Mobility in Relaxation—Suffering Through Attachment of the Life Force to Negative Situations

Pathwork Guide Lecture No. 135 | June 25, 1965

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Greetings, my dearest friends. Blessings for every one of you. May the strength of understanding contained in these blessings aid you in assimilating this lecture, not only with your outer, but also with your inner understanding. All of you, during the course of this year, have progressed, each in your own way; most of you did so considerably. It is often hard to evaluate outwardly what constitutes real progress. Often, the greatest progress is least noticeable in the eyes of others. Additional understanding and perception have been gained by all of you, enabling you to meet your own lives in a different way. Even those of you who have not begun actual work on this path must have grown inwardly, for otherwise you would not even be here.

This lecture is an attempt to combine an overall understanding of the material we have studied in the past with the opening up of the future direction of the pathwork. I hope this attempt will succeed so that you will understand more deeply the material that has been given to you and that you have already incorporated in your personal work as experienced fact, not as a mere theoretical teaching; at the same time this lecture will open for you new vistas on particular points and serve as a road map to follow.

The entire universe is permeated with a vibrant life substance. This substance consists of forces of such tremendous power that people have only begun to discover them vaguely and to a limited degree. Whether this power be physical, such as electrical or atomic power, or mental power makes no difference, for it is all the same power, or different facets of the same power. This power is a very impressionable mass, a substance that can be governed and molded only by consciousness.

The result of this molding is matter in its various degrees of density. It is also something more subtle than particular matter, however; it is life itself, as it unfolds for the individual. It is experience. It is condition, circumstances, fate, or destiny, if you will. Whatever you experience and the conditions in which you find yourself, this is the matter, or form, which is the outcome of the way consciousness impresses the life substance. This is a very, very brief recapitulation of everything I have spoken

about in the course of these years. I repeat it here briefly to make the following more understandable.

This tremendous life substance is in continuous motion. Let us go a little more deeply into the meaning of this, into the particular method and rhythm of this cosmic movement. If you truly understand this, you do indeed have another key to your life.

This cosmic movement, permeating everything that is, is a mixture of mobility and relaxation. The key of mobility, combined with relaxation, opens the world. It is the state of being, or the unitive principle of being. Only through misconception does duality, or conflict, come about. The particular duality or distortion of the unifying principle of mobility in relaxation results in the following misconception:  on the one hand, relaxation is viewed as non-movement or stagnation, on the other, mobility is viewed as tense effort. This is particularly important to understand, because these misconceptions are the cause of humanity’s predicament.

All misconceptions, as you find them in the course of your personal work, are derivatives of this duality. Relaxation can exist only in non-movement, that is stagnating passivity, as opposed to a movement that is a tense, anxious, grabbing, striving effort. Seemingly, you have to decide between these two alternatives. Whenever such alternatives exist, strife must follow, for it is a result of conflict. Here transcending this duality and reaching the unitive principle of being becomes necessary. Needless to say, this applies to all levels of personality. I cannot sufficiently emphasize that my talks are not in the least abstract philosophical discourses but very practical guideposts to your immediate life, my friends. Do not ever over look this fact.

Let us begin right here and right now to see how this holds true. When you examine the misconceptions, the images, as they unfold through your pathwork, and you look at these misconceptions deeply enough, you are bound to find that they fall into this split. Even from a merely intellectual approach, you should easily see that the distortion of mobility and relaxation is the primary duality, underlying all misconceptions, resulting in a situation where you see only two equally unsatisfactory alternatives. This primary misconception distorts the harmonious rhythm of cosmic movement.

You will experience this truth even more dynamically and personally when you listen to your soul movements, your own inner expressions and emanations. If you calmly observe what emanates from your own psychic forces, you will find this distortion of movement where you stagnate because non-movement seems so tempting. It appears to be the effortless state that the soul longs for. Or movement seems so necessary because you don’t want to stagnate and guilt whips you into a striving, overly tense movement. You may not even be able to put your finger on exactly what you strive so hard for. When observing the state of your own psychic emanation you will be able to pinpoint this particular dichotomy.

This is very important, for the moment you can acknowledge this confusion and the distortion of your personal cosmic forces, you will, by that admission, by that acceptance, by that observation or awareness, slowly but surely come nearer to straightening out this imbalance of motion. As you proceed in reorienting your until recently unconscious, but now conscious concepts, values, understanding of life and yourself, as well as your relationship to life and to yourself, the movement begins to harmonize with the great cosmic flow. Mobility in relaxation comes more and more into being.

The same applies to the physical level of existence. As you observe the emanation of your thinking, feeling, and reacting, and consequently observe this particular imbalance, you will also see that the same imbalance affects your physical body. Since the principle of life itself is the harmony between mobility and relaxation, the phenomenon of dying must be the misunderstanding of this principle, so that a duality arises. When this misunderstanding has proceeded far enough, affecting more and more aspects of the entity, the phenomenon of dying takes place on the outer levels. But where a balance is established, life continues, and death is an impossibility.

The outer, physical levels follow suit automatically as the psychological imbalance is straightened out. This does not mean, however, that you cannot also help from outside in, by cultivating and learning from without the art of mobility in relaxation. By working at it from inside out, and from outside in, the process will be speeded up and the harmony established faster. This is very important for you to follow through, my friends.

The dynamic life force is an extremely vibrant principle, and this vibrant, dynamic relaxation is particularly available to human consciousness in the love relationship between the sexes. When your striving or longing for this experience is attached to a negative condition, difficulty and frustration must follow.

The question is often asked why destructiveness, illness, war and cruelty exist. The answers that have been given are often not sufficiently understood, but even when they are somewhat understood, something is missing. I think most of my friends are now ready to understand this on a deeper level. I have often said that misconceptions create strife, and this is perfectly true. But there exists an additional element without which no misconception, regardless of how off the mark, could have power. It is this:  Mere negativity, as in a destructive attitude, has a much less destructive effect than destructiveness attached to and combined with the positive life principle. This is what makes negative manifestations on this earth plane particularly serious or severe. In other words, when a positive force mingles with a negativity or a destructive attitude, this combination creates evil. Real destructiveness is, therefore, not only a distortion of truth and of the constructive universal powers, but a distortion that must be permeated with the powerful life principle and its constructive power. If the positive life principle were not involved and inadvertently used, then evil, or destructiveness, would be of very short duration.

The best way, my friends, that you can apply what I say here and derive more from this lecture than a vague,

abstract principle, is by looking at yourself from the following point of view:  All of you who are on this path have found certain hurts and pains you endured as a child. Some of you have begun to grasp, if ever so slightly, that at the moment when you were hurt a specific process took place. The erotic, or pleasure principle, was put in the service of your hurt, your suffering, your pain. All the emotions arising from this original hurt, according to character and temperament, also combine with the pleasure principle. This attachment creates all the personal difficulties, all the unwelcome circumstances.

All the many souls inhabiting this earth, added together, create the general strife of humankind. When you realize, after having become aware of this process, how many people, regardless of their outer action, can experience the pleasure principle only in fantasies of cruelty, you will understand that this is the actual nucleus of war — of cruelty as a whole. This should not make you feel guilty. It should rather enlighten you and free you to allow your inner processes to transform. For it is a misapplied and misunderstood hurt that has created this condition. Cruelty without the pleasure principle could never have real power. Lack of awareness of this combination of cruelty and pleasure by no means alleviates the effect it has on the overall climate of humanity’s emanation.

If you have experienced cruelty, whether this act of cruelty was an actual fact or a creation of your imagination, your pleasure principle is attached to cruelty and functions somewhat in connection with cruelty. Often the guilt and shame are so strong that the entire fantasy life is denied, but sometimes it is conscious. Awareness of this must be established and understood from an overall point of view, for if it is truly understood, both guilt and shame will be removed. As understanding grows, the pleasure principle will gradually respond to positive events.

The combination between the pleasure principle and cruelty can exist either actively or passively. That is, pleasure is experienced either in inflicting cruelty or in enduring it — or both. Attaching the pleasure principle to a condition where it functions most strongly in conjunction with cruelty, creates a holding back from love, limits it, and makes the actual experience of love impossible. Love exists only as a vague yearning that cannot be maintained or followed through. Under these circumstances love is not the tempting, pleasurable experience it may be to another part of the personality. The yearning for the pleasure of love and the ignorance about the fact that one rejects its actual experience because one fears the attachment of the pleasure principle to negativity often creates a deep hopelessness. This hopelessness can be understood and instantly relieved only when this particular fact is profoundly comprehended.

In less crass cases, when the child experiences not so much outright cruelty, but vague rejection or nonacceptance, the pleasure principle will attach itself to a similar situation, so that in spite of the conscious desire for acceptance, the pleasure current will only be activated in conjunction with rejection. There are many degrees and variations of this. There are, for example, situations where a child experiences partial acceptance and partial rejection. Then the pleasure principle is attached to an exactly similar ambivalence. This, then, creates a conflict in actual relationships.

The first, crass, instance of attaching cruelty to the pleasure principle or the life principle — they are the same — will make a relationship so hazardous that it is often avoided altogether. Or you find it so frightening that you are puzzled. You then feel incapable of following through with it. Or, you are so inhibited because the shame of the desire for either inflicting or enduring cruelty may prohibit all spontaneity and make you withdraw from and numb all feelings.

My dearest friends, this is a tremendously important principle to understand. It applies to humanity as a whole as well as to the individual. Generally, it has not been sufficiently understood because psychology and spiritual science have not merged sufficiently. Vague attempts have been made by psychology to grasp this factor, and it has been understood in some measure, but the vast significance in terms of civilization and its fate, or its evolution, is not understood. The world is now ready to understand this fact of life.

Evolution, my friends, means that each individual, through the process of personal self-confrontation and self-realization, gradually changes the inner orientation of the pleasure principle. In their spontaneous reaction, more and more individuals will respond to positive events, situations, conditions.

You all know that such inner change cannot be willed directly. The direct expression of your outer will can and must go in the direction of maintaining and sustaining a pathwork such as this, which increases the ability to understand and cultivate the will and the courage to look at the self to find and overcome resistance. And as you do this, as you use your will and your ego faculties in this constructive manner, the real change happens, as some of you begin to experience, almost as though it had nothing to do  with these efforts, as if it were a byproduct, an unconnected unfoldment. That is the real thing!  This is the way progress and growth must happen.

Gradually, through this process of growth, one individual after another reorients the soul movements, the soul forces. The expression of the cosmic movement within the psyche will then attach itself to purely positive conditions and circumstances. Positive or pleasurable feelings will no longer be derived from negative circumstances. You are now used to the latter, hence you repress and suppress the combination of pleasurable feelings and negative events.

Instead of repressing it, denying it, looking away from it, you must face it. As you face it and understand it, without guilt or shame, you must learn in the course of growing that all imperfection must be accepted and understood before it can be changed. So to the extent that you succeed in facing and understanding your conflict, the pleasure principle will run in different channels. As this happens, mobility will exist without tension and anxiety, and relaxation will exist without stagnation.

All of you, my friends, try to find your specific inner “marriage” between the pleasure current and a negative condition. As you find this marriage, within your own soul forces in specific terms, you will know and perfectly understand certain outer manifestations of your problems. This relief of thorough understanding can come about only when you have the courage to face this marriage. As you become capable of clearly and concisely formulating this marriage of positive and negative forces, you will clearly see the exact image of your unfulfillment. You will see why you keep yourself hidden from yourself and from life; why you withdrew from your own feelings; why you repress and why you stand guard over the most spontaneous and creative forces within yourself. You will see why you block out feelings, sometimes with a great amount of pain, then try to rationalize and explain them away. Even currently fashionable psychological truths serve to camouflage this simple process, my friends.

Make attempts to find the two factors I have discussed:

First, discover the subtle but nevertheless distinct distortion of the unitive principle of mobility and relaxation. Where do you have mobility and tension?  Where do you have relaxation and stagnation, immobility?  Observe them in your mental makeup, in your emotions, as well as in your body.

Second, discover in what respect the life and pleasure principle is attached to a negative condition. To what extent does this manifest — perhaps in your fantasies — and how does this hold you back from self-expression, from union, from experience, from a fearless state of self-realization with a kindred spirit?

Now, are there any questions in connection with this topic?

QUESTION:  I would like to understand a little more concretely about this marriage between the forces of love and circumstances of, for example, cruelty. For instance, in the case of children who feel rejected by their mother, does this marriage mean that the person cannot experience pleasure without also experiencing revenge — some kind of sadistic wish toward the mother?  This happens perhaps only in fantasy, never in reality, and then the person is usually unaware that the partner represents the mother?

ANSWER:  Yes, it might be exactly that. Or it might also be that pleasure can be experienced only in connection with being rejected again, or a little rejected, or being fearful that rejection may occur.

QUESTION:  But they didn’t experience pleasure when they were rejected.

ANSWER:  Of course not. But the child uses the pleasure principle to make the negative event, the suffering, more bearable. This happens unconsciously, unintentionally, and almost automatically. Inadvertently, as it were, the pleasure principle combines with the negative condition. The only way this can be determined is by investigation of one’s fantasy life. It is that way that the marriage is established. The automatic reflexes are then geared to a situation that combines the inherent pleasure current with the painful event.

QUESTION:  And the child wishes to reproduce this rejection?

ANSWER:  Not consciously, of course. No one really wants to be rejected. The trouble is that people consciously wish to be accepted and loved, but unconsciously, they cannot respond to a completely accepting and favorable situation. In such cases the pleasure principle has already been led into the negative channel and can be rechanneled only through awareness and understanding. The very nature of this conflict is that the pleasure principle functions the way people consciously want least of all. It cannot be said that a person unconsciously desires rejection, but the reflex was already established at a time when this way of functioning made life more bearable for the child. Do you understand that?

QUESTION:  I don’t quite understand how pleasure can be experienced at all when someone is rejected, except in the form of revenge. That I can understand.

ANSWER:  Perhaps you can imagine also — one sees this over and over again — that when people feel too secure in being accepted and loved, they lose the spark of interest. This, too, is rationalized by claiming it to be an inevitable law, happening through habit, or other circumstances. But it would not have to be that way if it were not for the factors discussed in this lecture. The spark, the interest, the dynamic flow exists only when there is an unsure or an unhappy situation. You see this frequently. Sometimes the negative condition manifests only in fantasies. These fantasies are, when closely examined, in one way or another attached to suffering, humiliation, or hostility. This is then called masochism or sadism. Do you understand now?

ANSWER: Yes, I think I do.

QUESTION:  Since all children experience rejection, and since all children are insatiable in their demands, when will there be an end to this situation?  It always starts with each incarnation and in each situation again.

ANSWER:  You can see that there are differences among human beings:  some function in a much healthier way than others, and their pleasure principle responds more strongly to a positive situation. There evolution is taking place. When a completely positive situation exists in the psyche, reincarnation is no longer necessary. Evolution then proceeds on other levels. To a certain degree, every human being has negativity, and this negativity is somehow activated, enforced, and nourished by the life force. But degrees exist, and they are a clear indication of the evolutionary process.

You have human beings, at one extreme, who cannot even have any direct relationship with another person, who live merely in fantasies that are utterly attached to negative experiences. At the other extreme are those who, in the process of maturing, have brought together fantasy and reality in the most positive and favorable sense. This bringing together of fantasy and reality does not mean repression of fantasy life, but true overcoming of it, because reality is more desirable and more pleasurable, just as positive circumstances are. Between these two poles, many degrees exist. You can see the evolutionary process.

QUESTION:  Do mobility and tension, and relaxation and stagnation lessen as you remove the pleasure principle from the negative?

ANSWER:  Of course. One interacts with the other. You can see how the interaction between these two facets works:  to the extent that a combination, or marriage, takes place between the life or pleasure principle and a negative situation, tension must exist; anxiety must exist. To the extent that anxiety and tension exist, immobility appears a welcome relief from the effort and fatigue to struggle against the self. When a short-circuit hinders the real experience of the pleasure principle, that in itself is stagnation. It is a non-movement, whereas the whole cosmos is in perpetual, beautiful motion. When you establish the same cosmic movement within your own psyche, you are in harmony with the cosmic forces.

QUESTION:  This is the clearest understanding I have ever had of what has happened to me in this marriage of negativity and the pleasure principle:  I had to set up a rejection. Seeing it as clearly as I do now, recognizing exactly how it operates, what do I now do about it?

ANSWER:  It is extremely important that you become aware of the specific negative condition to which the pleasure principle in you reacts. This awareness must be not only intellectual, but actually felt and experienced. You must remove the restriction, to allow this into your consciousness. Realize that allowing it into your consciousness is not a devastating judgment; it is not the end of you. It does not stamp you as lost, as you unconsciously believe, but rather the opposite. This is a new beginning and a way out of an erroneously assumed, devastating judgment that you thought applied to you. When you allow the clear-cut, concise formulation of this particular melding point into your emotional experience, when you experience with courage how the automatic reflexes of the pleasure principle are geared to the negative, knowing that this need not and will not remain as you quietly and calmly desire to grow, then you cannot help but progress.

In this connection I would like to add one more point, not just for you, but generally. It is also useful, my friends, to distinguish between two prevalent reactions to this conflict. Both of them are mostly unconscious. The first is strict denial so that no awareness, even in fantasy, exists. This comes from fear, guilt, and shame, and the belief that one is terrible because of it. The second applies to those who are perfectly aware of their fantasies but are unable to experience the pleasure principle in any other way, whether or not they actually have relationships with others. It occurs when sex and love are separated, or eros and love, or eros and sex. In these cases, a semi-conscious resistance to giving up this fantasy life exists out of fear that the pleasure will be lost altogether. It then cannot be conceived that the pure, healthy pleasure principle manifests much more beautifully and satisfyingly when positive melds with positive. It is imagined that this would be dull and boring. This is concluded because the actual, real-life relationship, in such instances, is never as satisfying as the fantasy. Hence, one assumes that giving up the fantasy means giving up the pleasure. So one does not wish to part with one’s pleasure.

It is important to distinguish which of the two resistances applies to you first. Is it the denial of the link between the automatic reflex of pleasure and a negative situation?  Or is it the clinging to the entire complex, out of fear of having to do without any pleasure?  Both resistances are the result of misconceptions. These particular resistances, for example, create a confusion of motions: either the strained mobility of striving away from what is now — hence effort, tension, fear — or not wanting to change, out of fear of losing out in the process — hence stagnation.

As I said at the beginning of this lecture, all dichotomy, all duality, can be reduced to the simple common denominator of this basic split movement. When you see this, you will find it quite helpful.

There is no doubt, my dearest ones, that everyone of you, who truly wishes, will find more and more the beauty, the peace, dynamic life, inner security, that exist in the self-realization you have begun to cultivate. Hence you experience moments of living in the eternal now of yourself, instead of striving away from it. Each now must bring you answers. If you recall this simple fact in your meditations, in your approach to yourself, your meditations will become more fruitful as you go on. What you have to look forward to in the time to come will be even more liberating than what you have already begun to experience.

Be blessed, be in peace, be in God.