Addicted to Fire?
Morning Meditation: Wednesday, August 29, 2012
I began with my Daily Review. I noticed that Tuesday morning a fire was kindled in me during my meditation. It built further by writing a blog on charismatic vs. call-to-truth leadership and then by developing a writing on how Bonhoeffer taught new ordinands (seminary students) how to read the Bible. I so related to this, and saw in Bonhoeffer’s description how I read the Bible 20 and 30 years ago and how, for these recent years, I have read the Pathwork Lectures. Even as I write this I can feel my energy build. Certainly palpable. Yes, I LOVE the teachings of and my connection to the Pathwork Lectures! They set me on fire! Or rather, they awaken the Fire within.
Then my conversation with brother Paul was enlivening. He showed me a beautiful video he made using his Legume software. It had to do with insights he culled from meeting with various leaders at his church. Really very well done. And it led me to show him (on his iPad no less) my Pathwork Framework PowerPoint presentation. He thought the central graphic I developed was a cogent information-imparting design, communicating so much in one diagram. But he also said it absolutely needed my audio explanation to get the message across. I agreed and felt renewed energy to try iMovie, etc. He is more than willing to teach me. Again I could feel my enthusiasm and Fire during our conversation.
I also enjoyed conversations over lunch with a friend of mine, and a phone conversation with a student in our Transformation Program.
But by the end of the day I was depleted. What happened? How could I fall off the mountain I had experienced earlier? In the afternoon I had numerous meetings on the tedious financial and contractual issues connected with Sevenoaks. More significantly, I could feel tensions among various people in our organization in several phone calls I had had, and this disharmony among people felt ominous, even overwhelming, blocking our moving forward.
These conflict arenas present in nearly all organizations always get me down. I can feel my “Oh my! What-to-do-now” energy. It is painful for me to deal with and hold conflict. I long for everything to be harmonious, especially within organizations in which I am involved. Yes, these internal conflicts, disconnects if you will, well up as perhaps disproportionate disharmonies for me. I don’t like it! My energy drops like a rock in the face of such disharmonies.
The thought of asking for help arose in my meditation time. and I felt my resistance to asking for help. From where would help come anyway? Whom could I ask for help, spiritual help? God? Jesus Christ? The Guide? My guides? My inner authority? I noticed how alone I felt, disconnected from these sources of spiritual support.
As I often do in my meditation time, I turn to the Pathwork Lectures for my support, as a kind of “means of grace” in my life. What would they speak to me in this hour of need? Or rather, what Truth in me would they awaken?
I began where I began yesterday: Pathwork Lecture 145 Responding to the Call of Life, paragraph 12:
The call of life is universal. The attitude necessary to awaken the inner center follows universal values. Truth, love, and beauty are universal aspects of the real life stream. The isolated ego-existence is also a general state affecting all people, but how the ego blocks the real self is a personal question; what is universal is the fact that transformation of one’s character is necessary to permit the life stream to flow freely. We shall return to the subject of transformation a little later.
What attitude do I need to embrace in order to awaken my inner center? How do my current attitudes block and clog up my channel, my “well” if you please, to the Life Stream that is the source of water for the wells of each of us? This Life Stream is universal and consists of Truth, Love, and Beauty, the Lecture says. This is the Life Stream that Ira Progoff, creator of a unique journaling technique which Pat and I have used off and on for these past three years, refers to, noting that each of our individual wells eventually reaches the One Life Stream where these Life-giving qualities of Truth, Love, and Beauty exist.
So, again, how does my particular ego block access to my Real Self, which is one with the Universal Life Stream. My blockages are unique to me, as Moira and the lectures have reminded me. They comprise part of my character, a part of my character that has to be transformed if I am going to access my Real Self. And, again Moira would add, I heal my unique blocks for the benefit of all beings. So while I am blind to, or more likely, since I insist on blinding myself to my unique blockages, the challenges are present in my negative intentionality to stay as I am: untransformed. Transformation means being “born again,” and I resist my rebirth, perhaps in the same way that part of me resisted my physical birth, as Stan Groff would say in his Holotropic Breathwork.
I go on with Lecture 145, paragraph 13:
These universal principles [Truth, Love, Beauty] can be intellectually recognized, but they are not [yet] necessarily felt and experienced. This [feeling and experiencing of Truth, Love, and Beauty] can happen only when the personal experience of the life stream is recognized and responded to.
So I am invited, begged even, to jump into the Life Stream. Yes, Gary, JUMP! I must come to experience what is there [Truth, Love, and Beauty], and as I experience these qualities of the Life Stream I come to recognize them: they are, it turns out, familiar to me, to my Divine Essence, in some way. I will discover that these qualities of the Life Stream are not foreign to my Essence, as part of me fears, but rather these qualities of Truth, Love, and Beauty are familiar to me precisely because they are qualities of my Divine Essence, part of ME, dare I say: Truth, Love, and Beauty are ME!
So how, in practical terms, do I jump into the Life Stream? First I slow down. And as I slow down I feel the energies of the Life Stream: I feel Truth, yes Truth is here in the Life Stream. Truth can be experienced and felt, not just intellectually assented to. Truth enlivens my soul. Ditto Love and Beauty. The mere fact that I can recognize these qualities means they are part of me, yes ME. Otherwise I would not be able to recognize these qualities, or value them. Yes, they are part of the Fire I was feeling yesterday morning. How am I to respond to the Life Stream? I go on to the next part of this paragraph:
Therefore, any path leading to genuine self-realization must be intensely personal and has to deal with intensely personal problems. Those who believe that imbibing general truth and collecting more truthful beliefs can accomplish the goal delude themselves. They do so because they do not want to look at the truth of who they are at the moment; they prefer an idealized notion of themselves. Their very evasion alienates them more from the goal than the honest admission that they do not want to look at themselves, and do not want to permit themselves to experience emotions they fear or disapprove of, and above all, do not wish to transform their character defects. The actual — not theoretical — activation of the real self with its vibrating life, limitless abundance, infinite possibilities for good, and its supreme wisdom and joy happens to the exact degree that you dare take a look at the temporary truth of yourself. This means feeling what you feel; having the courage to transform yourself into a better human being for no other reason than a desire to contribute to life, rather than to make an impression and grasp for approval. When the immediate barriers to transformation for its own sake are overcome, then the real self with all its treasures will clearly manifest.
Probably way too big of a bite here to savor, but I continue. My blocks to the Life Stream (with its qualities of Truth, Love, and Beauty) are intensely personal and lead to intensely personal problems. I must find and tackle these very personal problems and my very personal blocks that cause them. How do I uniquely block the Life Stream of Truth, Love, and Beauty?
I note that yesterday morning I was there, there in the Fire, in the Life Stream of Truth, Love, and Beauty. But I did not make this rich time a priority for the day. I got distracted in so many ways. Part of me says, “No, Gary, stay with the FIRE that is blazing within. This Fire IS the Divine Essence that I am. Feel it. Recognize it fully. Celebrate it!
Do not go off to learn more and more truths from other modalities, or even more Pathwork truths – they are, of course endless. Rather seek your blocks to Truth, blocks to Love, and blocks to Beauty. I have resistance to seeing and experiencing who I am right now: the one with blocks, even the one resisting seeing these blocks, or the one resisting seeing the resisting of seeing these blocks. I prefer an idealized notion of myself. Evading the Truth of who I am NOW, this Truth of the Life Stream, alienates me from my Essence, from my ego’s goal of living in the Life Stream. Pause. I say this again: Evading the Truth of who I am NOW, this Truth of the Life Stream, alienates me from my Essence, from my ego’s goal of living in the Life Stream.
How Paradoxical! The Life Stream has qualities of Truth, Love, and Beauty. First off I block Truth by not wanting to see the Truth of who I really am right now, not wanting to see and experience that I am “merely and utterly human.” So while I long for Truth on my highest level, the level of my Essence, I block this same Truth when it shows me that I am not yet the idealized version of myself.
So now what? I must admit that the Truth is that I do not want to know the Truth, the Truth that would be revealed if I really looked at myself as I am temporarily in this moment. I do not want to experience emotions I fear or disapprove of.
And what are those “merely and utterly human” emotions I do not want to experience? Depression, sexual longings, hopelessness, helplessness, inferiority, hate, pride, arrogance, and the like. So in refusing to feel these uncomfortable, even painful feelings that are in me, in this merely and utterly human incarnated body living in this plane of dualistic consciousness, I refuse the Truth present in the Life Stream. Yes, paradoxical indeed.
And I do not want to change. Why? Because change would mean experiencing the Truth that now, temporarily, I am, in my merely and utterly humanness, that is, feeling depression, worry, pain, urgency, and all these other feelings that I say are “not OK.” I want to be beyond feeling pain, worry, urgency, and depression, believing that if I were truly spiritually mature I would not have such negative feelings. My ego wants to see itself being above all this negativity! My image is that feeling depression means I am not where I want to be, namely, I am not beyond my merely and utterly human condition.
Because I refuse the Truth of who I am, I refuse the Truth of the Life Stream. Now I intellectually see that unless I dare to look at who I am right NOW, I am choosing not to see, experience, or accept the Truth of the Life Stream. But at the same time I am, on another level, being driven by a desire to contribute to Life by accepting the Truth of my humanness, rather than to grasp for approval. Wow is this material ever pregnant with meaning for me!
So I feel my energy again rise in all of this. I have returned to the FIRE of Truth, and perhaps of Beauty, and Love. I experience the Pathwork Lectures as a Means of Grace, the same Means of Grace that my Lutheran upbringing taught me the Bible is. From my Bible days I recall Hebrews 4:12: For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. And this is exactly how I experience these words from Pathwork Lecture 145 this morning – as a sword, cutting through the patterns and webs of obscuration of my life as a merely and utterly human being. As Pat suggests from her Awakening Into Presence path, Truth is the Sword, and is used to cut through the patterns and webs of life that obscure our vision. Truth may be painful at first, but it also sets one free.
Pat joined me for coffee time. I shared with her my experience yesterday (Tuesday) the “Full of Fire” in the morning and then the depletion of Fire in the afternoon and evening, only to have the Fire rekindled in my meditation time this morning. I read the Pathwork quotes I used. Pat had a very helpful, but at first disarming, threatening and painful insight to my sharing.
Pat: I notice your Fire and Depletion cycle, and your longing for Fire rather than Depletion. You seemed to see Fire as Good and Depletion as Bad. I remember that in your childhood you experienced little to no Fire with people – be they your parents, relatives, friends, or peers. Early on you found Fire on your own, rather than from relationships; you found Fire in reading about astronomy, chemistry, particle physics, and even theology in the teachings of the Lutheran Church.
But you did not find Fire in relationships. So perhaps Fire became an addiction for you, a place where you became voracious in your search for fire, albeit a Fire in your mind – your “connecting the dots,” your understanding of context, the “Big Picture,” if you please, your longing, likely unconsciously, to connect with the Cosmos and ultimately with God. Perhaps some of your energy today for ideas, even ideas in Pathwork, is grasping, grasping, grasping – and then bringing the Fire back to the Whole of Us.
Gary: You are sensing an addiction to Fire in me? So, if I understand you, what you are seeing is that what I am thinking is my aliveness, my connection to God, my Life Force, my excitement and enthusiasm, you are seeing as a possible addiction? I can feel pain in this. Perhaps I identify with the Fire, and what you are reflecting is threatening who I think I am!
Pat: The Fire of Insight – the form side in the heart space – insatiable voracious appetite for the experience of Form – the mental construct. And this Form side becomes out of balance in the Heart Space, its opposite being the Void, the Unmanifest. With your family and peers your engagement was not there, and was not, therefore, formed or manifested. Fire is Experience, and perhaps you became addicted to Experience – “bring on more and more Experience, please!” – in the mental realm of contextual thinking.
Pat continuing: With your parents you experienced a disconnect, the engagement was not there, so the Experience of connection with people in general, and with people in authority in particular, was missing, not formed. You were not feeling nurtured or even seen from your connection with Mom and Dad. So, in the pain of this, perhaps you ran off to be by yourself with your books and hobbies. There you found your Fire, your sense of Meaning. And perhaps you became addicted to running away from the pain, the Void of no connection, into the Form of mental constructs. So the invitation is to come into balance. On one side we have the dry, painful place of no-connection. On the other we have our voracious search for the experience of meaning. Both extremes are off, perhaps what Moira calls 100/100, or duality. We need to be in balance, in 50/50 space, non-dual space.
Pat continuing: It’s in the world, too! Greed, grasping! We all on this planet are feeling this “no love,” “no connection with others or with Spirit.” Without depth of consciousness to be able to feel the pain of “no connection,” we are manifesting life on the form side – wanting more and more stuff. Greed. Grasping – all addictions to avoid the pain of “no-connection.”
Pat continuing: In our morning time can you feel the movement of the energy? This is not thinking about movement with your mind. Your mind must be surrendered, relinquished, this experience, this feeling is beyond the mind! I am reminded of Sage’s words to you when you claimed you could not feel love. She smiled and said, “Gary, you are closer than you think!” Why would she say that? Because where you actually are right now, while beyond the capacity of your thinking mind, is nonetheless, there, behind the curtain of your mind so to speak. It’s a matter of letting go of the mind and its wanting to control everything! Let go, and, “Bingo, you are there!”
Gary: This is, of course, more than my mind can take in, much as it would like to. I would like to go back to paragraph 13 of Lecture 145 that I read to you in the beginning. I think it will mean more to me now:
These universal principles [Truth, Love, Beauty] can be intellectually recognized, but they are not [yet] necessarily felt and experienced. This [feeling and experiencing of Truth, Love, and Beauty] can happen only when the personal experience of the life stream is recognized and responded to. Therefore, any path leading to genuine self-realization must be intensely personal and has to deal with intensely personal problems. Those who believe that imbibing general truth and collecting more truthful beliefs can accomplish the goal delude themselves. They do so because they do not want to look at the truth of who they are at the moment; they prefer an idealized notion of themselves. Their very evasion alienates them more from the goal than the honest admission that they do not want to look at themselves, and do not want to permit themselves to experience emotions they fear or disapprove of, and above all, do not wish to transform their character defects. The actual — not theoretical — activation of the real self with its vibrating life, limitless abundance, infinite possibilities for good, and its supreme wisdom and joy happens to the exact degree that you dare take a look at the temporary truth of yourself. This means feeling what you feel; having the courage to transform yourself into a better human being for no other reason than a desire to contribute to life, rather than to make an impression and grasp for approval. When the immediate barriers to transformation for its own sake are overcome, then the real self with all its treasures will clearly manifest.
Pat: Oh the wonder of US! How then do we live? What are our choices? Gary: And they are choices. Pat: What if we had only a year to live? Gary: My “what” may not change, but my “how” would change. I would savor more of what is – both the Joy of the Fire AND the Void – the pain of lack of connection. I would accept my utter and mere humanity. I would feel the fire, and I would also feel the depletion of disconnection. I would, perhaps, bring the Fire to the pain of disconnection, realizing that my Ego’s sense of disconnection is an image, an illusion, and not real. Pat: The familiar Buddhist statement comes in here: The core of suffering is living under the illusion that we are separate. Gary: Amen! Whew!
Shared in love, Gary