In a Nutshell | The Counter-Pull: Frustration

There is a feature in the human personality related to the pull that we tend to trot out on Opposite Day: it’s called frustration…Neither of the frustrating alternatives of denouncing happiness or intensely making rigid demands is going to ring the winning bell…

Meme_The Pull_FB 2Let’s link up frustration with the pleasure principle, that innate inner desire we all have to strive towards life, pleasure and wholeness…Babies are hardwired to strive for pleasure. But they aren’t capable of tolerating any frustration—which is what humans experience when gratification is delayed—because they have zero awareness that there is a future…

If the baby psyche doesn’t mature, it will get stuck in this frustrating attitude of “I want it now.” From here we enter into an apparent contradiction: the less we can endure frustration, the less we can have pleasure…

The fact of the matter is this: for real pleasure to be felt, we’ve got to have a relaxed inner state…But if we rebel against any delay in gratification, we’ll end up angry, tense and stubborn—real doggie downers for tapping into life’s pleasure stream…

Here’s the great error in all of this: we believe that what we want is more important and more capable of giving us pleasure than having a peaceful state of mind…Insisting on pleasure with a do-or-die attitude that can’t tolerate even a wee bit of frustration is out-and-out erroneous…

So what’s the way out? We’ve got to learn to let go…Letting go and relaxing is not the same as relinquishing forever…We want to keep on seeking fulfillment, but without hanging onto it for dear life…

Ego, are you listening? You’ve got a job to do here. Yes, the ego must make it its business to constructively let go…Once the ego gets the ball rolling, it’s all downhill from there. The ego will get carried along by the inner forces it activates through the letting-go process…

Tension and resignation are two sides of the same coin. Look for one, realize the other is also there, and then consciously reach for the soothing balm of letting go…It’s just like relaxing into the pleasure of giving up separation. Yet we fight, tooth and nail, in not wanting to give this up, frustrating ourselves on the most important level of living. We are fighting against our own best interest on this…

But love can only grow where there is no fear. So if we fear coming into contact with others, we put up defenses that produce hurt and anger. Now contact feels like pain…When we fear something, we block it. So then we flip over to fearing not getting it. Then we can’t stand the feeling of emptiness, so we battle against feeling frustrated. We pitch a hissy fit and demand instant gratification…

Don’t forget: the pull is always stronger than our pushback. Eventually, pleasure is going to win. This whole thing is rigged—in our favor.

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From the Chapter: The Counter-Pull: Frustration

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THE PULL: Relationships & their Spiritual Significance (Book Four)

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