And the Greatest of These Is Love (1 Cor 13:13)
The following blog is based upon my Pathwork Helper Session with Moira Shaw on Thursday, April 23. (The exact words have been edited based upon my sense and understanding of Moira’s intention and may not be an entirely accurate representation of what Moira said or intended. Also, some names have been changed to protect anonymity. Finally, I apologize for the length and redundancy of what follows – I just could not justify time to further edit and clarify. The session, however, was quite rich, and I wanted to share it.)
Introduction – working with Pathwork Lecture 192 –Real and False Needs
Moira: Hi! Are we the “Happy Monk” today (“Happy Monk” is my nickname from my passion and work in creating the Devotional Version of the Pathwork Lectures)? Gary: Absolutely.
Gary: Presenting issues: You recommended a while back looking at Pathwork Lecture 192 – Real and False Needs, and I’ve really been trying to use this lecture to go into my relationship with Pat, and of course with my parents, especially Mom, and try to sort out real and false needs as they are at play in blocking my relationship with Pat today.
Moira: That sounds good. You are continuing to really deeply want to know yourself, or know who you are not. I support you and give you my best as you explore this deep area in yourself, your real needs and your false needs.
Gary: Where I have been with this lecture 192, where the Guide emphasizes the need to truly feel what was missing in my relationship with Mom, is trying to feel into my relationship with Mom, and then see how I’ve perpetuated unfulfilled real needs of my child-self forward into adulthood, where they become false needs, and how these false needs now play out, especially in my relationship with Pat.
It occurred to me that I could also look at the set of defenses I put in place as a child so as not to feel the pain of not being emotionally and physically connected with Mom. Moira: Do you have an idea of what those feelings were? Gary: Yes. I just simply isolated myself from Mom and others, and created a life of my own, pursuing my hobbies and interests, and was lost in the matter of relating to other kids, Mom and Dad, and other people. I excluded “feelings-of-connecting-to-others” from my personal palette of feelings to be experienced in my being in life.
Moira: So you withdrew from people, kids, family, and other adults. Gary: Right. I withdrew and created my own life, independent from others. Moira: So this withdrawal protected you from the pain you would have experienced and felt from the absence of the physical connection, the warmth, with Mom. So you withdrew rather than feel the absence of the real need for physical love and warmth being met. Is that right? Gary: Yes.
Moira: So the physical affection from your mother, the love on that physical level, was missing. Gary: Yes, it seems like it. The preverbal eye-to-eye welcoming of my being into the world, the welcoming for who I am, apparently was not there. That initial attachment to Mom was missing – of course this applies to most others growing up as well. Moira: You, like others of course, needed that place where you would feel safe, feel seen and feel connected physically and tactically. Gary: Yes, “Mom, play with me, be with me, bounce me around,” and so on as an infant and young child. Moira: So you missed that. Gary: It seems that way to me, whether or not it was true; I deduce that this was missing in part because authentically connecting to others has been such a challenging area for me in adulthood.
Moira: And, from previous sessions, as an adult, when you did finally make connections with women, you sexualized the need for warm physical contact. In other words, as an adult, you would make this need for physical warmth from infancy from women, a sexual need. Then even if you were satisfied sexually with a woman, it still wasn’t enough, because sexuality was a displacement of the need to have physical warmth and contact and love. It was the physical warmth and love that you longed for, not necessarily the sexual expression of connection. Gary: I think that nails it, Moira.
I sexualized my longing for physical warmth and contact, and so when I had relationships with the key women in my life, if we could connect sexually, I confused that with physical warmth and love, feelings that I really longed for. But the sexual connection would last only for a while, then in the end it wasn’t satisfying, and so I would leave those relationships. Sadly and regrettably, this happened first with my wife of 34 years, and then with other women since my divorce. Why? Because the sexual alone was not enough, and yet I did not have the capacity for connection other than the sexual. So the sexual connection was not my deepest longing, and I did not seem to have the capacity to have broader and deeper physical and emotional connections.
Moira: Right, the sexual isn’t what you really wanted, so on the one hand you pursued that level, the sexual level, and on the other hand you must have known the sexual wasn’t what was going to satisfy you. Gary: Yes, in these key relationships I was hugely ambivalent. Moira: Yes, exactly. Wanting it, the sexual, but then knowing and finding that the sexual was never enough. So not wanting the purely sexual because that wasn’t what you really wanted, in these mostly sexual relationships you were hugely ambivalent. Something critical was missing, and you did not have the capacity to know what was missing.
In my fifties: a Transformational Relationship
Gary: As an aside, I was talking to Pat about the nun who, when I was in my fifties and still married, so altered my life. Let me give her the name Mary. I have not seen or been in contact with Mary for 15 or more years, though for most of these 15 years since I’ve seen her she has not been far from my mind and heart, but likely in a distorted way. Then a few weeks ago I shared with Pat that I felt I was at a point for the first time where I was no longer feeling an emotional connection with Mary – a time I thought would never come in my life, so powerful was this connection for me.
But now, without the emotional feelings for Mary, I sensed a need, for my own sense of integrity, to connect with Mary, if I could. I would not want Mary to not know that I deeply appreciated how she impacted my life in such a major way – a way that led to my ongoing process of transformation.
I crafted an email to Mary, not knowing even if she is alive or reachable via email. I reviewed the email with Pat, who had some suggested edits of clarification, which I appreciated. Even sharing this email with Pat brought up no fear, guilt or other negative feelings. To my own surprise, I was in a state of ease and peace, a state that I clearly noticed and welcomed. I sent the email off to Mary, an email that really laid out how she had influenced my life in such profound ways. Again, after sending it, I noticed an absence of angst, an absence of “nervously awaiting her response,” if any. As it turns out, in a few days I did get an email back from Mary, an email that was quite perfunctory in nature, it seemed, something like, “Glad you are doing well. God is good.” Nothing was said about where she was in life, or about our relationship of five or so years, but then again I guess I didn’t really expect or ask for that.
I shared Mary’s response with Pat and also with another Pathwork buddy, the latter of which asked, “So how was it for you to receive such a bland and emotionally distant response from Mary when your relationship seemed so powerful to you for all the years in it and most of the years since?” My Pathwork buddy suggested that Mary’s response was implying that my five years with her meant little or nothing to her, and asked how Mary’s aloofness was for me.
I hadn’t thought of that aspect at all, Mary’s response being a dismissal of our relationship as anything that affected her in any significant way. But in realizing this dismissal, I see that it is possible that I simply numbed out any pain I might have felt with that dismissal. I am so well guarded that I would miss, even in Mary’s perfunctory brief response, the pain I might have felt had I allowed myself to really know that this ending of such a significant relationship, an ending that was very painful for me, was not at all painful for her. Moira: Because in your email you thought you had revealed yourself, how Mary had impacted your life. Gary: Yes. Fully. And the email I sent felt clean, with no “hooks” for her to respond. So I wasn’t waiting with baited breath for a response from her. But when she did respond in such an unemotional way, cold, distant, and perfunctory, I noticed, as with Mom and Dad being killed in the auto accident in 1972 when I was 30, that I did not have any real grieving at any loss connected with these sudden separations.
Moira: My, yes, the sudden death of both of your parents was a shock to you! Gary: Yes, and they were so connected to the church and so well regarded that over 800 people attended their funeral. They were just 56 at the time. Moira: Let’s pause here – their deaths were truly a shocking major traumatic experience in your life! …
Spirituality in my thirties and early forties
Gary: As we bring up my parents’ sudden deaths, I want to touch on another aside of my life – my spirituality in my thirties and early forties. At the time just before my parents’ deaths, when I was in my late twenties, I was getting away from orthodox Lutheranism and Christian Fundamentalism as something that no longer spoke to me (if they ever did, at least they didn’t relationally, not in connecting to God from my heart).
But at the death of my parents, my uncle (Mom’s brother), a solid Christian Fundamentalist, was there to assure me that Mom and Dad were now with Jesus in Heaven, and we could rejoice in that – “they were so much better off now than in life.” So in a way that intellectual “belief” that they were “in Heaven” was my “comfort,” and for the next 15 years I was, as I was as a teenager, a conservative Lutheran/Christian Fundamentalist, but only in a superficial way I now realize. “Beliefs,” which is what my earlier spirituality was all about, I see now are not the same as “Faith,” the former being a head thing that I desperately cling to with my will, and the latter a soul and heart relationship – the intuitive Knowing from an awakened higher state of consciousness, an awakened self, a self connected relationally and lovingly to the Divine.
But fifteen years after my parents’ death, in my mid-forties, I finally saw and began to accept that Christian Fundamentalism did not in fact “fit” my higher self’s Knowing. I had moved on from those earlier days.
Intellectual Spiritualizing of Feelings
Moira: So, looking at your life after your parents’ deaths, just like you can sexualize your need for physical warmth and love, you also can spiritualize your need to feel – here spiritualizing any feelings of the real grief and loss around your parent’s death.
Gary: That’s right. I told myself on this level, “Mom and Dad are in heaven with Jesus, so you go on with your life on earth.” And, sadly for my wife and me, I knew at that time that I did not have the warm loving connection with my wife that I longed for either. So without parents and without a felt closeness to my wife, I was really feeling alone and isolated in my thirties and forties. So that whole business of connecting with other key people, especially key women and Mom and Dad, was missing in my feeling palette.
Moira: Your refuge from feeling the pain of the traumatic sudden loss of your parents was to spiritualize the experience with “They are better off in Heaven.” This spiritualizing is just like how your sexualizing is kind of a refuge from the pain of not connecting in a warm loving physical way at a deeper level, a place where, on a feeling level, you feel empty, not connected. So you spiritualize or sexualize – both are kind of a refuge from pain.
Gary: Yes, spiritualizing and sexualizing are means of avoidance, and in that sense, a refuge from the pain of not connecting from a deep place physically. This shows me why spirituality has been soooo important to me. Moira: Wow! Yes, you go into the spirit. But yours is a spirituality of the head – the thinking about matters spiritual and the Divine, the holding onto rigid beliefs – not spirituality in the gut and heart, not an authentic spirituality of truly feeling a connection with God, rather only holding on to ideas about God. But holding intellectual beliefs about God and matters spiritual was the spirituality you knew, and this intellectual spirituality was how you protected yourself from the pain of not being “a beloved,” the pain of not being seen and connected to God and others “just as you are.”
Gary: And so in my thirties and early forties I just took on again that conservative Lutheran dogma embodied in that Lutheran confession confessed every Sunday from my youth onward, “I, a poor miserable sinner, confess unto Thee that I am by nature sinful and unclean and have sinned against Thee by thought, word and deed, and indeed deserve nothing but temporal and eternal punishment. …” As so many of the Pathwork Lectures point out, in this Lutheran confession I trashed any hope of self-esteem, any Knowing of having a Divine Essence that is also a part of me. While a “sinner,” I am not all a “poor miserable sinner.”
So for my life up until my mid forties I hung onto (and inwardly unconsciously rebelled against) this redemption/atonement model of conservative Christian dogma, where “The blood of Jesus pays the debt that my wretchedness deserves.” During these years I did not know where to go in my “wretchedness” if it was not to this redemption/atonement model. Having said this, it seems I was somehow unhealthily “hooked” to conservative Christianity, and I do not know why I did not explore other churches or religions in my thirties and forties, but I didn’t.
Moira: Since you are using this entire intellectual belief system as a defense, you cannot connect with the real emotion you’re longing for, namely a real loving relationship to Spirit. You are using this “belief” in the blood of Jesus as a defense, and then you become suspicious of this defense because it doesn’t seem real or to satisfy your deepest longings for a loving connection to Spirit.
The same with sexuality, if you are using sexuality as a defense against feeling the pain of not being physically and affectionately loved, then sexuality becomes dirty. Gary: Such sexuality is not real connection. Moira: You are being this “merchant” in a way, by misusing either the spirituality or sexuality. Gary: In both cases, I have this mental capacity to understand, so with the sexual, say, I have this mental capacity, but I sexualize anything that has to do with feelings or the body. I don’t have the bridge that goes from the intellect to the physical/sexual, or from the spiritual to the physical/sexual. These bridges I do not have. Moira: Not yet, not yet. As the Guide says, it has already happened as soon as you long for it and want it, and “yet not yet.”
Before you can make a bridge, you first have to see where you have misused the sexuality and spirituality, and also your intellect. Concerning the latter, the intellect, I remember you telling me about not completing your PhD dissertation. If you had been using your intellect, if you respected your intellect, then part of this respect and honoring of your intellect would have been taking the final step, completing the dissertation. You rejected your intellect in a way by not completing the task of the dissertation. Maybe the dissertation is still waiting for you.
It’s the same with your spirituality. You are a deeply connected spiritual man on one level, but you devalue your own inner spirituality. Gary: And end up not trusting my spirituality. Moira: Exactly. Gary: So my spirituality becomes hypocritical. Moira: That’s right. That’s right. It is very good to see this – you are a hypocrite to your own unique inner spirituality.
Now don’t change things. This “devalued inner spirituality of your own” is where you are right now. Simply see and accept this devaluation. And remember, these defenses [external vs. internal spirituality, external intellect vs. deeply trustable internal Knowing, and misused isolated sexuality vs. a sexuality arising organically out of your warm physical love and affection] protected you as a child from feeling the pain of not having real and deep needs for physical warmth, affection and love met by Mom and other authorities.
And so you pursued the false needs [that is the false needs of an external-authority-based spirituality, i.e., a belief/doctrine-based spirituality, vs. an intuitively informed deep faith-based relational spirituality, false needs of an externally informed ungrounded intellect vs. a grounded trusted Knowing, and the false needs of an ungrounded and isolated sexuality vs. a grounded integrated sexuality arising from experiences of physical warmth, affection, and love].
And on top of pursuing the need to be loved in present time as the adult you are, you even sought things that were displacements of really being loved [i.e., sexuality]. So it was kind of a double thing. Not only were you trying to get real needs met that were not met as a child, but now, in a round about way, you were trying to get them met by satisfying false needs [including the false need of separated and unintegrated sexuality], which is even more complex, more complicated, more confusing.
My emerging spirituality
Gary: VERY COMPLEX! Let me share still another thing relating to spirituality, something that happened over Easter a few weeks ago. During the weeks leading up to Easter I had a major set of insights arise and come together. These very deep experiences came just prior to and through holy week and especially Good Friday. I felt the need to share this set of new insights in a very long blog entry – a 13-page blog entry, which I titled, “es ist vollbracht: Reflections on my Good Friday Experiences.” It really felt good to get it all down in a long but hopefully adequately cohesive blog entry. I spent many hours composing and editing it. There were several extreme insights in it to be sure.
For example, consider my extreme insight related to the Christian doctrine of the Hypostatic Union – speaking to Jesus’ full humanity AND full Divinity in one Person in a mystical way. The orthodox version of this doctrine is that the hypostatic union applied to Jesus Christ alone and no other.
The insight I expressed in my blog was that Jesus modeled this hypostatic union for all of us, that it was, in fact a truth not only for Jesus Christ but for all of us. And this insight is what I called, “The Hypostatic Union for All!” What did this mean, and why was it so important to me? By “Hypostatic Union for All” I mean that we all have a Divine Essence AND we are all, simultaneously, merely and utterly human. I felt very solid and grounded in this realization and insight. It was fresh and arose intuitively from within. I was quite at ease with this insight, and yet I see that at the same time this would be very heretical to the orthodox or Fundamentalist Christianity – in fact I would not be surprised it this insight has a name in church history – the XYZ-Heresy, but if not, I can name it the “Vollbracht Heresy.” I was enthusiastic about this insight – coming from God-within. As I said, The church dogma in the hypostatic union is that this hypostatic union applied to Jesus Christ only and it would be blasphemy to say the hypostatic union applies to all humans.
Putting this long Good Friday blog entry together felt like driving a stake in the wall of the rocky mountain I am climbing in my spiritual and personal growth journey. The stake signifies that “This is what I now have come to Know with clarity!” And this faith is what I can share with the world. The hypostatic union for all, for example, is truly part of the GOOD NEWS of the Gospel – the good news that we all have both human and Divine aspects in one person, our manifestation in this life.
Dynamic Nature of Faith and Truth
And the additional insight I experienced just after making this Good Friday declaration in my es ist vollbracht blog is that, having driven this stake of what I now Know into this rock of my ascent up the spiritual mountain I am climbing in this life, I can now immediately let this statement of faith go! The Truth of a dynamic living faith is not fixed, but rather a continuous unfolding, a revealing of new truths in each moment of the journey. This dynamic nature of faith and truth itself is truly exciting for me.
Of course this dynamic nature of truth comes on the plane of dualistic either/or consciousness. And as we grow we grow from either/or consciousness on the dualistic level to Non-dual Consciousness of both/and consciousness, and then, finally, reach Unitive Consciousness where we experience Truth, the Good beyond the good in “good or evil” of our dualistic “fallen” world. But that is more than I meant to say here. Let me go back to where I am – in dualistic consciousness where there is time and a “growing” nature of dynamic truth.
With this understanding of dynamic evolving truth, I am now FREE. The next phase of my journey could be anything – correcting some of what I now Know and reinforcing other aspects of what I now Know. I am free to become even less orthodox, or perhaps more orthodox than I am now. There is a felt freedom in this letting go of whatever I Know in this particular NOW.
And this freedom enables me to let others have their own beliefs as well, and not be rigid or desperate in holding on to what I now “Know” as having to be Ultimate Truth. This dynamic nature of truth/faith insights felt very powerful to me, more powerful than the insights of the NOW themselves in any particular point in my life. Moira: Beautiful. Very powerful. Wow.
Gary: So I can have any discussion with anyone, just being curious, honestly curious, as to where they are on their climb up the spiritual/personal growth mountain of their lives. Moira: Yes, indeed, you are curious. Gary: And at the same time, I feel deeply a level of self-esteem for where I am in my own journey up the mountain.
Back to Mary
Moira: Yes, and so, in that sense of curiosity and self-esteem, then Mary’s response to you, instead of making any more of it than she is where she is, you are merely curious about and accepting of where she is. Gary: Without having an emotional reaction about however she responds. Moira: So perhaps when others point out that you should be sad about her response, but it seems to you that the truth, at least in large part, is that you are not sad about it, that you can let that input go. Rather than being sad, you are giving Mary the freedom to have whatever experience she may have, and say whatever she wants to say or not say. A false need would be a need that Mary would have to respond in a certain way for you to be satisfied.
Gary: Yes, it is great to actually experience not needing now what I had with Mary all those years. What I was experiencing at the time of the relationship was the child’s need for being seen and loved, making up for unfulfilled real needs from childhood, which are now false needs of my adult self. My false need place was the hook to Mary back then, and a false need can never be fulfilled, as Lecture 192 plainly states. So this false need is no longer my adult need. This needing to be loved as my child was not loved as an infant was a perpetuated unmet need from childhood into adulthood, and hence a false need of my adult self. In fact there was another dimension to my relationship with Mary. She brought both the spiritual and the sexual together for me – a great gift to me. So I see there is some clarity here for me in my relationship with Mary, but a loose clarity.
How to connect to Pat – the First Kiss Experience
And now moving on to today, I can ask, from this place, “How do I connect with Pat?” Gaining clarity in my relationship with Pat is my intention in this session today.
First, I want to share an experience that I had with Pat, and to explore its significance to me with you. Two or three days ago Pat and I were sitting on our couch in the basement, watching a movie. After the movie Pat leaned up, seemingly spontaneously, and we kissed. After being in a committed relationship with each other for over 12 years, the Kiss experience that night was as if this kiss was the first kiss I had ever received from Pat. I was stunned in a way. I could actually take in that experience, and to recognize that it was a new experience for me with Pat. Wow, Wow – it took me by surprise. It immediately reminded me of earlier times of kisses I had experienced with my ex-wife, and with other women before Pat. To experience this kiss as a first-kiss experience with Pat truly took me by surprise.
The next morning in our daily meditation/coffee time Pat and I talked about the experience. Pat, too, experienced more openness, and a certain special uniqueness in this kiss. As we chatted we began to have the sense that we are both in these spaces of being trapped in our own images regarding what sexuality really is and what sexuality feels like. Why do I say trapped in images regarding the experience of sexuality? I say this in the sense that, while we each have had experiences of such kisses in previous relationships, and hence experienced some form of “sexuality” in earlier relationships, in these earlier times it we now see that it was a split off standalone sexuality, not a conscious sexuality grounded and integrated with the rest of our being, with our emotions, intellect, and spirituality.
And not only split-off sexuality, we both had experienced a split-off spirituality as well. For example, I can see that my spirituality has been a split off intellectual-only spirituality, as you mentioned above, not a spirituality of my heart, of my gut, of my deepest Knowing of Spirit and the Divine from my intuition. It was not a spirituality of felt love and connection. And the rigid framework of my intellectually-based spirituality certainly was not integrated with my sexuality. Yes, my life for so long has been a fragmented life – unintegrated intellectual, emotional, physical, sexual, and spiritual pieces, each in its own state of development or lack thereof.
Pat feels similarly fragmented in some way, so we are a matched pair, both being fragmented and both experiencing sexuality and spirituality as experiences split off from our respective Divine Essences, Essences which are joined in oneness with the One, with God, with the More (the term for God that Marcus Borg borrows from William James) at a deep level.
Moira: Perhaps Pat denies her love feelings and spiritualizes her unmet need for love and you deny your love feelings and sexualize your unmet need for love. Perhaps you and Pat are opposites in a way in this regard – Pat defaulting to the defense of spiritualizing her unfulfilled need for love and connection and you defaulting to the defense of sexualizing your unfulfilled need for love and connection.
Gary: This seems to be a very good place to be in terms of our awareness of where we are in our development.
Moira: So Gary, when you go back to your earlier question and ask, “How do I connect with Pat?” – a question you posed as the purpose of this session just before you shared with me your experience of that wonderful kiss, I wonder why you would even ask that question. In that kiss experience a couple of days ago it seems that you do know how to connect with Pat in a warm physical experience of love.
Gary: But there was another part to the experience of the kiss. As soon as I was aware that this kiss was a new and wonderfully precious experience of connection, I panicked in a way. I noticed that when I realized what was happening in the kiss, realizing that it was a new experience with Pat, I immediately backed off from the experience – I seem to have told myself (unconsciously) “I must withdraw, I’m unsure how to be here. Danger! Danger!”
Moira: You immediately withdrew, you panicked, and you pulled back. So that withdrawing from the kiss is a defense against the experience of the kiss. As soon as you felt the newness of that kiss, having the love that you have today with Pat, this kiss reminded you of what you didn’t have as a child with Mom, and it brought up great pain. The panic is a defense against re-experiencing the pain of not having with Mom, whom you also loved, what you just experienced in the kiss with Pat.
As soon as you connect with love in present time it reminds you of the profound emptiness and the loneliness and the “unbelovedness” that you experienced as a child, and then that you continued to experience throughout most of your life with the key women in your life. So the panic is a defense against the pain, the panic is a withdrawal from that pain, and a withdrawal from the kiss.
The Feeling Axis of Unfulfilled and Fulfilled need for Physical Love and Affection
Gary: Interesting. That just seems strange. (nervous laughter). Moira: The pain of the unfulfilled real need for love of the child is the other end of the Joy-Pain axis, the Joy end is when this need for warm physical connection is fulfilled. Pain of the unfulfilled need for warmth and connection in love is on the same axis as the Joy of the fulfilled need for warmth and connection in love that here you now experienced in the kiss with Pat. It is the Pain-of-the-unfulfilled-need-for-warmth, affection and love on one end of this dimension or axis and the Joy-of-the-fulfilled-need-for-warmth, affection, and love on the other end of this dimension or axis. Gary: I get that.
Moira: And so if you’re connecting to Joy in the kiss, the fulfillment of your need for warmth and connection in love, you would automatically also connect to the Pain of not having had this, because you are experiencing, for the first time, life on the Pain-and-Joy love Axis of your psyche, with Pat, whom you love. One woe, one joy; two woes, two joys. As your capacity to feel the Pain of unfulfilled longing for love opens, to that exact degree your capacity to feel the Joy of your fulfilled longing for love opens. You can’t feel Joy in experiencing love without feeling Pain when love is absent.
The capacity that builds is the capacity to feel all of your feelings – Pain AND Joy – they go together. So when you felt that wonderful kiss, like it was the first kiss you ever had from Pat, whom you love, “Wow!” yes, but it also, unconsciously, got you in touch with your pain where that longing for love was unfulfilled, of that place where you missed this physical love – as a child AND all through your life, love from women for whom love in you has been alive in you, in other words, a missing of a mutuality in love.
Gary: Wow! That’s a lot to take in. Moira: Yeah. Gary: This explanation would not have occurred to me regarding the kiss. The kiss startled me, actually, then, unconsciously I guess, to feel the fear and then my reaction to my fear in the withdrawing from Pat in the kiss. On one level it was like, “Gary, you’re a man, don’t you know how to deal with this kiss from the woman you love?” In other words I was saying, “Am I not a strong enough man that I can engage from here, engage in this beautiful kiss, and so instead of engaging and moving forward I retreat, cowardly, in fear from the kiss and from Pat?” I was very muddled.
Moira: Say more about “Engaged from here.” Does that mean you would then want to make the beautiful kiss sexual? Gary: Well, a kiss to me is sexual, so of course the kiss felt sexual! Why do you ask? Moira: Right, for you to “engage from here,” to “engage from the experience of the kiss and go forward from that NOW,” would take you into sexuality. This is your image concerning love. Because in the kiss you’re “in gear,” you’re connecting in a loving affectionate way. And then a gear slips out and you go to a safe place, a place with which you are familiar, the space where you make the kiss sexual. A gear slips. And the need for your unfulfilled real need for warmth and physical love turns into a sexual need. And the real need, now sexualized and isolated from tenderness and warmth of the kiss, is a false need.
Rather than immediately sexualizing the kiss, just be present to the love, feel the warmth of the love, experience your deep “Ah!” in the kiss itself as a warm physical experience of love and affection.
But realize that when you are really present to the warmth and the physical love and affection the kiss embodies, you then will have to be present to and embody the pain of living your life without that warmth and affection. Instead of feeling this Pain when you experienced the Joy in the kiss, you immediately escaped the pain and pursued sexuality instead, thinking that sexualizing the kiss would give you that feeling of connection of warmth and affection that you so long for without experiencing the pain. The sexuality was a displacement of the warmth and affection you long for. So being in touch with the kiss, with the warmth and affection of the kiss, got you in touch with the pain of the unfulfilled need for warmth and affection from childhood and from most of your life.
So your challenge in the kiss would be for you feel the warmth and affection and love in the kiss BUT, rather than “going forward into sexualizing the experience,” stay in the NOW. And in the NOW also risk feeling the pain of the unfulfillment of this need for physical love since childhood. This would mean allowing the pain of years of unfulfillment without going immediately into sexual feelings in order to avoid the pain.
Maybe you could do that kiss again with Pat – a kiss of feeling physical warmth and affection AND feeling the pain of not having this all of your life, realizing how you avoided these feelings of warmth and affection, and experiencing all of these wonderful feelings, WITHOUT the feelings of warmth and affection being immediately sexualized in feelings of sexual arousal.
Perhaps these feelings of warmth and affection, with the pain of their unfulfillment all your life, AND without immediately going to sexuality, are part of the bridge, part of the palette of feelings you are looking to fill in between the intellectual and the sexual.
Gary: So I think what you are saying is this: I should feel BOTH the warmth from Pat, the woman I love, AND the pain for my life without these feelings, AND also without those feelings being displaced immediately to sexuality. Moira: Yes. Just like the panic is a defense resulting in withdrawing, so moving to sexual arousal is also a defense to not feel BOTH the physical warmth and affection AND to feel the pain of unfulfillment on this physical-love-warmth-and-affection axis of your feeling palette.
There is another aspect here too. Making the warmth and affection of the kiss into a spiritual experience would also be a defense and displacement.
Or intellectualizing what happened through analysis and understanding of this experience, which also could be a defense. Rather, just be there in the experience of a simple kiss.
Gary: So what you are saying, if I get it, is that by experiencing the kiss as sexual, in a way I am withdrawing from the physical warmth and affection of just connecting in the simple kiss. Moira: That’s right. Because the warmth and affection in just connecting in the kiss would also get you in touch with the pain of its unfulfillment, the pain of not connecting emotionally and physically, throughout your life, the other end of this (connecting)-(not-connecting) axis which has not yet been fully felt by you.
Gary: So the feelings of physical warmth gets me in touch with the feelings of pain of not having physical warmth – a pain I would defend against by withdrawing, on the one hand, and on the other hand feeling the sexuality and not being able to actually go there either, realizing that the sexuality would actually take me away from just the simple pure warmth of human touch. Moira: Yeah. Gary: So the question is, “Can I enjoy the warmth without having it be sexual?”
Moira: Right. But know that the warmth is going to bring up unfelt feelings – the pain of unfulfillment. And until you are willing to go through all of these feelings and experience them so that they don’t have to get displaced into sexuality, you’ll be blocking the feelings. Rather you have to be willing to go through the feelings.
These very painful feelings are just unfelt feelings from childhood. Once they are felt, you won’t be feeling that any more, and you won’t need to panic or sexualize the feelings of physical warmth and affection. The sexuality, when it comes organically, will be a natural arising out of the physical warmth and affection rather than be a defense against feeling the warmth. It will be, “OK, this warmth might lead to the sexuality, but not necessarily.”
Gary: That’s a new concept, that sex is a defense against feeling the warmth and affection I really long for! Moira: Yeah. Exactly. Gary: Well I didn’t read that in any book! (Pause) Just trying to settle in and let all of this integrate and get grounded in me. Moira: Yeah. It’s beautiful.
And remember that just the awareness of the defenses is helpful. You don’t have to change right away – you don’t have to try to not sexualize or not spiritualize or not intellectualize. Do not try to force yourself into a different behavior than you now have. Rather just be aware of, “That’s what I do when I get close to loving, whether it’s loving another, or letting them love me.” Just say, “That’s what I do!” It’s a spiritual law that you can’t move from one state into another state until you have fully embraced where you have been and are. So just be there. Recognize that all of that sexualizing, spiritualizing, and intellectualizing was just your defense. And you needed that defense because what you experienced as a child was so painful. You were so isolated and lonely.
Gary: I think another possible piece of displacement, Moira, has been in doing the Devotional Version of the Pathwork Lectures. So yes, it is profound the way any one of the lectures speaks to me as I create the Devotional Version. So whether my Devotional Version is useful to others or not, it is profoundly useful to me. The Guide’s wisdom goes into me on a deep level in this process of creating the Devotional Version, just like when I did the audio version several years ago. Moira: Yes, Gary, the Devotional Version of the Pathwork Lectures you are creating is marvelous. They’re exquisite. It’s exquisite work. Gary: As long as doing them is not a defense against loving Pat!
Another Defense – Superficial Integrity – and Behind that, My Secret: Love
Gary: As a sidebar to this, I did finally contact the Chair of the International Pathwork Foundation about what I was doing to see if there was interest in making the Devotional Version available more broadly. … The work of creating them feels like a transmission of some kind as I do them. Moira: It’s true, it is a transmission of sorts. Gary: I just feel it. And I said that out of this space of what it does for me and how it works in me I wanted to share it. …
So I sent an email to the Chair of the Pathwork Foundation, and there was no response.
[Important note: I contacted the Chair recently and it turns out that the Chair did not get the original email I sent several weeks ago to which I refer here and below, and now, after I re-sent my email, in seeing the Devotional Version the Chair is excited and is moving forward with this project. I view this “glitch” in communications between us as Spirit stepping in to create an opportunity for me work authority issues – since I was “afraid” to follow-up to her non-response, knowing that she is always very responsive – and also to have the glorious experience that followed – the affirmation of this work I received from several key senior Pathwork leaders – which would not have happened without the glitch. I smile at Spirit! And I can see Spirit smile back at me! Or maybe it’s a “wink.”]
Moira: The same kind of response you got from Mary to your email. Gary: Right, at least in some respects. Moira: What do you make of that?
Gary: Well in both “non-responses” I feel relief in that, although there was no response or, in Mary’s case, little response, at least what is up in me is no longer a secret. It was very important TO ME to let Mary know that my relationship with her changed my entire life. I would have felt bad had I died and she would never have come to know that. Moira: You would have felt bad, because … ? Gary: Well, it feels like gratitude that I needed to express to her. “Thank you. Thank you, for being this incredible and unique instrument in my life, however that worked.” I was feeling that I would regret going to my grave without Mary knowing the outcome of our relationship for me, the impact it had on me and my life and the life of others. Without this I would never have found Pathwork, for example, or Pat. It seemed my life would be somehow incomplete if I did not reach out to Mary and thank her.
I do not have the same sense with the Chair of the Pathwork Foundation. I am more perplexed at her non-response – it is so unlike her.
Moira: Since you are really working on Lecture 192 with Real and False Needs, is there a false need with both Mary and the Chair of the Foundation? Gary: My biggest concern with the Chair of the Foundation is if she would come in and say, “Stop it!” Then I don’t know what I would do. Moira: You could continue to do the Devotional Version for yourself alone. Gary: I have some energy for the Devotional Version being available to others on my website, so I’m just relieved that she hasn’t made a deal out what I am doing, warning me about copyright issues, etc.
Moira: So in both of these matters, are you being a “Good boy”? By letting them both know, by not having it secret?
Gary: It feels more like my need to be in integrity. To not communicate what I am doing with the Pathwork Lectures, I would have had a sense that I was cheating or being secretive. Moira: But being secretive or cheating is not your intention. So why were you concerned about being secretive? Gary: It just seemed to me that I needed to tell the Foundation what I was doing. Moira: Sure, I think that’s mature and upright, but I’m looking underneath that, where there is some energy going out of you, to “be good.” And also, it’s wonderful that you’re grateful to Mary, but is there something more, when you say, “I could not die without telling her how much she meant to me and my life.” Or, “I want to do the ‘right’ thing here.” There is some displacement here.
Gary: I would say that’s true. I would want to have impeccable integrity in the eyes of Mary. Moira: And maybe in the eyes of the Chair of the Foundation? Gary: Sure. Moira: Then in needing for your integrity to be utterly impeccable there is a false need here.
Gary: There is a strong need in me of feeling I am in integrity, no matter what, that I have no secrets.
Moira: No secrets? So, Gary, just where are you secret? What is your secret? What secret do you really have, so that revealing this superficial secret with Mary and with the Chair of the Foundation sort of makes you “feel good” about yourself for having a superficial integrity. But the “good feelings” for having a superficial integrity last only for a little while, that is, only until you find something else to be in “impeccable integrity” about, because you are starting to feel sneaky again and out of integrity by having secrets. As the Guide says in Pathwork Lecture 252 Privacy and Secrecy, it’s important to reveal your secrets, even to yourself, because then when you reveal your secrets you make yourself available for the Universe to give to you.
It is very important to talk to what the real secrets are. So, Gary, what is your real secret that you want no one, not even yourself, perhaps, to know? What is the secret that would hinder your fulfillment, especially in this area we’ve been talking about in loving others and feeling loved? Gary, you’ve got a secret.
Gary: I think the biggest secret is that I’m not believing it myself. Moira: What is it that you are not believing about yourself, and keeping it a secret even from yourself?
Gary: My secret is that my entire life is not in integrity. Everything I do is masky and manipulating. The fear of the little boy in me is that I’m a joke. Mommy and Daddy are really going to be pissed if they come to know I really didn’t believe this, I really don’t believe the truth of the Pathwork Lectures, say, with which I work so diligently, and that are my deepest passion. Moira: What don’t you really believe? What do you not want Mommy and Daddy to know? What’s your secret?
Gary: (Obviously groping here!) One of the secrets is my clinging to outside authority rather than inner authority. Moira: So you are not in integrity on that level, your secret is that you don’t really listen to your inner authority and therefore your spirituality is hypocritical and fake.
Gary: I will displace my inner authority onto the external authority, the Pathwork Guide. I will rely on the Guide rather than my inner authority, even though the Guide keeps pointing me to rely on my inner authority and inner Divinity. It is hard for me to internalize the Guide’s words that I am to look to my own inner authority, the Divine in me. By relying on external authority, even the Guide as an external authority figure in my life, when I KNOW I should rely on inner authority, I feel insincere, and conclude that I am just faking my entire spiritual life for not relying on my inner authority. Moira: So you do whatever you can to keep those thoughts that you’re “faking your spiritual life” down. So you displace those thoughts and instead spend great efforts to be in integrity, at least superficially, with Mary, with the Foundation, and so on.
Gary: When you get right down to it, this feeling that I’m faking my life may be my reason for my excessive blogging. In my blog I tell myself, “I’m going to share it all, let everyone see where I am, who I am!” But in fact I do not share it all, and my blog becomes a smokescreen covering what is really going on in me – I’m the Wizard of Oz behind the curtain! So my blog and apparent openness with others is all a sham, a pseudo-self-disclosure.
Moira: OK, OK. I hear you. So what are you really hiding behind the smokescreen of your blog? If Toto pulls the curtain away, what would be revealed that you are terrified of people seeing? Gary: There is real panic here. Less today than earlier in my life. But if you would ask, “Gary, what would you be most afraid of?” that would be it, that I am a fake to the core. That I am out of integrity to my core. That I am the Wizard of Oz behind the curtain.” (… we pause, as I stew a bit …)
Moira: Well I don’t know about all that. Let me suggest a different view.
Rather than the Wizard, I think you are like the Tin Man, and what would be exposed if you were totally honest is that you have a heart, that you love, that loving is really your whole meaning that you bring to life, loving and being loved.
And all this spirituality, or intellectuality, or sexuality is all like the Wizard’s machines going. You’ve convinced yourself that spirituality, the intellect, and sexuality are the things that are really important, and what it is that is really important is that kiss with Pat.
That’s the secret you are keeping. That’s who you really are, the Kiss. Not with the panic, not in sexualizing the Kiss, just the simple warm Kiss, that’s love. That’s Life. That’s what you would die for. You would not die for your integrity. Not for cheating on the copyright of the Lectures. But you would die for Love.
Hiding My Loving
Gary: Wow. … Wow, … Wow. … That has a ring of truth in it, though in a way I shake in my boots at the notion about being the Tin Man.
Let me share still another recent experience. When Pat and I were at Erena’s Spiritual Dimensions of the Pathwork Program two weeks ago, I again lamented to everyone that I am the “walled in one,” I am “the one who hides his heart,” I’m the one who is not open, and on and on. Finally the class had had enough and really took me on. “Gary, that is absolute Bullshit!” They then commented on, as they did at the January weekend where Pat was with me, “Gary, your love for Pat is so obvious!” And yet, Moira, I so disallow their feedback on that – my loving Pat, if it is really there, is truly a major disconnect within me.
Pat and I talk freely about the belief that we both have, the belief that truly we do not love each other, even though our lives have been so rich and we’ve been together and deeply engaged for over 12 years. This group of veteran Pathworkers, joined by Erena, say, “Gary, you have no idea how much you love Pat!” And I simply do not know where to go with this.
Moira: Where should you go with this? Here is where you should go with this! You have to speak your truth, you have to say, “Yes, it’s a secret.” You have to share, “This is my secret that I hide from everyone, including myself. That is why I try to live out all these other kinds of ‘living in integrities.’ I do all of this because I’m hiding this secret that I love Pat.”
Gary: I stay in “superficial-integrity” by saying how sure I am that I do not love Pat!.
Moira: Exactly. Exactly. And you are just scared of your pain, because you know that to feel love, your love for Pat or others, you’ll have to feel your deep pain, your lifelong pain of not receiving love from the ones you most deeply love.
If you feel pain, you feel love. But, Gary, you’re a coward in loving. You’re a coward to love. And instead of feeling that pain and that love, you displace these and say instead that you would not want to die without being grateful to Mary or without being in integrity with the Foundation. To be in true integrity you need to say instead, “I do not want to die until I love, and until I let someone love me.”
And take in the kiss. And give the kiss. When you can come out of hiding and secrecy and reveal your heart and love, you won’t have to do anything to please the authority of the Foundation, or anything to be in integrity with Mary, or any other bullshit. You’ll take people’s disapproval, or not; you simply won’t care what they think about you, it won’t matter to you. Nothing will matter. Everything is nothing compared to coming out of hiding with your heart and love.
Gary: Wow. … I can see how much I fight coming out of hiding and simply loving and allowing myself to be loved. If my heart came out of hiding, that is really being naked!
Moira: That’s right. That’s right. And that leaves you very vulnerable, the way you were as a child, when you were so innocent, and so wanted to be loved and you weren’t. It’s very scary.
Gary: In giving AND receiving love. Moira: Yeah. Yeah. Exactly, it’s the same, giving AND receiving love. Gary: It’s like I had this huge case against loving. Moira: Yeah. And loving and being loved is the thing you most want to do, that you’re most hungry for, that you’re starving for – to love and to let someone love you. You’re starving.
And practice saying to Pat, “I just love you so!” even if you don’t think you feel it. Just practice the words, get them out of your mouth. And also get out, “I love how much you love me, Pat.” And then again, “I love you so much.”
Gary: It’s interesting that as part of our devotion time we use the Ho’oponopono prayer. Moira: Yes. Gary: We started six months ago or so with this order of the four simple statements of this prayer, “1) I thank you. 2) I’m sorry. 3) Please forgive me. 4) I love you.” Then on the 16th of April we had our 12th Anniversary (her birthday – now 69, 12 years ago 57). This year Pat gave me this sweet card on this Anniversary (a first). On that day Pat said that she thought it was time to change the order of our Ho’oponopono prayer, and Pat said it should be (as I shared this with Moira I had tears in my eyes): “1) I love you. 2) I’m sorry. 3) Please forgive me. 4) I thank you.” Moira: Oh, Wow! Gary: It brings tears to my eyes to say this, based on this conversation. Just to say it. Just to say it. Just to say it. Moira: Yes! Yes!
Gary: Wow! Thank you so much for this amazing session. Moira: You’re welcome. It was beautiful. Gary: It just takes things to another depth. Moira: Yes. You know this past weekend we went to the clarinetist Paul Winter’s concert. There was a group singing Ho’oponopono – they had put it to music, with the clarinet in the background. Absolutely beautiful.
Gary: Let me share Pat’s and my daily morning devotion. It begins with a few minutes of silence. Then we have from 30 minutes to 2 ½ hours of what we call Intentional Substantive Spiritual Engagement, and we end that portion with the Ho’oponopono prayer. Next we enter a time of meditation, since July of 2014 this has been the 30-minute Adyashanti meditation – The Naked Simplicity of Being – and we conclude our morning time with a blessing on each other where we say, together, “I am of God and I am holy, may I see and heal all that has split off from my holy Essence,” then I say, “Pat, you are of God and you are holy, may you see and heal all that has split off from your holy Essence,” then Pat blesses me the same way, and then together we say, “Our families and friends, strangers and enemies and all sentient beings, you are of God and you are holy, may you see and heal all that has split off from your holy Essence.” We continue together with the words, “We open to the Mystery of the presence of Christ. We open to the Mystery that we are the heart, mind, body and light of Christ.” We conclude with, “Amen, Hallelujah, Aho!”
Moira: Beautiful. Wow, OK.
A Closing Thank You
Gary: Thank you, Moira. Moira: You’re welcome, and have a wonderful month! … Gary: I love you (spoken with a short nervous chuckle at the end) Moira: I love you too. Gary: I have to add a nervous chuckle at the end to take away the pressure of really feeling the words, “I love you.” Moira: (laughing) You want to say the words without chuckling? Gary: Yeah. Moira, I love you (chuckle restrained and held back, but still I felt nervous, awkward, and unnatural with these words flowing out of my mouth). Moira: Thank you.
Of course, as Moira said earlier, I can’t embody the love in my words, “Moira, I love you,” until I embody where I am – that is, until I embody the nervous, awkward and unnatural state underneath my speaking the “I love you” words. So, borrowing Moira’s earlier phrase, my words would be, “Moira, I love you, yet not yet.”
And I see that this time-evolving statement is the dualistic state. In the Unitive state of consciousness, the state of Timelessness, Oneness, and Wholeness, it is true that, “Moira, I Love you.” And so the Truth of my relationship with Moira is, “Moira, I Love you, Yet NOW (Unitive State, Timeless Truth) AND yet not yet (my merely and utterly human dualistic state, in time, an evolving truth that is One with Truth).”
Shared with love, Gary