P1 Only the actual contact of one individual with another establishes the requisite conditions in the personality for true inner union. Therefore this pull toward unity manifests as a tremendous force, moving individuals toward each other, making separateness painful and empty. The life force therefore consists not only of the pull toward others, but also of pleasure supreme. Life and pleasure are one.
Lack of pleasure is the distortion of the life force and comes from opposing the creative principle. Life, pleasure, contact and oneness with others are the goal of the cosmic plan. Individual consciousness opposes this force, however, out of the erroneous idea that giving in to it means annihilation. Thus you put yourself in the paradoxical position of believing that life comes from opposing life.
P2 To the degree that, consciously or unconsciously, you equate the life force with annihilation, you struggle against life itself. Deep within, you know that you distrust the greatest spiritual force and thus life itself. The distrust creates a deep guilt that often manifests on the surface as unjustified guilts you cannot give up. The conflict also manifests as a fear of your deepest instincts so that you cannot ever relax and be unguarded about yourself. Since you are part of the life you distrust, you must also distrust your own innermost self.
You justify this irrational attitude by pointing to the most distorted manifestations of the life principle, of the pleasure current, as though they were proof of its badness. Thus people have preached through the centuries that the body is sinful, while the spirit is supposed to be the opposite of the body and therefore good. Part of you moves toward others and accepts your instincts and nature, but another side shrinks back from this movement.
Deprivation, emptiness, meaninglessness, and a sense of waste ensue. Only the courage to explore these layers within yourself will lead you to the truth of your underlying core, which is wholly trustworthy. But this, as I said, can be experienced only when the deep pull of nature, of evolution, of the creative principle, is understood.
P3 It (the creative pull) always leads toward contact with others. Strong fear of such contact leads some individuals into temporarily withdrawing. Of course, withdrawal can take many forms: it can manifest in your outer life and behavior, but it can also manifest in a much more subtle form. Outwardly you may engage in contacts but inwardly you remain uninvolved, isolated, separate. This isolation cannot be maintained for long, because ultimately it will become unbearable.
All human beings experience some counter-pull, even relatively integrated, healthy individuals. To the degree that opposition to the cosmic pull creates blocks and throws the cosmic stream off course, negative and painful contact has to ensue. The pleasure principle will be attached to a negative situation, born out of childhood experiences. This makes fulfillment impossible because the experience of pleasure is always threatened by the attached negativity. The individual thus becomes a helpless straw between the two pulls, and is driven into painful contact. Thus the pull toward contact, and the fear of it, which manifests as a pull away from it, are both present.
The latter engenders two fundamental defensive reactions: either the desire to hurt or the sense of being hurt which are inevitable byproducts of the contact. The connection between hurt and pleasure engenders a vicious circle. The more painfully the pleasure principle of the cosmic pull manifests, the greater the fear, the guilt, the shame, the anxiety, and the tension.
The evolutionary problem for every single conscious being is therefore to deeply comprehend and experience this vicious circle without misjudging the negative connection between contact, pain, and the pleasure principle. You must look beyond it by committing to search with an open attitude for your deepest nature. The layer of destructiveness, blind selfishness, dishonesty, as well as the shameful attachments of the pleasure principle to negative situations is not your deepest nature.
P4 Only when you have the courage and honesty to face what you do not like in yourself can you discover that the very energy and substance of these attitudes is essentially constructive and trustworthy. Conversely, when you consider the possibility that the entire creative process is trustworthy, you will develop the courage and honesty to transcend the blocks that deform creative energy and divine substance and reconvert them into creativity.
The only way out is to understand that the innermost instincts are good if they are not interfered with. These instincts will prove themselves as bearers of light when they are not misjudged, denied, and split off from their divine origin in an artificial duality that presupposes they are evil and regards them as the opposites of divine life, or spiritual life. The peace between body and soul is an inevitable product of self-realization.
P5 The wrong attitude about frustration is harmful for obvious reasons. It impairs relationships, self-respect, and inner peace. In other words, everyone has to seek the inner experience of letting go and relaxing. This does not mean relinquishing forever, but relaxing into pleasure through the power of gentle letting go. If you feel inwardly tense and are unwilling to relax into an attitude of wise, positive reasonableness and humility, without ceasing to seek complete fulfillment, you separate yourself from feeling good. But often the temptation to remain in the tense state is great, for anger and self-pity offer a substitute gratification.
P6 The flexibility of relaxing into what is, even if what is at the moment is not what you want, must ultimately bring you what you want—first, by giving you a good feeling about yourself and by putting you in harmony with the cosmic movement within your psyche. Later, the thing you want will also come; it must come, as a matter of course, according to the law of cause and effect. This climate is essential to establish the inner knowledge that all fulfillment is potentially yours and can actually be yours through your knowing this. But only when you know this in an atmosphere of letting go, of relaxation, can your wishes materialize.
When you are in a state of “I must have it,” they cannot materialize. They (these ideas) will require not only study but seeing how you yourself are inwardly tense about not getting your way. Or, perhaps, you have embraced the opposite extreme: resignation. It is simply the reverse of the same coin. When you see either or both of these attitudes fluctuating, then you can proceed to reach for the experience of letting go, relaxing into the pleasure of letting go. Since you fear and block the fulfillment of the cosmic stream, you must inevitably experience the fear of nonfulfillment. Inability to tolerate frustration actually results from the fear of nonfulfillment.
They apply to everything in your life; primarily to the great issue of cosmic union with another person, of trusting and following one’s own deep instincts and consequently experiencing the highest state of bliss. They also apply to mental issues and to everyday accomplishments. The often experienced fear of failure results from fearing success. Success seems as vaguely dangerous as any other kind of happiness. The adamant demand for instant gratification says, “I want to be happy and feel good without having to trust and give over to the universe.” This is, of course, utterly impossible.
P7 The cosmic pull always remains stronger than the counter-pull, since it is a primary force, while the struggle against it is secondary and superimposed. The fear produces defenses, hurts, anger—all these enter the contact and combine with the pleasure principle. Negative contact manifesting in the desire to hurt expresses itself in quarrelsomeness, hostility, aggression.
On the sexual level, such an individual is sadistic. Negative contact that manifests in being hurt, expresses itself in a tendency to be taken advantage of; you will always manage to put yourself at a disadvantage; you will be driven into damaging behavior patterns. On the sexual level, such an individual is masochistic. Now, of course, no one is simply one or the other; both elements are always represented in a personality, but only one of them may predominate on the surface. For example, just because you fear your cruelty, your need to derive pleasure from hurting others, you may reverse it and direct it against yourself.
—The Pathwork® Guide