P1 The universal life principle is life itself. It is eternal consciousness in its deepest and highest sense. It is eternal movement and pleasure supreme. It is the essence of all that breathes, moves, vibrates. It knows all, for it constantly creates and perpetuates itself, because it cannot be untrue to its own nature. Every individual consciousness is universal consciousness—not just a part of it, for a part implies only a little—but wherever consciousness exists, it is the original consciousness.
This original consciousness, or creative life principle, takes various forms. When in the process of individualization an entity passes the point of remembering its connection with its origin, a disconnection occurs. The particular consciousness continues to exist and to contain the universal consciousness, but it becomes oblivious to its own nature, its laws, and its potentials. This, in short, is the state of human consciousness as a whole. Consciousness and energy are not separate aspects of universal life; they are one.
P2 One of the universal life principle’s basic characteristics, whether expressed as autonomous consciousness or as energy, is that it is spontaneous. Each step toward seeing the truth in the self, with a genuine desire for constructive participation in the creative process of life, frees the self. Humanity finds itself in the paradoxical position of deeply yearning for the fruits of these involuntary processes, yet fearing and battling them.
Honesty must prevail to stop one’s attempts to cheat life, no matter how subtly. All character defects have to be removed. And when I say removed, I mean fully acknowledging and objectively observing them, without plunging into despair and denying the defects. This attitude in itself removes the defects infinitely more effectively than any other approach. It is a question of being able to quietly see oneself in the defect.
P3 People who are frightened of these alienating processes remove them by creating a vague theory. This compromise exists in every form of formalized religion that removes God from the self and from daily life, that splits human nature into the spiritual and the physical being. Thus total fulfillment is removed from the now into a life after death. This fear goes beyond the neurotic fears that stem from misconceptions and personally experienced traumas.
What is this basic fear of letting go of the outer ego to let the universal processes unfold and carry you? It is the misunderstanding that giving up the ego means giving up existence. You live under the illusion that life, the sense of “I am,” can be found only in your “separate” existence. This illusion has brought death into the human realm, for death is nothing but this illusion being carried to its final absurdity.
They experience a renewal of energy and find, paradoxically, that the more they give of their energy, the more renewed energy they generate within. For that is the law of the universal life principle. The separated state operates dualistically; it seems “logical” that the more one gives, the less one has and the more depleted one becomes. This comes from the illusion that the outer ego is all there is to individuality.
P4 This vaster intelligence manifests as inspiration, guidance, and a new form of intuition that comes not in a vague feeling, but in concise words, in definite knowledge, graspable and translatable into daily living. The fear of this new step stems from the idea that the ego will be crushed, it will fall into nothingness and cease to exist. The unmoving seems safe; the moving, perilous. To want to hold on makes life scary, for life is eternally moving. All other security—trust in, or leaning on the static—is illusory and breeds forever more fear.
The principle is the same as the one that moves the planets, which do not fall into space. There is nothing to fear; you cannot be crushed or annihilated. You can only be carried, as planets are carried in space. As I so often say, the state of humanity’s present consciousness creates the world you live in, including its physical laws. You are not relegated to this sphere; rather, this sphere, with all it contains, is an expression of humanity’s overall state of consciousness.
One of the physical laws expressing this state of consciousness is the law of gravity. It is a special law that pertains only to your dualistic consciousness. The law of gravity parallels, or expresses on the physical level, the emotional reaction to and the apprehension of falling and crushing when the ego is given up as the sole form of individual existence.
P5 The more you succeed in making previously unconscious material conscious and consequently reorienting the faulty reflexes, the closer you come to the reality of the universal life principle within you. Here are functions of power, of energy; functions of intelligence that resolve all conflict and furnish solutions to apparently unsolvable problems. Moreover, you develop an increased ability to experience pleasure, as you are meant to. Then I discussed a third component which I first called the mask self and later the idealized self.
It is based on a pretense of being what one wants to be, or what one feels one ought to be in order to be liked and approved of. The specific personality I then discussed feels this shame primarily about good qualities, about giving and loving. Such people believe they give into society’s demands and they thereby lose the integrity of their individuality. They fear their submission to and dependency on the opinions of others and therefore feel ashamed of any genuine impulse to please others. They therefore feel more “themselves” when they are hostile, aggressive, cruel.
P6 This strange shame manifests as embarrassment and a sense of exposure about the way one really is. When the naked core of oneself, as one is now, is exposed, the personality is less frightened of annihilation or danger, but more ashamed. The element of danger comes in when the ego yields to the involuntary processes. The shame is felt most acutely when it comes to being what one is in the moment. Because of this feeling, people pretend. This is a different kind of pretense than the one that covers up lack of integrity, destructiveness, and cruelty.
You may pretend things you actually feel. You may really feel love, but to show this real love feels naked, so you create a false love. You may really feel anger, as you are now. But this real anger feels naked, so you create false anger. You may really feel sadness, but you feel mortified to acknowledge this sadness, even to yourself, so you create false sadness, which you can easily display to others. You may really experience pleasure, but this, too, is humiliating to expose, so you create false pleasure. This even applies to elements like confusion and puzzlement. You intensify and dramatize your emotions, as I explained in the last lecture, and so you falsify them.
This falsification functions like a protective garment which no one but one’s deepest, usually unconscious self knows of. This “protective garment” anesthetizes one to the vibrancy and buoyancy of life. When you recognize this shame and do not push it away as inconsequential, you take a tremendous step. Feeling this shame is the key to finding a numbness that causes despair and frustration, because it leads to self-alienation and disconnectedness of a particular kind. The imitation feelings are often subtle and so deeply ingrained that they have become second nature. Therefore it takes a deeply sensitive letting go, letting yourself be, and letting yourself feel, as well as wanting to be discerning about your discoveries.
P7 You are already this universal life power. Every conceivable possibility is contained in it. What you are now is not shameful because of your faults; it is much more shameful, as it seems to you, because of its immediate, existential reality that seems so naked. But once you pay attention to it and elicit the powers available in you, again and again, so that you notice your shame and your hiding and learn to uncover yourself, you will finally step out of your protective shell and become more real. They (people) fear that if these feelings are not real then they have no feelings. They fear their own emptiness. And this fear is devastating. It exerts a subtle pressure to go on pretending.
P8 Life and feelings are one; where there is one, there must be the other, even if one is inactivated at the moment. Knowing this makes it possible to search within and ask, “Where have I decided not to feel?” The moment you become acutely aware of your fear to feel, you will cease to fear that you have no feelings. It is then possible to reactivate your feelings with the help of reason, through realistic and rational evaluation of the circumstances.
—The Pathwork® Guide