P1 You who truly want to find out who you are, and are prepared to make the sacrifice of giving up old destructive patterns of thinking and reacting, will discover the incomparable treasure within you. Then the word sacrifice becomes indeed ludicrous, for you give up nothing to gain everything. Of course, even after making great progress you still have to deal with your defenses and undissolved negativities, your resistances, distortions, and darkness. It is impossible to let go of something you do not know you have or will not express.
P2 Now I should like to speak about the need to be aware of your previously concealed but now conscious negative intentionality. Whatever people fear, they unconsciously want; whatever they experience, they also unconsciously want. Now many of you are truly face to face with a basic negating attitude toward life: an attitude that expresses no desire to give, to love, to contribute, to reach out, to receive, or to live well and fruitfully.
This may sound preposterous to the conscious mind that wishes for nothing more than any and all fulfillments imaginable. But there is this other part of the soul, in a hidden corner of the psyche, which says just the opposite. It wants to hate, to be spiteful, to withhold—even if this causes suffering and deprivation. Recognizing this part of the soul is of paramount importance. In spite of knowing how destructive and senseless it is, you still find yourself unable, or rather unwilling to abandon this attitude. However when you ferret out your negative intentionality, you can no longer deceive yourself that negativity just “happens” to you.
You must sooner or later come to terms with the fact that your life is the result of your choices. And choice implies the possibility of adopting another attitude. In other words, you can truly discover on a deep level that you are free. To admit and to deal with negative intentionality extensively and profoundly takes considerable struggle, effort, and patience as well as an inner overcoming of resistance. You will find that the more frustrated you feel for not attaining what you so ardently desire, the greater your inner negative intention and the less inclination you have to deal with it.
Even before the self is ready to make a new choice, the mere availability of another road, another approach to life and to reinvesting one’s energies and resources, brings hope—not false hope, but realistic expectation. However, important as it is to discover the existence of your negative intentionality, awareness is not the same as giving it up.
P4 There are many reasons for this difficulty. Some of the major fears are: fear of the unknown, fear of being hurt and humiliated, fear of and refusal to experience past and present pain. A negative attitude functions as a defense against real feelings. Holding on to negative will direction is also the result of a refusal to assume self-responsibility, or to deal with less than ideal circumstances.
The origin of this negation of life is in childhood. It is now your inner insistence on forcing your “bad parents” to become “good parents” out of guilt, using your misery as a weapon against them. Negative intentionality is also a means to punish life in general. Often it is a child’s only way to preserve its selfhood. If the child’s inner resistance to letting go of this intent is not maintained, the personality feels threatened. What truly prevents you from saying, “I do not want to hate, I want to love.”
What part of yourself do you identify with? Such identification is not something the conscious ego chooses. If you exclusively identify with the ego—that conscious, willing, acting part of you—it is automatically impossible to bring a change that lies beyond the province of the ego. Inner change of the deepest attitudes and feelings of an individual cannot be brought about by the very limited functions of the ego. One must be identified with a deeper, broader, and more effective aspect of the self in order to even believe in the possibility of such a change.
Any profound change comes about by the ego committing itself to wanting the change, and trusting in the processes of the involuntary spiritual self to bring it about. And if it (identification with spiritual self) does not exist, the person cannot even want it, for the conviction of failure would drive home the powerlessness of the ego in too unpleasant a way. Thus it is preferable for the limited ego to say, “I do not want” than to say, “I cannot.”
On a superficial level, the exact opposite situation exists: “I won’t” is denied with “I can’t.” On a deeper and more subtle level it is reversed, simply because the ego does not want to admit its limitations, and yet the self has not found the way to identify with the spirit. If you identify with the Higher Self or your spirit, without truly being aware of your Lower Self, mask self, your defenses, your dishonest devices, and your negative intentionality, then your identification with the Higher Self becomes an escape and an illusion.
When you are identified with the Lower Self, you believe that this is all there is to you. When you identify it, observe, admit, and tackle it, you do not believe that this is all there is to you. And when you can truly feel your feelings, you can then identify with the spiritual self. The Lower Self should be identified; the spiritual self identified with.
P6 When you experience yourself as real exclusively in the Lower Self, to whatever degree this may hold true, you cannot give up the Lower Self. The refusal to do so is the misplaced will to live. You feel real and energized only when negativity and destructiveness manifest. The outer deadness and numbness seem the result of having “given up” evil; but it has not been given up at all; nor do you have to.
The same energy can be reconverted once you have stopped denying it. Your resistance to giving up what you hate most in yourself is due to a false identification. The way you are bound and frozen into this position of resisting to let go of the negative intentionality is not only obstinate and spiteful. That would be too stupid. But the obstinacy and spitefulness harden your position, so that your fear of annihilation that would follow if you gave up the Lower Self grows stronger and the negativity becomes self-perpetuating.
P7 How are you going to find your way out? The first thing to do would be to question yourself, “Is this really all I am?” The second stage in this progression is where you realize that the part which asks the question is already beyond your assumed identity. Reach out with tentative questions, questions asked with good will and in good faith. This is the very first step to find your way out of your prison of unnecessary suffering.
Identifying with the observer then becomes a first step away from and a first extension beyond your familiar self-experience. The commitment must always be to the truth of the self—what it really feels and thinks and is. If commitment to the self is the aim, then you cannot fail to realize yourself. You will experience new depths of feelings. The first answers may come from your conscious mind. Your ability to formulate new possibilities and answers and to use the knowledge of truth that is already integrated into your consciousness will feel safe and very real. Such new thoughts may take into consideration that trying out a positive intentionality could be interesting and desirable for you.
Just investigate how it feels to set a positive intentionality in motion. You will perceive the ever present, ongoing voice of truth and God. It will increase in intensity and frequency until you realize that you are everything that exists. There is nothing you are not, my friends. This step (changing to positive intentionality) needs to be repeated many times, like the initial commitment to finding the truth inside of you.
But every little step liberates more energy and makes the successive steps easier. You who make yourselves available to new possibilities in conceiving, perceiving, and forming new inner attitudes will experience the richness of the universe, the richness of its innermost being. Only when you continue to expand can you truly become yourself.
Do not believe that you have to become a different person. You become the best that you already are. When you become it you will recognize it, you will experience its familiarity and you will feel how safe it is, how much you it is! It is the best of you.
—The Pathwork® Guide