Another thought for meditation: when you go on this path, you must also prepare yourself to abide by another of the spiritual laws, which says that there is a price to be paid for everything. Whoever tries to avoid this will finally pay a much heavier price. Every single person is doing this constantly in one way or another; some do it more obviously, others more subtly and secretively. Many people are not doing it outwardly, but psychologically you are all doing it, particularly when you approach this path with only half-open eyes. Realize that there is a price, but the price is well worth it! When you buy a house and you want a beautiful mansion, you are reconciled to paying an adequate price. You will not expect a mansion or a palace for the price of a shack. On the material level, you have no quarrel with this truth, but on the emotional, psychological, and spiritual levels you wish for a palace for the price of a hut—and sometimes you do not want to pay any price at all.
That is part of your sick soul. The price you pay by going on this path of development is certainly a high one, but there is absolutely no other means on earth or in heaven to gain harmony, love, happiness, and complete inner security where nothing evil can ever touch you or throw you off balance. The price is: no self-pity, no self-delusion, utter severance with the little ego, time, effort, patience, perseverance, and courage. What you will receive for this price is indeed a hundred times worth it, but do not expect to see the reward right after you start. By start I mean a period of at least two years of work in this manner, provided you do not work half-heartedly. In other words, and speaking symbolically, your money must first be paid in full.
I know, my friends, that my words are not what a self-indulgent person likes to hear. There is no easy method and no magic formula by which you can obtain the happiness you all seek. I cannot promise you the precious gifts of heaven on earth and in the spiritual world if you merely do certain prayer exercises. If I were to tell you such things, you would be well justified in being suspicious and doubtful, even though you might undoubtedly prefer to hear this. What I am offering you is real and true. Each one of you has the chance to find out for yourself by trying and by following my advice.
My advice to begin with is: Meditate upon the words I have given you here. Consider what the price must be, and what you must expect. Then make your decision. Are you willing to take this path?
Oh, you may say, “It may take a few more lives. I am too tired.” I can only answer that this again is very shortsighted; if you are tired or weak, it is because your inner forces exhaust themselves in the wrong channels so that your strength cannot organically renew itself as it does in a soul that functions well. If you would only start and not be dismayed by the first struggles, you would finally succeed in setting the inner current right. By doing so, you would set free in yourself a wonderful life force and a spark that will change your life completely.
I cannot promise you that all your problems will cease, for they are a necessary part of your path to begin with, a challenge you can learn from if you meet them maturely. However, I can promise you that after you have fulfilled certain fundamental conditions, you will not be depressed any more by your life and your difficulties. I can promise you that your tiredness will cease, and that you will have the strength to go through your difficulties and to bear your cross in the right way, knowing why and what it is all about.
The most difficult thing for you and the most weakening aspect of your life is that you cannot see the reason for anything that happens to you. Only on a path into yourself will you find out the reason, and this alone will give you the strength you need. Furthermore, I can promise you that after a certain time on the path you will enjoy life in spite of your difficulties even before they have actually begun to cease. You will come to relish life in a way you have never been able to do before. I can promise that you will be vibrantly alive—first at intervals, and later more consistently. To the extent you understand yourself and begin to put order into your soul, this vibrant life force will fill you. Life will be beautiful to you in all its reality. So I say to you truly, do not postpone this work for another life. It will not be easier for you then, and you can never get away with not doing the work, for it has to be done. No matter how late you think it is, it is never too late. Whatever you accomplish on this earth will have an eternal value. And when I speak of accomplishment, I do mean the conquering of your lower self.
Here is another thought, my friends, for this initial decision which you must approach with open eyes: distinguish the three necessary types of work involved in purifying yourself on this path. One is your outer behavior, the recognition of your apparent faults and qualities, as well as every occurrence that is on the surface. The next phase—and these phases often overlap—is tackling that layer of yourself that does not belong directly to your subconscious, but which you are unaware of because you are deliberately escaping it. This layer has to be treated in a different manner which I will show you. The third and equally important layer is your subconscious mind. Do not believe that what is in the subconscious is so far away that it has no effect on you. You are constantly dominated by your subconscious without knowing it. It is very possible to find out, slowly but surely, what is in your subconscious, at least to some extent.
Distinguish the trends in you which stand in direct relationship to your conscious will and are thus directly controlled through an act of will. You will also discover trends in you which are connected with your emotions and cannot be directly forced to respond to your wishes. The world of emotion can only change by organic growth, not by pressure and voluntary action, except in an indirect way.
Let us assume you find out that deep down you are lacking faith or love. You cannot force yourself to have faith or love, no matter how hard you try directly. But what you can make yourself do is to walk this path, to follow these steps, to overcome perhaps a lack of discipline that makes it so hard for you to work diligently on your path, or tackle whatever else stands in your way quite directly, for instance to work daily on your quota of self-observation and meditation in a detached way. By doing so, you will not work directly on your lack of love or faith, for instance, but you will simply get to know yourself and find out why you lack these attributes. When you gradually understand this without forcing yourself directly to have love or faith, eventually the life force will fill you and will automatically generate these feelings without any direct endeavor on your part. If your emotions begin to change after a few years, you can consider it a wonderful success. The change will happen so naturally that you may not even be fully aware of it at first.
Study these words now; think about them deeply. Take them to God and ask Him, if you have doubts. He will answer you provided your heart is really open. Believe me, my friends, all this is neither as difficult as it may seem to you now, nor is the path a miracle that will procure happiness for you without demanding from you all you have in honesty, willpower, and effort.
I want to say something else to you about this phase of preparation and decision: expect to have a fight with yourself. It will be the fight between the lower self and the higher self, and your conscious self will determine which side will win. It cannot win without such a fight. It must be a long fight which at first will manifest itself perhaps by preventing you from following this path at all. The lower self may send messages such as, “I do not believe in it,” or, “It may not be necessary after all,” or “I am too tired,” or “I have no time.” It is necessary for you to recognize these messages for what they are, and understand where they come from. Use them as a starting point to delve deeper into your soul. Try to see clearly what is really speaking within you when you receive these hidden excuses and pretenses. If you expect this struggle beforehand, you will be able to look and listen and will have a first victory. Also, you will have learned already to some degree the process of uncovering your masks and wrong motives, which will stand you in good stead later on when the lower self will try to obstruct your path by other means. It will simply try to hold on to individual soul-currents. By then you will already know how to deal with it a little better. Do not just put the superficial excuses aside. Test them, deal with them, examine them.
Many of you are scared of what may come out of your lower self, though you may not be conscious of that fear. It is important to learn to interpret and translate such perhaps vague feelings into concise thoughts. This fear is an important reason why a person shies away from meeting the self.
However, in psychoanalysis the mistaken idea that they are really their lower self can lead people to such self-rejection and self-disgust that they break down. All of you here know that the lower self is merely a temporary layer and does not constitute your entire personality. It is here now to be dealt with, but is not the real you—at least not entirely.
Excerpt Courtesy of The Pathwork Lecture Number 25