There is a great pull in this world that is connected with creativity and creation. And since all humans are made from the same substance that fuels the creative process, one end of this pull is attached to each one of us. The aim of this pull is to move us toward union. So the whole plan of evolution could be looked at as one long slide that’s pulling us down a funnel in the direction of overcoming our separateness.
If we look at union, however, as being a mental process or as a venture with an intangible God, then sorry to say, that’s not genuine union at all. No, there’s got to be real live actual contact, the kind that happens between one individual and another. So this pull works by being powerful enough to pull us into relationship with each other—which takes a tremendous force—while at the same time making separateness feel painful and empty.
As this force pulls us toward each other, it is also drawing us toward pleasure. For in truth, life and pleasure are one. Said another way, we can’t live without pleasure. The cosmic plan rolls all this up into one goal: life, pleasure, contact and oneness. Because they’re all one and the same thing. So when pleasure through relationships is missing, there is a disturbance in our life force that comes from being in opposition to the great cosmic plan.
The pull toward unity is attempting to bring us out of our seclusion, as it moves us toward contact and the possibility to meld with another. To follow this pull is to follow our bliss. It feels at once exhilarating and peaceful. Jeez, who wouldn’t want that? Turns out, we wouldn’t. We—each one of us—oppose this pull out of the wrong thinking that giving into it means we’ll be swallowed whole. We think we’ll be annihilated. Our basic conclusion is that our life is best preserved by opposing pleasure—or life. Huh? We live with this deep inner conflict pulling our guts apart.
By fearing and opposing this pull, we’re bucking the natural flow of things. This is so unconscious in most of us, these words may sound completely off-base. Nonetheless, to whatever degree we equate loving with being annihilated, we’re going to have a struggle on our hands. Our confusion makes us profoundly distrust life itself. We can see evidence of this conflict when we look at our fear of our deepest instincts.
Often, we don’t trust the desire for pleasure inherent in our own bodies. Admittedly, the pleasure principle sometimes manifests in distorted ways, but we go on to use this as an excuse to stamp the body as bad, creating a dualistic divide between the body and the spirit. Then we claim that denying our very nature is right and good, causing us to reject the life principle as it shows up in our bodies. This, we think, will save us from annihilation. And that, friends, is why people have preached for centuries that the body is sinful, while the spirit is the opposite and therefore good. Good grief.
Even if we embrace such misguided thinking as being spiritual truth, these misconceptions aren’t the root of our problems. Our difficulties come from the deeper conflict that makes us think of life—which includes pleasure and union—as being the opposite of what it is—namely, something that will destroy us. This causes us to pull ourselves in two opposing directions, as we struggle is to fully harness this powerful force—this pull. So part of us moves towards others, accepting our bodily instincts and our basic nature, while another part backpedals, leading to deprivation, emptiness, meaninglessness and a sense of waste.
Often, we end up overcompensating for our rejecting and withholding behavior by lashing out at others through blind rebellion and destructive actions. This of course leads to unpleasant experiences, seemingly validating that reaching out is wrong and dangerous. And there it is: we have created the kind of life-and-death conflict we feared was there all along.
There’s no single formula for what this looks like. But one thing’s for sure: the stronger our resistance to the pull, the more pain and problems we will have. For although we might block and oppose the pull, we can’t avoid it; it’s a master winch that just keeps on tugging.
Resistance only leads to further heartache as we allow this conflict to stop the flow of our creative force. In this way, our behavior is essentially saying that our own basic nature is in opposition to the divine evolutionary plan. What a colossal error.
Yet if that’s what we unconsciously believe, we might comply outwardly while inwardly we are thinking we can remain uninvolved and isolated. Eventually, though, this will become unbearable. Because nothing that opposes life can be maintained forever. After all, what we’re up against here is ultimate reality.
Our fears are all based on illusion, and those walls have to one day come tumbling down; illusions cannot go on indefinitely. And the anxiety they give rise to will only be eliminated when this deep conflict surfaces so it can be recognized and understood. Then we can harmonize once again with the creative process of living.
So there’s a pull, and then there’s a counter-pull. Even if we have a huge amount of resistance, the former remains. The pull is toward contact, so the counter-pull—fueled by fear, distrust and other negative feelings—must then create negative contact. Wherever this counter-tug is minimal, as found in healthy parts of our soul, our contact with others will not be a problem. We’ll be able to form relationships built on mutuality and genuine love. Oh, if only all of life could be such a bed of roses.
Indeed, there’s usually also a slug of opposition in us that throws a wrench into the works. Painful contact then ensues. What’s happening here is that our pleasure principle at one time—way back in childhood—got attached to a negative situation. Now, every experience of pleasure is accompanied by the activation of this unwanted negativity. This creates a pull toward contact—Onward!—coupled with fear of the truckload of crap that will come with it. Wait, reverse!
It’s that last part that carries the stinger. It creates one of two fundamental reactions: either the desire to hurt, or the desire to be hurt. Remember, pleasure and life are inexplicably intertwined, so there’s no eliminating pleasure. But pleasure can be morphed into negative pleasure. Then the pleasure of contact will be associated with hurting or being hurt. Cripes.
This fires off a vicious circle, wherein the more painfully the pull manifests, the more fear builds up, and the greater the guilt, and the more the shame, and the higher the anxiety and the tension. Opposition grows. Conflict increases. The vicious circle grinds on.
We must not get caught up in thinking that this is who we are, that this is our deepest nature, that this is life. No, this is not the ultimate reality of our instinctual selves. It just may be where we are on the wheel right now. But when we’re in distortion, we’re in illusion, and there’s always a way out.
Keep in mind, it’s not possible to distrust our innermost instinctual nature and yet trust the whole spiritual universe. As above, so below. They’re linked. So we may need to search to find a thimble-full of trust that developing greater awareness is a constructive process; we need to find the courage and honesty to face what needs facing. Then we can unwind our personal attitudes back to their constructive and trustworthy nature.
If we think about it, how can we possibly trust God, or trust nature, or trust life, if we distrust our own deep instincts? Where do we think our instincts come from? They are not for us to crush. Nor are we to deny them, uproot them or try to force them to be replaced with something we think is more palatable.
The way out is by seeing everything for what it is, knowing our instincts for connection are part of the divine power current and not hostile enemies. Our deep instincts are potential bearers of light and should be held in the high regard they deserve. To heal, we need to welcome all aspects of ourselves, just as they are now, into the fold.
Finding peace between the body and the soul is a natural by-product of self-realization. When we no longer fear the great stream of which we are a part, we’ll find that dissolving walls of separation does not cause us to lose our identity. Quite the contrary: we’ll discover that this is the way to expand and become more ourselves.
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