From the beginning I have wrestled with this blog. Blogging the way I do makes me uncomfortable at times. And at other times the posts feel like they come from deep within my core. To blog or not to blog, that is the question.
Part of me is so energized by sharing insights that come up in meditation, reflection, and inquiry. Like a boy sharing excitedly in “Show and Tell.” Then in the next moment I wrestle with my inner critic, “Oh Gary, how arrogant to even have your website and blog exist! Pure Pride!” And of course my idealized image of myself rules out having any pride, for that would not reflect well on my spirituality, and of course my idealized version of myself would have me be “oh so spiritual.”
But the next day I an again energized by all that comes up in me. Such a tug-of-war within my soul. And the fact that only a few people read my blog humbles me, and the fact that I even care how many read it takes me back into my Pride. Yikes. What a vicious circle. Enough is enough! The question remains, “To blog or not to blog?”
Then I pause to read the titles of recent blogs. I find I am drawn to them even if they do not land on others. These posts are my life questions and I enjoy the wrestling and sharing over these questions. My own inner energy encourages me to continue irrespective of the pride it reveals in me or whether or not others read them.
Then Pat, after listening to my agonizing this morning over coffee, offers two observations that seem to help. First, after I read her a few titles, she notes that such titles will not attract people in the main, people not on some spiritual search. Most will not relate or will think them irrelevant for life. The writings are somewhat esoteric and appeal to only a few. That was helpful. In my posts I can just let my soul speak. Some may relate, most will not. Don’t let response be your sole criterion. I suppose artists and composers deal with this issue daily.
Secondly she reminded me of what my helper has been telling me for months, namely that I do have pride! AND that having pride is part of the human condition. It affects 100% of us. To deny pride is to deny who I am. I could really smile in relief on this point. I could see that my idealized image of myself insisted that I not be prideful, that is, that I not be human. So any hint of pride would be anathema. My inner critic would hunt it down and say, “So there, Gary, see your pride!” But instead of simply pointing it out so I could see it, my inner critic would take me into the poor miserable sinner place, making me hopeless about myself.
But my higher self, my God-self, accepts all of me, including my pride. Not that pride is condoned. It is simply accepted and in accepting it and in intending to transform it, the pride dissolves, by the grace of God. And then we continue and drop to the next level of pride and work on that. This is the long human growth path we are on.
This all puts my earlier version of this process in perspective. For so many years I was believing the inner critic, feeling the poor miserable sinner part. I was, indeed, hopeless. I would go to hell for my pride. The solution to my hopeless condition was to accept that Jesus died for my wretched pride so that I could go to heaven when I died rather than be condemned to an eternity in hell. This was the good news of the Gospel. And all I had to do is believe. Oh I should work on pride out of thanksgiving for what Jesus did for me, but in the end, if I believed, I would go to heaven.
There is, of course, some truth in this message, but I am so much more drawn to the mythology, if I may call it that, of Pathwork. Pathwork gives my life real purpose: to live in truth, to expose my specific faults, to let them resolve, to take off the mask of pretense that would pretend to be better than I am, even in my claim of faith. Pathwork is all about being real in each moment, growing through the wrong beliefs about life I came in with or picked up in my early years, and releasing love, joy, peace, and creativity that give my life such rich purpose.
P.S. Pathwork Lecture 203 (¶43) introduces the idea of dignity without pride and humility without humiliation. “Ask for inner guidance to experience yourself without pride, yet without humiliation and with dignity. You have to make a real inner volitional step to be able to see yourself in a new way that reconciles dignity and humility and leaves out both pride and humiliating submission. If you are ready for this possibility, even before you can experience it, the divine life will produce it from within. But you must make yourself receptive to it.” I find this helpful for guiding my wrestling match with Pride. I find dignity with humility a beautiful and peaceful state. Yet, in my humanity I have pride to contend with. Can I anticipate how pride will show up in me in various life situations, and, with this consciousness, choose humility with dignity instead? Perhaps, with consciousness and grace.