P1 The entire universe is permeated with a vibrant life substance. Whether this power be physical, such as electrical or atomic power, or mental power makes no difference, for it is all different facets of the same power. This power is a very impressionable mass, a substance that can be governed and molded only by consciousness. The result of this molding is matter in its various degrees of density.
It is also something more subtle than particular matter, however; it is life itself, as it unfolds for the individual. It is experience. Whatever you experience and the conditions in which you find yourself, this is the matter, or form, which is the outcome of the way consciousness impresses the life substance. This cosmic movement, permeating everything that is, is a mixture of mobility and relaxation. The key of mobility, combined with relaxation, opens the world.
P2 Only through misconception does duality, or conflict, come about. On the one hand, relaxation is viewed as non-movement or stagnation, on the other, mobility is viewed as tense effort. Whenever such alternatives exist, strife must follow, for it is a result of conflict. If you calmly observe what emanates from your own psychic forces, you will find this distortion of movement where you stagnate because non-movement seems so tempting. It appears to be the effortless state that the soul longs for. Or movement seems so necessary because you don’t want to stagnate and guilt whips you into a striving, overly tense movement.
Mobility in relaxation comes more and more into being. Since the principle of life itself is the harmony between mobility and relaxation, the phenomenon of dying must be the misunderstanding of this principle, so that a duality arises. When this misunderstanding has proceeded far enough, affecting more and more aspects of the entity, the phenomenon of dying takes place on the outer levels. But where a balance is established, life continues, and death is an impossibility.
P3 Mere negativity, as in a destructive attitude, has a much less destructive effect than destructiveness attached to and combined with the positive life principle. Some of you have begun to grasp, if ever so slightly, that at the moment when you were hurt a specific process took place. The erotic, or pleasure principle, was put in the service of your hurt, your suffering, your pain. All the emotions arising from this original hurt, according to character and temperament, also combine with the pleasure principle. When you realize, after having become aware of this process, how many people, regardless of their outer action, can experience the pleasure principle only in fantasies of cruelty, you will understand that this is the actual nucleus of war—of cruelty as a whole.
P4 If you have experienced cruelty, whether this act of cruelty was an actual fact or a creation of your imagination, your pleasure principle is attached to cruelty and functions somewhat in connection with cruelty. Awareness of this must be established and understood from an overall point of view, for if it is truly understood, both guilt and shame will be removed. As understanding grows, the pleasure principle will gradually respond to positive events.
The combination between the pleasure principle and cruelty can exist either actively or passively. That is, pleasure is experienced either in inflicting cruelty or in enduring it—or both. In less crass cases, when the child experiences not so much outright cruelty, but vague rejection or nonacceptance, the pleasure principle will attach itself to a similar situation, so that in spite of the conscious desire for acceptance, the pleasure current will only be activated in conjunction with rejection.
There are, for example, situations where a child experiences partial acceptance and partial rejection. Then the pleasure principle is attached to an exactly similar ambivalence. Evolution, my friends, means that each individual, through the process of personal selfconfrontation and self-realization, gradually changes the inner orientation of the pleasure principle. In their spontaneous reaction, more and more individuals will respond to positive situations and conditions.
P5 Positive or pleasurable feelings will no longer be derived from negative circumstances. So to the extent that you succeed in facing and understanding your conflict, the pleasure principle will run in different channels. As this happens, mobility will exist without tension and anxiety, and relaxation will exist without stagnation. You will see why you block out feelings, sometimes with a great amount of pain, then try to rationalize and explain them away. Where do you have relaxation and stagnation, immobility? Observe them in your mental makeup, in your emotions, as well as in your body.
QUESTION: For instance, in the case of children who feel rejected by their mother, does this marriage mean that the person cannot experience pleasure without also experiencing revenge—some kind of sadistic wish toward the mother? This happens perhaps only in fantasy, never in reality, and then the person is usually unaware that the partner represents the mother? ANSWER: Yes, it might be exactly that. Or it might also be that pleasure can be experienced only in connection with being rejected again, or a little rejected, or being fearful that rejection may occur.
QUESTION: But they didn’t experience pleasure when they were rejected. ANSWER: Of course not. But the child uses the pleasure principle to make the negative event, the suffering, more bearable. This happens unconsciously, unintentionally, and almost automatically. The only way this can be determined is by investigation of one’s fantasy life. It is that way that the marriage is established. The automatic reflexes are then geared to a situation that combines the inherent pleasure current with the painful event.
The trouble is that people consciously wish to be accepted and loved, but unconsciously, they cannot respond to a completely accepting and favorable situation. In such cases the pleasure principle has already been led into the negative channel and can be rechanneled only through awareness and understanding.
Perhaps you can imagine also—one sees this over and over again—that when people feel too secure in being accepted and loved, they lose the spark of interest. The spark, the interest, the dynamic flow exists only when there is an unsure or an unhappy situation. Sometimes the negative condition manifests only in fantasies. These fantasies are, when closely examined, in one way or another attached to suffering, humiliation, or hostility. This is then called masochism or sadism.
P7 When a completely positive situation exists in the psyche, reincarnation is no longer necessary. Evolution then proceeds on other levels. To the extent that a combination, or marriage, takes place between the life or pleasure principle and a negative situation, tension must exist; anxiety must exist. To the extent that anxiety and tension exist, immobility appears a welcome relief from the effort and fatigue to struggle against the self. It is extremely important that you become aware of the specific negative condition to which the pleasure principle in you reacts.
This awareness must be not only intellectual, but actually felt and experienced. You must remove the restriction, to allow this into your consciousness. Realize that allowing it into your consciousness is not a devastating judgment; it is not the end of you. When you allow the clear-cut, concise formulation of this particular melding point into your emotional experience, when you experience with courage how the automatic reflexes of the pleasure principle are geared to the negative, knowing that this need not and will not remain as you quietly and calmly desire to grow, then you cannot help but progress.
Both (two prevalent reactions to this conflict) of them are mostly unconscious. The first is strict denial so that no awareness, even in fantasy, exists. This comes from fear, guilt, and shame, and the belief that one is terrible because of it. The second applies to those who are perfectly aware of their fantasies but are unable to experience the pleasure principle in any other way, whether or not they actually have relationships with others.
It occurs when sex and love are separated, or eros and love, or eros and sex. In these cases, a semi-conscious resistance to giving up this fantasy life exists out of fear that the pleasure will be lost altogether. It then cannot be conceived that the pure, healthy pleasure principle manifests much more beautifully and satisfyingly when positive melds with positive. It is imagined that this would be dull and boring.
—The Pathwork® Guide