Lecture 82 – Duality Symbolized in Life and Death | Abbreviated Version

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P1             And you can experience this only in the infinitely great and ultimate issues when you learn to experience it first in your daily little “deaths.” When your will is not done and you cringe from suffering in the wrong, unhealthy way, you increase the tragic duality. You reject death and, therefore, in the ultimate sense, you reject life.

P2             Courage and honesty are perhaps the most important assets in one’s development. The person who cringes away from suffering—denying, never facing it, and irrationally fearing it beyond its true proportions—is inevitably equally afraid of happiness and fulfillment. And since suffering and pain, or death and life, are connected and are in reality one and the same, your happiness and pleasure are also connected to your attitude toward death and suffering. As you accept the one, so will you also accept the other. And as you rise and grow through the one, so do you rise and grow through the other.

The healthy way to meet suffering is perhaps the most important key in life. If you meet it openly and whole-heartedly, willing to learn from it, keeping your reason and faculties intact—although emotionally you may be plunged in darkness, rebellion, cowardice and self-pity – the outcome will be happiness to the degree you have grown from the suffering you have gone through.

P3             Many self-aware people understand that suffering is self-created. Your realization of this, whether vaguely or fully, causes you to become frantic whenever suffering comes your way if for no other reason than the frustration of not knowing instantly by what particular attitude or action you have created it. Not having this knowledge makes you fearful that more suffering may come from this hidden cause.  

Since you are impatient, either consciously or unconsciously, to find out, you sabotage all your attempts to get to the cause. What is done in impatience, haste, frustration, or fear inevitably slows down the process of activity. How can you meet life’s conditions unless you meet yourself face to face in your innermost, hidden conflicts, attitudes, and beliefs, and comprehend the real meaning of your reactions. Any time you are disturbed, find out what it is that you want, and what it is that you fear.

To begin by tackling the big general issues will never get you anywhere. True growth happens only when you tackle your seemingly insignificant daily reactions of desire and fear. Only then will you learn the right attitude toward life and death. When you pursue this self-questioning to the point of asking, “Why do I want this? Why do I fear not getting it?” you will come to the love you desire and to your fear of not getting it.

P4             When, from your fear of not getting what you really want, you deliberately choose what you don’t want, you create an unhealthy, deadening condition. This condition is unhealthy because you deny yourself what you actually could have, although it may not be to the degree you wish it. You may not get the kind of love you desire—exclusive, limitless, guaranteed with absolute certainty that you will never lose it again. But because any limitations of your wish would create unbearable frustration of your exaggerated belief that the nonfulfillment of your wish is unbearable, you forfeit the love you could have by rejecting it altogether.

P5             You do not have to wait for physical death, because you die many deaths every day, in all your little ordeals and struggles.

P6             The manner in which you meet these determines the subsequent life and fullness of joy that can be yours. If you meet these ordeals and struggles in a similar spirit of truthfulness, you will experience life and joy while still in the body to the same degree.”

P7             If you very truthfully question yourself, in looking back you can admit that the experience is no longer a horror. The horror therefore must have been unreal, for a reality is permanent and unchangeable. Only an illusion loses intensity as time goes by. What really helps is to acknowledge your fear and suffering and relax into it. Remain conscious of your intellectual knowledge all the while, without forcing it on your emotional reaction. Allow both to exist freely, side by side, as you observe your thoughts and feelings.

P8             The meaning is, as I have explained, that if you meet both life and death, you cannot die. You will then live in the true sense of the word.

P9             People who go through successful analysis often come to believe in the reality of spiritual laws and truth. Only the generous freedom which comes from giving oneself up and going into the unknown, without any assurance of retaining what one cherishes, can produce true growth.

P10           This heightened pleasure includes the physical level. Such inclusion comes, in turn, from facing death and suffering. It happens through eliminating negation and slowly, bit by bit, melting away the duality. In doing so, reality, as you know it on earth, begins to change, first subtly in your own inner world, and then slowly in the outer world.

—The Pathwork® Guide

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