P1 When you are only vaguely aware of your negativity, only dimly sensing the hurt that it inflicts on others, you are caught in a battle of blame, self-justification, helplessness, self-rejection and self-doubt. By denying your negativity you incur a double guilt. First, there is the guilt for the negative attitude in question. This we may call the primary guilt.
Then you are involved in the guilt for denying this negativity, which we may call the secondary guilt. If the primary guilt were admitted and its consequences truly accepted, it would cease to be a guilt. But the secondary guilt must weigh heavily on everyone’s soul. It is a burden that consumes much vital life energy. Your denial always implies inner or outer harmful acts toward others and may therefore truly be called a sin, because you punish others for your own failings, for your own negative intentions, lovelessness, untruthfulness, spite, and unfair demands.
P2 The more you expose every detail of the disparity between your demands, your own ungiving intentions and the punishment you mete out when your demands are not being met, the more you clear yourself of guilt. The clearer you can see the preposterous unfairness of what you demand compared to what you give, always so that you cannot be caught or be made accountable – the quicker you will free yourself of a burden that causes depression, anxiety, worry, hopelessness, and often physical illness and material frustration as well.
One of the most popular ways for punishing others is to render them guilty; to build the case in such a way that they seem to be the cause for your misery. You choose to ignore that others cannot respond the way you would like them to when your own psyche is still steeped in this negative, non-giving attitude toward life. If you feel comfortable with others, if you expand your life in a joyous way; and if you regard occasional difficulties as meaningful stepping stones, then you have already vastly overcome this poisonous attitude. Admitting your negative intentionality is the most fundamental act of love.
P3 So much confusion exists because of the either/or alternative. Humanity is stymied by the concept that either oneself should be blamed or the other person should. 2 examples. Most human beings are still incapable of experiencing how their distortion and negativity directly affects, reinforces, and hooks into the distortions and negativities of others. Psyche to psyche, the following interaction takes place, example of victim/perpetrator attitude.
P4 One of the apparently paradoxical truths of spiritual reality is that you are responsible for yourself and you are also responsible for the other, each in a different way. By the same token, others’ negative intentionality hurts and hinders you and they are responsible for doing this to you. Yet they could not succeed if you would not tenaciously hold on to your own. In that sense, the responsibility is yours.
Everyone has the choice of either using the other’s bad intentions as an excuse to stay in their own or looking for a new way of responding to life. It is therefore equally true that you are exclusively responsible for yourself and others are exclusively responsible for themselves and that, everyone is responsible for the other person. Since ultimately there is no division between the self and the other, both must be true. You are the others and the others are you. The separation is as much an illusion as the either/or duality.
When you end the old pattern of blaming others in order to justify your unfairness and your unloving demands, you not only unhook yourself from this terrible double-bind, you also help unhook the other person. The other who hears it has, in that moment, received a gift of love from you, even though you may still not want to love with your heart, with your feelings, with your inner being. But you have begun to love by being truthful.
Release and clarification often lead to the solution of the deepest problems. It is as though the personality needed this “outer” grace, this helping hand. Negative intentionality is a defense. It stems from the innate belief that the world cannot be trusted and the only way the self can protect itself is by being as mean as the world is supposed to be—or meaner. Honesty is the most needed and most rare form of love among human beings.
Only when you know your own negativity, truly own up to it, assume responsibility for it, and no longer project it onto others while distorting reality in order to be able to do so, will you suddenly gain new insight into other people’s doings, so that even when they do not admit it, you will know what is happening. This is why everyone who admits the worst in themselves inevitably feels elation, liberation, energy, hope, and light as the immediate result. As you read your own mind accurately, you cannot help reading those of others—since in reality it is all one mind.
P6 The worst pain of guilt comes when you do not quite know what is your part of an interaction and what is the other’s. It tears you apart, makes you suffer, searching blindly, like a trapped animal. But you are your own victim. You have trapped yourself by choosing not to be honest. Whenever human beings unfold into a more expanded state they need different tools.
As you gain understanding and learn to experience feelings which you have previously avoided, you are setting the stage, as it were, for an “expanded operation.” In practical terms this means that attitudes which were once useful now become destructive and limiting. This will come about (new ways of responding), first, by knowing that your old response is a conditioned reflex created to fit a smaller way of functioning in life; second, by questioning that reflex and the beliefs behind it. Last but not least by choosing love, rather than separateness, as your way of being in the world.
P7 Love is the key. If you do not open your heart you must wither away. And it is no use pretending that you want to love, that you even do love, as long as you are frightened of feeling your feelings. To the degree that it is so, you hold back from loving. The first step must be to be willing to love. You do not start loving simply because you so choose. You have to call the divine nature of your innermost nucleus to give you the grace of loving.
The grace of God may manifest through you in making you open your heart and lose your fear of feelings, of being vulnerable. Ask yourself how fulfilled you feel in it. How warm and unthreatened you feel with others. How comfortable do you feel in life? That is your answer to how loving and how truthful you are. And then maybe the first step of love can be instituted: Admit your hate. Admit your punitiveness. Admit your spitefulness. To the degree you do so, you start loving. Commit yourself to go all the way with it and thereby help yourself and those around you. Allow this to happen.
—The Pathwork® Guide