Lecture 166 – Perceiving, Reacting, Expressing | Abbreviated Version

P1             The living spirit you are, which is perpetually waiting to unfold itself in creative and joyful living and well-being, is contained and held back by condensed emotions—by powerful feelings you do not wish to experience. It is not the nature of those feelings themselves that creates the heavy condensed crust, but the fact that you deny their temporary reality in you. There is hopeless agony, there is violent rage, there is the feeling of absolute helplessness—first toward the world that seems to cause the agony and thus the rage, then toward the self because the ego does not know how to cope with these feelings. But the more these feelings are denied, the greater their power becomes.

P2             If you avoid these feelings, you cannot really live in the true unfoldment of the eternal, living, breathing spirit that you are, from which unlimited good flows into your whole being, into your entire life. The spirit-self cannot manifest when any part of the inner organism is feared, denied expression, and tightly held together. When you approach the threshold where you meet the apparently uncontrollable agony, pain, hopelessness and violent anger—and where you also meet your fear of not being able to ever exhaust these negative feelings, nor being able to handle them—then you have to make a vital decision: to bring your reason to bear on the entire question of whether to deny the existence of these emotions or to meet and experience them—to let them out into the open with the constructive view of learning how to handle them from here on.

This also requires a modicum of trust in the world, of which you are a part, that there is no “bad” as such. The bottomlessness of the emotions you fear so much will prove to be an error only when you emerge from the experience of them. So, you need to express, to let out your feelings by choice when and how long you desire, in the knowledge that this unburdening is your salvation.

P3             By owning up I do not mean merely an intellectual admission, but the actual emotional experience and volitional expression of it. For if you do not meet that in you which freezes and paralyzes the living spirit, it is impossible to be moved and lived by the living spirit. Its life is squeezed out if you have to hold yourself back in any form. I want to emphasize once again that this does not imply that you act out destructiveness any which way.

Choose in what manner to express it so that no one, including yourself, will be hurt by the effect—all the while knowing, without self-justification, the irrational and destructive nature of what is flowing out. Fearing yourself and not knowing it makes you dead, makes you miss out on life. It makes you attach this very fear of yourself to any number of other, outer facets which have nothing to do with the fear itself as it exists in its original state. When you have the courage to experience the pain, agony, anger, violence and helplessness, you will truly come to see that it is not bottomless or endless, and that this is not all there is to your inner life of feelings.

The end is when the living energy of all those feelings you wish to avoid becomes a vital, living feeling of love, joy, and pleasure. This second point (of awareness) is that, as a result of all the haplessness and agony, in the rage that develops as a consequence, you have decided, deep inside of you, to turn away from life, love, and the desire to contribute positively to life. It is this kind of negativity that makes the courage to experience the destructive feelings so perilous. For as long as it is a fact that you do not want to love—to give the best of yourself, to forgive and forget what harm life seems to have inflicted on you—that you do not want to generously risk giving of yourself on the deepest possible level where no deception can exist, there can be no safety in anything you do. The key to safety, security, and all the other resources of life is love.

P4             You do not want to give anything of yourself on this deep and secret level of your inner existence. Oh, you may, in principle, be willing to give something, but only when everything is exactly according to your specifications, which are often based on stark ignorance of the lawfulness involved in human interchange, on ignorance of the existing conditions produced by yourself that make such expectations of perfect relationships logically impossible.

You can connect with your spirit only when you see the negation and become honest and humble enough to give voice to it as it truly exists in you: “I do not want to give anything of myself. Whenever I feel threatened by rejection, criticism, frustration of my immediate desires, I at once withdraw from life my vital energies, my goodwill, my positive spirit of participation. I want to remain separated, keeping my anger and resentment.” Rage and agony must indeed seem endless as long as you are unwilling to give up this negative attitude toward life, in which you hug resentments and use dishonest games of suffering as weapons against others in order to put the blame on them.

P5             As you meditate, say into yourself: “I invest the best I have into my life. I will not withhold anything of myself. I want to contribute to the cosmic unfoldment and plan of evolution with all the faculties I have—those already manifest, but perhaps not used in this way, and those that are still dormant in me. I want to contribute, and only as a thoroughly fulfilled and happy person can I do so—not ever as a suffering one. You believe it to be a question of your happiness versus the happiness of the other. You secretly feel that by giving to others you will be impoverished, while by grabbing for what you want and by withholding yourself you add to your advantage.

When you go to the root of all things, there is no conflict between your fulfillment and those of others. So you will not need to be ungiving, nor will you need to feel guilty for wanting your own fulfillment and joy. There are certain very basic aspects of relationship that are important to understand. A threefold principle exists that applies to all elements of any kind of relationship and determines its nature. It is: perceiving, reacting, and expressing. You cannot possibly have a good relationship with others unless you first have a good relationship with yourself. Therefore these threefold aspects must first be applied to yourself. How do you perceive yourself? How do you react to what you perceive in yourself? And how do you express that which you perceive in yourself?

P6             You still battle what is and insist on being the way you are not. Thus you do not perceive in truth, so that your reaction to it when it indirectly manifests must be disharmonious and disturbing. You will go on denying what tries to make itself known to you, and you will create more inner dissent and warfare. A great part of the rage, anger, and pain are not so much a question of the helpless conditions of childhood, although those may have set it off in this life.

Much of the painful reaction is produced because you battle yourself as you are and do not succeed in becoming what you want to be. How then can what you express to others be anything but negative and destructive? Moreover, how can your perception of others be accurate when your self-perception closes its vision to what is in you and seeks others as scapegoats?

P7             With such a unified relationship toward the self, rather than a divided one, relationship to others must become equally positive and fruitful. Whenever you find yourself in strife, there is something in your relationship to yourself that is not according to the positive aspect of this threefold principle. My advice is to acknowledge this fact and let go, then ask for the truth within you. Then, and then only, will you be able to develop the same threefold principle toward the divine spirit within yourself.

For as long as you fear the indwelling negativity, you must also fear the indwelling power for positive experience and unfoldment. You will no longer react with fear to the greatest power in the universe, which is right in you. You will be receptive to it. You will then express this power, for you are a living part of it and become more and more so. Little by little, this will change your entire life. Although its truth is simple enough, to put it into practice requires the maximum of investment and commitment on your part to the truth within, to the truth of your life, to the living spirit of perpetual growth.

It demands time, perseverance and wise, mature insight into the dynamics of growth. It requires a continuous groping for the right balance of letting the destructive, ignorant, irrational child in you express itself, without falling into the trap of believing its truth is the truth, so that an intelligent dialogue can be established with the life-resisting part of your personality.

—The Pathwork® Guide

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