Lecture 140 – Conflict of Positive versus Negative Oriented Pleasure is Origin of Pain | Abbreviated Version

P1             The direction of the universal creative forces is toward light, life, growth, unfoldment, affirmation, beauty, love, inclusion, union, pleasure supreme. Whenever this direction is counteracted by another, a disturbance is created. It is not the disturbance itself that creates the pain, but the imbalance and a special sort of tension caused by the opposite direction. The moment that the struggle between two opposite pulls is relinquished and the existence of the negative direction is accepted, pain must cease.

When the disturbance is fought against ineffectively, and the personality wants health, it negates that it also wants non-health. Since the striving for non-health is repressed and ignored, the struggle toward health becomes all the more tense. That is the origin of pain. But when this process is fully understood, and the temporary, still unavoidable consequences of the negative wish are accepted, one can let oneself go into this now existing pain, and the pain must cease.

This is not necessarily a destructive way of embracing pain, or a masochistic, selfpunishing element that in itself harbors and perpetuates a negative wish. It is a full acceptance of what is—with that, pain ceases. It is the principle, for instance, of painless birth. It is the principle of non-struggle. It is the principle that Jesus Christ explained when he said, “resist not evil.”

P2             On the mental and emotional planes, something similar exists. When the struggle is fully understood and accepted as a temporary manifestation, as an effect—accepted as such without finality, and yet with awareness of the rightness of these consequences—the mental or emotional pain ceases. This does not happen when the negative is wanted, for as we have seen, this wanting merely creates the new direction, contrary to the original, positive one. Nor does this happen by forfeiting the affirmative principle, but by understanding the now.

Life, in its essential and profound character, cannot ever be negatively oriented. Since underneath the distortion the real continues to exist, it sends forth its effects, regardless of the overlays of distortion and the strength of the momentarily existing negative orientation. It is very important to understand, my friends, that the negative can be desired only by one part of the personality, never by the whole of it. On the physical as well as the emotional and mental levels, it is possible temporarily to accept the negative as a passing stage, in the understanding that it is the effect of an inadvertent cause and a mere momentary disturbance. One accepts the negative without finality and with an objective, non-indulgent attitude.

P3             The more the awareness of a deliberate desire for the negative exists, the more you will be in control of yourself, of life, and the less you will feel victimized, helpless, and weak. Lack of such awareness must create a psychic climate in which the individual feels singled out as a victim. Even before you are capable of giving up the negative desires, because you do not yet understand the reason for their existence, merely knowing that you have created the undesirable manifestations in your life will render you a freer person. For it is indeed possible to be aware, to some extent at least, of a negative desire and nevertheless ignore that this negative desire is the immediate cause of any number of manifestations in your life that you strenuously struggle against.

P4             So ask yourself, “Do I have, do I experience, everything to the maximum of my potential? What disturbs me possibly more than I admit?” The principle of cycles or circles—whether benign or vicious—is always the principle of self-perpetuation. Autonomy is positively self-perpetuating, set in motion by reality consciousness. The self-perpetuating forces, in this instance, can be changed only by this deliberate process which sets something new in motion. This principle can be found in chemistry, in physics, in practically every field of science. The personality level that wants the negative and pursues that direction creates a new world, or psychic sphere, covering the original positive one.

P5             You must live it (fear of the positive and its negation) through, not by denying it or struggling away from it, but by seeing and accepting it, learning to understand its nature. When it is affirmed and ascertained as a temporary reality, only then can the underlying world of self-perpetuating good be reached, where you no longer have to reach and grasp and want, but know that it is already yours, even before you have attained it. Whenever you are separated from others, from your fellow creatures, you must be in the negative world, in a self-perpetuating negativity that you sow through your destructive wishes. Do not forget that it is impossible to completely want isolation, withdrawal, and separation.

P6             Both the positive and negative directions are attached to the pleasure principle. It is this attachment that makes it so difficult to give up the negative direction and change. The positively and negatively oriented pleasure principle tears you apart. It also exists in those with whom you are involved in this conflict, and about whom you cannot decide whether or not to love or to reject them. The negative, the denying and destructive direction would not be as fierce and as difficult to overcome if the pleasure principle were not attached to it. You then come into the position of not wanting to part from the precarious pleasure you derive from indulging in destructive feelings and attitudes.

P7             In other words, the self-perpetuating principle of insight and understanding has been set in motion. But then the still existing, because not yet fully recognized, negative pleasure principle attaches itself to your understanding of the other person’s negativity. You begin to talk yourself into dwelling more and more on that person’s faults and blindnesses, and you inadvertently begin to enjoy this. You do not immediately distinguish between the two different kinds of joy.

The first comes when you see with detachment what exists in the other, and this sets you free; the second appears when you pleasurably indulge in the other’s wrongness, and this blinds you. The next step would have to be a very simple one, my dearest friend. Issue and express the thought, “I want to give up the negative. I want my pleasure to be attached to a positive situation. I want to be constructive. I want to give my attention to this situation and be governed by the most constructive forces.”

Do this in a relaxed and light way, enlisting the subliminal force within yourself to help you do it. If you are not yet willing to do this, the work must proceed very simply and easily. Where and why do you believe that wanting the negative is safer for you than wanting the positive?

P8             For instance, the moment you say, “I decide that I do not want to be in negativity or hang on to misconceptions, such as these,” in that moment you take command. Then, further, if you say and mean, “I do not have to be a slave to decisions that do not come from me because I am constructive. What I want is up to me.” You will then experience that the more constructive your desires are, the freer you become and the easier it will be to determine independently what you will or will not do. Others will not be able to impose their will on you, hence your integrity will be preserved and increased in exact proportion to your active desire to be constructive and to give up the pleasure that is attached to a negative situation.

In reality, your weakness and helplessness is never due to the stronger will of the others. It exists because you are swept away by the self-perpetuating force of your negative desires, which you have consciously ignored until now. It is because of the gnawing guilt—inevitable when negative desires exist whether or not one is aware of them—that you allow yourself to be taken advantage of. The guilt makes you go overboard in complying with the demands of others.

P9             Every admission of something negative that exists in you contributes more toward the universal process of wholeness than any other thing imaginable. So proceed this way.

—The Pathwork® Guide