Discovering What I Long For
Discovering What I Long For – A Profound “Take-Away” for me from the first session of Erena’s Graduate Program
This first 3-day session of Erena’s Graduate Program (Exploring the Sacred Dimensions of the Pathwork) was titled The Sacred Pause: Entering the Sacred Sanctuary. Sixteen students, all but three of us having graduated from the Five-Year Pathwork Transformation Program – most with many more years of Pathwork since then, and a few with over a decade or more experience, had answered the call to go deeper in our Pathwork process by participating in the first of four sessions of Erena’s one-year graduate program. The positive energy of the group was palpable as Erena and her assistant led us into the weekend. To help each of us focus our work at this first session Erena asked, “What is it that you long for that you do not have in your life?” I had several marvelous experiences arising from exploring this question during our three days together.
Early in the weekend my answer was clear: I long for love – the experience of giving and receiving love, and the experience of having my love for another received. Erena then posed the question, “What would realizing what you longed for feel like in your body?” My answer was immediate, and startling: “Scary! It would feel scary to experience the giving and receiving of love.” Suddenly I was keenly aware of this game I was playing with the quality of human life called “LOVE.” Simply put, I am scared of love and hence have unconscious energies in me fighting against what I say I long for.
How could this be? What is the fear about? Is there anything I would want more than love? Well the honest answer was that I really did not want to give up my present life, with all its well-developed defense mechanisms, if that were the price required for love. I found that I enjoyed what I had manifested in my life thus far: my freedom, my working on my Pathwork, creating and building my website and writing my blog, recording the Pathwork lectures – and if the price for love was that I give these activities up, I would not be willing, at least not at first blush.
I became aware in that moment that I have an identity with being a “competent Pathworker” and, amazing as it seemed to me, I did not sense that I would give up being a “competent Pathworker,” competent in my own eyes, if that would be the price for experiencing love. AND I “got” the paradox this represented in me: that one part of me thought I was doing Pathwork in order to experience love, that Pathwork was not an end unto itself, and this part being met by a part of me that was not at all interested in love, but rather interested only in the path called Pathwork! Amazing.
And, again perplexing, on some deep level I knew that I did not know what “being a competent Pathworker” even meant. And I was also aware from this deep place that I did not know what “experiencing love” felt like in my body, or “experiencing fulfillment,” or “happiness” or “joy.”
With this deeper awareness the question of what I longed for became convoluted and evasive. I could even see the possibility that my longing to be a “competent Pathworker” stemmed from being attached to the means of the spiritual path and not to the ultimate goal of a spiritual path: what some say is the experience of Oneness with God. Of course “Oneness with God” is just one more experience that I have not had nor can I possibly know what “Oneness with God” feels like.
I smiled at the metaphor that arose in me at that point: I wanted to buy and polish and drive around in a Rolls Royce (that is, Pathwork) to get to where I already am (One with God). I am proud of my Rolls and I don’t want the spiritual path to be easy or cheap for others, or for myself! I don’t want to just “snap out of it” – that is, snap out of my unconsciousness or awake from my “sleeping through life” attitude only to find I was already there but just not aware of it. No I want a hard path, one that I can get credit for taking, a path where I can be honored by others and for which I could feel “good” within for being so committed to such a path. I am even attached to the degree of difficulty of the path rather than the ultimate aim of the path: The tougher the path the better! This awareness was truly bizarre to me.
So I was not really longing for happiness, fulfillment, beauty, creativity, peace, love, oneness with God, wisdom, and other outcomes of spiritual awakening. Rather I was seeking praise for performing against a very difficult path – praise for being a “competent Pathworker.” There I was in the middle of this program, facing this truth in me.
Clearly where I was was not logical to my adult ego. I could see that instead of being with this and taking this state in, accepting my NOW, no matter how illogical it was, I was keen on moving ahead to get out of the morass I had put myself in. How could I change this all around to a more sensible approach, namely how could I awaken my true longing (for love, for oneness with God, etc.) and let that longing (my goal) motivate me to take the shortest and fastest path to get there, whether or not that had anything to do with Pathwork? Why do I identify so much with the path itself and not the end purpose of the path, the goal that my soul truly, but apparently unconsciously, longs for?
As the days of the weekend unfolded I realized that, if I am not trying hard to be a “competent Pathworker,” to my amazement, I really don’t know what I am longing for as my soul’s aim and purpose! So at this point I explored this “unknowing” situation. I could see that I long to know what it is I am longing for. Who is that “I”? I (whoever I is) am not sure of that either. But something deep inside of me longs to long to know what it’s longing for. I could see that to be aware of this longing to long to know what I am longing for was progress. And I could feel in my body that this awareness that here was progress, a step closer to Truth, energized me, enlivened me. I continued. I long to long to know others from that place, and I long to long to be known from that place of Mystery inside of me that longs.
I then realized from a Pathwork Lecture that if I want to know what I longed for consciously AND unconsciously I could simply look at what I have manifested, realizing that what I long for is, in fact, what I have manifested – consciously or unconsciously. My longing manifests my life on this planet! If I want to know what I long for all I have to do is look at what I have manifested. If I do not like what I have manifested, then I need to inquire as to what unconscious part of me indeed did and apparently still does want what I have manifested, and then perhaps change that cause within in order to manifest a more positive outcome.
From here I realized that I manifested Erena’s graduate course for me! Of course I was not alone nor even a major player, but my longing contributed to its manifestation. This awareness that I participated in manifesting this graduate course for myself gave rise to excitement in me. Perhaps this excitement of awareness is the basis of ardor (great warmth of feeling; fervor; passion; intense devotion, eagerness, or enthusiasm; zeal) that some have spoken about as necessary for a thriving spiritual path.
Then in the midst of this enlivening experience more, much more bubbled up. What else have I manifested that reflects my longing? In addition to Erena’s Graduate Program, I manifested Moira as my Helper (and have had 81 sessions with her over a nearly 3-year period), I manifested Pat and our 14 years of history together, Pat’s and my work with Sage and Anthony this year, Pat’s and my oh-so-rich coffee time, Ed who is my Hakomi body counselor, my Pathwork buddies Jenny and Mary, my joy in creating my website, writing my blog, recording the Pathwork lectures, my family, brother Paul, the food and exercise program I have been on this year, and on and on. My oh my!
Then I asked myself, “How could I not appreciate the Divine Kernel that is my Essence? How could I not love myself for manifesting all of this? This is about God (the God in me and in the ALL) loving God (the God in me and in the ALL)! Or, as Meister Eckhart stated centuries ago: The eye with which I see God is the same eye with which God sees me. As Moira said in a recent helper session: “Gary, be prepared! You will come to love yourself!” The awareness manifests my life: I long for what I have. Such ardor arises in me from this awareness. From here I can feel love for myself.
So perhaps I am not attached to the Rolls Royce – my chosen spiritual path: “Pathwork.” While I was not conscious of what I was longing for I now see my unconscious longing has been for awareness itself. The end product and common denominator of all I am about has been and is still comes from my longing and search for deeper and deeper awareness, in search for Truth. I am now, in this moment, aware that I am longing for awareness. And I am aware of the energy that fills me as this awareness of my longing for awareness manifests. I am blown away with gratitude for this awareness, with this feeling love for myself. Moira warned me, “If you pray for rain, be sure to take an umbrella!” And so now I am receiving what I did not even know I was longing for: self-love made possible by awareness. . I’m Singing in the Rain! I can get out my umbrella.
Driving to Sevenoaks for the graduate program I was listening to the “Original Prayer” and before that the “I AM” recordings by Neil Douglas Klotz – the messages of Jesus in the Lord’s Prayer and in the Gospel of John – the many “I am” passages — amplified from the language Jesus spoke: Aramaic. More blessings in that this expanded my understanding of the cultural context, and therefore the full meaning, of Jesus’ words in the Lord’s Prayer and in John’s Gospel. More awareness brought more energy. Perhaps I could say this is about God (the God in me and in the Cosmos) becoming aware of God (the God in me and in the Cosmos) and bringing forth more energy.
I became full of gratitude by the third day of the workshop. Gratitude for Erena who created the graduate program, gratitude for my Divine Essence that participated in this creation of the Graduate Program and got me there, and gratitude for the 18 of us that participated in this co-creation. Is this awareness Enlightenment? Perhaps.
My mind went on. Perhaps God could not experience the goodness of God’s creation without putting himself into his creation. Or consider that perhaps for God to experience the Joy of Coming to Awareness God had to first make God unaware, had to be the darkness to experience the joy of coming to the light. God could then experience Love as God comes to awareness. And the God in me wants the God in others to experience this coming to profound awareness.
I realize that all of this may not make much sense to the reader. It does not make sense to me! It is as if I was poking at the Mystery of Consciousness, and a few drops of deeper awareness dropped into my heart. I share as best I can, but I find words and concepts inadequate. It seems to be an experience of feeling Life from within the Mystery that Life is.
After the 3-day program I drove south to Blacksburg, Virginia, and then on to North Carolina where three of us Pathworkers spent three day’s time just being and sharing and being and sharing. It was a true retreat for me as I integrated and shared what I had experienced at Erena’s program and listened to where my Pathwork buddies were in their lives. A rich time.
After eight days in all I returned home to Pat in Cincinnati. Our coffee-time those first two mornings back together felt different, richer. On the second day in particular (Saturday) I felt Pat’s openness toward me on a deeper and more complete level. I did not understand why, and, while she was deep into the experience, she did not know what had come upon us or why. I experienced this as Pat being a different person, A person I very much longed for. This was strange. We did not understand what was happening between us, but welcomed the experience.
In our couple’s session yesterday with Sage and Anthony we explored this strange space more. I expressed that what I experienced seemed to be a significant and profound change in Pat. But Sage helped us pause and explore how changes in me had brought about or allowed changes in Pat. Pat could not name the changes in me that she felt and that could have contributed to her openness. Finally she said it was an energetic change in me. As she tried to express this in words she said that I was a welcoming softness, a soft and grounded solidness. These were strange words to hear. I could not really feel these qualities in me, but I gladly accepted Pat’s mirroring of what she experienced in and through me.
Was I different? What changed in me and how? It was only in that moment of our session with Sage and Anthony that I noticed that perhaps these transformation pieces in me came from my eight-day experience of the graduate program and retreat. Why did I not recognize this as the cause of a possible transformation in me from the beginning, that my eight days away from Pat and deeply doing my work had wrought aspects of transformation in me? I could feel even more gratitude for the experiences of those eight days.
Pat and I could now see that there were new possibilities opening up to us, new and profound dimensions to our relationship, perhaps new ways to experience Union – between us, with others, with God. Who knows? It is all a Mystery, a mystery unfolding moment by moment. Since it was a Skype call Sage and Anthony could see us during the call. As they watched us in these exchanges with each other and with them they, in closing the call, summarized what they saw in one word: Beautiful! Yes, we could agree, beautiful. So this is the experience for which we express our gratitude as we enter the Thanksgiving Holiday in 2012.
Epilogue: As I spend time with this blog entry I notice something else. While motivated by my healthy desire for awareness, the joy I find is in the journey itself that brings the awareness about, the moments of having puzzle pieces come together for the first time — the AHA moments! This is enjoying the process of life as it unfolds rather than waiting until life is over and standing back looking at the puzzle when it is complete, though I am sure there is joy and satisfaction and gratitude there as well. The point is, I can see what is meant when spiritual teachers say life is about enjoying the journey rather than (or in addition to) enjoying the destination. In this sense I can enjoy driving around in my Rolls (Pathwork); that is, I can enjoy the experience of moment-by-moment awakening as I drive along on the path of Life. I think this was the joy I experienced in the graduate program and the events that followed. Perhaps this way of joyfully experiencing life as it unfolds, made possible by the tools of Pathwork, is what I really long for and am grateful for.
Shared in love, Gary