Another Deep Dive — Longing to Connect in Friendship and Affection
Coffee Time Sunday, January 20
First came my meditation time on this Sunday morning. During my daily review I became aware of my disharmonious feeling of loneliness, not being connected to others in my life. I fall into the pattern of seeing myself in roles and trying to connect with others from the roles that I play as related to them. How does my “doing” serve a higher purpose and integrate with the “doings” of others? This is a connecting by doing, but this is a pseudo-connecting from the Dominant Logical Mind side of my being. In fact, connecting-via-doing from my Dominant Logical Brain keeps me isolated and also keeps my heart closed and private.
I remember coming home from college during my undergraduate college days in engineering. I did not call friends when I got home – I had no real friends from high school or my church youth group. I did not know the energetic field or feel of meaningful connections in friendships with peers or family members. College was stressful due to having to relate and connect with others in class or, particularly stressful, in the fraternity. I just could not connect and was much more comfortable sitting alone in my room doing homework. Coming home for long work breaks (our engineering curriculum was a co-op program having quarters at school alternating with quarters on the job in my home town) gave me relief from this stress of being with others at college. When I got home I would not relate deeply with Mom or Dad but would rather find solace in the basement doing my thing – working with my chemistry set, my electronics equipment, listening to classical music, reading books on physics, astronomy, religion, and chemistry. Socially I was an “odd duck” on the pond. I was challenged to fit in socially, physically (no interest in sports), emotionally (did not know intimacy or the range of feelings possible on the feeling palette) or sexually (but though confused by sexuality, I was very tantalized by sexual energies in me).
This social misfit status went with me to my career, church, and other organizations to which I belonged during my life. It went with me into my marriage and family life as well. It applies to me now in my various roles at Mid-Atlantic Pathwork. I try to do my various jobs responsibly, but without a feeling of friendship or connection with my colleagues. The feeling side of friendship is a real challenge for me, and from my Dominant Logical Brain, I am just now barely aware of this deficit in my being. I find I am not judging this deficit as “bad,” but rather just thankfully aware of it and becoming aware how deeply it limits the richness of my life.
Perhaps my listlessness of yesterday relates to my loneliness. I do not know how to form deep friendships – places where I can really be ME and connect with others emotionally. From my childhood experiences I am not even sure what connection, friendship, or intimacy means. This is a painful place to be, and I do not know how to be other than to be in it. I recognize this is not uniform across all my relationships. Some of my relationships appear to be friendships — and others (such as my brother and Pathwork friends) point this out, but with others I recognize I would feel terror at the thought of developing a deeper friendship. Why? With some folks friendship, or intimacy, feels too vulnerable. I fear I would be labeled or categorized by the other in some way and thereby be an “it” rather than the dynamic, vulnerable human being that I am. Of course this is a projection of what I do to myself!
A question arises in me: “For what would I give up the carefully defended life I live now in order to have, be, or experience, say, friendship?” I see my fear here – the bird in the hand (my highly defended, but seemingly safe, life as I have come to live it now) versus the bird in the bush (experiencing myself as vulnerable and undefended, a feeling place I do not know, like, for example, in simple friendship).
Pat joined me for our coffee time and began sharing. She enthusiastically got into some of her Buddhist teachings, and it was hard for me to keep up with her as she spoke of her Jewel Tree, the Seven-Limb Prayer she uses, etc. After going through all of this she paused. Pat: How helpful it is to have a mate! Gary: Say more. Pat: Well I see some of my friends who both long for having a mate and who at the same time push the idea away. But in particular for me this relationship that you and I have is something I didn’t know existed forty years ago. Yet on another level back then I Knew – and now I see that what we have is it, is what I somehow Knew at a very deep, unconscious even, level was possible and longed for! Our relationship is what I longed for but could not describe it or even envision it forty years ago.
Gary: Your words about having a mate are very strange for me to hear. Let me explain. As you were talking enthusiastically about some of the Buddhist teachings that support you so beautifully, I was having a challenge keeping up, and I was feeling increasingly distant from you. And then I was really surprised and caught off guard when you then suddenly stopped and said that what you truly value is our relationship. I could not connect the dots between your passion for your Buddhist journey and your joy over our relationship. Pat: Let me pause and take this in. … Sure, if you would have spoken first and quoted various Pathwork ideas I would have felt increasingly distant from you as well. We must make effort to open our capacity for listening to each other in these spaces where we are different. Gary: This is sometimes hard! Pat: But look at our awareness. Two points of awareness (you and me) are exponentially more than 1+1=2! I am reminded of Alex Grey’s foundational grid for the energy to come in – the energy that can come in is ultimately infinite.
Gary: Let me share where I was before you began sharing. I was realizing my loneliness as contributing to my listlessness that I shared in our time yesterday, seeing how I take my identity from my various roles. I really can’t be vulnerable, even to myself. I found myself asking, “For what (intimacy, affection, friendship, love, etc.) would I give up the pseudo safety that my rigid, defended, patterned life gives me?” Pat: Our relationship is the container for bringing about that “giving up safety” and daring to be undefended and vulnerable.
Gary: Yes, but when I look at myself and consider, for example, how I want to spend my day today, Sunday, I see that on some level I would rather escape into working on the Mid-Atlantic Pathwork budgets isolated off in my office rather than spending unstructured friendship time with you! I can so easily escape into my own world, a place that is so familiar. I have not come to treasure friendship per se, a place that is unfamiliar, even friendship with you! This truth is scary! Really scary!
Pat: We can do things together. That “doing things together” counts. AND underneath that doing is espousing, holding in our consciousness, the underlying incubator for our coming forth – which is more whole, leading to union and oneness. Our doings are just part of who we are. (Pause) This deep looking is what is needed here this morning. Gary: In this context sex for me becomes a “doing” that gets “scheduled,” an “it,” rather than a spontaneous mutual arising out of our being. (This led to a long discussion about our various previous experiences in our various intimate relationships – a very rich and revealing dialog.)
Pat: I’ll need to value your coming into your full being more than I value my own coming into my own full being, or at least value your coming into your full being as much as my own. Gary: Yes, this is our expression of love for each other, as Pathwork Lecture 207 The Spiritual Symbolism and Significance of Sexuality says (¶17): The aspect of real love which I refer to as “letting the other be” means more than just accepting where and who the other person is at any given moment. It means having a vision of the total person, including his or her as yet unrealized potential. Such a vision of the unmanifest in another person is a great act of love. So perhaps this is part of how we love each other – seeing the total potential of the other and holding that vision. Maybe our Souls know this and hold the vision for the other, and perhaps this “knowing and holding the vision of the other” brought us together for our mutual benefit. I see this as a possible basis of my early attraction to you – having joy in seeing the potential that you are as a woman and my connecting up with you in that space.
Pat: As you speak I can feel in me a quick contraction – as when you mention the movie Bliss – in which Joseph took it upon himself to awaken his new wife Maria sexually. This is your image of yourself: being an instrument for my awakening! This of course triggers me! My sense at the time when you brought this movie up early in our relationship was that your recognizing the Soul movement at that point in time came out of a certain construct of your Logical Dominant Mind, and what we are now learning to see is how these deep longings in our hearts come into life – how they manifest in our lives. The deeper we can go, to the Soul level, that’s where we are going, this Soul level is the Essence of and at the core of our evolving relationship. Even though the image that arose back then early on was a certain fixed way, now tracking it down to the Soul level I respond by saying YES! Sure, I see the obscurations, the obstacles that will have to be dealt with in both of us. But that’s quite OK. How wonderful to be paired with a mate, a Soul Companion, with whom the potency, the possibilities are limitless! Gary: (Pause) At first I was quite nervous as you spoke of your contraction and of your early reactions to my fascination with the video Bliss, but you dared to go into this space and I am touched by your willingness to dive into all this. And then I relaxed as you spoke of seeing this all a little differently today, as something we can tackle together. It’s hard, scary, and such vulnerable work! I am appreciating you. Pat: It does not matter which of us brings to the fore what we need to look at here.
Pat: We need to practice wholeheartedly during our coffee time; in fact, we need to practice wholeheartedly in all aspects of our relationship. If we come to see what we’ve come here to planet Earth to see, it will end. I’m afraid of that ending, and hence I prefer to stay in confusion where I won’t risk this ending of our relationship, thinking it will come to an end if and when we see what we’ve come here to see and learn from our relationship. Of course this fear is my little “s” self, which is fearing annihilation after experiencing the love my Soul longs for. (Pause) I don’t know how you and I get to see these things, but not everyone does get to see these things. It’s all pretty amazing!
Gary: Yes, amazing. … One last thing, I am aware that my own draw for us in the video Bliss is perhaps a projection of my own obscurations that were obviously, though unconsciously, deeply in Joseph’s psyche – somehow my longing to have his commitment to his relationship with Maria, even though, like me, he had his own scars from childhood and earlier lives to face and deal with. Clearly something draws me to this film. Pat: We are in the energy of the Mother of All Beings. There is no need to hang on – we are living in the unknown. Jump in! (Pause) This has been a lot of work this morning! I could not do this without you. Gary: And vice versa. Pat: I can see perfection in each piece of our respective lives and in our relationship. Seeing this perfection helps me to accept and integrate this all.
Shared in love, Gary