P2 All human attitudes and feelings can be compared to streams. They move in a cycle in which inside and outside forces influence one another. But the controlling factor always lies within the self. The outer focus separates one more and more from the real control one has at one’s disposal—the only meaningful control: complete awareness of the self.
P3 By not damming up the river, you let the dirt and residue float freely to the surface to be eliminated. The ever-regenerating water in its purity and freshness will finally sweep the river free of the debris. Is this not a fact in nature? The same applies to your soul-currents. When you begin to remove your blocks you will start to experience negative emotions unlike any you have felt before. The temptation is then to put the lid on again. Beware of this temptation. The warm, positive, generous, loving, unselfish feelings must follow eventually, and the negative feelings will no longer be detrimental to you. Not wanting to see the negative does not eliminate its existence.
P4 In the final analysis, arrested growth is always life-defeating and self-centered, but the emphasis may not be on selfishness, but rather on false self-preservation. Putting it differently, the resistance is a defense against exposure, hurt, and vulnerability. Resistance exists not only because your idea of yourself does not correspond to the reality you find beyond the barricade; nor is it sufficient to say that the barricade serves as a supposed defense against the hurts of life. This is too general.
One hidden reason for maintaining the barricade is that deep in one’s soul one hopes against hope that it is possible to remain a child. Children seem to have the advantage of being given what they need to be happy and secure. The recollection of this advantage of childhood combines with the fear of touching the afflicted areas where the past hurts are. Because the psychic forces have tended toward deliberate helplessness, the ego has remained weak and therefore now it cannot trust itself. This in turn furnishes an excuse for depending upon others for one’s needs. One does not want to give up the belief that happiness, fulfillment, and security can come from others, so one clings to this hope.
P5 On the one hand, you are afraid of your helplessness and do not give yourself the chance not to be helpless, nor to test whether or not your helplessness is real. On the other, you are afraid of the opposite: that you indeed have many more resources than you would like to admit. Admitting them would demand certain obligations and the assumption of self-responsibility, but you would rather take on false responsibilities because that seems an easier way to get approval.
To summarize: The prohibition against allowing the flow of all feelings into your conscious mind is due to, first, fear of imperfection; second, fear of having to shed attitudes that supposedly protect one from hurts; and, third, insistence on remaining a child because then others are responsible for your needs, your happiness and your safety. See how you are always tempted to shove an unpleasant feeling aside in the hope that it will “go away.”
Observe how you try to find easy explanations that do not really satisfy you. Observe how you make excuses for not looking at these disturbances, and how everything else seems more important. Beware of the easy rationalizations, for they are most dangerous. Preposterous rationalizations—which exist even in the sanest people—are much easier to cope with because they require less effort for the truth to penetrate. But the seemingly valid rationalizations pose the real dangers: they require sincere effort and the cultivation of truthfulness.
“What is most important for me in order to reach the maximum possible selfhonesty? Which of my activities can help me most in this? Do I deceive myself when I wish to believe that any activity other than self-recognition can bring me spiritual development? Is growth possible without it? Are my efforts sufficient, or could I do more? If I could do more, why do I permit this reticence? Could it be that I cultivate self-finding only in those areas that do not hurt, that do not create anxiety in me? If this is so, then I must consider the likelihood that I resist knowing what is in me. What is my attitude toward myself in this admission? If I want to persist in my resistance, is it not better that at least I know that I lack the courage to look at myself, rather than pretend the opposite? Do I have the courage for this admission? Can I acknowledge that there are certain areas of my being where I am courageous and utterly willing to look truthfully at myself, while other areas may exist where the opposite holds true?”
Ask yourself all these questions and then listen carefully. I also want to remind you that whenever you feel inner discomfort, it is not sufficient to look for the deeper meaning. You also need to examine the times when you felt similarly as a child. Then synchronize these two feelings. Do not ever forget the childhood hurts that you have not yet come to terms with maturely make you barricade the stream, to resist, to be untruthful toward yourself, to live in destructive patterns, inner fear, and insecurity.
P7 If you stop struggling against the fear, if you can say, “I, a human being like many others, am now in fear,” you will finally float and rise on the wave of fear, rather than being immersed in it. You will swim in the fear rather than drowning in it. This will eliminate the feeling of danger. Although the fear will still be present, it will be experienced in a very different way. Nagging, persisting fears are unrealistic fears you do not cope with properly, regardless of what the issue may be.
Underneath these, you will always find other “streams of emotions” that are blocked and thus prevented from flowing. These other emotions may be manifold: hostility, humiliation, pride and shame, hurt, arrogance, self-importance, self-pity, insistence on unreasonable demands, and many more. Part of it (the mind) says, “I should accept what cannot be altered,” and another part says, “I do not want to accept it.”
P8 Ask yourselves, my friends, if you are afraid of certain happenings in life. Are you not doubtful of your strength and resourcefulness to go through them? Tackle it from there. A final word regarding this: The doubt about your own resources has to do with your childish insistence on having to have your way, and your inability to relinquish it.
The emotional maturity we seek is the ability to tolerate frustration, and to accept that everything does not always go one’s own way. If you can accept not having whatever you want, that will give you the trust in yourself you truly deserve. If you must have what you want without being able to provide it for yourself, you will remain helpless and dependent and insecure. If you can accept frustration, you will have the confidence of knowing that you can cope with life.
—The Pathwork® Guide