QA253 QUESTION: Several young people feel ready in spirit to commit to stages three and four. They are completing their second year of training class and want to apprentice this summer in family intensives as well as in individual sessions during the year. In spirit, they are ready, but in practical terms, their studies and schedules don’t allow for attending lectures and Q&As, which often end late. They have difficulty reading the lectures and understanding them from this approach, although they do work on understanding the lectures through reading them for training class. Many are not yet at the point where they are having separate Core and conceptual sessions – bimonthly conceptual sessions combined with energetic work seems adequate for many at this point in their process. And training class for the young teens it seems, should continue to meet once a month in the fall as opposed to twice a month.
Is it possible that there are different levels of commitment for young people on the Path than those that exist for adults? We – the children and children’s Helpers – would very much appreciate your guidance here.
ANSWER: Yes, there are different levels of commitment for children and very young adults. Their needs are different. It is important and necessary for them to go out into the world, to acquire outer learning and outer experience more than older adults. This outer learning and these outer experiences can then be assimilated.
With ordinary people, this so-necessary assimilation occurs only much later and often only in a semiconscious way. For children who work on this Path, the assimilation occurs sooner and takes place in a much more aware state. Needless to state, this is of great value. So the balance between schoolwork, making contact with others, and life outside, on the one hand, and Pathwork, on the other, can be distributed a little differently than for older adults.
However, if it comes to helping, the same standards of training must apply to younger people as to older ones, perhaps even more so. This is so because older people have already more life experience and can therefore understand much more than younger people. The training of any young adult or child for preparing for Helpership requires the same intensity of commitment and investment of effort and time as for an adult.
QUESTION: Some of our other teens are pulling back from the Pathwork. The process seems to be one of going from a state of being nurtured to one of self-nurturance and needing to reject one phase in order to embrace the other. In our work with children, we approach them in very much the same way that we approach an adult on the Path. However, regarding this issue, I wonder if you can give specific guidance about the resistance that is manifesting in some of our youths at this time?
ANSWER: In regard to this question, it is important to know that much of the problem here is lack of proper understanding – or outright misunderstanding. It is imperative that such misunderstandings are being uncovered and cleared up. For much of the resistance has to do with them.
For example, many young people believe that if they turn inward, they must give up outer movement into life and desirable experience. They must also be allowed to make mistakes. Ideal states, such as we postulate on the Path, can sometimes work as a deterrent. The person may feel it is impossible to live up to these states, or he will be reprimanded for acting out, when precisely that is so desirable that it will not be forsaken. So the whole Path is rather being given up.
It is very important to find the sensitive point of contact in which leeway is being given, without license, in which consequences are being discussed without the element of punitiveness.
QUESTION: You have told us in the past that children can understand the concepts of the Path if these are presented appropriately to them. We have found this to be so true in our groups and sessions. In our awareness classes for children who are not on this Path, we have seen that children at large can understand, and indeed thirst for, spiritual concepts that we learn on this Path. However, on the level of the emotions, we have questions about how far we can really go with the children. Specifically, we know that children need their defenses to a certain degree in certain situations. However, sometimes we are not sure about whether or not we are being too protective or easygoing about whether or not the child really could go more deeply into his feelings in a way that would aid him greatly on his Path. Most of the children’s Helpers work on an intuitive level regarding this issue, and this has most often proven to be reliable. However, we wonder if you could give us further guidance about working with children on the emotional level.
ANSWER: The most important point in regard to how far to go emotionally in working with children is to teach a child how to handle feelings. The general misconception exists that, once feelings are being given into, they take over and the person loses complete control. This is not necessarily so. It is possible to voluntarily let go into a feeling and then to voluntarily choose to stop. This could be done almost as a kind of exercise which will prove to be of utmost importance to the child.
QUESTION: In relationship to the above question, we have had some concern about the possible lack of a follow-up support system for our awareness classes for children who are not on this Path. In these classes, we have taught spiritual concepts contained in the Guide lectures to children through various experiential games, as well as through creative dramatics and other modalities. We also occasionally talk about what is going on currently in the lives of the children. We do not work on feelings directly. However, feelings do come to awareness through our activities. The classes have been going very well; the children seem to be fine and seem to enjoy the work. They ask for more, in fact. However, we were wondering if you could give us further guidance about the possible lack of a support system for the children who are being encouraged in our classes to become aware of their feelings.
ANSWER: My advice here is to make room for the possibility of following up if and when necessary. This could be discussed with the parents and the children. In other words, if there seems to be a need, there should be the possibility to talk and communicate.
QUESTION: The New York City public school system, on both the elementary and high school levels, has manifested several chronic problems. One of these is the negative acting-out behavior on the part of the students, and the disruptions this creates in the current educational process. Another problem is the poor quality of education that is all too often offered in the classrooms. These two problems seem to be mutually hooked in. Could you comment on the spiritual meaning of these problems in the current public educational system? This is of special interest to us in our work in planning a New Age curriculum.
ANSWER: The spiritual reason for these circumstances is one of balance. As I often say, the pendulum must swing into the opposite extreme before a right balance can be established. Just consider how long conditions were exactly reversed. The learning was too exacting, too mechanical, too demanding, too confining for the spirit of the children. The entire balance was in favor of the teachers, who often abused with cruelty, who used power to satisfy their lowest instincts.
History has only recently moved away from these times. So it is not surprising that you find in your world today the exact reverse conditions. I do not say that one is preferable over the other. I simply say that awareness of this will aid in establishing a new and better balance, because understanding and knowledge eliminate resentments and other negative emotions which might slow down the process of evolution in this respect. I want to say to all of you who do work with children and young adults, that your task is well executed, you are doing wonderful and important work which is blessed.
QA257 QUESTION: I feel that our children are a sacred trust for the future, and I want to give my very best to our little daughter. Since her birth, many questions have come up for me about resuming my Pathwork activities – whether to go with her, to leave her with someone else, or to stay away. I’ve found that sometimes I want to use her as an excuse to avoid threatening activities or to separate myself from people. Of course, working on these issues has brought to light valuable insights and has led to varied and unforeseen decisions.
So I am not asking for pat solutions but rather for some general guidelines about the needs of young infants – and their parents – which could help us to work out individual issues, and to develop structures for integrating very young people into our community. I am especially interested in the children’s needs for physical and emotional contact and continuity, and in whether they need some protection from intense feelings and energies.
ANSWER: The true process of genuine self-purification work can never ever be harmful for an infant or for the relationship between it and its parents, even as far as time, energy, or anything else is concerned. If your commitment to your own growth process is fully understood and affirmed, you will have no doubts.
You will know that everything else in your life is contingent on this. Does it not say in Scripture, “Seek the kingdom of God and everything else will be given you?” How are you to seek the kingdom of God other than by looking into your depths, meeting them, purifying all that is distorted and therefore a magnet for negative forces and influences?
Time schedules and all other modalities will fall into place harmoniously if this commitment is reaffirmed daily with your entire spirit of awareness involved in it. Beware of using motherhood and genuine concern, and putting it to the service of escape mechanisms. This will never work.
As to your question about how much emotion a baby can tolerate, I say that very strong outbursts of rage, with noise, should be avoided. Yet, this same rage, held in, will also have a destructive effect. So, during such work, the baby should not be present. But all other genuine emotions, such as sadness, pain, love, joy, can only be nourishing, especially when something is worked through on a deep level.
I ask you, do not allow this beautiful event – this gift of God – to pull you away from your Pathwork, the very road that made it possible for this beautiful soul to come to you. For she has a task to fulfill that will be much easier for her if both her parents are doing the maximum in their own self-work. Your whole family is blessed.