P2 If someone hurts you, what he or she said and did will actually be a hurt. And as long as you remain focused on what happened and ignore the reason behind it, you will remain hurt. The moment you fully understand, it is impossible to be hurt any longer. I am certain that every one of you has occasionally had such an experience. And yet you keep falling into the same trap.
You know very well by now that only by understanding yourself can you come to understand others. Understanding eliminates the hurts because it brings you into truth, or reality. This is why it is said that truth makes you free. This is why the resistance of the child in you when it comes to fully facing yourself is entirely unreasonable and damaging to you.
P3 The more your fear of loving produces the urgent desire to be loved, approved of, and so on, the more rigidly and tensely you construct illusory forms, in the hope that your desire can be fulfilled. Even if you actually obtain the love or admiration you wish, you fail to perceive it in reality as carrying the particular flavor or stamp of the person involved. You are dissatisfied with it in the long run, because it does not live up to your idea of it.
Actually, it is never necessary because even if, for his or her own reason, the other person cannot respond to your desire, you would be better off to see that and let go. But often, you can obtain your wish—but only in freedom, without urgency, and therefore without any unreal, preconceived ideas of how a relationship should be and how the other person should react. In such freedom, you can adapt flexibly to the particular ways of the other, and realize that it is unnecessary to mold the person and the situation to your ideas.
To realize how you create unreality, you must begin by becoming aware of the many little disappointments that you do not allow to be conscious. This is so partly because you tend to deceive yourself and do not like to face anything unpleasant, and partly because in your intellect you know better than to be so disappointed about a little thing, and you therefore feel guilty about having such a childish reaction. This urgent need for illusion comes from the forcing current of the child in you who must have everything his or her own way.
But as I said, first you must become aware that in not getting your way, whether in outer things or in other people’s reactions toward you, you have felt disappointment. You have an unreal picture of other people, since you are tempted to increase their value if they please you and decrease their value if they do not. You also have an unreal idea of the importance that incidents or the reactions of others have for you. Again, intellectually you may know better, but emotionally, at this moment, the incident is of disproportionate importance to you. Hence, you do not see the quality of people or of occurrences in reality.
P5 Last, but not least, you are in unreality because your concept of time-quality is false when your childish emotions are involved without your awareness. The child in you exaggerates the importance of what happens at this moment. This is the child in you who reacts to the moment almost like an animal. It knows no past and no future and therefore lacks the judgment to evaluate the true significance or, to put it differently, the reality value of what happens. Your inner child’s exaggeration and distorted black-and-white perception of life’s happenings brings in its wake a further conflict.
That is the tendency to dramatize oneself, which is present to some degree in every human being. Since the child in you is constantly clamoring for attention, it uses the dramatization either openly or subtly as a means of forcing others to comply. You may find, for instance, how a little encouragement or compliment makes your spirit surge to heights of unreasonable joy or gratification, beyond all proportion to its real value, and the way a little criticism—real, imagined, or implied—can spoil the day for you. This black-and-white attitude causes you to dramatize yourself.
P6 Disapproval strikes a chord in you because you know deep down that, no matter how unfounded the criticism in this case, you yourself criticize your lack of courage to help mature the child in you. By gaining self-respect, you become less and less dependent on approval from others.
P7 You will also recognize that for a long time the slowly growing child in you keeps producing hostility and aggressiveness, even if ever so subtly, when it feels slighted. Without the forcing current, you will not need to dream up fixed situations. You will not be rigid in your expectations, or disappointed when things turn out differently from what you expect.
P9 If you live in the now, there are no daydreams. There are no prefabricated situations. You vibrate flexibly and live with the moment, even if the moment is, at times, difficult or dull. You are completely in the moment. Here! Now! This is why both approaches are favorable. (inner work and additional exercises) Although the inner search and change are indispensable and can bring you to the goal without the help of such exercises, the latter will be a helpful addition. This should be clearly understood.
P10 When you sit down for a few minutes of such practice, first observe your mood. See if you are impatient or hasty. Then ask yourself, “Where am I hurrying to?” What do I think I miss by spending a few minutes on these exercises?” See the unreality of this haste. There is some feeling in you that this is a waste of time. Then consider what a disproportionate amount of time you actually do waste on daydreams or on insignificant floating thoughts of which you are only half aware.
Yet when it comes to sitting down for five minutes or so, your feeling is, “This is a waste of time.” The next thing you may do, when you are completely relaxed in body and mind, is to close your eyes and try to see yourself as you sit there. Concentrate as though you were outside yourself, or as though someone else saw you sitting there; see what you wear, what your posture is, your facial expression. As you thus observe yourself, you may discover certain facial expressions you may otherwise not have noticed.
You may feel, for instance, that your mouth pulls down, or your shoulders sag; or that you forcefully straighten them in an unrelaxed, artificial way. Observe all that as you would closely observe another person. You do not have to do it for long. Then do either one of the exercises I mentioned previously. See yourself as you are not thinking. Be on guard for what thoughts may come. This is one of the best means of preventing background thoughts, which take you away from the here and now.
You can almost feel yourself standing poised on guard at a sort of threshold. After you have succeeded in this exercise, be it only for a short time, you will have a wonderful opportunity for prayer or meditation, or to instruct your subconscious. At such time, you may also express your intention to put aside all resistance toward facing yourself and changing where necessary. This is the time in which you can best observe the reaction of your subconscious when you utter such an instruction in its direction, or ask God for help. You can also utter such instructions or intentions in clear-cut foreground thoughts every time you feel you cannot “stand on guard” anymore.
—The Pathwork® Guide