Feeling Existential Hopelessness About the Possibility of Existing Authentically
The self-identity structure is a dynamic structure comprised not only of self-representations, but also of inner activity (Kohut’s tension arc). This “dynamic essence of the self” is an automatic, compulsive and incessant activity, which is mostly unconscious. We saw in Chapter 8 that the main components of this activity are rejection, hope and desire. Repeated experience of the stillness of black emptiness exposes this activity as mental agitation, which now intensifies and reaches feverish proportions, as an obsessive inner activity whose ultimate purpose is to perpetuate itself. It becomes increasingly obvious that the details of this activity, the content of what the self rejects and what it hopes for, are immaterial. What matters is the activity itself. The notion of giving up this inner activity appears to the self as defeat, a surrender to hopelessness. The mental activity intensifies in an effort to avoid deep hopelessness and helplessness, despair and depression. These feelings are part of a narcissistic depression and deep hopelessness that the student feels about being her real self. This heavy and painful state is characterized by inertia, dullness, and self-hate. One feels existential hopelessness and despair about the possibility of existing authentically, and about receiving support for one’s authenticity.
The Point of Existence, pg. 340
Hopelessness and Lack of Growth
When one believes that the inadequacy is the actual fact about oneself, there is a deep, almost complete, hopelessness that it can ever be different. Believing it is hopeless, one has no reason to bring it to consciousness and deal with it. One finds no other alternative but to repress it, if possible, and hopefully forget all about it. Frequently, in fact, the repression is so deep and effective that only very deep, expanded states of Being push it into consciousness. It is our understanding that this deep hopelessness is the primary reason most individuals do not grow and expand in any significant way in their lives. They deeply believe that they are too small and inadequate to do much growing. This leads us to the general method of defense against awareness of the state of inadequacy.
Pearl Beyond Price, pg. 362
Hopelessness and Mental Activity
The mental activity intensifies in an effort to avoid deep hopelessness and helplessness, despair and depression. These feelings are part of a narcissistic depression and deep hopelessness that the student feels about being her real self. This heavy and painful state is characterized by inertia, dullness, and self-hate. One feels existential hopelessness and despair about the possibility of existing authentically, and about receiving support for one’s authenticity.
The Point of Existence, pg. 340
The wisdom of the diamond dome brings recognition that the inner hopelessness occurring at this point is objective, that the dilemma is due to this inner activity. The helplessness is due to the fact that such inner activity only entrenches the soul into being the separate individual. More importantly, the helplessness is objective because no action on the part of the soul can release her from this trap. What is needed is not activity, not a doing of any kind, but a giving up of the struggle. The soul needs to recognize that she actually can do nothing here; she needs to forget about trying to release herself. She needs to forget even about wanting or desiring the release.
The Inner Journey Home, pg. 272
Soul's Need to Understand the Hopelessness of Ego Activity
Brilliancy is a complete presence, and thus it is a presence of completeness. The greatest lesson that the soul needs to learn is how to settle into itself, because all that it wants is there in itself. The soul is always seeking, always looking, always agitating, rejecting this, accepting that. All the traditional spiritual disciplines and practices are basically for the soul to learn the inadequacy and hopelessness of ego activity and to come to the point of saying, “Okay, I won’t do any of that. I give up, I’ll just sit here.” If you really do that, you’re done—the completeness is there. The treasure is there in the simplicity of Being, but we are not aware of it because we are ahead of it. It’s here, but we’re going over there, so we never get it. We just need to settle back and relax; only then do we wonder, “What is all this fuss about anyway?” But first we have to deal with the barriers to feeling incompleteness. Incompleteness is one of those things that the ego feels ashamed about, believing that it is a deficiency, a bad thing. You usually explain it with all kinds of things: I’m incomplete because I’m too little; I’m incomplete because I’m a woman; I’m incomplete because I didn’t go to school; I’m incomplete because I haven’t got a job—whatever you happen to feel deficient about at the time. And usually you attack yourself thoroughly for it. So the first thing we notice about incompleteness is that superego attacks are common. The judgments need to be recognized and you need to deal with them. At some point, however, you need to understand the fundamental fact that incompleteness is not due to something missing, something wrong with you, or your not having done something. It has nothing to do with that. Completeness is really a way of experiencing your Being, so incompleteness simply means being out of touch with that experience.
Brilliancy, pg. 59
The situation is completely and totally hopeless, and the sooner you realize that hopelessness, the better for you. When you see it is 100% hopeless, only then will you stop. Now you have some hope: “If I work harder and understand all this stuff about hopelessness, then things will change.” But what are you saying? It’s the same attitude.
Diamond Heart Book Two, pg. 68
When there’s Complete Hopelessness and You Give Up Out of Understanding then the Freedom Will be There
Nothing can be done. There’s no hope because the very attitude of hope, the very attitude of doing something, is a rejection, is itself strengthening the personality, which is the attitude of conflict. I’m saying all of this, but at the same time we do have work here. We do have a group and I do work with people. What am I saying then? Am I contradicting myself? If nothing can be done, if the situation is completely hopeless, then what’s the point of having a school, what’s the point of the teaching, what’s the point of the work? Are you wasting your time, your money, your effort? It’s a paradoxical situation, that the situation is completely hopeless, nothing can be done, and yet at the same time there is a school where you can work to bring about freedom. This situation can be understood. The understanding is that the school and the teaching exist, not so you’ll strengthen your hope, but so that in time, you will see that what I’m saying is true. The school is useful only for finally bringing about the perception and the certain understanding that it is hopeless. That is the function of the teaching. Only when you completely understand from your own observation of your mind and reality that it is hopeless, only then will you give up. When there’s complete hopelessness and you give up, not out of despair, but out of understanding, then the freedom will be there. The freedom will not come as a result of your achieving anything. The freedom will arise only as a result of understanding the situation. In fact, the freedom is not a result of understanding the situation, the freedom is the understanding of the situation.