P1 Again and again, you make the error of believing that the spiritual and the psychological are two different approaches. Forgetting these terms for the moment, you will understand that without resolving so called psychological problems, you cannot become fully capable of loving. We all know that the child’s first impressions come from its first environment, in which the parents or their substitutes predominate, including anyone who plays an important role in the child’s life.
Since the child’s capacity to evaluate is limited, its emotional experience gleaned from the parents is very distorted. The image you carry of them, often unconsciously, may be quite contrary to your intellectual view or opinion, but it nevertheless influences your actions and governs your reactions to life, to others, and to yourself. It also clogs up the channel that enables you to love and experience others in their reality, while you are centered in your own real self, which is your reality.
P2 You can be sure that there is a connection between the most problematic area of your life and your perception of either one or both parents, or someone else in your early surroundings. A certain impression of another person or persons is imprinted upon your soul, and you continue reacting to others from this fragmentary and falsified imprint. Can a person be—if you must choose these terms—good in one way and bad in another? Can he or she be reliable in one way and unreliable in another, both selfish and also unselfish? Yet the child in you does not perceive that.
For the child, it is either one or the other but never both. Your emotional experience is always an either/or, and therefore you are not in touch with the living, dynamic complexity of the human being who was closest to you. The first step is to become aware of your distortions. Ask yourself: “How do I experience my parents? Do I experience them as human beings in their contradictions, their blindness, their often conflicting, mixed motivations?”
Does the person you may have feared and hated most when you were a child, perhaps still exist in you as one who is invulnerable and cannot be hurt, just because he or she hurt your vulnerability? But how do these revisions take place? Begin by asking yourself: “What were they really like?” Try to understand them in the fullness of their being. Understand their lives, their inner and outer struggles, their own childhood—from whatever you know about them.
P3 Your seeing only certain traits and leaving out others because you were not affected by them always dehumanizes the other person. By the same token, you may have an equal interest in holding on to a hated image. It may be your very protection against yourself. If the parent remains bad in your eyes, then the slight and hurt he or she has inflicted on you becomes nullified, as it were. You fear—erroneously of course—that if you accept the parent’s humanity and therefore let go of your insistence that the hurt inflicted on you was unjust in the extreme, your own value will be diminished.
It is so much easier for the child in you to have everything well ordered. A reality, which is flexible and contradictory, for which there are no fixed rules, is something the child in you would rather not cope with. Only after you come to terms with your resistance by strengthening and fortifying your will, and by asking in prayer and meditation to see the truth about your parents, will your resistance gradually weaken.
They may be dead, and even if they are still living, and you can contact them, there may be certain things you cannot possibly discuss with them. You may find a way to learn more about them, with an entirely new attitude. If you are willing to want to understand what made them the way they were, and what was their motivation for much you could never understand, comprehension will come to you in most miraculous ways.
P5 QUESTION: When parents give the child an unreal, or perhaps real, feeling of rejection, the child feels unworthy of love and therefore establishes a pattern of self-rejection. How does one work through this, even if one sees one’s parents in reality? ANSWER: In understanding what made them cruel, you will see it as their problem, and you will—perhaps for the first time in truth and reality— know that this had nothing to do with your own worth. Due to this sense of unworthiness, you are unable to establish constructive patterns that will give you reason to feel secure in yourself now.
The destructive patterns constantly confirm your unworthiness. You are thus unable to get out of them until the basic understanding that your parents’ real or imagined rejection of you had nothing to do with your worthiness is reached. It is exactly the same with your parents. The moment you experience them in their living reality—at fault, surely, but now understood in their dynamics—the impression and reaction must change in you. But with your new understanding you destroy the limited, rigid, robot-like image in which you emotionally experience them.
P6 QUESTION: I understand. Still, when a child is set in this pattern of self-rejection and has lived his life in this way, he is twisted and distorted, and loves the rejection rather than the love. The mere fact of recognizing one’s parents will not resolve this kind of conflict. ANSWER: I do not say this is the only answer. The moment you experience the important people of your early environment in their human reality, you will no longer need to practice self-rejection.
You were attached to it only because the child in you believed there was nothing else. (Question about 4th commandment) When you squash the early impressions of the parents and superimpose artificial, compulsive love and honor, you are even further from true love and respect. However, the real meaning is exactly what I have said. See the truth. When you do so, you respect the basic human being in everyone, regardless of their many aberrations and blindnesses.
P7 The distortions exist because of your relatively low level of awareness. The distortions themselves contain the remedy. From a spiritual point of view, which is our vantage point, one person who gains inner truth in the sense of this Pathwork has an infinitely greater influence on the entire cosmic development than do millions of people in error. Begin by simply wanting to understand.
—The Pathwork® Guide