QA141 QUESTION: Something happened tonight that irritated me. In fact, more than irritated me – it upset me. I gave a minor injury to a piece of furniture, which I had determined to be so inviolable a piece of work.

ANSWER: How is that? Could you repeat this?

QUESTION: I dented a desk that I like.

ANSWER: Oh, I see.

QUESTION: This has upset me, because I had a certain idea of this desk as representing certain ideals in relation to neatness and order and security. And I suddenly felt threatened when I dented the desk – I saw myself as always being confronted by this foolish gesture. I felt like destroying the desk and doing all sorts of things, but basically I realize that this is a fondness of placing energy into inanimate objects. Can you help me?

ANSWER: Yes, I’ll be very glad to, because this too is a symptomatic occurrence that might be helpful to you. It is important that you take this as a symptom and a symbol of the following: it is the childish fear of any kind of imperfection. When I say imperfection, I do not mean this in the absolute sense or in an objective sense. I mean that in a subjective sense of personal frustration. Anything that you do not want, you feel as threatening. This is the typical way of the infant.

An infant will find it to be dangerous, threatening, imperfect and terrible whenever something happens that it does not want. Emotionally this state still exists in many human beings. Here it is that you are still fixed in this state, and therefore you become more destructive. It is like the infant who does not get its will and then it will destroy. It will throw a temper tantrum. Now, much of the destructiveness, the negativity, is based on that.

Recognize that whenever anything in your life does not go exactly as you would want, destructiveness comes up in you. Think of yourself – feel yourself – as an infant that destroys completely whenever it feels angered, slighted and frustrated. This is exactly what is going on in you, so that you then fear your own destructiveness as a result of your reaction to frustration.

Now, whenever frustration is reacted to in a sense of such strong responses, the human psyche gets into imbalance, disorder and alienation, and it endangers itself due to its very own destructiveness. Observe, in many little instances, a thousand small examples every day.

I do not say this only to you but more or less to every one of you. It’s just a question of degree, with some only in certain areas, with others practically in all areas. With some the reaction is more visible, very strong outwardly; with others, it’s more hidden. But everyone has areas where they are infantile in their reaction to frustration, and thereby they bring themselves into disharmony with themselves and the universal powers.

Observe this, concisely and with awareness – not by chasing it away but by observing it as an objective bystander, as it were – and see what you do: how you would wish thus and thus, and how you react to it if it does not happen that way. Observe how these wishes are sometimes reasonable in themselves but your reactions to not getting it is unreasonable.

Sometimes the wishes themselves are utterly unreasonable, and the reason for wishing them is even more unreasonable. So observe all this and then express again in this slightly relaxed but nevertheless determined way that you would want to free yourself of the terrible burden of having to have your way at all times and otherwise not being able to be happy.

Say to yourself that this is an utter illusion. It is an utter enslavement you impose upon yourself. It must be an enslavement, because the world in which everything turns around your wishes does not ever exist, and no matter what you do, you will not ever attain it. You merely waste your energy, and you talk yourself more and more into an utter illusory and not genuine unhappiness, because things do not happen according to your way.

You will discover that it does not matter so much. Even if things do not always go your way, you do not have to react that strongly. And you will then begin to like yourself when you truly can accept frustration of your will, not in masochism, not in self-punishment, but in the fairness that no one can always have his will, and in conceding that sometimes having your will would be an unfairness to others.

But in order to see that, you first have to ascertain and pronounce what it is exactly you want and therefore you react to, and in what subtle – or perhaps sometimes less subtle – ways do you show this?

Now, what happened with this piece of furniture is an exact symbolic demonstration of this. If it would have happened in a dream, it could have been analyzed that way. You inadvertently marred something. And this marring was unbearable to you because of your illusion that everything must be just as you want and always perfect, and your refusal to accept life and yourself as a spirit far from a perfect state, in which every-day imperfections exist.

Once you accept this, things will cease to be so frightening and so rigid. And you will not have to guard yourself with such a strong armor. You will be more relaxed once you truly accept this. And you will therefore not generate destructiveness upon destructiveness. You will not compound it. For the inadvertent accident which destroys a tiny little thing or mars a tiny little thing, if it cannot be accepted reasonably and flexibly, will then generate real and deliberate destruction.

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