Lecture 138 – The Human Predicament of Desire for and Fear of Closeness | Abbreviated Version

P1             All their disturbances, disharmonies, and sufferings can finally be brought down to the struggle between the desire and the fear of closeness as the simple common denominator. Your destructiveness and your insistence on holding on to both feelings are the barriers which keep you separated from others. Your relationship to another person can be successful only when you are motivated by your innermost being. Nor can the ego-mind find the balance between self-assertion and giving in, between giving and receiving, or between active and passive participation.

P2             Devote a few minutes every day to thoughts such as these: “Whatever I already am, I want to devote to life. I deliberately want life to make use of the best of what I have and who I am. I may not be sure at this moment in what way this could happen, and even if I have ideas, I will allow for the greater intelligence and wisdom deep within me to guide me. I will let life itself decide how a fruitful interchange can take place between it and me. For whatever I give to life, I have received from it, and I wish to return it to the great cosmic pool to bring more benefit to others. This, in turn, must inevitably enrich my own life to the exact measure that I willingly give to life: for truly life and I are one.

P3             When I withhold from life, I withhold from myself. When I withhold from others, I withhold from myself. Whatever I already am, I want to let flow into life. And whatever more in me can be utilized, still waiting to be brought to fruition, I request, I decide, and I desire that it be put to constructive use, so as to enrich the atmosphere around me.” The key lies in the desire to offer to life what you already are and whatever more you can still be. To be in harmony with life, first call deliberately upon the powers within you.

The second approach to reaching this great harmony with the universe, with your real self and with others, is to cultivate an overall attitude deep within compatible with the higher powers in the kernel of your being. Paying only shallow attention to the self as it manifests in life situations makes you overlook the fact that you often take for granted a general positive goal that is only secondary, while the primary aim of the personality is in fact destructive.

Both approaches have their great value, but if one is pursued without the other, the results must be limited. It is so easy to overlook what is really there: in the first case, the negativity is overlooked; in the second approach, lack of awareness of the positive potentials limits the chances for their realization.

P4             Another barrier against wanting to add to life with the total strength of one’s being is the ingrained misconception that if you add to life, you will deprive yourself. Nothing could be further from the truth than the conviction that it is you versus the other person. I therefore recommend a deep meditation in which you primarily set out to determine in what respect and to what extent do you hold this erroneous belief. Confront this belief in the deeper knowledge that only by desiring to add to life can you experience that no pleasure you can possibly think of need be denied you. Isolation, and the attitude of “me versus the other,” will be replaced by “me and the other.”

When your psyche is geared to “me and the other,” there is no more conflict between giving and receiving. And the very moment people eliminate barriers because the pain of isolation becomes unbearable, they already set up new barriers because the fear of closeness overwhelms them. This fear comes from the false negative conviction that they must preserve themselves if they are not to be annihilated.

The fear of uniting, of meeting, of reaching, of having intimate contact, exists as long as the individual’s psyche is negatively geared. In such a case union must be frightening and appear a question of “me versus the other.” free self-expression is dangerous, contact with others is dangerous, and giving one’s self up to the bliss of union must be desperately avoided because it threatens to eliminate control. Without this control, your destructive aims could take over and threaten annihilation.

P5             But when your psyche no longer believes in “me versus the other,” but in “me and the other,” and when you therefore give what you have and what you are to life, then you will not fear loss of control because loss of ego-control will lead to more control in a better, fuller, healthier sense. But through this act (giving yourself up to the inner powers) more constructive powers deep in the core of the self are activated; they make the self forever more adequate and give it more control over life so it can determine its own fate in the best possible way.

You demand the most from others and simultaneously fear that others will not only not comply with your demands, but also that they will demand from you what you believe is dangerous to give. Wanting to defeat life, others and yourself, out of spite, you withhold the best of you from life for the so-called safety and satisfaction of your negative aims. These negative aims have to become so conscious that they literally stare you in the face. Only then can their futility be comprehended so blatantly that the personality will dispense with them.

P6             All of you can make the first step now in a very simple meditation: “I decide to give up the error of ‘me versus the other.’ There is really no conflict, therefore I can give all of myself. I not only request help from deep within, but I decide to give the best I am to life, without fear. Any fear that still lurks within me is error, and I decide to rid myself of this error and to give myself over to the divine powers to which I open myself totally. I deeply desire to understand the truth of ‘I and others are one’ meaning that there is no conflict. I therefore can give of myself the best that I am. I surrender to those higher forces so that this self-giving may occur in harmony, in rightness, without strain and effort.”

The first steps may be to use this simple, beautiful formula as a general attitude toward life. You cannot cope with certain life situations precisely because you withhold yourself and because you believe in “me versus the other.” The consequences are that through a series of negative chain-reactions you actually are being damaged, so that it appears as though the conclusion of “it’s me versus the other” were a correct assumption.

P7             Finding them (our assets) and being aware of them leads to a natural flow of union that allows others to partake of your assets. This is the nature of anything good. Good cannot exist by itself. It must communicate itself to others; it always includes others. This can be verified by all of you when you detect a slight feeling of anxiety and discomfort at the very idea of allowing the best in you to unfold. There is a mechanism which holds it back, which makes it appear safer to be unproductive, barren of aspects naturally oriented to include others and to unite with life.

If you do not fear giving, you can fully receive; you can never be shortchanged. When you fear giving, you cannot be open to receive. It is impossible. Therefore you are constantly being shortchanged. The wrong conclusion is thus strengthened, so that you will close yourself up even more. Your psyche cannot respond to the truth and to the spiritual law—hence it cannot open itself to receive when it refuses to give. It is more than guilt, more than the deep knowledge that you do not deserve to receive when you refuse to give, more than atonement for this guilt that makes you refuse to receive. It is a simple mathematical equation, or a law of physics. These laws cannot be broken; they contain their own order. It is a question of psychic compatibility.

P8             Do want to use it! (the meditative formula p6 in this lecture) It will be such a healing power. It will change what is dull and dead into a dynamic lifestream. It will change what is hopeless into bright hope, what is fearful into deep security and confidence. It will change your life from constriction into limitless possibilities. It will change darkness and isolation into light, union, companionship, intimacy, and the knowledge that you are loved as you are, because you love as you are. It will change your state from aloneness and emptiness to abundance in every respect.

—The Pathwork® Guide