Addiction to Intensity

This excerpt is from an excellent Pathwork Guide lecture on the subject of "intensity" and how it can be an obstacle to self-actualization. In our "gotta-get-a-lot-done" culture, it's so easy to fall into an addictive pattern in which a relaxed attitude and a state of surrender in the ego is seen as something dangerous to productivity. In fact, it is quite the opposite. As anyone knows who has ever had a peak experience - be it an inspired creative moment or a soaring athletic feat or climbing to a great sexual height - when you're in "the zone," you're mentally and emotionally relaxed, even as you're performing at full throttle.

Anyway, this seemed to be up today, so here's a clip:

"In order to be compatible with the universal power, it is necessary that the personality is in inner and outer relaxation. Such relaxation does not imply immobility, nor lack of energy. It is not the kind of false relaxation that does not breathe, move, respond. Quite the contrary. It expands and contracts like breathing -- is rhythmic and relaxed, effortless yet vibrating with power, poised and calm, peaceful and dynamic. This state, when attempting to describe it, may easily be confused with indifference, passivity, or laxness. It is none of these. But it is entirely free from tension due to fear, pride, and selfwill.

"People's habitual state is one of more or less taut intensity which is foreign to and incompatible with the universal power. This very intensity may cause, as a final effect, an outer immobility, paralysis, excessive passivity. These extremes are always the result of an intensity of soul-movement which must be dissolved.

"The dualistic approach to life leads to a typical misunderstanding of intensity. The idea exists that the more intense you are, the more serious, responsible, and focused you are; conversely, the less intense, the more you are irresponsible, frivolous, and distraught. This is not true, my friends. In fact, it is just the opposite. Only when the psyche is in flux and not taut can the personality give its total attention to what it is doing, thinking, feeling, and experiencing. This means wholeness, integrity, undivided motives and attention. This state can be achieved only when there are no opposite forces dividing the inner person, hence no hidden fears. The more lightly psychic material flows, the more energy is available to invest into life, and the less exhaustion will follow when energy is expended. The unnatural tautness and intensity of a person's state of mind and emotions has become so much second nature that it has been accepted as natural. In fact, intensity is viewed as the desirable state, connoting all the spiritual qualities I described -- qualities which are only realizable when the psyche is "unintense."

"Every neurotic attitude is a result of -- and results in -- artificial intensity, which is, half-consciously, deliberately cultivated and nursed. This cuts you off from the life-stream. The reason for cultivating this destructive attitude is in part the dualistic misconception mentioned before. Partly, its motive is childish self-importance, waiting to set oneself off from the rest, to draw attention to the self by making everything seem so important. It is what I often referred to as self-dramatization. This may happen even within oneself and never be displayed to others. In the deepest sense, all mental illness, all emotional imbalance is a result of a deliberate intensification of soul movement."

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