Union: it’s such a worthy goal. In fact, it’s the highest, most desirable state in all of creation. We don’t, however, reach union, have union, or get union. Union just is. It exists outside the laws of cause of effect. We may get a glimpse of it from time to time, so we get that it totally rocks. But then the moment passes.

We waffle back and forth between exaggerated need and withdrawal. No wonder we’re not walking on sunshine.
We waffle back and forth between exaggerated need and withdrawal. No wonder we’re not walking on sunshine.

So instead of focusing on union, let’s talk about something we can work with. These are the two preliminary stages that lead up to union: cooperation and communication. In general, cooperation is simply a more superficial form of communication, but we can’t survive without having both. Even on the level of our material needs, things like food, drink and shelter—all the stuff we need to physically survive—depend on our ability to cooperate and communicate.

In a primitive society, people may organize their communication with nature and the elements. As we become more developed and a community grows in size, people have to learn how to work things out with their fellow inhabitants. The better everyone can get along, the better the entire community will function, on the level of meeting basic material needs. Seems pretty obvious, right?

Let’s take this up a notch to see what happens on the mental, emotional and spiritual levels. Because cooperation and communication are just as vital in these areas, since the same laws hold true on all levels of existence. We ignore this truth at our own peril. This whole place could run more smoothly if we taught this early on.

The Pull: Relationships & Their Spiritual Significance

Each human soul has a center from which the soul forces flow, and to which others are constantly responding. This is the command center governing the laws of communication and, on a lower level, our ability to cooperate and get along. If we are living in harmony with universal laws, they will work freely. Go up against them though, due to ignorance or immaturity, and they’ll become twisted, broken and distorted. Not surprisingly, in such a case, communication is going to have a rough time taking place. And since communication runs along the path to ultimate union, things will be clogged up until the universal laws get restored to harmony.

So in what ways do we break these universal laws? Turns out, it’s not that hard to do. It’s what happens whenever we are overeager and overanxious—when we don’t just desire communication, we crave it. Then our soul forces get pushy, automatically becoming harsh, pointed and rigid. Their movement is jerky; their impact is too strong. The other person’s soul center will feel like it’s being punched.

The whole universe is based on a delicate balance. When we upset this, there are counter-forces that are going to push back. And this is often a painful process. If someone communicates in an aggressive way, the other is going to withdraw. This means the inner forces constrict, seeming to reject the one who is overeager in their attempt at communication.

As we slow down and become more conscious about our inner workings, we may uncover hidden cravings and exaggerated needs we were previously unaware of. We may even have covered up these things with opposite behaviors. But what’s inside is what matters, not the ways we fake in another direction.

And nothing slams the door quicker on another soul than when they catch wind of our unconscious monster cravings. Seeing this can take the sting out of what seemed a personal rejection. Their unconscious soul forces merely did what they needed to do to reestablish a little balance.

The Pull: Relationships & Their Spiritual Significance

Being overeager doesn’t sound like such a bad thing, does it? Isn’t it just a strong positive quality? How is that such a biggie in affecting natural balance? Because it’s a distortion. The urgency of the need is not in truth. It’s imaginary, cascading from a person’s mistaken conclusions about life. On an unconscious level, we believe we must have love, affection and attention. This isn’t a question of wanting these positive qualities out of a healthy desire for mutuality. No, this is a one-sided childish demand. And we feel as though we must have them, or we’ll just die. Pow.

The force of this neediness hits the other right in the breadbasket, causing them to withdraw from the demand. Their balancing forces automatically kick into action. If that person has their own unresolved conflicts, they will do this unconsciously and with their own negative spin on it. A healthier person will also respond this way, but their motives will be positive and they’ll be aware of what they are doing.

This has happened to all of us at one time or another, when we either were on the end of having an exaggerated need, or we felt sucker-punched by someone else’s. Ironically, even if we want to respond with loving communication, we can’t help but repulse such a forward-surging motion. It’s not hard to visualize the impact that a forcing current has in inevitably scuttling our innermost desires for communication.

Having such an awareness and understanding can help us guard against the wrong conclusion that our “love” is being rejected—that we are worth nothing. We can come to see that a childish, exaggerated craving is not in the same ballpark with healthy love. Further, the former is the actual reason that we keep striking out when we go to bat for the real thing.

With this understanding, perhaps we won’t feel the need to protect ourselves from the hurt and disappointment that are part and parcel of loving. We can let our shields down, knowing that our belief that we need to defend ourselves from rejection isn’t on point. We don’t need to withdraw into isolation, refusing to communicate, which results in no energy being exchanged and nothing happening. The truth is, that’s as damaging as the other extreme of childish craving or forcing.

We so often waffle back and forth between the extremes of exaggerated need and withdrawal. Oddly, we sometimes try to pursue both alternatives at the same time. Just, you know, to be on the safe side. No wonder we feel torn in two, with our strength sapped. No wonder we’re not walking on sunshine. What we don’t wonder about is the real cause of our unhappy and disharmonious lives. We blame outer events for our hopeless situations, when they are the natural result of our inner state which we ourselves have put into play.

Theoretical knowledge about all of this will, sorry to say, avail us nothing. We’ve got to ferret all this out personally, seeing how we’re the ones who are disrupting benign laws that seek nothing more than to keep us walking in a straight line. We can learn how to communicate without exaggerated need. We can follow the breadcrumbs of our inner wounds to see how they originated in this lifetime from early disappointments. It’s because we haven’t come to terms with them that we are still trying to overcome them. Now everything’s gotten exaggerated, driven by reactions we are not consciously connecting with.

Once we see and understand all these puzzle pieces, we’ll be able to let go of the exaggerated need. We’ll find that it was an illusion all along. It will no longer feel like a life-or-death imperative that we be loved or accepted. We’ll stop sabotaging every possible chance at communication, and which we could absolutely have in a healthy way.

One of the ways we sabotage communication is by frightening the tentative feelers that the other sends out, making them retreat back into themselves. Or maybe our MO is to insist on isolation, and we refuse to take any risks that might lead us out. We erect subtle walls around ourselves.

But letting go of both extremes, and letting our soul forces flow from the center of our being, can only have a favorable effect—even on those caught in the web of yet-unsolved problems. This law always works flawlessly. As we give out, so must it be returned to us. Just maybe not from the same source.

Learning this is a game-changer. It repositions us from being dependent and needy, to be being ones who begin to genuinely communicate. We then no longer fill the needs of the other only as a way to get our own needs fulfilled. This, it turns out, is where a lot of people are in their interrelationships, whether professionally or personally, in marriage or friendship.

Many of us are no longer even aware of our desire for communication. Recoiling from past rejections, we’ve become so cautious that we believe we are detached in a healthy way. But exaggerated need festers underground. It’s now covered with layers of false detachment, which is code for fear buffered with leave-me-be isolation. Our false detachment is supposed to keep us from being hurt. In the end, this hurts more. And we wouldn’t even be hurt if we backed up and understood what was really happening under the surface of our interactions.

There’s an inverse relationship between the intensity of the urgency in our cravings and our awareness of them. The stronger the cravings, the more clueless we are that they exist. This happens because we are ashamed of our need. We know there’s something off about it, and we’re humiliated about this constant inner nagging that never gets fulfilled. So we push it out of sight. Hiding it, of course, makes it get louder, and therefore it does more damage.

We also dislike ourselves for this feeling of dependency. It makes us feel like we’re helpless in the face of those we must submit to if we want to get our needs fulfilled. This may have thrown us over to the opposite reaction of extreme and ungenuine “independence.” Don’t be fooled. No one is happy trying to go it alone.

The Pull: Relationships & Their Spiritual Significance

Having uncovered the existence of a need and assessed its decibel level, we want to take a look at the measures we’ve resorted to in our attempts to deal with this monkey. Here, in a nutshell, are the three options we choose from. No joke, there are only three.

One is submissiveness, an at-times subtle strategy in which we basically sell our souls in order to get love. When it’s obvious because it’s right there on the surface, we’ll tell ourselves that it shows our ability to love—our readiness and willingness for it. We sacrifice and act in unselfish ways. We may talk a good game but if we look closely, we’ll see that the underlying craving has nothing to do with real love. When we’re being submissive, no genuine communication is going on.

Another measure is aggression, which we resort to as a protection against being vulnerable to the submissive aspect that lurks nearby. We artificially make a big stinking deal out of everything, overdramatizing our lives, our emotions, and well, just about anything.

Of course, these measures are bound to distort the law of communication, and they don’t actually work to protect us from anything. We vacillate, we sidestep the issues, we pursue mutually exclusive goals simultaneously. We bring such disharmony into the universe of our own souls that we make it very hard to disentangle all the knots.

So then we may go the third route, which is to withdraw into a shell of isolation, the final false measure. Just as when we aggressively antagonize people, this reveals an unhealthy and uncaring bid for independence that lands wide of the goal of healthy interdependence. We need to learn to become independent—not of the other person, but of our own over-eagerness and withholding. Such inner demands and defenses, no matter how well we camouflage them, are never the expressions of a free soul. And therefore they can’t lead us to true communication, in all its glory.

The Pull: Relationships & Their Spiritual Significance

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Read Original Pathwork® Lecture: #80 Cooperation, Communication, Union