Daring to be My Real Self, But Being Flexible As To How I Show Up

Meditation – Monday (4/30/12)

Pause and Consider: Daring to be My Real Self, But Being Flexible As To How I Show Up…

As I began my meditation this morning it suddenly dawned on me that I had so quickly forgotten that the “sun is behind the clouds” of my daily disharmonies of these past few days. This forgetting reminded me of my patterned resistance to do this Pathwork – this sun-behind-the-clouds concept being one of the central ideas that impacted me so profoundly in Pathwork Lecture 131 just a week or two ago. I forgot that God, through the Spiritual Laws of the Cosmos, wants each of us to be happy and fulfilled in ALL aspects of our lives, and gives us the tools to realize said fulfillment and happiness.  For me ALL aspects includes happiness and fulfillment in my inner life, my relationship with Pat and with so many others, including my family, and my work for Mid-Atlantic Pathwork, including my preparation for the upcoming MAP Leaders Retreat over which I have allowed so much angst into my life these past few days. Let me just pause and take this in! Yes. The sun is behind the clouds. God does want and has provided tools for my realizing happiness in each moment of life!

As I sat with this I noticed that I seem to have a predisposition to cloudy days – that my conscious longing for the sun notwithstanding – I am somehow drawn to cloudy days – days of inner disharmony, guilt, anxiety, fear, and the like. Cloudy days, unhappy days, at least in some key areas of my life (like relationships, spirituality, etc.), are somehow more familiar to me than are happy days of rich abundance in these areas. I have developed a complex and pseudo-effective web of defenses to live comfortably in these spaces of unhappiness. I am somehow more “satisfied” with clouds in my life in these particular areas than with the sun’s bright rays. And in general, I am more comfortable doing something I think I ought to be doing (meeting the needs of others and of organizations to standards of perfection beyond my natural talents) rather than tending to things that nurture my Soul and which are aligned with my Soul’s central purpose in this life.

Coffee Time with Pat

Pat: There seems to be a certain rigor to doing spiritual practices – and I associate “harsh” with rigor. I wonder, can rigor be kind and compassionate? Gary: I would use the word discipline. And there is a certain discipline required to master an art, or perhaps to master life for that matter. My sense is that discipline could come from various motivations. One might have discipline motivated by one’s the love of the art – like a person with musical talent spending time mastering finger exercises in order to give his best to his piano playing.  I would call this devotion to one’s art. While difficult, in a way the devotion and love for the art, or piano in this case, make the practicing and other disciplines required to further that art effortless effort.

The same discipline could come out of a more compulsive/addictive energy. One could be devoted to one’s practice, say, of saying the rosary five times a day. This could be an automatic habit or this could, perhaps, be deeper.  But either way it certainly would be a kind of devotion. Pat: To “wake up” takes more than habitual devotion it seems. One has to do one’s work, and often that is the hard and often painful work of self-inquiry. And I notice that I do not know the gentle space of inquiry. For me inquiry has more of a feel of the chopping block examination by a harsh judge. I’m fonder of the word “pondering” when it comes to this self-examination – pondering my foibles feels softer, and as such can safely lead me to a deeper place of inquiry.

Gary: (sharing from my meditation) In my own inquiry I, too, notice my own predisposition to being on the chopping block rather than simply being curious about what is going on in my life motivated by images and distortions. Being curious about some of the root causes of my anxiety, disharmonies, etc., or even the root causes of my predisposition to unhappiness – well while I talk this game, emotionally my judges are more at work in this inquiry practice.

This predisposition toward unhappiness would be my negative intentionality. Unconsciously I intend to be unhappy – for I know how to live from this familiar space of semi-conscious unhappiness – I have built up an elaborate web of defenses, both Lower Self aspects and Mask Self aspects, all based upon a set of unconscious images (wrong beliefs). I have a sense that these defenses sort of work for me and bring me a modicum of happiness, albeit a pseudo-happiness. I do not at all know if letting go of my defense network would work to bring me true joy, peace, love, and so on, or would lead to a further collapse of my life. Dare I strip off my defense armor and jump into the abyss?! Part of me sticks with pseudo-happiness as a safer bet.

So from these patterned choices I have an “OK life.” I am somehow “satisfied” in living in a less abundant way with you, with others, with my Pathwork, with Mid-Atlantic Pathwork. I assess that now, after having left my earlier life in corporate America, my family and my church, and now living with you where we can have our coffee times as a top priority, having done over 12 years of Pathwork, yes now certainly I have enough “joy,” “peace,” “security,” “love,” “creativity,” “manifestation of life,” etc. One more time it is the old “bird in the hand being worth two in the bush!”   Dare we, you and I, continue this lifestyle of abyss jumping? Cannot we just stay in the relative safety and comfort of our still-existing patterns and images? But we seem to be more the intentional abyss-jumpers.

At this point I sketched out in my journal what seemed like an appendix for my presentation of Pathwork Lecture 131 – and again the juices flowed within.  Then Pat and I continued our conversation. Pat: What are the keys that will work for each of us for our awakening – the correct ingredients in the correct amounts? And again I face self-hatred coming up – resistance to doing the work. I “sort of” do the work, but gloss over so much it seems. Gary: This is what I see in me as well – somehow trying to be ahead of where I am – wanting to avoid the deeper steps.  I have my own version of unconscious self-hatred underneath my veneer, unconscious self-hatred that blocks even doing the work – the “I’m not worth it,” or “I just can’t do it.”  Yet until these unconscious untruths get mined, placed on the table for examination, and emptied out of my psyche, I cannot add the truth of the sun being all around and within me.

By the end of our Coffee Time I felt so full. This mining operation, this curiosity about life, truly inspires my life – and, fortunately, Pat’s life!

Time with my “Pathwork Buddy” Jenny

For longer than either of us can remember – but probably over five years now – Jenny (who is a 28-year Pathworker) and I have enjoyed biweekly 90-minute Pathwork phone conversations. We do not talk theory, but rather applications – how is our Pathwork helping us, what patterns and images are coming up, and so on. Both of us love this time of sharing – encouraging, and inspiring one another in the work of Pathwork. Today was such a session.

Today we acknowledged that Pathwork is hard – and having a buddy is helpful. As a spiritual path, Pathwork is like trying to be one of the Navy SEALs in the military – and yet we resist the “training.” It would be like a military man wanting to become a member of the select SEALs but not wanting to do pushups!  We laughed with each other in seeing some of the truth in this.  Then my side of our sharing focused on my preparation for the Leaders Retreat coming up later this week.

I shared the joy I have had in working with our preparation team and in preparing my presentation of Lecture 131, though I am not sure whether or not I shall actually present the latter. I shared that neither Julia nor Karen had responded to my presentation and where that takes me. “I must be wrong, I’m naïve, etc.”

But Jenny helped me see what my presentation was all about for me. In developing this presentation I so enjoyed the exploring, the insightful input I got from Karen and Julia and subsequently incorporated into the presentation. Jenny: So this is all about applying the Pathwork Lectures – individually and collectively as a community. Gary: I inwardly acknowledge and own how I have been inspired by being on this preparation committee – feeling Spirit and Truth arise amongst us – and how deeply the words and ideas of the Lecture resonate with me. I really want to share what has come alive in me and what has deepened my already profound passion for Pathwork. The energy that arises in me in this process feels like the voice of my Calling.

Jenny: So if you are not enthusiastically received by the others, what is the truth for you? Gary: I’m bad, the presentation is bad, or they are bad. Jenny: Can you step back from this dualistic assessment and simply TRUST and STAND BY your passion, which is REAL – can you trust what arises in you as useful, even though you (and others) do not know in what way or how it is to be used? Gary: Let me pause. I see my sense of vulnerability in this – like a singer who puts his or her very self into a performance – can the singer know and own the quality of his or her performance but let the chips fall where they will as to how others relate to the performance? Can I just put my all into this – as I am inspired – and simply share how this material has landed in me? Can I be authentically me – in my passion and inspiration – and let go of outcome?

Jenny: Last time we talked you mentioned the MAP budgets – how you had put your all into them but were not seemingly attached to how they were received. I mirrored back to you the amazing freedom you have in that detachment from outcomes relative to how you and your budgets are received. This seems the same for this presentation and your role in the Leaders Retreat. You can have such freedom in, as it was for your “elegant” budgets, not being in anyway tied to response.  Can you have faith in what you know, and trust what you know as truth that has arisen in you from this lecture and your engagement with your preparation team?

Gary: Beautifully said. Thank you. And if my passion is not met with engagement, I have the choice of my actions.  … But I also notice another angle. Yes I have passion for this presentation, but what if I am being Called by Spirit to another role? Can I let go of my feelings around this presentation and with equal commitment go on to take on another role, if that is where Spirit seems to be moving me or us as a group? Can I let go of control? Can I be open to Spirit, knowing that either way this goes holds value for us all. Jenny: Yes, discernment. The challenge of not being run by your feelings! What does Spirit want – a moment-by-moment discernment.

I am taken back to Bert Hellinger’s piece Pausing Before the Mystery one more time. Yes, the presentation is done. The material is in my cells. It may be used, or I may be used in another way. Can I now let go and let God? This would be my prayer. And in this surrender I see that I find peace.

Shared in love, Gary