P1 Your greatest joy and freedom comes when you give according to your potential. Conversely, your greatest pain is not giving to life and to others according to your potential. As long as you keep part of yourself hidden, you cannot possibly be free. You then must constantly be on guard, and you must pretend. Therefore, where you harbor distortions, you live a lie.
Neither could the fear of others possibly exist without the fear of oneself. When you fear yourself, it is because in some way you cannot be what you want to be. What you want to be is an ideal, which you pretend to be or to become. But this ideal is unrealistic and unrealizable because it is outside of yourself.
P2 What you judge unforgivably bad in yourself will no longer appear that way when it is out in the open and you understand cause and effect. The first link in the chain reaction is a narrow choice between good and bad, which forces not only the self but many other aspects of life into the same narrow mold. Almost every issue turns into a narrow “either/or” choice.
The next link in the negative chain reaction, following self-alienation, is that these apparently good and bad alternatives turn into two equally undesirable alternatives. A typical and important example of this state is the dichotomy between desire and fulfillment. In health and truth these two aspects become one, even while they remain separate within you; the free person, not alienated from his or her real self, feels no pang or conflict about either.
Healthy desire is a relaxed expansion, a reaching for ever new possibilities and fulfillment; in distortion, the desire becomes frustration. When the self is no longer feared, neither desire nor fulfillment need to be feared, for the self then knows that desire will be fulfilled and fulfillment will be not an end but a new beginning. As a compensation, (when a person withdraws from desiring) the soul strains in self-willed greed—from the conviction that fulfillment does not exist as a natural part of life, hence must be fought for and grasped.
P3 Since the self is felt as finite and not as infinite, every activity has a beginning and an end. In finiteness fulfillment is a flat, accomplished end and must become a burden. It also appears futile, leaving a confused feeling of “what for?” When you fear that your negative emotions are going to control you, you forget that you have something to say about it. You ignore the fact that no act or thought can exist without your allowing it.
You overlook the simple fact that you determine your thought, feeling, and action, even how you want to feel and react. You can immediately determine whether to give in to resistance and act destructively, or choose constructive ways which call for meeting yourself and determining your course. You can be instantly liberated from destructiveness by desiring that which is most constructive at this particular moment of your life. Suppose you find hate or hostility in yourself, and you fear its effect on you and your actions.
Simply state, “I shall fully face these destructive feelings, which will not force me into actions, for I am master over all feelings. I determine actions. I determine what I want to do, think, and feel. I now want to see what is in me. And I desire and intend to change these emotions into truthful and constructive ones. I choose my attitude to meet these emotions. If I encounter an inner distaste for giving up such destructive feelings, I shall neither deny this inner refusal by repression nor give in to it. I shall meet this, too, and not be vanquished by it. I determine truth in myself, and I choose constructive ways.”
Acting includes attitudes, such as the determination to remain passively controlled by resistance or negative emotions. “But this is the way I feel,” you say, setting a period after this, as though this were all there was to it, and nothing further could be done. You wait for some miracle from outside to make you feel differently. It does not occur to you that you must first want to feel differently before you can come out of the trap.
Yet, as long as you do not commit yourself wholeheartedly to exposing that which you fear, you cannot convince yourself of your innermost being, which is utterly trustworthy, wise, and good. As long as a part of you remains in hiding, you live by proxy, as it were. It is always “as if”; it is never whole and real. Then all goals and fulfillments are, in a sense, make-believe.
The great human struggle for life or death is as illusory as death itself. For no matter how many destructive, undesirable facets you may find in yourself, your fear of them is based on illusion. You can fear others only to the extent that you fear yourself. And the fear of them builds up more fear, more guilt, more pretense, more neurosis, and therefore more loss of healthy control over that in you which can be controlled, namely, what you desire to think, feel, and do—the inner direction you take.
P5 It somehow seems easier to doubt your vital energy than to admit your fear of your secret and give up the lie of your life. Your very being alive can only be a truthful phenomenon when there is nothing to hide, when you make the great decision not to be ruled by your negativity, regardless of what emotions, thoughts, and desires you secretly harbor.
Watch your evasions. Notice how busy you make yourself with other issues that have nothing to do with this great question. Simply declaring your vigorous intent to not let cowardice and fear defeat you will set those powers in motion that will bring you out of this trap. The negative and destructive substance you fear in yourself is unchangeable only as long as you do not wish to change it, or as long as you avoid looking at it closely, in detail. It is always your choice.
P6 Meditating on your intent to face it and give it up is an activity of the part in you that is available for self-determination at this moment. You must finally come face to face with that rich, forever renewed, and unchangeably wonderful part in yourself through which you vibrantly live in absolute self-trust. In this new widening of life there are not just two alternatives, one falsely good and one falsely bad, or in fact two bad ones. In this new reality there are many beautiful alternatives. In reality all good can be had.
There is no fear of fulfillment because it supposedly becomes stale. That happens only when you keep a tight check on yourself. When you let go and vibrate unchecked in fearless expansion, fulfillment becomes a state of being in the now. It need not be feared as an end. The law is that whatever concept you hold must manifest in your life. The truth of life, the reality of life, is unlimited good. To the extent you can embrace this possibility, even in an attitude of honest questioning, to that extent this truth—in whatever area you conceive it—must unfold itself to you.
P7 One’s concept and expectations of life are fences around the possibilities of experience and unfoldment. When more possibilities are discovered, the fences recede accordingly. The greater the scope of the mind to grasp blissful, joyful experience, the more of it must come into being, because in reality it is all there, available in unimaginable abundance. The narrow fences are always a result of personal distortion. You cannot experience more than what you conceive of the possibility of experience.
If you believe that happiness is impossible, how can you experience happiness? This is as logical as any physical law. For instance, if you move your body from here to there, your body can be only at the spot you have moved it to, not at any different spot. This is no more and no less miraculous than the laws of the mind. As far as you can move it, this is where you find yourself with it. Spiritually, mentally, emotionally, you so often remain in a dingy little hole, with no possibility to stretch, to unfold, to experience beauty.
When you finally test it and discover the beautiful world outside the room, and see how safe and satisfying it is, you experience it as a miracle. You then stretch and stretch your mind to more and more possibilities to unfold and experience good, to give and receive good. The reality of creation is that there is unlimited freedom and possibility for experiencing the good. That possibility is given to everyone.
—The Pathwork® Guide