P1 For any kind of practice that is mechanical, that deals merely with exercises of concentration, breathing, and so on, cannot possibly fulfill its purpose. So the basis of growth is always to expand your vision, your consciousness of the truth of yourself and your relationship to the universe, and therefore of universal law and creation.
The life force is the creative force that enlivens the whole universe. It contains all life elements, all potentials, every possibility for life expression. This is such a powerful force that it must be adapted, so as not to explode an organism whose consciousness is not yet sufficiently strong to accept the total power. Each living organism therefore possesses special centers that convert, assimilate and balance the power that streams into it.
P2 In the physical organism the centers can be detected only indirectly: The glandular system reflects them and is determined by them. But the opening or closing of the centers, their smooth functioning or congestion, can be clearly experienced. Every belief and idea determines a person’s feelings, reactions, attitudes, and expressions into life. Someone who is in truth perceives the benign nature of the universe. He or she is open, joyful, without a trace of apprehension, and therefore can expand in a harmonious way.
P3 My friends, as long as you believe that you have to choose between being good or obtaining your advantages, you must be in a terrible conflict. Increasingly, you will be governed by true considerations, not by fear of disapproval, by dependency on another’s good opinion, by fear of frustration and inability to stand non-gratification. You thus will develop the vision that there is truly no division between your fulfillment and interests and those of others. As you become more aware of yourself in the course of self-confrontation, you also begin to detect those subtle little reactions that indicate how you prevent yourself from expansion and delightful experience. You detect your fear of using your potential to the utmost.
P4 The greatest “sin,” if we want to use this word, is ignoring your potential—setting yourself unnecessary fences beyond which you think you cannot go. The first center is the sexual center, located at the base of the spine. When I mention sexuality, I mean something that goes beyond limited genital pleasure. It comprises the whole extending of personal love to the opposite sex; it is the individual’s capacity to experience pleasure on all levels—physical, emotional, mental, spiritual—without a trace of apprehension, tension, tight greed or separateness. It is the capacity to undefendedly give and receive. It is, most certainly, the ability to give yourself over to the involuntary feeling processes, without the ego needing to stay in control. It implies a trustful, accepting attitude toward one’s unconscious, with all its responses and movements.
As you all know, this kind of trusting openness is most difficult for all human beings. But if it is attained, the sexual center will be open. It will not be clogged up by the ego’s need to be in control. The second center is in the solar plexus. Its opening creates a connection with spiritual wisdom, with the consciousness of universal being—and therefore enhances general love feelings. The opening of the sexual center enables you to experience the ever-present, ongoing process of creation and ecstasy with a beloved other human being.
The opening of the solar plexus channel connects you with the ongoing, ever-present truth and goodness of ultimate reality. Occasionally you can sense this ongoing real life. It usually happens when you truly love and have thus transcended the dualistic struggle, or when you discover, often in apparently insignificant events, your inner truth where before you had not seen it. What you have to do is discover the existence of a different state by first considering its possibility. Thus you must think of all states of bliss as existing already; all wisdom you ever need as existing already; all harmonious attitudes and the realization of your power and creative potentials as existing already—and see yourself separated from it all by a wall. You must remove this wall.
Pleasure supreme without a trace of anxiety is an ever-existing reality in you—right now. All that separates you from it is your lack of knowing it, your fears and apprehensions—your own permission, as it were, to experience this reality. Similarly, the ever-alive and appropriate wisdom that you need at any given instant of your life is already there. You are merely separated from it by not knowing its existence, by identifying with other sources of wisdom that are at best poor substitutes. These may be your intellect; your unexplored emotions, which are merely reactions to unexplored attitudes; other people’s dictates over you; or all these mixed up together.
In the solar plexus is the center that connects you with the supreme wisdom about anything you ever need to know, or ever could know. Such deep wisdom removes fear and makes love flow. To avoid confusion, I want to interject here that the centers have some subdivisions, or counter-reflections, which might sometimes be interpreted as separate centers. For example, the center at the base of the spine has other projections, or concentration points, in the pelvis and genitalia.
The next center is in the back. Its faculty is will. The will center is also the center of the ego, aggression, self-assertion, backbone and self-responsibility. All these attitudes are centered in and come forth from the back. This center has two subdivisions—one in the nape of the neck, the other further down, approximately between the shoulder blades. If the ego is not fully developed and healthy, this energy center is underactive.
P6 To trust, love and be happy, to let involuntary processes do their part in the business of living, requires strength. Perception of the greatest reality of life is hindered when the ego is not flexible and strong. It has to be independent without believing it is the only function to count on. The next centre is in the throat. This centre’s specific function is the capacity to take in, ingest and digest, assimilate and accept. A rigid individual, whose inner unconscious problems create havoc, rejects a flexible, accepting attitude toward life, unexpected developments, people, and his or her own unconscious inconsistencies and predictabilities. The weak back and ego, the lack of independent self-responsibility, have a counterpart in a rigid front that refuses to take in or swallow anything.
The next centre is between the eyes. Oriental philosophy puts great stress on this centre. This centre is a preliminary manifestation of spiritual wholeness and fulfillment—total realization of the divine self, which is expressed in the centre at the top of the head. The centre between the eyes possesses a vast capacity to visualize, to see, to comprehend. If the previously mentioned centres are open and flowing in harmony, spiritual vision and perception come that give an entirely new outlook on life, the universe, the self—everything that is.
The opening of this centre heralds the total integration expressed in the centre at the top of the head, which combines all. The first step must be to become aware of unconscious fears. Once you are fully aware of them, you have to find a way to let go of the tightness your fear creates. This can be done only when you accept instead of resist.
P7 The first is that selfishness must sometimes be overcome if what is at stake for the other is more important than what the self can gain. The second, even more important facet concerns the attitude of letting go. Only in the mind’s duality does letting go imply, “I must relinquish what I want.” Beyond duality, this is not so. If you can learn to let go without relinquishing your fulfillment or self-realization, you might indeed have to accept that a specific manifestation of your desire cannot now be fulfilled your way. If you learn to let go trustingly, you transcend duality.
—The Pathwork® Guide