P1 You have awakened from a lower state, a plant or animal form where you were in a state of being and in harmony, but without awareness. You have not yet reached a state of being in harmony with awareness. Only when you act and react from the core of your very individuality will you reach and affect the core of others, regardless of whether or not they themselves work on such a path. This follows the law of affinity – the attraction of similar and repulsion of dissimilar substances.
P2 One way of spotting self-alienation is by determining in what areas of life you feel helpless, trapped in situations outside your control. Not to be helpless does not mean that you always win, that you never suffer frustrations, unfulfillments, that things always go according to ideal plans. On the contrary, if you adopt the pseudo-solution of power, you are more dependent than most on others and on life. You have to win!
Your immediate aim has to be fulfilled. If not, you feel weakened and humiliated. When your experience of self, of others and of life is not distorted but in accord with reality, you will express all the benign forces—reason, love, understanding, insight, strength, resourcefulness, resiliency, flexibility, adaptability, self-assertion, creativity—that your real self is endowed with.
P3 You can reach this stage only when non-fulfillment does not annihilate you. Why does it have this effect on you? Because your experience of self and of others is so distorted that you feel any frustration as personal rejection and as proof of your inadequacy. You can relinquish this attitude only through fully understanding that your worth, value and lovability are not dependent on either fulfillment or non-fulfillment. In other words, the pain of not having what you want is much less than the additional factor of seeming to receive proof of your worthlessness, inadequacy and unlovability—your being nothing.
Of course, this is unconscious. In fact, you go to great pains not to be aware of this conclusion. You cover it up with the very opposite trends, thoughts, feelings and attitudes. Yet there is a part of you in which you perceive things in just such a painful way. This accounts for the often disproportionate pain of a failure, a rejection, or lack of success in a particular field. Your fear of failure is not so acute because of the failure itself, but because it implies that you have failed because you are inferior. Your fear of responsibility is not so great because of laziness, but because failure to fulfill implies your inferiority.
Fear of frustration of pleasure is not so acute because you cannot live without it, but because it implies inferiority. As long as you live on the periphery, you put your power outside of yourself. You may invest some authority with such powers, whether it is an individual or an institution. You may simply project your own inherent powers onto life and fate and “unalterable circumstances.” Then you helplessly await fate’s favor, and if it fails to come, you blame the world’s injustice and arbitrariness rather than your own error.
P4 Yet it is estrangement from yourself to project faculties, authority, dependency and strength upon isolated fragments of your personality instead of upon its entirety. You thereby neglect other faculties and are thus alienated from the self, in that you leave an integral part of your entire self out of commission. This (when coming from your core) could be expressed by saying: “I am strong. My possibilities are manifold, and if outer difficulties come to me, I can overcome them, first by facing them fully, then by my willingness to cope with them truthfully, not superficially, nor for the sake of appearance. I do not have to be great. I do not have to be glorious or special. I am a simple human being, like many others, but as such I am endowed with great powers that I have as yet not realized. These powers cannot express and unfold because of my unreality, my distorted view. They are in me, but can only become manifest when my perception of reality becomes more truthful.” Alienated people experience themselves as either too small or too big, fluctuating between these two distortions.
P5 Once you function from out of your real self, you will not experience yourself as less or more than others. You may observe their shortcomings, but this has nothing to do with feeling superior to them. You may observe in others qualities that you lack, but this has nothing to do with feeling inferior. You experience certain facets of them which you may overemphasize in proportion to how these facets seem to lessen or heighten your own personality.
In other words, somebody who appears powerful, strong and invulnerable, whose acceptance you may particularly desire, takes on an aura of awe for you that is out of proportion to reality. Becoming aware of these conditions, of this limited outlook and experience—which is the prerequisite for changing your ability to experience yourself and others in reality—requires a great deal of self-observation on your part, on a new level of your emotions. It also requires a certain amount of progress on this path before you can proceed organically to this stage.
P6 When you feel dissatisfied with your life, ask yourself if this is not due to your feeling that you have not realized all your potentials. If the answer is yes, then you are estranged from yourself. Otherwise, you would never feel dissatisfied with your life, regardless of temporary storms. The fuller your understanding, the more you automatically change. Such change is based on the laws of evolution and organic growth. But there is also another type of change that applies to certain facets of personality problems.
This type requires a new and different way of action and reaction after you have gained a sufficient amount of insight and understanding. It requires your will to institute a new pattern. If you force discipline, without independent decision and full conviction, the motives are unhealthy and will not yield constructive results. Nevertheless, there comes a point when repeated self-discipline and determination are necessary because otherwise you cannot uproot old ingrained habits, in spite of your free will and your understanding.
P7 But the very essence of life is change. If you work properly on this path, you constantly thaw out the substance in your soul that was heretofore frozen. You put it into motion and thus enable it to grow, so that eventually a real and noticeable change occurs.
P8 The real needs can also be subdivided. First, you will become aware of the need to receive, be it love, understanding, closeness to others or creative fulfillment. You strive for all this through an act of receiving. And then you will become aware of the need to give. You run away from awareness of your real needs not only because facing unfulfillment is painful, but more so because unfulfillment means proof of your inferiority.
Once you have reached the strength, courage, humility, determination, and the reality to face your real needs—to receive and to give—and to stand the temporary frustration, you have reached a much greater area of your real self than you may think. For this is your real self. To reach this point you have to travel many byroads and detours, and once you have reached it, you will have to go through a period of emptiness, of awareness of your unfulfilled need and longing. But as you look at the unfulfillment and bear it, not in false humility and weakness, but in the strength of being able to endure it as long as is required in consequence of the patterns you set in motion whose effects have not yet worn off—you will not suffer the agonies you suffered before such awareness. The unfulfillment will not weaken you.
P11 Desist from living superficially in the sense of satisfying the world rather than your own standards. Do not live for appearance’s sake in any area of your life. Live in truth and reality.
—The Pathwork® Guide