P2 Expansion takes place when a positive, open, committed, honest, loving, giving attitude exists. Contraction takes place when a negative attitude toward life exists—when fear, hate, spite, distrust, negation of self and of the truth of the momentary state, pretense, dishonesty, self-deception, false ideas, negation of the beauty of the universe, secret cheating and self-rejection exist. These inner impurities have no adverse effect on you if you are truly conscious of them, if you understand them in proper proportion to the reality of the vaster scheme of your inner life and of universal life.
In other words, if you perceive them correctly, their effect is not negative, but turns into a positive one. The energy of these attitudes begins to transform itself automatically as a result of awareness and proper perception. The automatic procedure is the following: those negative attitudes and destructive thoughts and feelings that always negate the truth of life are bound to create a contraction of consciousness, of soul movement, and even of the outer body. In this state, the personality is unable to receive the abundance of universal life. Then you are closed in and must therefore remain poor. You cannot receive and are therefore deprived.
P3 This is why it says in Scripture that the poor will become poorer and the rich richer. This is one of the laws of life the individual must discover to make the alternation of life movements a productive, growing process toward increasing transcendence of the opposites. In this world, in this sphere of consciousness, expansion and contraction create opposite experiences: pleasure and pain. Contrary to what you may believe, the positive experience also requires a new attitude. This is the task the soul has to master at this particular stage of its evolution.
As I mentioned, the usual, automatic reflex reaction to negative experience is blind contraction with its accompanying destructive emotions and thoughts. More specifically, the personality invariably feels unjustly victimized, blames others or life, is resentful, withdraws good feelings in revenge and spite. The person is also fearful of what life brings. To find the key to breaking this vicious circle, the conscious volitional self must make a deliberate effort to remove the blindness that makes you believe the negative experience is coming to you without your having produced it.
As long as you believe this, there is no way out. Thus, the first step out is a willingness to search for your own contribution to the undesirable event, no matter what the appearances to the contrary may indicate. The moment you can truly accept this you create a different pattern of consciousness within your psyche. Become keenly aware of your state of contraction, of hardening and numbing yourself, of warding off experience from within and without. Observe all the feelings involved, with their meaning—rage, hate, fear, guilt, blame—and all the tightnesses in body, soul and spirit.
Only then—in this observance, in this acceptance of the tight contraction that is still automatic—can you proceed to acquire a different reaction. Begin to first want to not contract, but to remain pulsatingly open, even to the negative experience and the negative feeling. First this must, by necessity, apply to painful experiences and feelings. If you cannot bear them, you are not equipped to experience joyful life.
P4 Sustain the painful feelings—not masochistically, not self-rejectingly, not in the spirit that this is what you deserve because you are such a miserable creature—but rather in the attitude of “I am indeed capable of enduring a little pain. Somehow, inadvertently, I must have created it. Therefore I will not create a new negative condition by denying what I have created.”
While you are in the painful feeling in a fully accepting spirit, slowly—and often even quite fast—the feeling of pain transforms itself into pleasure, the feelings of hate and fear become love, the feeling of distrust turns into confidence and even into the knowledge that life is as good as you choose to make it.
P5 When you listen into your unfeeling numbness, you will detect painful longing and other undesirable feelings. As you allow them to simmer on the surface, you institute the process I just described. The habitual reaction of the average human being to pleasurable experience is a momentary rejoicing. In addition to the welcoming joyful reaction, there are others present, for instance a vague, half-aware anxiety and apprehension.
On one level it is due to the fear of losing the good state again. On a deeper level it is due to the inability of enduring a greater expansion of positive experience. You deny the fear of not being able to endure good feelings just as much as you deny negative feelings. You can attain the higher vibration, the raised level of functioning of the higher realms of life experience, only when you go through the self-produced negation and negativity. Otherwise the climate is too heady, the altitude too high, so that, instead of security, it must bring anguish.
P6 As you become aware of your negative emotions toward pleasure, you can endure it with less and less anguish, apprehension and anxiety. To the degree you avoid and deny pain, refute it and rebel against it, repress and project it onto outer circumstances, you cannot want pleasure for its own sake, but only to avoid pain. As your whole system, your whole organization of the human apparatus grows, you become more acclimatized to happiness, to fulfillment, to bliss, to pleasure, to abundance, to true expansion, to the joyousness of the living energy and to the divine consciousness that dwells within you.
Only then can you awaken to the harmony that has always been there, and recognize that it always instructs and guides you, that it is an ongoing process in you that never dies. It is therefore my suggestion that whenever you find yourself in a joyful state, let your concentration and meditation be particularly concerned with observing your vague and hidden reactions.
P7 As you observe yourself, you can prepare for the negative phase, so that you will no longer contract against it quite so much. You can let your soul movement be, rather than manipulate it. In that way, you will increase your capacity to endure all life, first the pain and then the pleasure. Your reaction to pain—the denial of it and the refusal to ride with it—is the reason for its existence.
The dialogue should consist of stating and acknowledging in clear-cut words your contracting reaction, with all that this implies. Indicate the momentary situation of how you make yourself brittle, how you deny what is, how you prefer to be numb. As you state it, you awaken this part of your soul substance. As you do so, the pain will no longer appear so frightening or so deep or so unacceptable.
Then the second aspect of the dialogue can begin, in which your conscious self also speaks, but this time in response to the previously stated and admitted negation. You state that you wish to experience what is, that you have the strength and the honesty to do so, that you no longer wish to deny life, that by feeling pain you prepare yourself to sustain pleasure, and that you wish to increase your aliveness and the courageous meeting of your own feelings—thus of universal bliss.
In the scale of development, the least developed state is that in which people live in fantasy. For instance, the preoccupation of the mind with would-be situations belongs to this category. So do day-dreaming, playful thoughts of conversations as they should or might have been, living through fulfillment in a concocted series of mind pictures. All this belongs to the fantasy state.
P8 Vicarious living can also take place by over-identification with figures in books and plays. The second grade on this scale is to live for the sake of impressing others. You may express this state of consciousness by echoing opinions and values you have never truly examined and that are therefore not your own. You may put yourself into a tight little box of prescribed behavior and values that is not the true expression of yourself and that does not further your real self, your pleasure, your innermost individual qualities, potentials and talents.
The most developed and real state in this particular triad is when you truly live for your own sake, when you do and want things for their own sake. Most individuals live on all three levels. These aspects interact and overlap. Observe well what is going on and accept the momentary state, without fighting yourself. For the more your fight, even for the good, the more you contract. But not fighting must never mean giving in to resistance and fear.
—The Pathwork® Guide