QA176 QUESTION: I have a very great conflict with my teaching – I feel that I would like to impress my students. At the same time, I sabotage this by going into lecturing without really knowing what I’m going to talk about. Then it becomes a struggle between impressing the students and disgracing myself, and it’s an extremely painful thing. There is a great No in me to any effort that I would make. At the same time, I want to pretend that I know what I don’t know. Can you, starting from this, elucidate on this?
ANSWER: Yes. Yes. Now, I will go back further in order to make this negative attitude, this negativity, this negation of life really, understandable in the terms of the last lecture [Lecture #176 Overcoming Negativity]. The original negation came to you from the outside, in this life. Of course, only in this life. It must have come in another period from within yourself.
Otherwise, you could not have encountered it within this life. This negation was to the fulfillment of your real needs for love and warmth and pleasure. Since this negation seems to have come to you from outside, you have continued to negate it yourself, but not out of obedience, not at all for that reason.
Rather your protest has taken the form of spite, which is a very frequent occurrence in one form or another. I venture to say that this is at the bottom of all negation of life, if you go deep enough in your self-confrontation. However, the way it manifests varies.
Now, you negate pleasure, love and warmth – to a certain extent, of course; I do not mean all the way; I’m only talking on a certain level – in yourself in order to be spiteful to authority, to life. This spite then makes you refuse to reach, to move, to be active. The passivity that is engulfing you so very strongly is very intimately connected with your negation of pleasure, which is out of spite.
Then you need something to substitute for this. This substitution then becomes an egotistical, prideful, idealized self-image in which you have to prove your superiority. Now, this is the negative pleasure you are involved with. But since this pleasure is a very doubtful, very precarious, very unsatisfactory one, you are always divided in what you’re doing.
You cannot really fully give yourself to the substitute pleasure, for in that very substitute lies all the anger and rage that is within you that you cannot yet fully accept. And that is what we are battling with for a while: the acceptance of these feelings which would make you more active. And if you are more active, you could indeed give up the game, the negativity, the spitefulness that is involved here – and the egotistical pride that completely paralyzes you even more.
First you are paralyzed by the denial of pleasure that you are solely responsible for now, for you are now an adult. It is not the past that did it. It is the present spiteful game of passivity that is the cause of your frustration. This frustration makes you more angry, and the anger cannot be expressed because you do not accept and allow this – consequently, you hold back even more.
What I outline here to you has application for everyone in different ways. At the bottom of it is always the question of acceptance. If you cannot accept the unchangeable, then you will continue to wage a war against life and therefore within yourself.
You can only give up the negative creation, the negative pleasure, with all its hidden, concealed, covert hostility – that often manifests completely passively, indirectly – when you can accept apparent injustices and wrongs that have happened to you at one time. This commitment to acceptance will be the release and will bring you out of the negative game. Do you understand this?
QUESTION: I understand the idea of acceptance, but I don’t know in my present situation what form this acceptance will take. I obviously am no longer involved in the childish situation that I was before.
ANSWER: Inwardly you are, because inwardly you make yourself, to quite a considerable degree, immobile. You make yourself inert. You do know of this inertia, do you not?
QUESTION: Oh yes.
ANSWER: Now, this inertia is a hostility really. You also know that, do you not?
ANSWER: So, as long as you hold on to the hostility in the form of passivity, you cannot give up the game of proving yourself superior, because you will need this as a very poor substitute for the real things in life you must miss. You are passive.
Therefore, you shortchange yourself of the things you could only obtain by your own efforts and by your own active decisions and commitments and meaningful activities and inner steam, so to speak. Therefore, you need a substitute and that is the pride game. And therefore, you feel guilty, you feel frightened, you know there is something wrong about it. It is already off beam – you’re already off track in it.
You’re already in a double bind when you play this game, for whatever you do is then wrong. If you succeed it is wrong because you succeed for the sake of proving yourself better than others and thereby venting hostility. And if you do not succeed, you do not want that either, because then you are down, all the way.
So you are then launched on a course of doing something for the sake of proving yourself rather than doing something for the sake of your own fulfillment. Can you see that?
QUESTION: Yes, I can see that. But the trouble seems to be that if I make myself active, I feel very intensely that I am just obeying an outward command, and I resist.
ANSWER: Yes, that is precisely the point. You are active only because you are still involved in this whole warfare against your parents. You have to accept this warfare completely before you can give it up. And you do not accept the feelings; you only accept the theory.
Your next step would be to truly accept your feelings, and then you can see and come to the point when you can give up waging this war. And then by choice, you can be active, because you want your fulfillment for your own sake, not to please anyone.
You see, as long as you do things in order to spite someone, you must also then be involved with the opposite side of the same coin – to do things for the sake of obeying. Can you understand that?
QUESTION: At exactly what point must I accept this warfare?
ANSWER: You have to accept the feelings of spite that make you negate your own happiness.
QUESTION: And express them in some way?
ANSWER: Well, know them, admit them, acknowledge them – and then you can come to the anger and rage that is behind it that you have never dared to really express – the naked rage.