Deepening Friendship, Deepening Community

Pat began our coffee time this morning. “I really like people – their inner workings.” This was on the heals of her spiritual community gathering last evening. She stated this as a growing realization in her. While not into socialization much, when the conversation turns to deep open honest sharing, Pat is engaged!

I was drawn to share an experience of sharing that I had had the day before. I do some business/management consulting – engagements that I enjoy. Yesterday, at the end of our business conversation one of my clients and now friend, a very bright and successful technologist and entrepreneur, moved the conversation to a more philosophical vein. He mentioned a friend who does past-life regression work. My friend said  that perhaps five years ago he would have dismissed this “past life stuff” idea as foolish, but now he is open to “past lives” being a possible reality. He then spoke of being increasingly drawn into the meaning and Mystery of life and the cosmos. It wasn’t the facts or theories we exchanged yesterday that touched me as much as the shared felt-sense wonder of Life in the face of Mystery, that which is Unknown. Rare are these conversations for me outside my Pathwork and spiritual communities. It was a real treat.

I noticed that I enjoyed this exchange, but I also noticed that there was a layer of vulnerability, of fear. I noticed that I felt safe in talking business, but that I felt vulnerable in talking philosophy, metaphysics and spirituality.

Pat was surprised at my sense of vulnerability. “I think you have expertise in philosophy, and you speak easily of vulnerability, of matters of the heart, with such apparent openness. What is the discomfort?” Good question. First I noticed the deep respect I have for my friend – he does so many things so well. I would describe him as “brilliant” and “open” and “full of life.” Does this play a role in my sense of vulnerability with him? I noticed that spirituality seems close to my sense of meaning and identity. And is SO wrapped up in my Lutheran structural thinking etched into my being from childhood on. Would my friend (or more accurately my inner critic) think me a fool even to be interested in such esoteric philosophical things? Can I imagine that my friend does not bring the history of rigid frameworks that I bring to these philosophical and spiritual topics? Or will he think me a fool for whatever my sense of self truly is?  I notice in this philosophical arena I feel naked, nothing to hold onto but my inner sense of truth.  After I let go of the dogmatics of right and wrong (Lutheran or otherwise) I am on the slippery slope! What if he laughs at me? So interesting to look at my unconscious resistances and fears where consciously I would think I would wallow easily in this arena and do so with great interest and sense of freedom.

I wondered what it would be like to gather a number of folks together from time to time to discuss such questions as:

1) Why am I here on planet earth? What is my sense of the purpose of my life?

2) What are some of the things that give my life meaning? What are some of my deepest values?

3) Where do I feel most vulnerable and how do I typically defend against my feelings of vulnerability?

As these latter words came out, I got emotional, a bit teary-eyed. What were these tears about? What made this so deep, touching, and meaningful to me? Something at my core within so resonates with such a question.

Pat slowed me down. “I’m still sitting with ‘brilliant’ and ‘open’ and ‘full of life.’ I’m looking at you and those descriptors. Isn’t that your ‘acorn’ growing into the ‘oak’ that you are? But growing up you were not in an environment that supported the growth of the acorn that you are. Today people would say you are open and interested in the cosmos, and bright. You are right there with these people by whom you are so inspired. You are one of them!”  Yes, these could become friends at a new and deeper level than I am used to!

She continued, “Recently another one of your friends inquired more deeply with you about Pathwork. Would this be an opening for exploring the questions you outlined? An opening for sailing into deeper waters of meaning, purpose, and vulnerability?”

I noted that in my recent helper session with Moira that she observed that in my role as helper I get feedback sometimes about being “kind” and she noted that for me this seems to be more vulnerable than feedback for being “brilliant” or “insightful.” She noted that being kind and caring comes from my soft center and that people can be drawn unconsciously to that soft center. My soft center resonates with something within them that is kind and caring, that is, my soft center resonates and calls forth his or her own soft center. This is how the work of “Pathwork Helpership” works, she observed. And can I feel into what being in this space is like, since it is what I long for. Pathwork Lecture 194 speaks of visualizing the feelings we long for rather than visualizing the particulars that we think will give us those feelings we long for (click here for this Pathwork quote).

Pat moved the sharing along. “I notice I am more identified with the bigger me, not the small patterned me. In my sharing in my group last night I could sense the wisdom coming through me. This was not my ego – the small me that would be prideful or fearful or moralizing and judging what was coming through me. No. It was humbling to have this wisdom come through me. No room for pride. The thrust of it, the felt Truth of it, the clarity, the wisdom – it enlivens me as it flows through me. I feel fully alive in those moments, I taste Life. The egoic stuff falls away.”

Pat continued, “You do your blog from that deeper space – to the best of your awareness and intention. What you are bringing forth is coming from a deeper level and this is what needs be – for the benefit of all mankind!”

Gary: “I am aware of the joy it brings me to write these blogs – not to be seen as ‘brilliant’ or ‘insightful,’ but rather to feel the Truth as it comes forth through me – I resonate with the truthfulness of words as they come, they enliven me.

Pat: “I am reminded of the Magnificat, the words of Mary – ‘My soul doth magnify the Lord. And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior…’  Not the words, but the FEEL of the words. Again, the heart is the organ of spiritual perception. Full, tremoring feel, akin to strings of a violin. Matter meets Spirit in the heart. In this meeting of Matter and Spirit, the heart opens as a sea anemone, a lotus flower. We get a feel of that open expression coming through us – the tastes of it so we come to Know the feel of it.”

Gary: “For me it would be to come to savor the joy I get from blogging. Rather than judge it or dismiss it. Savor the feeling of blogging.”

Pat: “Savor – a good word. Not ‘hold on to.’ Rather let the feeling of blogging soak into your bones, take it in in every cell. Let every cell be open to whatever this experience is.”

Gary: “Feeling the sacredness of an open heart. So go into each life experience with such expectancy for Life’s unfolding within and around us.”

Pat: “As the Pathwork Guide would say, ‘Bliss is our birthright.’”

Gary: “Where does our vulnerable open heart best plug into the needs of the world? The needs of our family members, of our friends, and of all sentient beings? As Moira would say, Pathwork is beyond personal processing – it nourishes the planet!

Pat: “Being Present to whatever comes. The practice of Tonglen – it changes the energy.”

Gary: “The Pathwork Guide speaks of our emanating our innermost attitudes, feelings, beliefs – the unconscious feelings in one awakens and energizes the unconscious feelings in another. So powerful are our inner attitudes, feelings, beliefs — both conscious and unconscious”

Pat: “See the suffering around us right where we are. Can we hold space for those in this suffering – rather than judge, or criticize, of fix, or operate from a place of fear. …”

Pat: “This is nourishment for our day! What a life we get to live!”

Amen. With love, Gary