74 QUESTION: When two people are involved in an outer manifestation, and it is not a small manifestation but an important one, and if one seeks self-knowledge and self-recognition and the other one does not, can the situation really change? Or just for one person?
ANSWER: The situation changes considerably, even if only one person does this work. Of course, it is better if both do it. But by one person doing it, much can be changed. As long as you are under the compulsion of your confused thinking and emotions, you are bound to affect the other person’s problematic currents.
There is nothing more contagious in this world than emotions, thoughts, reactions and attitudes. You can observe that in your everyday life. The more you train yourself in self-observation, the more aware you will become of this truth. For instance, when another person shows a very strong spirit of competition toward you, something is immediately aroused in you even though you may otherwise be disinclined to be competitive. You want to compete with the person who brings this forth in you.
Or let us consider showing off, or fighting for approval. If the other person does it, the perhaps much smaller trend in you is affected and brought to the fore, so that you too wish to do the same thing. It is so with any kind of emotion, positive or negative, good or bad.
Your conflicts, your images and your misconceptions are contagious, and affect the other person immediately. However, the person who works on the path of self-purification becomes more and more immune to being affected in this way. You not only begin to dissolve such images and conflicts, but you also become acutely aware of the law of contagion, and this very awareness will immunize you. Thus you are increasingly less affected by the other person’s negative influence on your unconscious.
At the same time you will, by solving your own problems, increasingly affect the healthy and positive part of the other’s personality. This work increases awareness, and awareness is the only real weapon against the ills of the world. In unawareness, two people will set up a vicious circle operating from one to the other, and steadily worsening as time goes on. Yet it suffices for one person to do the work of self-recognition, and so to grow inwardly to his or her optimum, to establish a benign circle between the two people involved.
I cannot emphasize strongly enough that this work affects your entire surroundings. Anyone around you must benefit from it. If you analyze the sayings of all great spirits who ever lived on this Earth – Jesus Christ, the Buddha, or any other of the great masters – you will find that the need for awareness is embodied in their teachings, though perhaps expressed at times in different ways.
To know that your emanations have a direct effect on the other person is very important for the entire universe. When there is conflict between people, strong energies clash. In this particular respect, each person’s energy is the expression of self-will. Each is convinced that what he or she wants is right and for the good. But you all live in your closed-up world in which you do not see the other, only your own obvious motivations, which may even be good in themselves but do not represent the entire picture.
Since you are aware only of the surface of your own motivations, and therefore do not entirely understand either them or yourself, you cannot understand the other person’s real motivations which are so different in manifestation from your own. The more you become convinced that you are right and the other is wrong, the more the energy of your self-will will produce an increasingly stronger resistance in the other person, along with an even stronger self-will or forcing current which you are bound to resist in turn.
This hopelessly futile and exhausting battle cannot be eliminated unless one person changes the procedure, not by outwardly submitting to unjustified demands out of weakness and fear, but by constructive work of self-analysis and inner growth through understanding the unconscious motivations and reactions.
QA177 QUESTION: When one semiconsciously picks up a negativity of the other person and reacts to it without quite knowing what one reacts to, and then one’s own negativity is reactivated, how is one to handle such a situation?
ANSWER: The more aware the person is of his own reactions, of his own negativity, of his own feelings, of his own thoughts and attitudes in connection with whatever the incident may be, the more clarity exists, the more specifically he or she will perceive the negativity in the other person and would be very articulate in his perception of it. In other words, it will not be a blind reacting to the negativity of the other person.
If there is a blind reacting, this means there is something in his own reactions that is not recognized. The person is vague or afraid or confused or has repressed some of his own feelings, or perhaps has not accepted some of his own feelings and therefore cannot accept the feelings of the other person and cannot deal with them.
But if the clarity exists, “What do I really feel?” then you’ll be able to know what the other person really feels and will be able to deal with it. The inability to deal with it is only because one does not quite know what is felt in the self and in the other person. There’s confusion there.
QUESTION: If one is rejected and hurt and therefore withdraws one’s good feelings, how is this a role and what else can one do? It seems impossible to remain open with one’s feelings under those circumstances. Is it not self-defeating to continue to have good feelings when they are met with negativity?
ANSWER: Of course, it is a role in the sense that the person in that moment will say, in essence, “You have hurt me.” He will not say that consciously, of course. That is just the nature of the role. But in essence, if the reaction would be translated into articulate words, it would come out the following. “You have hurt me. Therefore, I will punish you by not letting myself feel good about you.”
Now, you can, of course, say on one level that it is quite humanly understandable that if negative feelings are extended to you, you will feel bad and will not have positive feelings for the person who gives you the negative feelings.
But it is also true if you would play the role, “I retaliate; I punish you,” then there is a certain pleasure that is connected with it. Immediately in that act of punishment, the real pleasure is converted into a negative pleasure, which must be recognized. So there’s always a negative pleasure connected with the role playing.
But if that role would not be played and if it would simply be recognized that “I am hurt and I can sustain being hurt,” very soon, out of that hurt, the good feelings would flourish forth in a spontaneous way, because the hurt could be dealt with directly – on the level it takes place. It would not have to be changed into retaliation, into punishing, into anger.
The moment the hurt is denied and you punish, you go above the other person. You set yourself up. It’s the ego thing that comes in. While the person who merely reacts honestly to what is, with “I am hurt,” if that is sustained, if that is not tampered with and manipulated, then it is not a game. Then no role-playing and negative pleasure will come about. Then a chance will exist that out of that, the genuine, real feelings, the good feelings, will come forth again.