A Formula for Understanding Life’s Problems

Negativity = Immaturity = Untruth = Disharmony

There is not much wiggle room in a mathematical formula, and the equation Negativity = Immaturity is no different. For when our negativity shows up—whether it’s a bad mood or a biting remark, a judgment, a grudge or an overreaction to something—we behave immaturely. Why is that?

First, consider that all negativity comes from twisted wiring. Something that was originally positive has gotten distorted into something negative. Negativity is never its own thing—it’s always a distortion of something positive. That’s why negativity packs a punch. It’s wound up positive energy that we use to attack.

Since our negativity holds so much of our life force, it feels energizing. We use it to fire ourselves up. And once we’re on a roll, negativity just keeps building steam. But activating our life force this way is like grabbing an electric fence and hoping it will feel good.

Embracing negativity is like grabbing an electric fence and hoping it will feel good.

Our goal, then, is have access to all of our life force, and have it feel enlivening instead of electrifying. To do this, we must transform our negativity back to its original form. And to understand how to go about this, we need to understand the origin of our negativity.

Where Does Negativity Come From?

For each of us, our wiring got twisted during childhood whenever we experienced pain. Here’s how it works. To a child, every experience in life is split into good or bad. According to the illusion of duality—where we see the world in black-and-white—good means life and bad means death.

Pleasure, then, is seen by the child as life, and pain means death. We wish to avoid death, and so we avoid pain. No child is conscious of this, of course, but this is what goes on for all of us when we are children.

Lowering our Defenses

It is a misunderstanding, however, to believe that feeling pain will kill us. We may even tell ourselves, “My defenses are what kept me alive!” Yet it’s not true that feelings of pain are deadly. Nonetheless, we all fall prey to this mistaken belief that to stay safe, we must stay defended.

So while growing up on this dualistic planet, we secretly chose our strategy: submission, aggression or withdrawal. These go on to become habitual behaviors that do nothing but bring us more pain. They’re the first layer of negativity we must start to identify and let go of.

Releasing Stuck Feelings

But defending ourselves is not actually the worst of it. In an effort to avoid pain—which our child-mind equates with death—we split off parts of ourselves. Then we banish these fragments—which now hold our unfelt pain—from the rest of our being. As we grow older, they form a block of unexpressed feelings, which becomes stuck. As a result, these fragments cannot mature along with the rest of us.

Depending on the age at which painful experiences happened—and unfortunately, many of us had more than one—these split-off fragments will behave as though they are still at that age. Because they are. So as we go through life, whenever we are rubbed the wrong way, our unfelt pain gets activated and we behave immaturely.

If we experienced a lot of pain as a child, these stuck places are holding a significant amount of our life force. They now attract people and situations to us that resonate with them. Ideally, this gives us a way to see what lies buried inside us that needs healing. For if this didn’t happen, we would keep on turning our backs on these fragments, probably forever.

So is this what most people do—investigate what’s really going on? Not even close. Instead we usually blame life and others for making us miserable, never realizing we are the ones who hold the magnet. But this also means we hold the key for releasing the lock that painful experiences have on us.

Unwinding Twisted Thinking

These fragments of ours don’t just hold energetic blocks, they also hold wrong thinking. For in an effort to keep ourselves safe, our child-minds have drawn conclusions about life. These are based on the limited logic of a child so they don’t really hold up to the light of day. As a result, as we grow older, they slip out of our conscious awareness and become buried in our psyche.

There, locked away from our daily awareness, they attract life circumstances that are a match for them, and this seems to validate them. Yet they aren’t in truth. They also are no longer in our awareness, so our adult reasoning mind can’t get at them to straighten them out.

But these misunderstandings about life are powerful. They are so powerful, they are responsible for attracting a lifetime of unpleasant experiences to us. So any disharmony in our lives then is actually an out-picturing of some twisted wiring and wrong thinking that now needs to be exposed and unwound.

It is never the other way around, ever. Life is not the cause of our problems—we are.

It’s now time to wake up from the illusion of duality. And the only way to do that is to bring all of our fragments into the present moment. For as long as parts of ourselves remain trapped in the past—lost in misunderstandings and frozen in unpleasant feelings—we will remain half-asleep. We’ll keep attracting disharmony, all the while searching for the good life.

This is how we stay stuck in the difficult illusion of duality. This is why we put so much effort into rebelliousness and resistance. Because we believe we can outrun pain. This is the false idea that duality delivers. The truth is this: Pain will stop haunting us once we turn and face it, and unwind it. All our efforts to avoid pain—all the negativity we keep putting out into the world—is destructive, and only compounds our problems.

Four Steps for Unwinding Life’s Problems

When we approach life with twisted wiring, we’re in for some unpleasant surprises. We won’t be able to recognize truth from lies because we ourselves will be living from a base of untruthful beliefs. We’ll seek out leaders who are equally immature and we won’t trust our own inner knowing. We won’t be able to enjoy real pleasure because we’ll be stuck in old patterns, leaning into our negativity and hoping to find joy.

The way out is to help these stranded fragments of ours grow up. We must integrate them back into ourselves by releasing the pain they’re holding—doing this safely and maturely, not by unloading negativity onto others—and unwinding our wrong conclusions about life. Sorry to say, we can’t truly grow up unless we allow each fragmented part of ourselves to return to the fold. And this will take some work.

STEP ONE: Turn and Face Ourselves

First, we need to stop feeding the negativity and start looking for the real root of our problems. We do this by looking directly at the everyday disharmonies in our lives, and then searching for the same inside ourselves. You spot it, you got it. Don’t look for big things. Turn and face the little difficulties.

By noticing what’s not working, the part of us doing the noticing is not caught in it. So good news, the part of us doing the observing is already free. This is our ego which we have easy access to. Unfortunately, since the ego is itself a fragment, it gets lost in believing it’s the center of the universe: “See me, I’m better than you, love me for it!”

The ego needs to wake up and start doing the hard work of clearing away our negativity. For our negativity is what stands between us and everything good. Our own negativity is the  darkness that’s blocking our inner light.

STEP TWO: Feel Whatever We Feel

We’ve each come up with certain defensive strategies designed to keep ourselves safe from pain. None of them actually work, but these fragments don’t yet know this.

Our job is to open a connection between the cut-off fragment and the truth. The part of us that sits in truth—our Higher Self—is the light at our core. This is what the ego needs to search for, find and surrender to. For our Higher Self is totally trustworthy. This is a crystal clear fountain of love, wisdom and courage, where fear has no foothold and truth always prevail.

Here’s one bit of truth that every Higher Self knows: Feeling pain will not kill us. In fact, feeling all our feelings, including fear, is what will set us free. Often, we’ve been freezing our feelings for so long, they aren’t easy to access. Instead, what we are familiar with is the anger and hatred we use to cover up our pain. Our anger, then, is a doorway, not a destination.

Note, we are not speaking here of healthy anger. That’s the kind of anger we feel when it is time stand up for ourselves and say, “No more!” We will feel healthy anger when are ready to create firm, clear boundaries about what’s OK and what is not. This is our Yes to life, rather than our No.

If, however, we hope to make changes in our world by marshaling all the hate, anger and spite of our immature fragments—by aligning with our No to life—we will do little more than add to the fray. And that is not the way to heal anything.

STEP THREE: Uncover the Wrong Conclusion

Our negativity gets pinned into place by attaching to the conclusions we made about life when we were young, but which are not in truth. This short circuit creates a mental stuckness that keeps on recycling unpleasant thoughts.

Only by exposing our wrong thinking and re-educating these cut-off fragments can we discover the real truth of any conflict. For untruth always results in disharmony. But these hidden untruths can be very hard to see. After all, we’ve been operating by them for a long time. If we were fish, they would be the water we swim in. Don’t hesitate to seek out someone who can help you expose them.

Then we need to imprint the truth on our soul substance. What is the truth of the matter? This is a prayer that will never be answered with a stone. We will know we have discovered the truth when we feel peace.

STEP FOUR: Call in Light

The Pathwork Guide refers to our wounds as soul dents. And once we do the difficult work of surfacing, transforming and re-integrating these split-off fragments, there’s an important step we need to take: We must backfill that space with light.

We must use our free will to state our intention to be in truth. We must work to see our mistaken beliefs whenever they surface—whenever we create disharmony in our lives—until we have used our free will to completely free ourselves from creating negatively.

Then we can begin to create positive experiences that will go on and on forever. For all negativity eventually grinds to a halt, often bringing us to our knees along the way. Positivity, on the other hand, goes on forever. Admittedly, we may have to go through this process numerous times to get all the way to the root. But once healed, we won’t have to go through this piece again.

We are not victims. No one is sending unhappiness to us. It arises because it is called forth from our own inner stuck negativity. Our buried wrong beliefs and frozen unpleasant feelings are what create disharmony in our lives. And this will continue until we make the effort needed to get a different result. This is a formula, friends, that is utterly reliable.

–Jill Loree