Pathwork Lecture 202: Psychic Interaction of Negativity

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Pathwork Guide Lecture No. 202
1996 Edition
June 16, 1972

Greetings and blessings for every one of my beloved friends here. The power of love and the strength of truth will unfold in you forever more as you grow on your path.

I would like to say to you, first of all, that the majority of you have learned to be aware of and admit quite a lot of negativity. So far the significance of this progress cannot even be perceived. It makes a lot of difference whether you are aware of your negative intentionality, or whether you blindly grope, act out, and consequently suffer a special kind of confusion that hurts more than physical pain. The benefit of this new awareness is equally great for yourself and for others. In this lecture I would like to show you what the unconscious psychic interaction between you and others means in terms of the loss of love and also the pain of guilt that I talked of in the last lecture.

When you are only vaguely aware of your negativity, only dimly sensing the hurt that it inflicts on others, you are caught in a battle of blame, self-justification, helplessness, self-rejection and self-doubt. You cannot help but hook others, with their own unconscious conflicts, into your negativity. You bind them in a struggle equal to the one I just described.

Many of you have already started to recognize that by denying your negativity you incur a double guilt. First, there is the guilt for the negative attitude in question. This we may call the primary guilt. Then you are involved in the guilt for denying this negativity, which we may call the secondary guilt. If the primary guilt were admitted and its consequences truly accepted, it would cease to be a guilt. But the secondary guilt must weigh heavily on everyone’s soul. It is a burden that consumes much vital life energy. Your denial always implies inner or outer harmful acts toward others and may therefore truly be called a sin, because you punish others for your own failings, for your own negative intentions, lovelessness, untruthfulness, spite, and unfair demands.

If you are aware, for instance, that you do not wish to love and you do not pretend otherwise, this is your responsibility. If you realize that you pay a heavy price for a loveless existence, but you let it go at that, at least you do not hook others into your guilt for not loving. You will be alone, of course, but you have made a choice; you know it and you pay the price for it. You withhold from the world your wonderful love capacity, that is true, and in that sense you fail.

But when you blame others for your lack of love, even if you use their real shortcomings as your excuse, when you punish them for the result of your own unloving attitude and build cases in order to justify your own holding back, then you truly sin, my friends.

This process is most widespread, most common, and yet so subtle that only people who possess a considerable amount of self-awareness can begin to recognize it in themselves, and therefore also in others. It is a basic attitude. It exists in variations and with different degrees of intensity. The refusal to love, when not admitted, often manifests in the following attitude: “I do not want to give you anything — whoever “you” may be — but I demand that you give me everything. If you do not, I will punish you.” This attitude is very typical. The more concealed and the less consciously expressed, the more insidious its effect will be on the self and others. It is always relatively easy to deny, rationalize, distort, conceal, or use half-truths to justify this attitude.

Lately, several of my friends have become aware of this attitude and could admit it not only to themselves but also to their friends. When this happens, the influx of health, of the clean fresh air of psychic truth, is instant. It is the result of freeing yourself of the secondary guilt. The more you expose every detail of the disparity between your demands, your own ungiving intentions and the punishment you mete out when your demands are not being met, the more you clear yourself of guilt. The clearer you can see the preposterous unfairness of what you demand compared to what you give, how differently you insist on being treated from how you treat others, and exactly how you choose to punish — always so that you cannot be caught, so you cannot be made accountable — the quicker you will free yourself of a burden that causes depression, anxiety, worry, hopelessness, and often physical illness and material frustration as well.

One of the most popular ways for punishing others for not responding with love to your ungivingness is to render them guilty; to build the case in such a way that they seem to be the cause for your misery. You convince yourself quite successfully of this because you choose to see only the result of your withholding and spiteful or perhaps cowardly non-giving. You choose to ignore that others cannot respond the way you would like them to when your own psyche is still steeped in this negative, non-giving attitude toward life.

Your negativity says, “I will deny the truth and will blame you for not giving me all and for not letting me get away with my one-sided demands. And if you dare to react to this I will punish you by hating you and by blaming you even more.” Those who are at the beginning of their path, or those who have a very strong investment in their idealized self-image, which makes no room for this truth, will first think it is quite impossible that they, too, can harbor such an attitude. Your best gauge to determine whether and to what extent it exists, is to consult your mind and emotions. If you feel comfortable with others, without anxiety, if you expand your life in a joyous way; and if you regard occasional difficulties as meaningful stepping stones, then you have already vastly overcome this poisonous attitude. But you, too, must have had it and must have dealt with it in a truthful way. No one is entirely free from it to begin with. If you have not found this attitude, you must work your way through your pride, your investment in your pretense, your cowardice.

When you admit your negative intentionality you perform the most fundamental act of love. The moment you admit what you are doing, you are performing an act of love, my friends, whether you know it or not. If you do not admit your negative intent, you may give a lot, but never the real thing that counts most. You may give things, money, good deeds, even tenderness and concern, but they are hollow gifts without setting the other free by the honest admission of your negativity.

The guilt caused by your unfair demands, your spite, the withholding of your love, and the compounded guilt caused by punishing others for your misery, must erode your strength and your self-expression. It makes you truly weak. How can you, as long as you continue in this attitude, ever have faith in yourself, ever believe in your dignity as a free human being? You may try all sorts of artificial ways to instill self-confidence in yourself, but it will never work unless you face the secondary guilt and give it up by admitting it. Then you may even stay, if you so choose, with the primary guilt — the guilt of not wanting to love, but at least you have assumed the responsibility for this.

You see, my friends, this is a world of duality. So much confusion exists because of the either/or alternative and the topic under discussion is particularly prone to such confusion. Humanity is stymied by the concept that either oneself should be blamed — for whatever it may be — or the other person should. Either you are bad and wrong or the other is. This creates a serious predicament, making it impossible to be in truth. If you are wrong and the other person blameless, you feel that there is something not quite right about the situation. You feel also that an undue responsibility is placed on you. If you are the one to assume the sole burden of the blame, you surely expect to be ostracized. This assumption is an unbearable load; it is untrue and does not permit clarity. It makes you feel even more inferior and unlovable. Your misery seems a just punishment rather than a choice you are free to alter whenever you so decide. By assuming the sole blame, you give permission, as it were, to others to secretly act out their own negative intentions.

Or, conversely, if you have to be completely justified in explaining your behavior, then you also put yourself in a terrible predicament: you again feel there is something wrong; you know that making the other all bad does not fit the truth either. If you have to protect this pretense, which may seem desirable in order to whitewash yourself of guilt, you will become anxious, afraid, threatened with having your defenses penetrated — so you cannot afford to be relaxed, natural, and close to others. Your stake in your “innocence” prevents intimacy. Again, you cannot feel right.

Most human beings are still incapable of experiencing how their distortion and negativity directly affects, reinforces, and hooks into the distortions and negativities of others. They are still too involved in the dualistic struggle, defending their illusory self-image. They are therefore blind to the psychic reality of constant interaction between self and others. The “either the self or the other is all bad” attitude creates confusion, guilt, and self-doubt.

Psyche to psyche, the following interaction takes place. Suppose you inwardly say, “I will punish you for not fulfilling my insatiable demands. I will not love you or give you anything. I will punish you by making you guilty, and if you want something from me, I will not give it to you. I punish you most effectively by making myself the victim, so you cannot blame or catch me.” Suppose the other person is inwardly struggling with giving up a similar defense. Their resistance says: “You must not give it up. Others are out to hurt, to victimize, to exploit you. If you open your heart to love, you will get nothing but rejection, unfairness, and hate in return. It does not pay. You had better remain closed up.” Just imagine how your self-victimizing attitude will reinforce the irrational resistance of the other person to being open, vulnerable, and loving. The frightened part of the self, which is geared to “protective” negativity and withholding, will be set back considerably in this struggle whenever it encounters such a negative intentionality. This punishment often takes the form of severe accusations that malign the other’s character. You may never have thought about it in these terms, but if you look closely, you will see that it amounts to just that. Or you may even use others’ real failings as excuses to punish them for not living up to your demands and for not accepting a deal from you in which they give everything and you little or nothing on that level. On other levels, the case may be quite different.

The unconscious interaction in this area thus fortifies and justifies the conviction that negativity is a necessary defense. Viewed from this narrow vantage point, the position seems right. Thus when you pursue your negative intentionality, you are also responsible for the other. One of the apparently paradoxical truths of spiritual reality is that you are responsible for yourself and you are also responsible for the other, each in a different way. By the same token, others’ negative intentionality hurts and hinders you and they are responsible for doing this to you. Yet they could not succeed if you would not tenaciously hold on to your own. In that sense, the responsibility is yours. Everyone has the choice of either using the other’s bad intentions as an excuse to stay in their own or looking for a new way of responding to life. It is therefore equally true that you are exclusively responsible for yourself and others are exclusively responsible for themselves and that, everyone is responsible for the other person.

Since ultimately there is no division between the self and the other, both must be true. You are the others and the others are you. The separation is as much an illusion as the either/or duality. It is not that either you are responsible for yourself or for others, nor that others are responsible either for themselves or for you. There are no either/or’s: it is all one.

Therefore, when you end the old pattern of blaming others in order to justify your unfairness and your unloving demands, you not only unhook yourself from this terrible double-bind, you also help unhook the other person. Of course, others should not depend on you; they must fend for themselves and find their own salvation. You may say, “Others should not depend on my overcoming my negativities and problems so that they can overcome theirs.” And you are both right and wrong. You are right that it is indeed others’ responsibility and that they can do so no matter what you do, provided they really want to. Their effort, their investment and commitment to themselves determine the outcome, regardless of what others, including you, do. But you are also wrong in not seeing that by your act of truth, which is an act of love, you help set others free of their entanglements. When you make clear what your negative part is, you remove a great deal of confusion and doubt, so that the true picture of where and to what extent each party contributes to a negative involvement and psychic interaction can emerge. This has a tremendously liberating effect.

There are particular phases in human development where an entity finds it almost impossible to come out of his or her negative defense system, and of the conviction that this defense is necessary, unless one of those people with whom the person is entangled lets them off the hook by admitting his or her own negative intentionality, destructive attitude, dishonesty, and meanness. Just imagine how you would feel when someone close to you, who has given you pain by pointing out your real and your false guilts, but who has also confused you by the denial of his or her guilt, suddenly said to you: “I realize that I do not want to give you love. I want to demand from you and then blame you, accuse you, and punish you when you do not comply with my demands. But I do not allow you to feel hurt, because although I want to hurt you, I do not want to be made to feel guilty by your hurt.” Just imagine how this would set you free! How such an admission can suddenly clear up many confusions! It is not very likely that you would respond to this act of love by being self-righteous and acting the all-innocent one who has always known this and is now established as the innocent victim.

If you admit your similar unfair demands, your cowardice in giving your feelings, and your negative intentionality, it may indeed be hurtful for your pride, but truly for nothing else! The other who hears it has, in that moment, received a gift of love from you, even though you may still not want to love with your heart, with your feelings, with your inner being. But you have begun to love by being truthful.

By setting others free from the false guilt you have placed on them in order to conceal your own, you allow them to look at their own real guilt without self-devastation and without this painful inner struggle in which the mutual guilts and accusations are all confused. Release and clarification often lead to the solution of the deepest problems. It is as though the personality needed this “outer” grace, this helping hand. For the dishonest placing of guilt on others makes their true self-revelation almost impossible; it implies that if they admit guilt you are right in accusing them of being bad and of being the cause of your misery. This is how people are hooked together in denial, guilt-projection, either/or struggle, confusion, and negative interactions. Someone must begin to loosen the hook-up and disentangle the knots.

Negative intentionality is a defense. It stems from the innate belief that the world cannot be trusted and the only way the self can protect itself is by being as mean as the world is supposed to be — or meaner. When you admit your ill will, you help others to begin to trust in the decency of the world and of people. You can then begin to ponder, “Maybe it is not so dangerous, after all. Maybe I am not all alone in my hidden shame and guilt. Maybe I can let go. Maybe I, too, can admit these feelings without being held solely responsible.” What a difference this would be in your attitude toward life, in your spiritual position as a human entity!

Your energy system must begin to change. When you all work together in this honest way, love is not a command issued by the will and the mind; it is not an abstraction; it is not emoting, or a sentimental gesture. It is vigorous, assertive, and free. Honesty is the most needed and most rare form of love among human beings. Without honesty, the illusion will always remain that you are separate from others, that your interests are contradictory, that in order to protect your interests you must defeat others, and vice versa.

Only when you know your own negativity, my friends, truly own up to it, assume responsibility for it, and no longer project it onto others while distorting reality in order to be able to do so, will you suddenly gain new insight into other people’s doings, so that even when they do not admit it, you will know what is happening. And that, too, sets you free. That, too, takes you out of the confusion and the guilt of “Where am I at fault in my misery? How have I caused it? How have others caused it?” — thus fluctuating between blame and self-blame. Neither leads to any solution. But the moment you assume responsibility for your negative, destructive attitudes toward others, even if others are not willing to do likewise, you see the picture clearly. You unhook yourself, not only by your admission and self-knowledge, but also by comprehending the negative intentions, the acting out, the dishonest projections of the other person. This is why everyone who admits the worst in themselves inevitably feels elation, liberation, energy, hope, and light as the immediate result.

Spiritual growth brings you the gift of knowing the inside of other people: their thoughts, their intentions, their feelings. This is not magic; it occurs naturally because in reality you and others are one. As you read your own mind accurately, you cannot help reading those of others — since in reality it is all one mind. Other people’s minds are closed books only as long as you hide from your own mind. To be able to read others’ minds would amount to dangerous magic if it came from an individual’s psychic power. Such power could be abused. But whenever this ability grows organically as a byproduct of knowing your own inner makeup, it is natural and cannot be abused in the service of power drives and negativity.

What now seems like an altogether separate entity will be seen for what it is in undifferentiated reality, when deep truthfulness has been achieved. It will be seen that all is one, that there is only one consciousness. What a liberating experience to know and to see into others, to no longer be confused and torn! This ability grows from giving up your stake in hiding, projecting, denying, and distorting; it grows from giving up an attitude that not only confuses others around you who are in a similar state, but confuses you every bit as much.

We discussed in the last lecture the pain of guilt. The worst pain of guilt comes when you do not quite know what is your part of an interaction and what is the other’s. This kind of suffering comes only from concealment. It tears you apart, makes you suffer, searching blindly, like a trapped animal. But you are your own victim. You have trapped yourself by choosing not to be honest.

Whenever human beings unfold into a more expanded state they need different tools. Let us take the simple analogy of someone who runs a business. When the business is still very small, the organization is adapted to the size and purpose of the firm. It is appropriate and therefore harmonious. But when the business expands, the organization created for a small establishment no longer fits the larger one. It would no longer be appropriate and could not run smoothly. If the owners were too rigid to change and persisted in holding on to the old, proven way, they would either fail in the expanded enterprise, or would at least find it very difficult to operate.

The same law, my friends, applies to your inner expansion. As you grow and learn about yourself, and therefore about others and the world, you experience life in deeper and more varied ways — which is, after all, your reason for being incarnated. As you gain understanding and learn to experience feelings which you have previously avoided, you are setting the stage, as it were, for an “expanded operation.” In practical terms this means that attitudes which were once useful now become destructive and limiting.

It happens so often on the path of evolution that entities grow in various ways and prepare the ground for necessary new attitudes toward life. Yet they can impede this expansion by their refusal to give up certain attitudes. So you must adapt yourself to new ways of responding to the world, my friends, responding differently to other people’s reactions toward you, to what happens around you and also to what happens within you. This will come about, first, by knowing that your old response is a conditioned reflex created to fit a smaller way of functioning in life; second, by questioning that reflex and the beliefs behind it. Last but not least — and this is the basic theme of tonight’s lecture — by choosing love, rather than separateness, as your way of being in the world.

Again, this must not be a mere word, a mere mental concept, a forced try, or a sentimentalized emoting that covers up many things you do not wish to admit. It must be put in action depending on where you are inwardly. Admitting your negativity is always an act of love, whether it is done directly to the person in question, where this is possible, or to a helper who is not personally involved with your negativity. It is still an act of love toward the universe. Wherever you find your negativity, my friends, even while you still choose to stay with it, contemplate that one day you will want to give it up in love for the universe, in love for yourself.

Love is the key. If you do not open your heart you must wither away. You have all seen that no matter how true some diagnosis may be, how many insights you have gained into the background, history and dynamics of a condition that gives trouble, unless you commit yourself to opening your heart, no real change can ever occur. You cannot be fulfilled, my friends, unless you let yourself feel from the heart. And it is no use pretending that you want to love, that you even do love, as long as you are frightened of feeling your feelings. To the degree that it is so, you hold back from loving.

You cannot be strong and courageous, you cannot love yourself, unless you love. It is equally true that only as you love others can you love yourself. The first step must be to be willing to love. You do not start loving simply because you so choose. You have to call the divine nature of your innermost nucleus to give you the grace of loving. The grace of God may manifest through you in making you open your heart and lose your fear of feelings, of being vulnerable. That is all you need. If you do not love, you have nothing. If you love, you have everything. But if you love falsely, as a pretense, it is much, much less loving and much more deceptive and harmful than when you admit your hate. Admitting your hate is more loving than an apparently loving act that denies the hate. Think of this, my friends.

Take the time to assimilate the material I have given and to establish the most real and vital of all direct communications: that with your spiritual self. To do this, you must eliminate your self-deceptions and pretenses. They always block the way to God in you. Those of you who have not yet found where and how they are unloving should set out to do so. Do not let yourself be deceived by where you are already loving. Ask yourself how fulfilled you feel in it. How warm and unthreatened you feel with others. How comfortable do you feel in life? That is your answer to how loving and how truthful you are. And then maybe the first step of love can be instituted: Admit your hate. Admit your punitiveness. Admit your spitefulness. To the degree you do so, you start loving. You have started on the bottom rung of the ladder of love the minute you admit the ugly truth that you wanted hidden and for which, on top of it, you rendered the other person responsible. You did this either by distorting reality or by using something that was partly true as your excuse.

Understanding this, my friends, requires a lot of meditation and genuine good will. But then, what a key this is to life! You must deeply want to see this. The more you resist expansion into a new mode of operation when you are ready for it, the greater and more painful the necessary crisis must be. The more volitional and unresisting, the smoother the transition into a new, more truthful, more loving state will be.

Now commit yourself to go further and deeper in this direction. Commit yourself to go all the way with it and thereby help yourself and those around you. Allow this to happen. It is the greatest blessing that can be. You will create the necessary new climate for a new environment — inside and out.

This was a blessed working year indeed, my friends. Many of you have manifested spiritual growth in visible expressions of a more fulfilled life, of more peace and security and of outer fulfillment as a result. The following years will become more so, as you expand your nucleus of spiritual learning and purification.

You are indeed blessed. Every step of truth, every step toward love, unleashes more spiritual energy. Every step of decency activates more of your divine nature. Be this divine nature!

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To my teacher Marieke Mars who taught me self-honesty. To my courageous and loving pathwork helper Dottie Titus.

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