Excerpt About Helplessness

Existential Helplessness that is Simply Part of the Situation of Being Human

If you refrain from doing when you have the urge to strive, and merely accept the true condition of the ego, Being naturally acts through its optimizing thrust. Through your striving, you prevent, you block and oppose this optimizing thrust of Being. Striving for happiness or striving to attain any other goal is taking matters into your own hands instead of allowing the optimizing thrust of Being to make things happen. So accepting your helplessness is, in a sense, an invitation for the action of the optimizing thrust. We are seeing that allowing and understanding this helplessness is vitally important for spiritual development. Often, when we initially contact our sense of helplessness, it is the emotional helplessness that is the result of limitations in the environment—past, present, and imagined. This is the sense of helplessness we have when we are ill and feel helpless to move, or when we want a day off but have to work. It is also a regressive helplessness, shaped by memories of infancy when our capacity to do and to act were indeed limited and dependent. As we have said, this emotional helplessness is not the existential one that comes from merely having a sense of self. As long as you can find a reason for your helplessness, it is still not the fundamental helplessness. When you finally feel that your helplessness is not caused by someone holding you back, or by your lack of strength, or your smallness, or by any other specific circumstance, you will feel the existential helplessness that is present simply as part of the situation of being human.

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