On Fearing Emotions

When you fear feeling a certain feeling, you set up all sorts of defenses and strategies to keep yourself from feeling that feeling. For instance, if you fear that you might be bad, you will try to convince others of your goodness by not displaying healthy negative emotions and by allowing yourself to be mistreated, thereby bringing to life various formations geared towards obtaining the confirmation from the outside that you are good. The fear of experiencing that emotion of being bad is what sets everything in motion. As always, the difficulty of it is that it is unconscious, which means you are not aware of the force that is driving you into action, appearing as a spontaneous inner impulse. “I just feel that way.”

But if you observe yourself like you are an objective thing in the world you can ask yourself “what am I trying to get from others?” and it is very likely that you will find that you fear the opposite in yourself. So if you try to convince others you are good, you are probably afraid that you are bad.

So what can you do when you find that fear? Agree to it! Fine, I am bad! And feel whatever pain/fear/anger/etc. might arise in association with that. So, ok, fine, I am bad. Game over. But don’t fall into the trap of judging yourself for it or trying to change it, just feel it as it is. And then you can release it.

The thing is that when you fear an experience on the spectrum of emotions, you bind yourself to it and you filter reality through the fear of being that, but the moment you go through the experience, it dissolves. It has nothing on you anymore. The reason you fear it is that you believe it is a permanent, immutable reality when the truth is that you are maintaining it because you fear going through it.

So back in childhood, because you didn’t allow yourself the feeling/experience of being bad, you carried it with you into adulthood, but feelings are there to be felt and let go, they carry information and then they leave. It is us who turn them into verdicts.

Knowledge vs. Shoulds

“You may remember the story of how the devil and a friend of his were walking down the street, when they saw ahead of them a man stoop down and pick up something from the ground, look at it, and put it away in his pocket. The friend said to the devil, “What did that man pick up?” “He picked up a piece of Truth,” said the devil. “That is a very bad business for you, then,” said his friend. “Oh, not at all,” the devil replied, “I am going to let him organize it.”

I maintain that Truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect. That is my point of view, and I adhere to that absolutely and unconditionally. Truth, being limitless, unconditioned, unapproachable by any path whatsoever, cannot be organized; nor should any organization be formed to lead or to coerce people along any particular path. If you first understand that, then you will see how impossible it is to organize a belief. A belief is purely an individual matter, and you cannot and must not organize it. If you do, it becomes dead, crystallized; it becomes a creed, a sect, a religion, to be imposed on others. This is what everyone throughout the world is attempting to do. Truth is narrowed down and made a plaything for those who are weak, for those who are only momentarily discontented. Truth cannot be brought down, rather the individual must make the effort to ascend to it. You cannot bring the mountain-top to the valley. If you would attain to the mountain-top you must pass through the valley, climb the steeps, unafraid of the dangerous precipices.

– Jiddu Krishnamurti

Nothing is more revealing than personal experience. One can read hundreds of books on personal development and spirituality, understand them intellectually and still find, despite all the teachings, that the personality is geared towards immature attitudes.

You see, you haven’t been acquainted with yourself. You think yourself to be only that part of you that wills and decides. But if you pay attention, if you learn to look at yourself like an objective thing in the world, you will learn that you actually hold beliefs that go against those that you hold in your mind.

So what is that part that pulls in the opposite direction, seemingly geared towards self-sabotage or towards distrust, fear, anxiety? Why does it seem to have a mind of its own?

The things we don’t know about ourselves are in our unconscious. From there, they manifest as feelings, disturbances, conflicts, fears that seem out of proportion to what we experience or completely out of place. What we usually do when we encounter them is explain them away as caused by an external stimulus. After all, the mind likes to make assumptions about what it sees, that is precisely the way optical illusions work.

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But if you sit with the emotions, if you observe yourself and draw out the underlying belief, you will get in contact with a part of you that has been suppressed for a long time and because of this suppression, it did not get a chance to mature. So in one part of the personality you are an adult, a mature individual, capable of great insight, and in this other part, you are still a child, because you had disowned a part of yourself early on.

Now, as long as you don’t link knowledge with experience, as long as you don’t bring this truth into your emotions, into that immature part of your being, not by force, but by self-observation, truth can become disembodied knowledge. It can become a rule, a should, a rigid demand, disconnected from the being, as though it were an authority figure giving out orders.

I mean, nobody likes preachers, right?

And just like you can shift responsibility on authority figures, so you can shift responsibility onto ideas, instead of following the truth within. And what value does your act have if it doesn’t come from within?

If there’s a part of you that is still inclined to do something despite the knowledge you have, then do you really know? Do you really understand? In that sense, I think there is value in negative experience, in choosing what you want to do. Then you will learn by experience how that knowledge applies, even if it means suffering.

Now, I do not meant to advice doing something despite knowing it to be wrong. If you know it to be wrong, I think all effort should be geared towards understanding why it is wrong and where that inclination originates from within you. But if you are not convinced that something is right or wrong, then I think there is value in that experience for you.

I think that’s why they say “don’t take my word for it, see for yourself”. I always thought that they say that in a way that means… “hey, you can verify it if you like, but I’m telling you, it’s true.” When in fact they mean “you must understand this for yourself, experientially – in your emotions, otherwise it has no value, it just becomes yet another idea onto which you shift responsibility.” That’s why you need to see how it applies to you! You must let your actions stem from within, from your own perspective, not from the perspective of your shoulds, as good as they sound.

If you are unconvinced, experience will reveal it to you. There is a world of difference between finding things in yourself intellectually vs. experientially.

On Blame

In a conflict both parties are responsible for the interaction. It is almost never the case that only one party is entirely responsible. Blame is a way to try to place your own negativity onto the other person as well, so that they are responsible for your own failings too.

The way I think about it is the following: say a thief has a particular style, that he leaves messages on the walls of the houses he steals from: “XYZ was here” or something like that. Then, another thief, picking up on this, will use the same style to pin it on the first thief so that when the thief gets caught, he will be punished for the crimes of the second thief as well. In the same way, blame uses the other person’s negativity as an excuse to make them responsible for our own negativity too.

It is a very subtle exchange but very powerful and with many consequences. One of those consequences is that we feel victimized by the other and feel quite depended on them and afraid of them, because unconsciously we have made ourselves helpless in the face of their negativity. It is one side of the coin creating the other. The victim creating the persecutor. The moment we accept our own negativity, we take our power back and both roles dissolve.

“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.”

– Eva Pierrakos, Pathwork Lecture #202: Psychic Interaction of Negativity

The Beliefs We Hold

The beliefs we hold limit the reality we experience.

Say one of our qualities is courage. But somewhere along the line we have an experience where we draw the conclusion that we must never make mistakes. The belief is not made conscious but it guides our behavior. Then, because of this belief, our innate quality of courage turns into its opposite: cowardice or a distortion of it, recklessness.

So you have courage radiating…
And then you place the filter of belief/fear in front of it.
And it comes out distorted and destructive.

The difficult part is that the belief is unconscious, which means we are not aware of it. But we can only recognize it through self observation. It’s like getting to know yourself by the effects.

And all this is only because of an idea in your unconscious!
Belief creating the reality you experience, bidirectionally. It limits what you can do and it limits what you perceive.

Amazing!

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Great Discoveries [August 2019]

I haven’t written one of these in a while, so I guess I’ll catch up on a few favorites.

1. Anne with an “e”

I’ll start with the most recent discovery, “Anne with an “e””. This one is a beautifully crafted, visually satisfying, emotionally engaging and soul rewarding pieces of screenwriting that makes your heart just fill with good things! And it’s on Netflix!

2. Outlander

Another very well written show on Netflix! It gets a bit lost on the way, but the actors are just so good and the scriptwriters/directors are so incredibly skilled that they make up for the characters’ irrational behaviors and decisions.

3. The “Academy of Ideas” YouTube Cannel

Very well put-together videos on different aspects of psychological self-work. I have had a number of insights watching some of these videos.

4. Suduaya’s “Autumnal Retreat” EP

5. Before I Fall

Yet another good movie that plays on the idea of being stuck in a loop. I saw Russian Doll earlier this year and then Mom recommended I see this one too. I think the Universe is trying to tell me something, because I have indeed felt like I have been stuck in a loop. I later found that this happens when you try to move forward but you don’t want to let go of old attitudes because you don’t understand the connection that you are creating the very situation that you want to get out of.

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On Spiritual Influences

“Wherever a human being is, a number of spirit beings of various stages of development are also close by. In every sphere there are specialists of all kinds. I have said this before and repeat it here because its significance is not yet fully understood. The world of spirit, in all its gradations, is much more specialized than your earthly sphere. This applies to the divine order and to the world of darkness as well as all the variations in-between. Each one of you attracts those specialists whose particular qualities, good or bad, you possess. For like attracts like inevitably, magnetically. When a human being grows up, he or she is surrounded by guardian spirits who belong to the order and organization of divine worlds, and they can come close to their protege only if he or she asks for divine truth and will, and tries to strive higher. Otherwise they have to stand back and watch from a distance. They will interfere only to protect according to past merits, following exact spiritual laws about which they are very careful and which they do not ever break, because these laws are perfection, love, wisdom and justice. This very same person is also surrounded by a number of other spirits not incorporated into the divine order. Some may belong to the world of darkness. If this person is not a criminal or a really sinful soul, very evil spirits will keep away, for they could not accomplish their specialty with such a person.

However, even the specialists of the so-called minor or everyday human faults belong to the world of darkness. They also operate according to their own laws, and accomplish just as much for their purposes as, let us say, a spirit of murder who influences a human being. If your fault is selfishness, there will be a selfishness specialist attached to you. If your fault is that you are inclined to furious outbursts, you will have a specialist around you of a type who will wait for you to permit it to take over, influence you and thus live through you. This gives it a great deal of satisfaction, not only because it thus fulfills its task, but also because it can indulge in its particular weakness. On the other hand, you may be completely void of envy, so you do not have a specialist of envy attached to you. But another person, not inferior to you in his or her overall development, may have this envy specialist around because of this fault.

So you must bear in mind that it is your own faults that pull the particular specialists close to you in the first place, and that they constantly wait for an opportunity to live through you. Thus you collude with them, and can get rid of them only through your personal endeavor to overcome your faults. But before you can do this, you first have to recognize all your faults, of which you are often unaware simply because you do not want to be burdened with such unflattering knowledge. Few people really want to know their faults. Most people admit that they have some faults, but to admit faults in a superficial way and to become fully aware of them are two different things.

So, for your own protection, each one of you should face himself or herself in utter honesty. You can be sure that whatever your particular faults are, you will carry with you and around you the corresponding spirit specialists who are waiting for an opportunity to inspire you to give in to your particular faults. And since it does not take a lot of pressure to succumb, and it is the easy and comfortable way, very often you follow these inspirations. The stronger the fault is within you and the less aware you are of its full significance, the closer this specialist will be to you! Thus it is at the same time both correct and incorrect for people who know about the existence of the beyond and the spirit-creatures to say that an evil spirit influenced them. When they say this, and mean by it that they are taking full responsibility for their own input, it is correct; but when they say it because they want to absolve themselves of personal responsibility and guilt, it is incorrect.

Between these low creatures and the higher entities of the world of God there are many spirits who are very similar to yourselves in their attitudes. They may be deceased people who mean well and are not particularly bad, but who do not yet belong to the divine order and are thus blind in many respects. They often seek to influence human beings because it helps them in some way, or simply because they have nothing better to do. They can learn from you if you take the spiritual path of self-development. However, if you are not stronger than they are, they will influence you, sometimes not harmfully, but, even though they may mean well, they do not inspire you to the best of your spiritual advantage because they are blind. Sometimes their guidance may be to your material advantage, which may or may not interfere with your spiritual progress, and sometimes their influence may be harmless, or appear harmless, but is ultimately to your disadvantage. When and to what degree this can happen is again no coincidence: their influence is inevitably called forth by your own inner attitudes.

If you meditate about this, about yourself, your life and your desires, you can find out what spirits are around you. Those of you who walk on the path of perfection, which is the only real protection you have, will not be bothered or influenced by spirits who do not fulfill the will of God in all respects. There are other means of protection, but they have only a temporary effect. If you are in disharmony—for instance when you feel a quarrel brewing with your fellow-creatures—and have the presence of mind to bring yourself to pray, to reach out for God within you, or to ask for spiritual guidance, this will surely help, and I recommend it strongly. But it will help only in this particular instance, because you do not always have such presence of mind. Sometimes you will be tired and will let yourself go, and then you become prey to these influences which, as we said, can have an effect on you only because of what is already within you. Therefore, the only definite and permanent cure and protection for you is to tear out the bad growths at their roots. This happens on the path of perfection and self-development, the path of happiness. If you are willing to take this path, you will be guided and helped. But first this will and decision must be clearly formulated within you; then it will be recognized. At that point your divine guidance can automatically and immediately get close to you and can, among other things, guide you to the proper human help which you also need in order to take this path. You will be guided to the place and the person best suited to your temperament and character.

This is how the different spiritual spheres with their respective creatures influence humans. Human beings are not helpless prey to these influences, but determine them. And by rejecting any influence that does not come from the divine world, a person not only takes hold of his or her own life but also weakens the forces of darkness, for the less they have to work with in the material world, the more power they must eventually lose.”

– Eva Pierrakos

Full lecture here: https://pathwork.org/lectures/influence-between-the-spiritual-world-and-the-material-world/

Conflict and Misperceptions

The difficulties/challenges/conflicts we experience occur most often due to misperceptions. It may seem on the surface level that the external trigger is responsible for our emotional response, yet on a closer examination we will find that there was actually something within us – some pre-existing fear, some pre-existing pain – that responded to the trigger. If we go even further with our examination we will find that behind the fear and behind the pain there are false assumptions, misperceptions.

Many if not most of these misperceptions originate from childhood experiences when our concept of reality was narrow and so we drew wrong conclusions about our painful experiences. These wrong conclusions can look like:

  • If I disagree with people, they will withdraw their love from me

Or…

  • I need to defend myself or else people will take from me what I don’t want to give

Or…

  • I have to always be in control, otherwise I am not safe

We often carry these beliefs and attitudes with us into adulthood without realizing, that is unless we are confronted with situations that bring them to the surface. Intellectually we may know that these are not true, yet the emotions have a reality of their own. It is the emotions that need to learn the new reality.

If we use the trigger as an opportunity to look within ourselves, we can trace the emotions back to when they were initially brought up. And by understanding the context in which our coping mechanisms were adopted, we can understand their unreality in our current circumstances. We can understand that they seemed appropriate at the time and that they were based on a false interpretation of reality.

It can be difficult to unearth these attitudes and feelings as they hide in our unconscious. And being aware of them can be challenging too. Yet once they are seen and felt, it is as though you step into a new reality, as though a heaviness is lifted from your shoulders.

And that is so worth it.