Pathwork Lecture #100: Meeting the Pain of Destructive Patterns
September 8, 2009
An Unofficial Summary of Pathwork Lecture #100: Meeting the Pain of Destructive Patterns
For a deeper, more rewarding experience of these teachings, consult the Lecture itself, available free of charge at: http://www.pathwork.org/lectures/P100.PDF
As children, we suffer from our parents’ imperfect ability to love, and also from being treated as children rather than as individuals, which is equally destructive. The climate of our upbringing is a continual, minor shock which can affect us even more than a sudden trauma. We become used to this climate, accept it, and develop destructive defenses in a misguided effort to deal with it.
When the chosen pseudo-solution is withdrawal in order to avoid emotional hurt, we eventually come to understand through doing this work that we are better off feeling the pain. However, when we work our way through our defenses, the pain we encounter will be unpleasant and will challenge our resolve.
When the chosen pseudo-solution is submissiveness, we become weak. Moreover, we end up isolated because we are looking for a strong protector when there can be no such person in our lives, since we must protect ourselves. Also, our weakness and dependency exerts pressure on others to enable us, and to remain strong for our sake.
All pseudo-solutions bring pain to ourselves and others. The withdrawal solution rejects others, depriving us of the experience of loving them and depriving others of the experience of receiving our love. The submissiveness solution similarly rejects the weaknesses and needs of others, thereby hurting them. The aggressive solution also rejects and hurts others by its false superiority. Whenever we hurt others, we hurt ourselves.
Our pseudo-solutions are part of our idealized self-image, which isolates us through its falsity and its self-aggrandizement, and brings us the very pain our pseudo-solutions were meant to avoid. Our perfectionism make it impossible for us to accept and deal with life, or to really live it. We can BECOME AWARE of how all this works through sincere self-searching. Merely observing these mechanisms begins an organic process of dissolution. Then we are ready to cross over into a new way of life; however, initially this brings pain. Constructive patterns will gradually emerge as we go through the work of experiencing that which we initially ran away from. At first, however, we will continue to attract negative experiences based on our old patterns, although we will tend to respond to them in a more evolved way.
As we discover the ways in which we have misguidedly created our own unhappiness, we will discover our ability to create the fulfillment our soul is craving. The harder we work on this path, in spite of our resistance, the sooner we will cultivate this strength and self-reliance.
More significant than the pain which caused us to institute our counterproductive defenses is the pain of all the unfulfillment we have experience ever since as a result of those defenses. As we go through our pain, we will first feel ourselves trapped in our inability to achieve fulfillment, but then we will gradually develop the ability.
During the phase of unfulfillment, we will have the opportunity to become precisely aware of our real, basic needs. We will become aware of our need to receive love. As a result of having pushed this need into unconsciousness because of the pain of its unfulfillment, we inadvertently stunted our ability to give love, and this kept our need to receive love stuck in a childish phase of development. As we go through our pain and become aware of the need to give love, we may also encounter frustration because we lack an outlet for this need. The pressure of these unfulfilled needs is not something new — before we were aware of it, it may have expressed in sickness or other symptoms. As we experience the pain, it will serve us to BECOME AWARE of our needs to give and receive love, the frustration, the pressure, the sense of helplessness and the temptation to evade the pain. In the interim period of development, the inner pressure of unfulfillment may be keenly felt, and it will serve us well to REMEMBER that this phase is just a tunnel through which we have to pass. If we persevere and resist the temptation to avoid, using our relapses as lessons, we will become more mature and versatile.
Questions & Answers:
Fear is often a defense to feeling pain. It is healthier to face pain than to avoid it. Running away makes us feel inadequate, and increases the unfulfillment and the pain we are trying to avoid.
Trying to “learn” to feel the need to give love is a self-manipulation. To get to a place where we genuinely feel the need to give love, it is most productive to OBSERVE our immature emphasis on receiving. We grow into the feeling intermittently, but our periods of being connected to it gradually get more frequent and longer-lasting. It will serve us to approach this growth process with patience.
We tend to carry over from childhood the false beliefs that (1) reality is unpleasant and therefore pleasure must be sought in fantasy, and (2) happiness can be attained only through selfishness.
Regarding the Guides’ statement in the previous Lecture that one person who gains inner truth has a greater influence on the entire cosmic development than millions who do not, this has to do with the fact that when we defend, we reject, and this builds up the defenses of others, whereas when we are open and undefended, we inspire others to adopt the same posture.
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