Pat and I shared my Easter experience summarized in my previous blog entry with an enthusiastic newly-born Christian in his thirties. He was thrilled at our focus on a personal relationship with Christ – “YES, that is what Christianity is all about,” he exhorted enthusiastically, “a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.” I also shared my Easter blog entry with a Pathwork friend. She responded, “Gary, thanks for sharing! It was beautiful. I feel all of us awakening to this simple truth now.”
With both of these interactions I’m called to look at what I am experiencing. Am I becoming a Christian Fundamentalist? I wrestled with Fundamentalism for 40 years, consciously and unconsciously. Now, after nine years of Pathwork, am I back at the beginning? Is this simple truth of my childhood what Christianity all about? The church friends would say, “Of course, Gary,” and quote Jesus’ words about “receiving the Kingdom of Heaven as a little child” to prove it.
Yet where I am feels new to me. It may be the same as my young Christian friend’s relationship with Christ, but it is certainly not the relationship with Christ I had in my thirties, though at the time back then I was leading many a bible class on the basis of this intellectual knowing about Christ.
It seems I am open to experiencing the difference between the intellectual understanding I had as a child in Catechism class and now, a man of 66, approaching the felt-sense and intuitive Knowing I seem to be open to experiencing.
Jenny Zia took me back to Pathwork Lecture 256 where, in the latter paragraphs, it speaks of coming into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ from a position of personal autonomy, from groundedness in one’s own intuitive Knowing. The Lecture contrasts this coming to Christ from a position of self-responsibility and autonomy with a younger place of following an external authority and coming to Christ because some authority (person or church or book) says that is the way. Perhaps my journey into the desert of emptiness was necessary for me. The slate of my intellectual knowing had to be erased and make room for the deeper felt-sense and intuitive Knowing. It’s like the hero’s journey, coming back to the village he left but with a deeper authentic knowing about Life, an entirely new view of the life he had left to go on his journey.
So my issues are no longer about believing that Jesus died for my sins so that I can go to heaven when I die. Rather they are about Christ living in me: Christ, my God-self (or God, since this is beyond self, me, or my), manifesting through me (my personality). My journey now is about seeing, even welcoming, my faults, limitations and immaturities, accepting them, understanding their cause (wrong beliefs and conclusions about life, images, negative intentions to stay separate) and their consequences (pain and suffering), feeling remorse for the pain my they have brought to others and to myself, and then, through God’s power emanating from within, transforming them, thereby purifying my being. This is transformation and leads to a richer, happier, more fulfilling life as I continue to grow along my path. This I did not know in my thirties and really only crystalized for me in Pathwork, the way that resonates with my particular soul.
And, at the same time, I celebrate my younger friend’s enthusiasm about his personal relationship with Christ. I can see, in fact, that he has had more relational experience in life than I have. He relates more from the heart with friends and family than I seem as yet able to do. I can really celebrate this capacity in him! And in this sense he can speak of a personal relationship with Christ from a deeper knowing of that space than I have as yet the capacity for.
So many paths. So many ways. So many points of entry for each stage of our journey. May we each find and commit to what brings us closer to the fullness of Life, to happiness and joy, to Love and Truth.