P2 As long as you do not have the courage to examine the issues while forgetting the rule, you cannot come into selfhood, you cannot develop true self-confidence, which cannot be gained in any other way. For this procedure requires the courage to take the consequences upon yourself, to cut the bonds of dependency on rules and regulations, and thus on public approval. You are divided, which indicates that both alternatives come from the superficial self.
This may also hold true when two alternatives which seem neither particularly constructive nor destructive, leave you equally dissatisfied. In either case you are confused, because your real self is covered up and all alternatives at your disposal come from the outer layers. You turn around in circles and cannot find the way out because you concentrate on the outcome and the physical act, believing one choice must be right and the other wrong, while you feel that both are wrong as far as your peace of mind is concerned.
P3 When I speak of actions, I do not mean only outer deeds. All thoughts, emotions, attitudes, inner decisions, and behavior patterns are actions. You feel helpless, and because you cannot cope with the issue, you hope for life to offer a solution. I also discussed the importance of what I called the point of relinquishing. The only way to free your real self sufficiently is to find your particular point of relinquishing that must be hidden somewhere right in the problem with which you are concerned.
When you find the point of relinquishing, gradually two different alternatives will evolve: one will be to adhere to a rigid principle, be it general or personal; the other alternative will be to follow your real self. This new way may be imperfect at present, but is a venture you are willing to undertake with all that it takes. Whenever you are trapped in the crisis of confusion and helplessness, you are bound to find that there is something to which you hold on too tightly, something you think you must have. It is a sign that a strong need is involved, be it real or false.
P4 The so-called neurosis always contains selfishness, greed, pride, cowardice, egocentricity, and ruthlessness in one form or another. If you view your actions, reactions, and attitudes as emanating not from your true self, but from the afflicted area, and consider their effect on others, you will truly gain a new perspective and see that it is possible to accept and forgive yourself, while still knowing the intrinsic “sinfulness” within you. You will no longer be torn between the alternatives of either self-acceptance and self-indulgence, or repentance and self-hate.
P5 You are afraid of forgiving yourself because you fear your craving for self-indulgence. You also fear to face fully that which is harmful to others, because you fear the whip of your self-hate. Once you can truly perceive that this dilemma is an illusion and exists only because of your confusion, the two apparent opposites will become one whole, without any negativity. The two negatives will fall off. They have come into being through the split of a positive idea: self-forgiveness and fully facing one’s “sin.” Both derive from courage, humility, and the will to take on self-responsibility.
The rebellion has a positive aspect too; one may call it healthy self-assertion. This healthy aspect suffers the same split as the concept of self-acceptance and the will to change. If you rebel against rigid principles, against perfectionism and against conformity, that is compatible with acceptance of the inevitable with humility, and with healthy interdependence. Each trend or quality, originally, before the split, was good and constructive. Qualities become destructive the moment one aspect of the trend is misused by the afflicted part of your soul.
The split also makes communication difficult because one person thinks of the constructive side of a trend, while the other has its negative and destructive side in mind. Take, for instance, rebellion, repentance, or self-acceptance. One person may think of healthy rebellion, or self-assertion; of the strength and maturity in real repentance and change; of the humility and realism of accepting oneself as one is. Another thinks of the destructive kind of rebellion with its false strength, defiance, and cruelty; of the unhealthy guilt and self-accusation in false repentance; of the self-indulgence in self-acceptance.
Let us take another quality: charity. There are many aspects to it: the charity of the spirit, manifesting in tolerance and understanding; the charity of giving material things; the charity of feeling with and for another person, which is compassion. Let us consider compassion.
As it happens, in the English language you actually have another term to designate the negative aspect of compassion, and that is pity. In compassion, you are strong and capable of helping, of doing something for the other person. In pity, you can do nothing but weep for the other, while in reality you weep for yourself, due to your unwillingness to accept life and death and assume the responsibility which makes you capable of coping with life’s hardships. In pity, you merely project your own weakness onto another, seeing in that person your own cowardice and hidden rebellion. Therefore it is an utterly selfish emotion. The way to determine whether you feel compassion or pity is to notice whether the feeling gives you strength for the other person, or whether it weakens you.
P7 Losing a dear one is a pain that has to be borne. In itself, it is a healthy pain that cannot weaken the soul, provided you go through it. But the additional element in your pain is fear. And where fear is, identification occurs. The nature of these two pains is different, if you probe your emotions. The quality of the pain of loss does not contain the fear, bitterness, self-pity, struggle, and hardness contained in the pain of identification, in pity. (question about “inner climate”) You will detect a hardening, a fearfulness, an apprehension, a desire to reject whatever it is that comes to you. You feel attacked and threatened. The feeling in you, coming as a reaction to the instances just mentioned, is your defense mechanism.
P8 The nature of the core is flexibility and individuality.
P9 Growth, maturity, unfoldment, makes you able to withstand, if you have to, that which you are incapable of changing. Maturity enables you to give up and let go of what you do not have to endure.
—The Pathwork® Guide