Chapter 9: You, You, You, and You. Living at Cross Purposes
May 29, 1984
Each person is so unique that it is obviously impossible for me to discuss all of the innumerable and complicated strands of belief that form human experience – yet I hope here, some way, to present enough “specific generalizations” so that you the reader can find many points of application as far as your own life is concerned.
In fact, you may discover not just one you, but several you’s, so to speak, each pursuing certain purposes, and you may find out furthermore that some such purposes cancel others out, while some are diametrically opposed to each other. Such cross purposes, of course, can lead to mental, spiritual, physical and emotional difficulties.
Many people believe that it is dangerous to make themselves known, to express their own ideas or abilities. Such individuals may be highly motivated, on the other hand, to become accomplished in some art or profession or other field of activity. In such cases, you have two cross-purposes operating – the desire to express oneself, and the fear of doing so.
If both beliefs are equally dominant and vital, then the situation becomes quite serious. Such individuals may try “to get ahead” on the one had, in society or business or in the arts or sciences, only to find themselves taking two steps backward for every step they take forward. In other words, they will encounter obstructions that are self-generated. If such a person begins to succeed, then he or she is forcibly reminded of the equally dominant need for lack of success – for again, the person believes that self-expression is necessary and desirable while also being highly dangerous, and thus to be avoided.
Dilemmas result in many ways. The person might succeed financially, only to make a serious or faulty business judgment, thus losing the financial benefits. Another person might express the same dilemma through the body itself, so that “getting ahead” was equated with physical mobility – so that it seemed that physical mobility, while so desired, was still highly dangerous.
Such reasoning sounds quite outlandish, of course, to most individuals, but the person in question, say with a disease like arthritis, or some other motion-impairing ailment, might ask themselves the question: “What would I do if I were free of the condition?”
Like the alcoholic’s wife mentioned earlier, such a person might suddenly feel struck by a sense of panic, rather than relief, thus experiencing for the first time the fear of motion that underlay the problem.
Yet why should motion be feared? Because so many individuals have been taught that power or energy is wrong, destructive, or sinful, and therefore to be punished.
Often playful, rambunctious children are told not to be showoffs, or not to express their normal exuberance. Religions stress the importance of discipline, sobriety, and penance. All of these attitudes can be extremely detrimental, and along with other beliefs are responsible for a goodly number of spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional problems.
Unfortunately, there are also some particular teachings that are sexually oriented, and that therefore show their effects often on one sex rather than the other. Boys are still taught to “be cool”, unemotional, aggressive, and assertive – as opposed to being emotionally warm, cooperative, gregarious but without fake bravado. Boys are taught that it is unmanly to be dependent in any way. They become embarrassed in late boyhood when kissed by their mothers, as a rule – yet it is quite natural to be both independent and dependent, cooperative and competitive.
Such young men grow up with the desire to be independent, while at the same time they also experience the natural drive for cooperation and dependence upon others. Many end up punishing themselves for any behavior they consider dependent or unmanly. They are often afraid to express love, or to accept emotional nourishment gracefully.
As a result, some such people become severely afflicted with ulcers, so that their stomachs become sore and ulcerated at the acceptance of physical nourishment.