P1 They (people) do not understand their present situation, what it means in terms of their own innermost being, because the mechanism of escape is often so deeply entrenched. Whenever you find yourself in a situation that is not desirable, that leaves you unfulfilled in any way, your usually vague discontent causes you to strive for another situation. Striving toward a different situation when the present situation is not fully understood must result in failure and frustration.
How can the present situation be fully understood, my friends? That can only happen by becoming fully aware of what you really miss. You must put into words precisely what you would want to be different in your life. This must be the first awareness. The second awareness must be the extent to which you suffer from what you miss. The third awareness, in this respect, must be a total comprehension of your present situation. And that, of course, means to ascertain why you endure your present situation.
P2 You will find that the present situation is an exact result of the sum total of your personality. When you overlook and neglect the enjoyment of all the good circumstances in your life, you must be commensurately unaware of your values. As you learn in each moment to value, appreciate and enjoy what life offers you, you must simultaneously become aware of the good in you, your values and assets. It seems so much easier to wish for something vaguely different, or even precisely different—in an attitude of discontent and tense struggle, in a mood of complaining, resentment, and self-pity.
Meanwhile, you ignore: a) the intensity of the real longing; b) the presence of reservations to this real longing; c) their “reasons”; d) the consequent thoughts, feelings, emanations, attitudes in inner and outer behavior; and e) how these must affect others, and thereby create the present situation. To expect instant results is a childish demand from life, an angry refusal to cooperate with life’s laws, which are most certainly contained in the reasons for the unfulfillment itself. This also causes you to overlook the good that is in your life and that you fail to enjoy and appreciate.
P3 Let us deliberately be as crass as possible. In most human beings—in some more and in some less—there exist elements of cruelty. You can be good friends with yourself when you accept, acknowledge, understand and work openly and candidly on the cruel aspects, even before you can totally eliminate them. The more you are afraid—of ruthlessness and separateness, of rejection and humiliation, of physical and mental cruelty—the more must these exact same aspects slumber within yourself, as yet not fully acknowledged. This live center furnishes you with energy, life force, wisdom, vision, solutions, love and harmony. It exists deep within every individual. Its very aliveness comes forth from a tender and soft center.
When children are hurt and puzzled—when they misunderstand the events around them—they proceed to toughen this vulnerable spot to defend themselves against its soft openness. For its own protection, it must separate the live center from its consciousness. However, when the child grows into an adult, when the ego becomes mature, the separation becomes an unfortunate handicap. The existence of this bare, vulnerable live center can be determined not only by remembering your childhood with its strong emotions and deep experiencing, both positive and negative, but by truly observing yourself.
You cannot fail to become conscious of moments when this vulnerable spot is present. You can further observe how you then proceed to make it invulnerable. The means to inactivate the live center are various: separating and withdrawing, toughening yourself, numbing your feelings, denying your real feelings and substituting counterfeit feelings, and also becoming cruel. If this integration (between the live centre and the ego) is hindered due to misunderstanding and ignorance, the energy will turn destructive.
The result of the inverted power must be chaos, separation, disintegration, confusion, suffering, and an inner division and numbness that makes life appear difficult, ugly, removed and senseless. What you must learn to do now is: 1) observe the existence of the live center, 2) observe the mechanics by which you discourage its manifestations and toughen the vulnerable spot; 3) deliberately stop the mechanics of disengagement and allow the live center’s unfoldment.
P5 Through appropriate meditations, integration between the live center and the ego will take place, so that its substance will become strong and resilient without losing its soft aliveness. Cruelty will truly cease to exist in the depth of the human soul—not only in action and conscious thoughts, but in the unconscious emotions—when the live center is not denied and hindered, but recognized, observed, and allowed to function. The intense feelings of the live center can then be compared to reality, as it unfolds. The ego-faculties will help in the process; reason and intelligence will adjust imbalances and deviation from reality.
Cruelty exists because reality is misinterpreted, which causes the individual to further inactivate the live center. It is not only the child who misinterprets what happens around it. Where the child has done that is precisely where the adult continues to do so, right now – unless and until all this has been found and corrected. How can you discover such misunderstanding? Only by first acknowledging to yourself what it is that you actually believe, then interpreting what that means.
Even when you do admit to feeling rejected, you usually let it go at that and you live in a fog, a haze, in which you do not fully examine whether or not it is real. You cannot interpret reality accurately as long as you do not clearly and precisely formulate what it is that you believe—how you interpret events which seem to call for the hurt and defenses—and as long as you do not consider the possibility that the reality could be different.
P6 Four points which must be combined. 1) You fully recognise that the cause is in yourself. 2) the recognition of what in you caused the lack, so that you deeply experience the oneness between your self and your life situation. 3) The cruel aspects in you represent the main reasons for all resistance and fear of selffacing. Often, these cruel aspects can be found only when one acknowledges one’s fear. Do not forget the important correlation between fear of others, or any outer facet of life, and the fear of your unrecognized cruelty. If you are free from cruelty, you cannot ever fear others. 4) Establish in what moments the live center is bare. Discover how the cruelty is a result of misinterpretation. Question closely why you have these cruel impulses. As you do so, acknowledge what hurts you; what you would want to be different; what you believe others do to you, what life does to you. After putting this into precise words, take the next step: ask yourself whether you are in reality, whether what you believe is true or not.
P7 Because it does seem real, you seem to need cruelty. You have always assumed that it is real. Now you must open yourself to the possibility that it might not be as you believe.
P8 The cruelty will be your precarious pleasure. The pleasure will cease when you understand the true facts. The understanding can only happen when you want it and are ready to consider new horizons and possibilities that you had never thought of. Specifically, ask yourself the question: “Do the circumstances, the desires of the other person and the facts bear out what I feel, or might I be mistaken? If the reality is different from the way I think and feel it, I would like to see that reality. I open myself up to that reality. I do not commit or obligate myself to anything except that I want to see the truth.”
Think every day, my friend, about where you feel you were insulted, slighted, rejected, or discriminated against. Put it down in writing, every single instance. You will see to what extent—actually almost all the time you are in contact with people—you at least anticipate rejection and discrimination, slight and disapproval. Millions of people pass each other by, day in and day out, each feeling they are being singled out to be persecuted.
—The Pathwork® Guide