Discovering the Meaning and Possible Truth of Connection
Yesterday one of my 13-year-old grandsons called me to express his appreciation for a note I had sent him while he was at a 2-week Navy camp near Lake Erie. I found that his reaching out to me (it was the first call I had ever received from him) touched my heart, and yet it came as a bit of a surprise.
Then later we went out to dinner with Pat’s son, wife, and 6-year-old grandson. They came over to our condo after dinner, and as they were driving away from our condo Pat’s grandson yelled to us from his perch in the back seat, “Grandma Pat and Grandpa Gary, I love you and will love you forever.”
This is not something for me to disregard or miss! Could I fully celebrate our connection and his expression of love? On some level I did, but I also saw something in me about to rush on and even dismiss his words, seeing that they were just part of an over-exuberant six-year-old. But no, Gary, slow down. Take this in. You and Pat mean something to your grandsons.
Earlier in the weekend we entertained a couple from Lexington, Kentucky. I shared with the husband some of the long conversations I have had with my son and two daughters. I shared how I try to meet them where they are, to the degree I can understand their complex and often stressful lives, and then sometimes offer a few comments about tools for self-reflection and expanding awareness. With the latter I do not want to slip out of role as dad into a role of would-be therapist, and I am careful not to use esoteric language from Pathwork that might not be terribly relevant to their busy lives. Yes, I feel somehow close to my kids.
The husband reflected back to me, “Your kids really look up to you and respect you and your views.” My inner response was, “Really? How could I not see or feel this attitude in them, agreeing with him that he was probably correct?” Yes, I have meaning to my kids. But these very words are challenging for me to admit to myself and to speak. On some level I seem to deny that my life has meaning to my kids and grandkids. What could this all mean?
I then thought of others in my life – colleagues, Pathwork buddies, friends, my brother, even Pat. What do I mean to these folks? I seem to be oblivious to this line of questioning, even fearful. The fear tips me off that perhaps I’m getting close to something I do not want to know.
Then there was a deeper dropping into even scarier territory. “What do others mean to me?” I could begin with Mom and Dad and go from there – other family members, friends, intimates, and colleagues. Do I let others mean something to me? And if so, what do they mean to me? I notice a strategy of manipulation – behaving so as to get what I want, often even when my wants are lower self and selfish desires. This is part of my illusion that I am separate from others, and my negative intention to stay separate while still strategizing and manipulating to get my needs met by others around me.
What does my lower self, my seemingly separate self, want from others? Acceptance, praise, respect, sex, and so on. Of course intellectually I see that these are pseudo needs, not my deeper needs for love. But to get my pseudo needs met my pattern of manipulation comes into play – automatically and unconsciously. An entire web of operating patterns is at play here. It is very challenging to face these aspects of me. I am not saying this is 100% the situation, but rather that a significant percentage of my unconscious operates at this separated, illusory, level. Here is where my need for purification and transformation comes into focus. This is why I use the teachings and tools of Pathwork – to accomplish purification and experience the grace of transformation.
I return to Pathwork Lecture 151 – The attitude must truly be, “Is it possible? Could it be? I will honestly look and consider the possibility, with all sincerity and without shirking any effort, in any direction that may prove to be necessary.” Is what possible? Is it possible that I am not separate, that I do not have to manipulate to find what my soul really longs for – joy and happiness, but rather that I could possibly experience Joy and Happiness with all that is, with my Oneness with all that is. This state of Oneness with All that Is is where the Power and Love of the Cosmos flows in and through me! And from this higher level of consciousness I suspect it is possible for me to know and see clearly that others mean a lot to me, even though I seem to refuse to see this apart from striving and manipulating so that “I get my pseudo-needs met by them.” Yes, lots of room for honest self-facing, purification and transformation.
I return to Pathwork Lecture 151 and continue from paragraph 4, going on with paragraphs 5 and 6…
This may sound like a simple task, my friends. However simple it really is, it is a human peculiarity to find it very difficult to adopt this attitude. Therefore, one of the hindrances to making the universal power available is the inability to seriously and openly question and make oneself available to a new truth — no matter how revolutionary it may be — to a new outlook that seems to contradict previous convictions and experience.
This obstacle of denying a fact that is immediately available — because the openness to look without preconceived ideas is absent — is never entirely a result of “never having thought of it.” When this is the case, a person will instantly adopt an open attitude whenever the opportunity in life presents itself — and this always happens, again and again. The rigid refusal to look and consider — the adherence to opinions, often based not on actual and personal experience but merely on hearsay — is always a result of personal fear to look at the self.
Ah! Yes – fear of really seeing these negative patterns in me – my insistence on being separate, the patterns of manipulation to “get my way,” all of these aspects of myself must be faced in the process of my spiritual and psychological work on this path. May I have the courage to continue this self-examination, and may I have compassion with myself and with all others around me as we continue in this School of Life on planet Earth.
Shared in love, Gary