P1 There are two powerful forces or attitudes in the universe and therefore in each human personality. One is the force that is striving, moving, acting, initiating, activating, doing. This aspect includes self-responsibility, independence, autonomy, free choice, and the power of the self. The other is being receptive to and waiting for whatever is to happen.
This aspect includes patience, humility, the awareness of interdependence and of being a part of a whole. It has trust in the processes of the greater life. The former involves direct action, the latter means waiting for growth and indirect manifestation, which takes place in its own way and according to its own laws.
P2 Still another way of putting it would be to talk about the creative masculine and feminine principles. Growth cannot come unless the right interaction takes place between initiative and will on the one hand, and receptivity, surrender, waiting, and unfolding on the other. This kind of tension is not the painful tension a person feels when the two forces are in disharmony.
This pleasant tension is a springboard from which action flows forth naturally and organically. The proper interaction of tension and relaxation is the pulsation, the breathing, of the universe and of every aspect or particle thereof. The pulsation of tension and relaxation expresses the integration of these two forces: the male and the female, the initiating and the receptive forces.
P3 Many human beings find themselves in the middle state, where one universal pulse is felt as painful, the other as pleasurable. The outer, deliberate, conscious ego and its willpower must be poised in a firm but relaxed way. The resistant and destructive unconscious must be neither yielded to nor anxiously pressured or impatiently coerced. The ego must be alert to recognize what the unconscious expresses indirectly and why it holds back to prevent happiness and unfoldment.
The process requires a fine balance between the masculine and feminine principles. The ideal approach is to use both alternately: instruct firmly, calmly, and determinedly the destructive part of the hidden self to express itself. Observe what comes forth with interest, attention, and noninterference. To make this possible, request the divine being that you are deep inside to guide and help you in this process. The way cannot be learned by rules; only finely attuned listening to your own soul movements will enable you to discover when to use one and when to stop and use the other of these two complementing forces. You must see yourself using the wrong way before you can gradually adopt the right one.
P4 The outer impatience with oneself connotes an inner resistance. The outer laziness and distorted acceptance of things connotes a fierce inner struggle against the self and its effects. The struggle between the self and the self is, for the longest time, projected outwardly, so that the struggle seems to be between the self and life or between the self and others. But since there is no difference between you and life or others, the struggle is basically between you and yourself.
Excessive tension is always an expression of misunderstanding the processes caused by the false idea that inner blocks can be removed by the direct application of ego-will. The ego-will has its necessary function, but it is only indirectly responsible for the undercurrents and the will of the unconscious. Therefore the outer or egoconsciousness must treat the unconscious—even the destructive, childish, distorted part of it – with respect. The relationship between the conscious mind and the destructive part of the unconscious can be established by accepting, for the time being, that perceptions, attitudes, and feelings exist that are often diametrically opposed to each other.
P5 By the same token, a relationship between the ego faculties and the wisdom, truth, and love of the divine self can be established when the ego is prepared to receive the latter. Thus, the two aspects of growth and integration—transforming destructive elements and manifesting the divine self—presuppose the identical dynamics of doing and waiting, initiating and receiving. In one instance the conscious ego is wiser and more constructive than the buried unconscious. In the other instance, the buried unconscious is by far wiser and more constructive than the conscious mind.
Even the most destructive attitudes result not from evil but from sheer misunderstanding. When one fully understands this fact, even the most destructive processes are awesomely impressive, for their principle and mechanics are based on a lawfulness that is identical to the working of creation at its best. The initiating, active, masculine principle distorts into the tight tension of impatience, anxiety, and ego pride which thinks it can do it all alone, by sheer outer will.
P6 Conversely, those who, in distortion of the passive, feminine principle, trust in God in a way that virtually abandons self-responsibility, who leave everything to God to justify their own inactivity, also fail to fulfill themselves. It is a constantly changing rhythm or cycle on each individual’s path. Each step involves both movements and attitudes. Their proper interaction is the creative power that brings something new into life. Both the initiating and the receptive principles require the integrity of selfhood, on the one hand, and knowing that one is part of a whole, on the other.
Even the simple act of meditation must combine these two approaches. On the one hand, you actively formulate your attitude, goal, and intents—your attitude being that you want to invest the best of yourself, your goal being to remove obstructions and to grow and unfold the best that is in you, your intent being to face whatever the truth may be. On the other hand, you become still and waiting, calm and receptive. When you are ready to receive both the best and the worst in you and are relaxed about both, then manifestations can appear.
P7 As I said before, such understanding brings you into the state in which tension is no longer pain, so that you no longer alternate between pain and pleasure. Then these opposites will be reconciled, and the pulsating movements of tension and relaxation will be nothing but two different aspects of bliss; contributing to the processes of evolution by your serious and total involvement with your growth. What I mean is (going beyond the superficial) that you do not approach every life experience freshly. You are conditioned to respond to it in a certain way.
For example, when you see the color red, you generally do not see it according to your own perception and experience. You see it according to your indoctrination about how you should see red—you have a preconceived idea of “red.” Or when you see a tulip, the word, the concept tulip, is already a reflex, so that you do not experience the tulip as though you were confronted with it for the first time. Most significant of all, and relevant to our topic here, is the experience of pain and frustration. You have been indoctrinated for millennia with the conviction that any frustration is pain.
P8 You should experiment with any frustration that comes along the next time. Ask yourself, “Now, here is pain. I let myself feel this pain. Is it really as painful as I pretend?” As you convince yourself of the pain, you produce waves of pain by your very reaction, as if the situation were truly so painful. The tension becomes more painful than the pain itself. You will learn to let the pain, the frustration, be. You will let its movement be by itself. Little by little you will experience how the pain turns into a pleasurable movement of pulsation.
Only when you let yourself be calm and observant and receptive to what is within you, and accept it, will you be capable of experiencing this shift in consciousness. You never experience things as they really are, without preconceptions or preconditioned sensory reflexes. You will come to know more and more your true divine identity. It will reveal itself first as an apparently other self, manifesting from somewhere within you; then, as it enlivens you more and more, you will know that it is you and you are it.
—The Pathwork® Guide