P2 Assume that you are quarrelling with a friend. You are convinced, from where you sit, that you are right; therefore, the friend becomes wrong. The outcome seems to matter more than the issue itself, for when the intensity of emotions is truly tested it often has no relationship to the issue at stake. It would rather be commensurate with a life or death issue.
Although you may think this irrational on a conscious level, on an unconscious level being wrong truly means being dead, for being wrong means being denied by the other. On the dualistic plane, your sense of identity is associated with the other person, not with your real self. As long as you experience yourself only as the outer ego-self, you will depend on others. Only when you have realized the center of your being, which embodies unification, does your life cease to depend on others.
P3 Since you are still convinced that there is a right versus a wrong, such appeasement robs you of self-respect. You will be torn between fighting or submitting. Thus, a second duality develops out of the first. The first is: “Who is right and who is wrong? Only I can be right. Otherwise all is bad.” The second is either giving in to a wrong that you cannot admit, or continuing the fight. Admitting a wrong means death, in a sense.
So you are faced with the alternatives of admitting a wrong, which means death in the deep psyche, in order to avoid dreaded consequences and the possibility of a real risk, putting your life at a grave disadvantage, again death, in the deepest sense, or insisting on your total rightness. When the road to the unified principle is chosen, soon what at first appeared as one certain good and one obvious bad ceases to be so, and you inevitably encounter good and bad on both ends. When this road is pursued still further, no longer is there any bad, but only good.
P4 Our example is a banal one and can be translated into many everyday issues, big or small. So, you have these dualistic rules because of your erroneous fears, and you cling to the false fears because of your indoctrination. The real self, the divine principle, the infinite intelligence, or whatever you wish to call that deep inner center existing in every human being, contains all wisdom and truth you can possibly envisage. The truth is so far-reaching and so directly accessible that no further conflict exists when this truth is allowed to take effect. The ifs and buts of the dualistic state cease to exist.
Far from being the annihilation that the ego fears, that truth opens up the storehouse of vibrant life force and energy that you usually use to only a minor degree and which you misuse in directing your attention and hopes to the dualistic plane, with its tightly held opinions, false ideas, vanity, pride, selfwill, and fear. The unified real self can always be contacted. The hardest act to perform, which, in reality, is the easiest act possible, is to ask, “What is the truth of the matter?” The moment you are more intent on the truth than on proving that you are right you contact the divine principle of transcendent, unified truth. No matter how strongly circumstances seem to point in one direction, you must be willing to relinquish and to question whether what you see is all there is to the issue.
P5 This approach to a problem immediately opens the way to rise to the unified plane of existence and to be moved by the real self. You understand exactly how the quarrel came into existence in the first place, what led to it, what its history was long before its actual manifestation. With such discoveries you gain insight into the very nature of the relationship. You learn about yourself and the other, you increase your understanding of the laws of communication.
After the initial apparent need for courage and the momentary resistance to seeing a wider truth than the egotistic one, your path becomes so much easier than the struggle that ensues on the either/or plane of the dualistic life. You become nothing, worthless, pitiful—and from there it is only a step to annihilation in your fantasy life. Hence, you feel that leaving your dualistic plane is the greatest danger.
But the moment you are willing to be in truth, the moment you are eager and prepared, not merely to see your way, your little truth, not to give in to the other’s little truth in fear of the consequences if you do not, but when you wish to possess the larger, more encompassing truth, which transcends both of your little truths, a specific tension will be removed in your psyche.
P6 This simple act of wanting the truth requires several conditions, the most important being the willingness to relinquish what one holds on to, whether this be a belief, a fear, or a cherished way of being. When I say relinquish, I merely mean questioning it and being willing to see that there is something else beyond this outlook. To relinquish this plane means to give up the claims of the little ego. This does not mean annihilation, but to the ego it seems to mean just this.
Actually, the ego is a particle, an isolated aspect of the master intelligence, the real, inner self. It is not different from it; there is simply less of the real self in it. Since it is separate and limited, it is less reliable than what it stems from. But this does not mean that the ego has to be annihilated. In fact, the ego will eventually integrate with the real self so that there is one self, which will be fuller, better equipped, wiser. It will have more and better assets than you can imagine.
As long as you are totally identified with your ego, you will continue to cultivate more separation, and self-idealization must be the consequence. Self-glorification and idealization seems, from this point of view, the apparent salvation and guarantee to assuage your existential fears. The ego thinks, “If everyone around me considers me special, better than others, smart, beautiful, talented, happy, unhappy, or even bad,”—or whatever specialty you have chosen for your idealized self-glorification—“then I will receive the necessary approval, love, admiration, agreement that I need in order to live.”
This argument means that somewhere deep down you believe that you can exist only through being noticed, affirmed, and confirmed by others. You feel that if you go by unnoticed, you cease to live. This may sound exaggerated, but it is not. It explains why your idealized self-image is so destructive. You feel more confident when you make yourself noticed than when you make positive efforts. So your salvation seems to lie in others who would acknowledge your existence.
P7 Which pseudo-solution you have chosen depends on individual character traits, on circumstances and early influences. Whatever they are—and there are three basic ones: the aggressive, the submissive, and the withdrawal solutions. You will further come to see – not as a theory, but as a reality—that your life does not depend on other people’s affirmation of your existence; that you do not need to be special and separate from others; that this very claim traps you in loneliness and confusion; that others will give you love and acceptance only when you do not wish to be better than they are, or special or different from them. When you need to be better through your accomplishments, what you give to the world must turn against you because you offer it in a spirit of war. When you give of your accomplishments in order to enrich life and others, you and your life will be enhanced by it because what you offer is given in a spirit of peace.
P8 You will further notice that relinquishing ideals and convictions also feels like annihilation, for being wrong means dying, and being right means living. On the dualistic plane you must have everything your way. You must win over life, over others, over circumstances. You must prove yourself to be stronger than all other forces in your life that may oppose you. Opposing you means that you lose, and losing, in the last analysis, means annihilation.
P9 You must therefore constantly live in fear that you cannot always win. In this dependency you need life to move always according to your needs, or rather your imagined needs. You then become resentful of those who prohibit your gratification. The overt fight is not a bit more opposed to truth and peace, not one iota less aggressive than the submissive solution, whose hostility always smolders underground. Discover the good in all situations, whether you deem them good or bad. It means accepting where you are and what life is for you at this moment.
—The Pathwork® Guide