeling. Do not try to push it away. Rather bring it out in the open. Then this will be the new lead onto a new track, so to speak, in your work of self-finding. Is that clear?
QUESTION: Yes, it’s clear, but I wonder about the use that we might make of trying to believe – if that’s a possibility? Or the thing that is popularly termed “positive thinking” – what role does this play with us at our particular stage?
ANSWER: Well, I did discuss this at length in the past, but I will answer you, nevertheless, now in a few simple words. The practice of the so-called positive thinking can indeed be a harmful superimposition if it hides negative feelings. And this is what you should beware of. Your positive and constructive attitudes cannot come into existence by denying the presence of negative and destructive attitudes. The only way to change them is to bring them out into the open.
If, in one corner of your being, you lack faith, to deny that will not do you any good. Then the practice of the so-called positive thinking will not work. But it will not necessitate any kind of practice or cultivation. True positive thinking does not have to be cultivated. It is a natural, effortless process that comes automatically from eliminating your problems. And you can only eliminate them by becoming aware of them.
Alas, man always wants a shortcut. He particularly wants the shortcut in order to avoid facing what he does not like to face. Therefore he likes to flock to theories and practices that seem to promise such a comfortable procedure. But it does not work in reality. It has to happen, this growth and freedom, through facing and understanding the very obstructions you would rather wish to gloss over.
QA174 QUESTION: I’ve come to the conclusion that attitude is very important. I looked at myself quite a bit this last year. There were quite a few changes in weight and appearance. I stopped drinking. I stopped many negative things and replaced them with positive things. But I noticed that I have a hangover.
Basically I looked at myself and began to realize that my basic attitude was to be discontented or to be dissatisfied. I had, in short, a psyche that sulked. I looked at myself and I learned – and it took me quite a while – a lot of teaching of these people is keeping me sober – that I had much to be grateful for to God. I turned to God in this year too, by the way, through spirituality – and that I have much to be grateful for.
And so I’m trying to replace dissatisfaction with a sense of gratitude, to replace some of the negatives with a positive, because, after all, I could lose all this weight; I did stop drinking; I have changed; there has been progress and perhaps change is possible. And I’m wondering if you think I’m on the right path to try and say to myself, “Why sulk, why not appreciate, why be dissatisfied and frustrated, why not find some contentment, even in today?” Now, I’m wondering if this will help me continue to change, or do you think this is superficial?
ANSWER: Well, I think that this, in addition to something else, will be of tremendous value. I certainly say that you should continue doing this. This is very, very good. But in addition to that, I would also suggest that you say, “If there is any negative belief, negative assumption, negative attitude, unconscious in me that I’m unaware of, that only manifests indirectly, I would like to face it.”
Only when it is on the surface can you then really challenge it and replace it. In other words, you have to find the twofold approach of, on the one hand, reconditioning your psyche from a negative attitude to a positive one, but at the same time, beware of superimposing the positive belief over a still-hidden negativity.
Rather, open up and say, “If there is negativity, I’m going to face it; I’m going to look at it,” which is a tremendous difference from being involved in it and living it out, acting it out, as it were. Try to see yourself, “Oh yes, here’s a negativity. It is a negative idea. What is behind it? I challenge this idea. It is not necessary.”
Everything you do can be done even more effectively, if the still-hidden negativity has come to the surface. For example, one thing, the idea “I’m afraid of loving, of really letting myself love,” if you can acknowledge this fear, this negativity, then you can question yourself further. “What am I afraid of?” Ask yourself these questions, and confront the negative ideas. Do you understand?
QUESTION: I do. I just want to say that sometimes when I’m happy, I’m still sad. Yet I look at the circumstances in my life and I have things to be grateful for and happy about. That’s why I’m working on the pattern. I do recognize underlying emotions.
ANSWER: You see, the subtlety here is that there are two extreme attitudes that are both not helpful. To be confused with honestly expressing what you feel is one thing, but to be involved in negativity and giving in to it, is another.
By the same token, to recondition your psyche with positive instructions is one thing and is very useful. But to superimpose it over still-existing negativity is not good. So, on both sides of the scale, you have the right approach and the wrong approach: the one is the ideal, the other is the distortion.
So if you use the two, constructive ones, you cannot fail. If you, on the one hand, express honestly the negativity that is in you without being involved, without giving in to it, and at the same time, challenge it and replace it with a positive truthful idea, that must be the way.
QUESTION: In recent months I’ve become aware of what seem to be a nucleus of abilities. I’m not sure I understand them and I’m asking for guidance in how I might use them or how they might relate to what I’m searching for as my mission, as the work that I have to do.
ANSWER: Could you be more specific about the confusion about these abilities? What do you mean?
QUESTION: I have heightened perceptions and awarenesses, but I don’t know if they’re illusions.
ANSWER: If I were to tell you it is illusion or if I were to tell you it is truth, that would not really give you the inner certainty. It might very easily be that it is a combination of both. And in your confused state you cannot distinguish.
I would say that spiritual enlightenment, visions, all these are very ticklish things when one’s own psychic equilibrium is not fully established. Therefore, it is much safer to concentrate – to begin with, before one seeks for one’s spiritual capacities, one’s higher mission – on establishing a very sound balance, a very strong personality – not brittlely strong but the strength of flexibility, the strength of emotional maturity and health, the strength of good balance and integratedness that leaves room for every aspect.
Then, when these faculties begin to manifest, you will have no doubt; you will know, deep in your heart. In the meantime, until you find your personal way, your personal inclination, and your personal Helpers toward attaining this state, question the manifestations honestly and say, “What is it? I would really like to know the truth. I do not like to escape. Do I wish such manifestations possibly because I might not wish to face something less spiritual or more mundane or more unpleasant or more difficult or less flattering or anything of that sort.”
If you can give yourself a truthful answer that you do not want to escape any of this, that you truly want to face all of these areas, your realizations will become more and more reliable, and you will be less and less confused.