P2 In sadness you accept without self-pity a painful fact of life as something beyond your power to change. When you are truly sad, without depression, you not only feel it as a healthy growing pain free of hopelessness, but you are sad due to an outer circumstance, knowing it is going to pass. There is no superimposition, no hiding, no shifting of emotions. In depression the outer circumstance may be the same, but your feelings of pain are, to quite an extent, due to other reasons than the outer occurrence.
Although you cannot change the outer circumstance, you can change something within yourself, if you but see the real reasons why you suffer from certain emotions you do not wish to face—be they hurts, resentments, envies, or wrongs committed by you or someone else. That is why depression is always linked with frustration and helplessness. For, strangely enough, you do not feel helpless toward an outer event that you cannot change, if you have a healthy attitude toward it. You feel depressed only when you are unable to change it now, immediately.
Let us take the example of the loss of a beloved person through death. If you are truly sad—and nothing else—your feeling is due purely to this loss. Here is something you cannot change; you know it, and in spite of the sorrow you know that you will accept it eventually. This pain will not leave a scar, because any healthy, genuine, unshifted, direct emotion is an enriching experience for your whole being. When you are depressed due to the loss of a beloved person, there are in you confused, ambiguous, as well as ambivalent emotions you are unaware of.
Whether that something is directly connected with the departed one—guilt, resentment, or what have you—or whether the loss has merely triggered off some unresolved, festering inner conflict in you, does not matter. It may be both. It may be your identification with that person. You may experience your own fear of death and your fear of the passing of life which you do not permit yourself to become aware of. This, then, causes depression, and depression, as opposed to sadness, is a very stifling, frustrating, unhealthy feeling.
Take self-pity, which is always a byproduct of depression. It is unhealthy because it is unfounded. There is always a way out if you are willing to see it. In self-pity you are unwilling to see the way out; instead, the world around you should change, sympathize with you, and make allowances for you.
P3 Do you feel strong and secure enough to know your life cannot be harmed by circumstances outside yourself, no matter how painful a situation might be? Life is relationship, my friends. You may relate positively or negatively. But the moment you relate, you live. Life, or relationship, is relative—relative to your attitude.
P4 It applies to the circumstances of living, to the world, to yourself, to your thoughts and attitudes. To the degree you relate, you will no longer experience frustration but have a sense of fulfillment. The mineral relates by the fact that it lets itself be perceived and used. Thus it relates in a completely passive way. In the last analysis, the ability to love always involves the inner willingness and readiness to do so.
Most deceptive, however, are the cases in which apparently good relationships exist on the surface, but they are devoid of depth and inner meaning. Then it is so easy to deceive oneself and say, “Look how many good friends I have! There is nothing wrong with my relationships, and yet I am unhappy, lonely, and unfulfilled.”
P5 Often, real relating and communication is confused with the childish compulsion to tell everyone everything. Thus you may share your feelings indiscriminately and jeopardize yourself, in the misunderstood idea that foolish candor, or unwise exposure, or cruel “honesty” are proof of your openness and willingness to relate.
P7 The one that is manipulated, whether or not he or she is aware of it, will either react by giving in due to fears, needs, and dependency, and lose integrity, or will rebel. Then it will be out of wanting affection without being a slave, yet the person does not yet know that there is no need to rebel if one can relinquish. If a person is free enough not to need another so desperately as if it were a matter of life and death, he or she would not need to resent the condition which the other’s domination unconsciously imposes.
They will let go and quietly preserve their integrity. Only when both are fighting as to who is the stronger one—and this fight usually happens in a hidden way—does their relationship fluctuate between domination, rebellion, submission, appeasement and resentments. Both want something from each other that neither is willing to give. Both claims are distorted and unrealistic.
P8 To be more specific, I may add that unconscious expectations, claims and demands cause havoc in relation-ships. This is not because all expectations are necessarily “wrong,” but because they smolder underground and cause a mutual strain as they clash with the demands of the other person.
P9 You will realize that the more you can allow for not having to be right, the more your intuition will grow; the validity of your judgment will increase—but by no means will it always be accurate. Of crucial importance at this stage of the curve is the awareness of the fear of being wrong, due to the unfounded danger that the growth experienced was illusory. May this blessing that is going into you and enveloping you help each and every one, wherever you stand. And may you come to know that life is benign and that your depressions are unreal. The flow of living is continuous and only in your limited view is there any need to fear.
—The Pathwork® Guide