92 QUESTION: Besides the psychological approach, is it not true that prayer and turning to God, asking for help, is of great assistance to us?
ANSWER: The psychological approach is actually prayer in action. If you really analyze what happens here, you will find that as you acknowledge and understand all distortions – without self-moralizing – you do the best to purify yourself. As discussed in a few recent lectures, the so-called psychological approach is not in contradiction to the spiritual one. Of course, prayer is of help and is recommended.
But I have to give you more than to advocate prayer. And you have to do more than merely pray for help. You have to observe your attitude in prayer. This is a very deep and subtle thing. If you pray and find the hidden attitude that you expect God to do it for you, then your approach is not only destructive, but it also indicates a more deeply rooted wrong attitude about life and your role in it. If you pray for help but with the full intent and realization that you have to face and eventually change, that you want to see the truth, that it depends on your efforts and willingness, then prayer is very useful.
There is a fine distinction between such healthy and right attitude, and the idea that you should sit and wait for God to hand it to you. The latter kind of prayer will do no good whatsoever.
QUESTION: But the spiritual approach which you have taught and which has added so much to the psychoanalytical approach – I was just wondering…
ANSWER: I fully discussed in a few recent lectures why it is healthy and good for you, in this particular phase of your development, to put less stress on the so-called spiritual, and more on the so-called psychological. For us, it is all one and the same: they are merely different facets, aspects, approaches and ways to the same end. Emphasis on the spiritual, if it is too long maintained and at the expense of self-finding, leads to escapism and the false religion I discussed recently [Lecture #88 Religion: True and False]. It leads to the wrong concept of God. If you reread that lecture, you will understand what I mean.
The idea that you neglect God by not discussing him, and that focusing attention on the distortions so as to be able to change, would lead you away from spirituality, is utterly untrue, of course. Common sense will tell you so. If such vague ideas exist in you, it could be that you are afraid of finding and changing what wants to remain hidden.
It may be the expression of a childish hope that by speaking about God and the Spirit World and its laws, you will be able to change yourself without pain and discomfort. This cannot be done, of course. Further intellectual understanding about spiritual factors would not induce an inner change. But what you are all doing now on the Path is bound to bring about an inner change that brings you closer to true spirituality than all the words you hear in the world, no matter how true and beautiful.
Outer belief is one thing; the inner capacity of living these beliefs is an altogether different proposition. It takes a great deal more time, effort and pain to achieve the latter. Unfortunately, this aspect is very much neglected by all religious denominations and societies. They still deal with the mere thinking process, which often contradicts and conflicts with the real inner life, the life of the emotions.
QA116 QUESTION: What is the difference between mundane psychology and Pathwork, because Lecture 116 [Lecture #116 Reaching the Spiritual Center – Struggle Between the Lower Self and the Superimposed Conscience] says that through psychoanalysis you get in touch with your inner self. Now, you say that this is our aim too?
ANSWER: But the difference is this. There may be very many worldly mundane psychological approaches: psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, even there are good ones that completely ignore or even deny the existence of such an inner spiritual center of man’s higher self. Nevertheless, provided their technique, their approach, their method, is sufficient and good, they all come to it, nevertheless, even though it is denied.
They may not give it a name. They may not know what it is that is happening – the freedom, the spontaneity, the inner knowledge, the self-sufficiency, the independence, the ability of self-expression, the deep inner certainty and knowledge, ability to love – all this coming from the spiritual center.
They may discover, but they may not know why this happened. While with Pathwork, we know this is a goal. We have a clearly defined goal, and knowing this makes it, of course, a lot easier, because we know when what manifests. We know and can define when this higher self manifests and when it does not manifest. This is one of the many differences.
I do not say that is the whole, but it is an important difference, and this is the one I referred to in this lecture. And in not knowing this, it might occasionally – in spite of not directly going toward this aim – be accomplished, nevertheless. But then many times, one stops half way in ignoring that this is the goal, and problems are only half resolved. The real integration has never taken place, that could take place if one goes fully to the root of it.
QUESTION: In other words, what we are doing is doing something in complete consciousness, with definite goals, instead of something that might happen anyway haphazardly. Is that it?
ANSWER: Right! Right! As yet, generally, human psychology does not recognize, does not understand, the structure and nature of man in all his aspects, including the higher self.
QA163 QUESTION: I have experienced that between psychological work and spiritual work, there’s a great gap. There are those that say you can weave in and out of the two worlds, but for me there is a barrier, and I wonder what you can say.
ANSWER: No, they are, if rightly understood, not at all contradictory. If it seems that way, you must stand somewhere on a vantage point where you do not see it as it is – for they are really one and the same.
The only difference between them is that psychology, psychiatry, as it is usually practiced on this Earth plane, is only going up to a certain area within the human soul and does not go beyond it. To put it plainly, psychology goes as far as finding the distortions, the negative feelings, the destructive aspects, what is usually called neurosis. It deals with that, while the spiritual approach deals that which is underneath, as it were.
Underneath is really not the correct word, because when we deal with the dynamics of the spirit and soul life, there is no such thing. But I cannot find another adequate word, so you have to understand it in a broader term.
Now, beyond this neurotic, distorted soul self lies a much larger self – the real self, the divine self, if you will – with its infinite power. Religion and spiritual philosophies usually approach only this, and completely bypass the distorted areas in the human soul.
The outcome of that is that such a spiritual approach is always insufficient, because it can be helpful where the soul is free and liberated already – where there are no obstructions – but where the obstructions exist, the soul cannot unfold, and the real, divine self is still blurred, still hidden.
Conversely, the psychological approach alone without knowing the reality beyond the psychological inner reality – namely, what you would call the spiritual reality – is also faulty and insufficient, for it heals perhaps at best what is distorted. But it does not avail itself of the power of the greater being, so that it all becomes an interactive process, as we are doing here on this Path.
In any approach to the human individual, all his faculties should be used in an approach to himself, in finding his true being. The realization of the greater being must also be activated by meditation to help in guidance and inspiration, for the very purpose of facing and understanding what is distorted and in error.
In addition, the physical approach must be included, for the physical being, as you begin to see more and more, registers everything that your psychological distortions as well as your spiritual liberated state expresses in you. All these approaches together are, of course, the best, but they are never contradictory. And if they seem so, it is only as seen from a different vantage point. Is that clear to you?
QUESTION: Yes. That’s very clear. I didn’t mean contradictory; I meant that there is a barrier – we go so far in one world and then come to the other world.
ANSWER: Yes. But actually you know, it would be even better if it is not seen as now one layer and then another, for nothing in the psyche is compartmentalized in that way. It is all interwoven. It is not necessary that a person has to straighten out first his psychological difficulties before he can enter into the spiritual life of himself.
There are always possibilities where he has an access to his spiritual nature, which he can activate and make tremendously helpful in the psychological work where he is involved in his distortions. It should be a hand-in-glove process, where all of them are used interactively and simultaneously.