Letting Go vs. Acting Out

QA159 QUESTION: At one point you said that you should allow material from the unconscious to get into the conscious, but you shouldn’t act it out. This seems contradictory to what you usually say about letting go.

ANSWER: No, it is not in the least contradictory. Acting out means to be driven by blind impulses, even though one may then try to explain that. Let us take, for instance, a very simple example of hostility. Acting out hostility is to act hostile toward other people. You have to accuse them in order to justify that hostility. This is what acting out means.

But letting go and owning up and expressing the hostility in you is something altogether different. It means to allow yourself to feel the hostility without shifting it onto something or someone that explains and excuses it.

Acting upon it is something completely different. Letting go is done in the physical work as you are doing it now in the Pathwork, and it is done in the assertion of self. “I feel very angry. I have such anger feelings in me that I could kill.” That is a very different thing from acting upon it, from acting out.

Acting out is dangerous and destructive. Owning up in this way is never dangerous and destructive. Yet, human beings have the greatest fear of this not-dangerous, nondestructive way of letting go and owning up and admitting and allowing oneself to feel what one does. And they have the greatest temptation and tendency to act out.

This seems incomprehensible, especially once one has experienced the difference. But it is nevertheless so. It is so, because man feels he is unacceptable if he has anything wrong and he is more acceptable if he can put the blame on others – and also because he is constantly confused in the dualistic concept of either/or.

He feels there’s something wrong with others, and he completely concentrates on that; therefore he is blameless. Or if he’s wrong, others are blameless. So he’s constantly confused, because neither one really fits and feels like the truth. It could not feel like the truth.

Only he who is on a path such as this is able to find how he is destructive, how his destructiveness affects the destructiveness of the other person, how the other person’s destructiveness brings out his own destructiveness, and then owns up to his own destructiveness.

He can then see the other person’s destructiveness too but without this accusatory element; nor will he accuse himself. He will simply see without compulsion to act, accuse or whitewash himself.

QUESTION: Sitting here, I feel like a wall has come down and the resistance I have to feelings is so strong at the present time. I feel very consciously aware of wanting this resistance, but at this moment, I’m more consciously aware of not wanting it, but I can’t seem to crack it.

ANSWER: Well, of course not, if you do not want them. What you have become aware of here in this mood, in this state, is the problem on the surface as it always is – the fear of feelings, the rejection of your feelings, the manipulation of your feelings.

You may not always have manipulated with the same means, in the same ways. Often, perhaps, you manipulated by making yourself numb. Or you denied your feelings by displacing the energies into different channels.

But many times – always unconsciously – you manipulated and denied the existence of the feelings by a destructiveness – as you feel now very consciously – and by hanging on to a certain set of anger feelings and blame and rebellion and resentment and self-pity, but without going deeper into these feelings.

This way you protected yourself, as it were, from the fullness of those feelings as well as of good feelings. Now, here is the problem, out and on the surface.

My suggestion is that you ask yourself as the next question: “What is it really that I am afraid of when I allow myself to fully feel?” This is a key for you, my friend – a very, very important key. Feel this No to feelings as you are beginning to be aware of them. But feel it more strongly.

Feel that this No to feelings is the reason for hanging on to wanting to feel very negatively and destructively and looking for all sorts of reasons. Then feel, probe into yourself: Why? What is it that you are afraid of? Let us all together here, whoever is aware of this fear, come up with an answer. Who of you has an inkling what it is you fear when you feel?

QUESTION: Being hurt.

ANSWER: Yes. Why would you think you’re more hurt when you feel than when you do not feel?

QUESTION: Well, if I may go back to the acting out, I’m afraid to feel, because I’m afraid that I’m going to act according to my feelings and thereby be rejected or punished or sanctioned in some way.

QUESTION [Another person] I’m afraid of being monstrous and murderous.

ANSWER: That is a very good recognition.

QUESTION: [Another person] I’m afraid of giving into the feelings themselves.

ANSWER: Yes, and why?

QUESTION: Because there’s so much bitterness and hostility that goes with them.

ANSWER: Yes.

QUESTION: About this murderous monstrous thing – a few months ago I had a terrible kind of vision of like a monstrous face, you know, and I looked up and I realized that it could only be myself. This thing is not just imaginary; I figure it’s an accumulation of unlived things or hostilities. But I felt that I had to get help immediately because I’m still feeling so hostile.

ANSWER: Now, this is very, very good when one recognizes this. You see, my friends, in the first place, it is one of the most extreme errors to believe awareness forces you to act. It is just the contrary, as I’ve said before. The more you can own up to these murderous, monstrous feelings – which exist to some degree in everyone – the more you can admit them and allow them to be on the surface of your consciousness, in the spirit of “well, this is a part of me, and I’m going to find out why.”

You will see that nothing happens. Nothing bad happens when you admit this exists. To that extent, you will not fear pleasure, for you fear the pleasure only to the extent that you have not met the murderous, monstrous feelings. Or vice versa. You fear the murderous, monstrous feelings to the extent you fear pleasure, and you nurture the negative feelings in order to ward off pleasure. It works both ways.

The pleasure seems to threaten you. It seems to annihilate you because of letting go, of letting something other than your conscious mind move you. Now, the more you allow this inner movement to take place in its negative as well as in its positive manifestation, and learn that it does not take over blindly – and therefore you integrate your constructive will with it – the less you will be threatened by the inner movement.

By denying the inner movement, you deaden yourself, you take yourself out of life – because you take the life out of you. The involuntary movement of feelings, of the soul movement, is life. It is the real life, regardless of the momentary distortions and perversion of this movement.

The murderous rage is essentially nothing else but love and pleasure feelings denied and misunderstood. You cannot set out and find the resolution to your problems and the self-realization you all aspire to, when you think it happens with a conscious ego processing.

You must allow the inner movements to flow and to deal with them, to accept them, to welcome them – even if their first manifestation is this murderous rage that to a greater or lesser degree exists in all, in everyone.

 

QA161 QUESTION: Coming from being appeasing and being very good, I am now becoming rebellious and I enjoy it very much. I’m able to tell people to go to hell. Now what can you say about that?

ANSWER: Well, I say this. This is a natural pendulum as it fluctuates at the moment. It is very important, my friend, that you realize that this is not the solution either. You have to learn to let out the hostility, the anger, the rebellion, in a way that it will not produce guilt and put you in the wrong.

Because if you produce again guilt for yourself and you put yourself in the wrong, you will inevitably be thrown back into the other side of the pendulum again. Fear will come about. You incur fear by that; you incur weakness by that.

You have to find another way, another alternative, to let out your anger – not by putting yourself in the wrong, not by going against others. You do not have to go against others as you do now, nor do you have to go against yourself, as you did in the past, for actually both mean the same thing.

In the old way, when you went against yourself, you did not know it. But no matter how much you appeased and pleased, you invariably went against others, if by no other way than by not ever loving them – no matter how much your submissiveness appeared as love on the raw surface when you did not look very closely.

So there was no difference there. You did go against others by your going against yourself. And in the same way as you now go against others, you inevitably must go against yourself. Because you put yourself in the wrong, you feel guilty, and this weakens you. You cannot live without – no one can live without – being in a good relationship with his surrounding.

Now, if you act out your aggressions and anger and your rages in such a way by using it as a weapon against others, it is no different from using it as a weapon against yourself. You have to find another way.

The other way is simply taking it upon yourself that you have these feelings. I have said this many times before – you heard me say it. You have read it in the lectures, and I must say it again in this particular context as it applies to you and, of course, all of my friends in one way or another, sooner or later.

If you can come to the point of saying, “I have all these feelings, all these bad feelings – rage, perhaps even I want to kill, I want to go against others. This is what I want. I do not have to be right about it; I do not have to forget about it.”

You see, the moment you go against others, you make a case against others – you exonerate yourself by blaming others and that gives you the excuse for your own bad feelings. That is again a distortion, and a distortion must become a conflict and a pain for you in the end.

While if you can accept the fact that you have destructive feelings – whether you are right or wrong – without letting it devastate your whole feeling about your own value as a person, you will come out in the right way. If you can express directly your negative feelings, then you will be all right.

QUESTION: I dislike my Helper very much. I hate her.

ANSWER: Yes, that you can say. Yes, you can say it and give it expression without building cases, without looking for causes and reasons. For these feelings are in you – and they originated somewhere quite different. Allow yourself to express these things very directly, without needing justification.

 

QA218 QUESTION: I’ve been finding myself increasingly in touch with the violence and the rage and anger in me. I’m scared of letting it out. I’d also like to understand where it’s coming from.

ANSWER: The Path shows all these apparent paradoxes. Those who have adopted the mask of power in order to deny their weakness must find the weakness. Those who have adopted the mask of easygoing softness in order to deny the violence – which is also the strength – must have the courage to go through that.

So there always must come the opposite of the outermost personality level that is being displayed to the world and to the self. You have the courage in you, and with the guidance of your friends on the Path and in your groups, you will be able to let it out, to let go and give up control and yet find the control – and find a new power in that very ability to control why you are not in control. This may sound like a paradox, but it is not.

As you do this, you will learn to trust that it is all right to do this. It is, again, nothing but a tunnel. Your question – where does it come from? – comes from the denial of much that is in you: denial of pain; denial of specific thoughts you had and that you did not let yourself think, which is something that you have to work through conceptually; denial of truthful thoughts; denial of untruthful thoughts; denial of your strength; and denial of your weakness.

You have often superimposed false weakness and false pain because you were too afraid of the rage and the violence that covers up the real weakness and the real pain. These are the personality levels your voyage travels through. There is nothing that you miss in you – inwardly as well as outwardly. With the help of the Path, you have everything you need in order to travel safely through these levels and find the real glory of your inner being.

 

QA233 QUESTION: I feel torn in two. There’s a part in me where I feel great negative pleasure in creating one crisis after another, usually financial, and in going into my hopelessness and being spiteful and generally continuing to still try to get from the outside. And the other part of me feels very much that I want to let go to the God within me and to give all of myself to life, to my work, and to my relationship. I’ve been meditating to let go, but I feel my meditation hasn’t taken because I’ve recently discovered this commitment to store everything up, to undermine every step that I take forward.

ANSWER: I will speak on two levels. On the one level, you destroy out of anger and hate. Even the destruction of yourself is a weapon of spite, as you perhaps indicated. It is an expression of not wanting to give this to life or to anyone whom you do not wish to let off the hook, as it were. On another level, the question may then be asked, why is that so? Why do you hold on to doing this?

And, of course, the answer is that if you give up, if you let others off the hook, if you give up your spite, if you give up your anger, your destruction, and so on and so forth, you would have to come in contact with your own self-denial, self-devaluation, self-hate that you secretly assume as your ultimate reality. And you too are terrified of this.

The way to approach this is to, first of all, experience, very acutely, both these levels. Secondly, where you see you act out, that has to stop. It is possible to still be involved in a problem, to see the emotional distortions, and to not act upon it.

That requires a certain amount of self-discipline that comes when you activate the decency and fairness that is in you, where you can say, “Yes, I have these problems, but I do not have to act upon it because it is not fair to others. And I will not, therefore, load more guilt upon myself, which then will only serve to make myself feel less deserving and more guilty and more hateful of myself.”

So the second advice here is that you clearly define where you act upon it, and summon your total energy force to stop acting upon it. If you so wish, you will find that it will be possible. And thirdly, then go deeply into yourself, beyond that self-hate, and give yourself the possibility to find your eternal being. You can do this very actively the moment you stop the acting out of the negativity.

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