P1 The life force is a free-flowing energy current, manifest in the entire universe. Wherever an organization fulfills certain essential conditions, it tunes into the life force. The life force permeates and revitalizes it. It lives. A living organism comes into existence. There are three essential elements that determine life: movement, consciousness, and experience. The brain that is not trained to think—to move—stagnates. It loses the capacity for thinking. It atrophies, just as the muscles of a body do when the body does not move. Thinking is a movement.
P2 Rigidity is the opposite of life, which is always flexible, always in motion. Feelings are movement, too. When feelings are prohibited, or manipulated so that they cannot function according to their own harmonious law, they deaden. Movement contains the quality of reaching out. It contains the elements of relationship, communication, love, understanding. It reaches out to the other being. The human being is the first creature in the upward scale of life that possesses self-consciousness, awareness of itself in varying degrees.
Awareness determines the measure and direction of movement and regulates it according to reality. Movement without consciousness is bound to lose itself in wrong channels. Frequently, you neglect physical and mental movement. But much more frequently, it is the emotional movement that you neglect. And even your neglect of physical and mental movement is only too often due to emotional stagnation. The effort to increase consciousness is itself movement.
P3 The experience of bliss results from the harmonious blending of movement, consciousness, and experience. Experience contains the pleasure principle. Behind the superstructure of moral standards, laws, and rules lies the craving for pleasure supreme. In the immature creature, the pleasure principle would like to function, but insufficient consciousness creates a discrepancy between the creature’s capacity for pleasure and its environment.
Hence, intellectual maturity frequently hinders the pleasure principle, which is repressed when consciousness does not penetrate the levels. Therefore, the ability to experience pleasure is unable to develop. It remains childish and self-concerned. Harming oneself also arises from unjustified guilt feelings and eventually is bound to harm others also. Society’s taboos regarding the erotic and sexual forces contained in the life force have resulted in intellectual and technical overdevelopment compared with the ability to love.
P4 The truth is that infants experience physical pleasure more strongly than the average adult human being. The infant is not burdened with guilts, shames and misconceptions. The early adolescent is most preoccupied with companions of the same sex intellectually, mentally, emotionally—and also sexually, as an extension of the self and of the parent of the same sex. But as growth continues, he or she reaches out to the other sex. When a person is ashamed of hate and hostility, of envy and vindictiveness, these trends fester in the unconscious, too. You can grow out of these emotions only if you learn to face these feelings, to understand their origin and reason.
It is exactly the same with the “forbidden” immature sexual feelings. They, too, must be faced, reexperienced, come to terms with. These forbidden feelings are frequently on a layer below hate and resentment. Hostility and other negative emotions may have been difficult to face because they contradict one’s idealized selfimage and bring disapproval and rejection. But they are often more acceptable than pleasurable feelings in connection with one’s own family.
P5 Hence, when the baby is caressed, fed, loved, it experiences acute physical pleasure in contact with its surroundings. If development proceeds naturally, as I said before, the outreaching movement induces the entity to direct the pleasure drive outward from the self to the immediate family environment, to the outer world, and to the opposite sex. As discussed in a previous lecture, this movement necessitates the integration of love, eros and sexuality, which in turn is a consequence of the equal development of movement, consciousness, and the ability to experience.
The trouble spots mean that the pleasure drive was fixed in connection with negative, unpleasurable experience by guilt and fear, by misconception, and the faulty assimilation of experience. This negative fixation of the pleasure drive may take two extreme forms, with many degrees between them. At one extreme are superimposed rules, taboos, and false guilts, which cause anger and rebellion. At the other extreme, guilt and fear thwart the unfoldment of the pleasure principle, and the soul is prohibited this aspect of its development.
P6 It is often proclaimed that pleasure for its own sake is wrong. The truth is exactly the opposite. When the personality is harmoniously developed, the pleasure drive includes others, it gives and receives. Children are antisocial, self-centered, and therefore excluding. Emotions that remain fixed in the childish state are less sinful than indicative of a lag in overall development. Frequently an immature individual will use the pleasure drive for other needs—for example, to enhance the ego, to diminish feelings of inadequacy, to feel wanted and desired because one feels insecure and helpless.
Often aggression and hostility are taken up by the pleasure drive and manifest, without the person’s awareness, in the sexual drive. As long as the personality is unconsciously fixated on early experience, the soul cannot truly grow and expand its experience. It (fixation) implies lack of consciousness, for in consciousness, proper understanding could be applied, so that the movement of the life force could dissolve the fixation. Experience then could take place on the level for which the individual is potentially ready.
P7 In your work on this path, it has become increasingly obvious that you relate to your parents in your other relationships, particularly with your mate. Be particularly watchful when feelings seem problematic because there is too much blind adoration, or too much resentment—more than the occasion may warrant. Such overreactions indicate that you have not come to terms with natural phases of your past development.
You may believe that only the experience of pleasure during childhood activates the erotic and sexual force in the growing individual. But often painful experience melts into the pleasure drive and fixes erotic and sexual pleasure to the painful experience. Fear and pain are the essence of all negative experience. It is often the case that a human being functions erotically or sexually only in connection with fear and pain;
P8 All human beings contain within their psyches the infants they once were. And the infant responds and reacts as it once did. It is concerned only with the simple wish to experience pleasure. Either this pleasure was given, or it was not. The basic struggle of the infant is to attain the pleasure and eliminate that which stands in the way. This simple, primitive struggle still exists within each individual. All images, pseudo-solutions, misconceptions and inner conflicts arise from the infant’s struggle between attaining pleasure and avoiding pain. Try to detect the hidden fear of your feelings that stems from humanity’s strong separation of general human affection from the erotic sexual flow. In reality they cannot be so completely separated. Your fear of your feelings cramps you and makes you manipulate them in a subtle but distinct way.
P9 I venture to say that every one of you, at least to some degree, will find that your erotic response occurs only when there is at least a slight element of rejection, fearfulness, insecurity, or pain. When these negative emotions are completely absent, the erotic response may also be absent. Even if you feel beyond the need or wish for partnership fulfillment, because you have reached advanced earthly age, dissolved your fixation, or faced your original childhood conditions, it is equally important that the life force revitalize other areas in your life.
When you fail to resolve fixations, you block the life force, and this blockage has consequences. When dealing with the pain and pleasure that are fused because you could not assimilate your painful experience otherwise, note that as long as this condition prevails within you, you shortchange yourself in the most tragic and unnecessary way. For by facing your condition, you can change it in a way that will give you and others immeasurable happiness.
—The Pathwork® Guide