Taking on Negative Intentionality
Pat began our coffee time this Sunday morning with a taste of her negativity upon awaking, a voice inside insisting that she get up and get to work. “You and Gary played yesterday. Today you have to make up for it. Now get up!” This old pattern doesn’t happen much any more, and even when it does Pat is aware of another voice that says, “If you had an hour to live, would you get up and do the laundry or stay in bed tucked in with Gary?”
I could relate. This “Be productive” attitude speaks to something blocking joy in my life, blocking joy at my core. There is a part of me that “feels” “happier” in “being productive” than in purely “enjoying life.” This carries over to receiving God’s grace and love. And God won’t force me. My free will has to decide to change and connect up with God, to allow God’s love, grace, and blessings to come into me.
Inviting in God’s love is the positive role of the positive ego. At first the ego’s job is to take over running our life from authority’s running our life — be that parents, teachers, or God. The ego must find self-responsibility to live its life. And then it must realize that it is limited, is not God, and eventually must willingly surrender its will to God’s will. This is the distinction some Jungians have made between the first half of life (building our ego strength to live life) and the second half of life (surrendering our will to God’s will to really live LIFE). What I observed here was, “This is the opportunity for our ‘work day’ to be as joyful as our ‘play day.'”
Pat asked if that was possible. Well I think so, at least in theory. “But it can happen in the ‘right’ way and the ‘wrong’ way, if I dare risk dualism here. The ‘wrong’ way is to identify totally with the accomplishment of what you do apart from the process of doing it. It is feeling ‘proud’ of what you have created. The ‘right’ way is to enjoy the process, the being in the doing, away from the pressure of ‘Oh my, I have to get all this work done today.'”
Dropping deeper, I shared a strong part of my negative intentionality — one that I have become increasingly aware of in the last year or so. There is a part of me that delights in bad news — bad news about others being sick and turning worse, or bad news about organizations going down, etc. Now it is not universal. I welcome good news regarding some people and organizations but welcome bad news about others. And it is not always at all clear why some are positive and others negative.
For example, I love bad news about organized religion. Part of this is my image that organized religion is BAD. But there is a part of me that likes bad news in regards to some aspects even of the Mid Atlantic Pathwork organization, the organization I spend so much time and money supporting. Certainly this negative intention is something to work with and worth learning to heal!
Pat was helpful here. “There is a lot of force and intensity in you right now when you speak of your having negative intentionality. It is a doggedness, a strong will. I can feel the force and intensity of it.” I paused. As I took in Pat’s words I could see more. “It is as if I delight in my negative intentions! There, see how bad and evil I am!” Pat agreed, “And you bring the same intensity or focus, or one-pointedness when you take photos of wild flowers or record a Pathwork lecture. Here positive, but the same force. And I felt your one-pointedness in your pursuit of me ten years ago!” She paused, and then added, “I am finding this enlightening.”
Pat continued, “Whatever we are talking about here, these are masculine energies. The issue is how we choose to bring these masculine energies to bear on our lives — in healthy ways or in distorted ways.” I picked up on this, “The point is, we need these energies in their undistorted form and need to use them in service to Life, to God, to the Plan of Salvation. We have to remove blocks and distortions where these powerful and creative masculine energies are blocking life. The point is these masculine energies are powerfully creative and must be used very wisely!”
Pat, “And this masculine energy is in both men and women. And men and women also have feminine sides, that accepting, receiving, soft side that is also to manifest in Life. The discernment needed is when to manifest the masculine, and when to manifest the feminine. All the masculine and feminine forces are within us, they are all here!”
I go on, “How to discover that part of me that relishes evil and destruction, that negative part of ‘who’s here.’ I have to feel the feelings of this part of me that relishes evil and destruction, and feel these negative feelings full force!” Pat added, “Yes, maybe this is a key part of the transformation, to feel these destructive feelings full force.” “Yes,” I added, “and then come to understand their source, their cause, their root.”
But I corrected myself on this point, “No, first I need to see and feel the full consequences of the presence of these negative parts of me that relish evil and destruction. See and feel into how they muck up my life and lives of so many around me — friends, family, and foe alike. With this, perhaps, I shall desire to change. This desire to change is so important. But with it I need to see my powerlessness to change and come to trust God to help me — or Jesus Christ, or the Guide, or Eva. Any Light being with whom I feel connection.” This directly correlates to the 12-step program, of course. “Perhaps what I begin with is the confession, in a felt way, that ‘My life is really mucked up.’ Then I can go forward to discover the root cause of my mucked-upness.”
Pat challenged me here, “Are you now being single-pointed in looking at your life as totally ‘mucked up’?” I can see where she could see this in me — always so prone to see the worst in myself — something that so many mirror back to me. And in part this may be true. But the question is, do I identify with being mucked up, being the ‘poor miserable sinner,’ or am I now seeing this sense of being totally mucked up as the opponent up against which I am taking arms! The question is, is this ‘single-pointedness’ the pattern manifesting itself in me in distortion — ‘I’m so bad!’ — or is this single-pointedness now of my strong positive ego in service to my transformation, the transformation of these distorted and hence now-negative forces within me so that I can use these same forces in their undistorted form in service to God and to the Plan of Salvation?”
Pat was taking this all in with interest. Then she made an interesting observation, “Yesterday we were talking about your tender, open, loving heart being all aquiver. Today we are talking about taking an arrow out of your quiver and, with single-pointedness, aiming at the opponent, the patterns and images that keep you trapped in negative intentionality.”
I could relate to this, “It reminds me of the archer in red on the cover of your Buddhist book.” Pat knew exactly what I was talking about, “Yes, the female archer in red, bow drawn, in a white winter scene, on the cover of Ken McLeod’s “An Arrow to the Heart, A commentary on the Heart Sutra.” I could add, “I get the archery image — hunting down the opponent that blocks me from truth.” “And,” Pat was quick to add, “The opponent is not you but the pattern. I have a felt sense of that single-pointedness, that single focus — stalking the pattern.”
I added, “That one-pointed capacity I have as a quality cannot be wasted on nonessentials but must be brought to bear in my stalking of my opponent. So the one-pointed capacity is in me, great, but I have many times used it in distortion — pursuing you, for example, and others. Or getting so caught up in financial, organizational, and administrative stuff — important, but in balance. I now must muster all my single-pointedness resources in my tracking down my opponent.” Pat concluded, “Like some of the scenes last night when we were watching ‘The Last of the Mohicans.’ Maybe all this is why you have always enjoyed archery.” Well that I do!
What a morning. Life is amazing. With love.