P2 In the course of the individual work, every one of you has times when you encounter a streak of hopelessness. It indicates something important about your unconscious attitudes. It often reflects, in reality, a fear of relinquishing one’s false solutions, destructive attitudes, defensive walls—all of which are supposed to protect you. To give up this “protection” induces fear. To be called upon to do so induces hopelessness because you cannot yet see how to operate without these crutches and cope with life without them. The same attitude is responsible for an inner unwillingness to change. Your superimposed hope masks an inner hopelessness that says, “If I let go of my illusions and false crutches, I have no way of living, therefore my whole life is an illusion.”
P3 Hardly any aspect is good or bad, healthy or unhealthy as such. Every aspect exists in a healthy and genuine, as well as in an unhealthy and false way. The guilt of omission is not intrinsically different from the guilt of commission. Therefore it is neither easier, nor more difficult to atone. In either case the very same attitudes may prevail: blindness, laziness of thinking and feeling, selfishness, egocentricity, cruelty, vindictiveness, and so on.
The first step is always full recognition. As long as you are unaware of a guilt, or only partly aware of it, you cannot experience the other person’s feelings, or even intellectually consider them. The other person is a lifeless unreality for you. When this is the case, how can you repent? If you experience other people as you experience things your heart cannot feel for them. Therefore any effort at atonement is dutiful, something you do because you wish to be good, you wish to obey the law, to be blameless. Restitution becomes as false as the idealized self and therefore as useless and unconvincing.
So do not rush into atonement. It can be meaningful only if you feel you have to do it, not for your sake but for the sake of the other; not merely to free your conscience, but because you actually experience the other’s hurt, bewilderment, unfulfillment, belittling. When this point has been reached, you will know how to atone. Your innermost self will inspire you.
P4 You often speak of people who seem to have no conscience. Compare them with people who are overloaded with conscience. The latters’ conscience is bothered by the least and the most unjustified reasons. Both manifestations come from the very same root. There are a few major blocks against recognizing resistance. One is dullness of mind, laziness of thinking and feeling.
Going through life blindly, as though wearing blindfolds is a typical symptom of self-alienation. Another is looking for and finding blame in others to cover up your own guilts. Still another is the overconscience, an oversensitivity. It is a reaction of being hurt due to the hurt one has unconsciously inflicted upon others. Ruthless indifference to inflicted hurts is not as different from deep suffering about the discovery of one’s Lower Self as it may appear. This may, at first sight, seem paradoxical, but when you look more closely, you are bound to find a warding-off process in such a suffering reaction.
The psyche says, “I cannot take it. I may be all that, I have committed these sins, but it hurts me too much to face it.” Once the full impact of the contradictory attitudes is on the surface, it will be apparent that under this exaggerated vulnerability still lies a certain hypocrisy, as well as a warding off against further insight. If this advice is followed, the hurt will diminish, while a genuine regret will remain, and a healthy desire to gain deeper understanding will not be obstructed by an inner weeping, which is really a kind of self-pity. We have discussed before that people often build a defense against being hurt. But now we go a step further and learn to observe that hurt as such can be a defense. You artificially overproduce sensitivity in order to evade something.
P6 In one instance, definite restitutive acts, that perhaps cause you some hardship, will appear as the solution—and you will do so freely and happily. In another instance, talking to the person, also in spirit, will suffice, provided the sincere will to change has been established and begun to take form by the process of discovering your fear of change.
P7 If you imagine the complicated mechanism necessary, the variety of conditions that have to be fulfilled in order to make any of your everyday appliances work—radio, television, an airplane, a computer machine, and what have you—you will perhaps understand a little of how these so-called miracles work. The same cosmic power-currents operate, only they are converted into non-spiritual, automatic manifestations for your practical use. The ingenuity of the mind has created the conditions so that these powers can operate.
P8 It is the aim of evolution to liberate the Higher Self—or the so-called Christ within—from all the encrustations. A habit is easily shed if the attitude in question does not serve a purpose. It is difficult, or even impossible, to get rid of it if one believes it fulfills a vital function. Such a conviction may be entirely unconscious, while consciously the person may recognize its harm and wish to free himself of it. If one has difficulty in spite of it, the road to take is to investigate the way in which one unconsciously holds onto it because one feels the habit is a protection, a solution, a necessity. The first step in such a case is to detect the reaction of fright, or anxiety, or feelings of loss, or merely the unwillingness to look further in this respect.
—The Pathwork® Guide