Experiences of “Let Go, Let God”
My first blog entries in the pages of my website began in April 2009. One of these April entries, posted April 9, 2009, was titled “Finding Happiness.” Thus began an uninterrupted 8-year daily reflections in some 400 blog entries of my personal and spiritual journey of “Wrestling, Growth, and Discovery” – the byline of my website. This uninterrupted series ended with an entry on September 22, 2017, interestingly, and appropriately I notice, titled “Anxious, Human, and Happy.”
I stopped the blogging in 2017 to commit myself more fully to creating the Devotional Format of the 258 Pathwork Lectures that had become the foundation of my spiritual life. That project of creating the Devotional Format of the Pathwork Lectures seems now to have been interrupted by my engagement with my new friends of the Integral Christian Network (ICN). But in those six years (2017-2023) of creating the Devotional Format of the Lectures I “finished” (“finished” in quotes, for one never finishes pondering such wisdom literature) creating this format of 218 of the 258 lectures – 84% of the total 258. Importantly, this includes the last 180 lectures, which contain material that I felt most critical to my journey to this point of my life.
So now I seem to have taken up my journaling pen again, and I’ll be interested in where this journey now leads. I notice that I seem interested at some point to reengage material in that 8-year series of my earlier 400 blogs, but the time for that is not now. Now I must continue my path forward and be about following where spirit seems to be leading me in this next chapter of my incredibly blessed life!
So I take up the pen and continue from where I left off in the recent two blog entries – “Insistence of Mystery” and then “I Am a Follower of Jesus.” These are the first two blog entries that I posted on the ICN website, becoming less shy about who I am, “warts and all,” as people say.
What I noticed at my posting these two blog entries on the ICN website is that some of my ICN friends responded with their comments. But even more interesting to me was noticing that I was opening to others and allowing myself to learn from their comments based on their experiences and wisdom. My familiar defense structure of “having to be right” and of “perfectionism” is being penetrated, and I can feel a freedom in this. I experience this new freedom as if I’m coming out of my “self-made prison” and learning for the first time how to live in an un-incarcerated and more undefended state in the world of humanity. Coming out of this prison, like I imagine coming out of long incarcerations in any prison, is both humbling and scary, … and oh so wonderful! In this freedom, all parts of all of us have a voice. No part of any of us needs to be right. We can all be curious and open together and in this shared way reach deeper and wider Truths, reach new dimensions of Beauty, reach more profoundly the never-ending awesomeness of Mystery, and, yes, reach new experiences of Oneness as together we discover what LOVE is among us!”
What wisdom have I been open to considering in response to these comments made in response to my most recent two blog entries? The first was my openness to change the phrase in “Insistence of Mystery” from “NOT THIS” to “not ONLY this,” as suggested by Chris. This offering by Chris takes me from my normal dualism of either/or thinking to a more unitive state of both/and – AND gives me a deeper understanding and feel of what “both/and” may mean at deeper levels of consciousness. Thank you, Chris.
Next was a comment from my friend Gene who reminded me of letting go of God images. Of course I had been exposed to this idea of letting go of God images from Pathwork. Lecture 52 The God Image and many other Pathwork lectures on our God images as well as the impact of other images from our early childhood development are prevalent in many of the Pathwork lectures. What is new is to welcome some commonality with Gene who sees all this material on images through a somewhat different lens. I am celebrating that Gene and I are on the same page but perhaps from fresh and new perspectives.
This open and welcoming attitude is different from my usual defensive stance of needing to make Pathwork “right” and “better” and other paths somehow wrong or inferior. AND, equally importantly, I must remember at the same time to let go of the “moralist” and “inner critic” in me who would love to accuse, judge, and shame a younger Gary for having been “wrong,” “prideful,” “undeveloped,” “so immature spiritually,” and, God forbid, “imperfect.” Thank you, Gene.
Next, BJ (Betty Jane) offered that her following Jesus was more about following Jesus’ beliefs and teachings rather than experiencing a “companioning” relationship with Jesus (i.e., rather than Jesus being experienced relationally as close or near to us in our daily lives). She points to her sense that perhaps by embracing a Cosmic Christ “concept” she, like me and many of us, may be blocking the development of a personal relationship with Jesus that is also possible.
Or said another way, by embracing a Cosmic Christ only as a concept that we believe is beyond our capacity as humans to understand, we may be blocking the Cosmic Christ ALSO being fully incarnated as the flesh and blood living and dying human that Jesus was/is. In such focus on only the concept of the Cosmic Christ we may be blocking our openness to experiencing and feeling the also real “human form Jesus” with whom we, as fellow humans, can have a real and felt relationship.
I find BJ’s reflecting helping me to understand the impact of my own growing up as a conservative Lutheran where saving faith meant not necessarily relating to Jesus personally but rather holding firmly to the belief that what was most important about Jesus was the “correct Lutheran doctrine” about Jesus – professing that he was/is the Son of God, and further professing the “correct doctrine” that he died as an atonement for my sins (i.e., atonement for the actual sins I have committed in the past and will continue to commit every day of my life as a human being as well as including my state of being born in a state of original sin due to being born from the seed the first fallen human, Adam. This “correct” doctrine was reinforced regularly in the Lutheran confession where I confessed that I was born as the “I” in the “I, a poor miserable sinner,” of the weekly confession in the Lutheran liturgy).
The professed “correct” doctrine continued in my holding firmly to the belief that since Jesus died and thereby atoned for my sins, I would, by God’s grace and through God’s and/or Jesus’ infinite love for me, go to heaven when I died. Of course, in being faithful to this “correct” doctrine I was to be grateful for the price Jesus paid, and in this gratitude I would surely gladly serve him as my Lord and Savior.
One, or at least this one named Gary, does not easily walk away from such a deep indoctrination from birth on. So, as BJ reminded me, these early images about “right belief” being the most important thing about a religion was imprinted upon my soul not merely intellectually but deeply etched into my soul emotionally. It is not a matter for such a person as this Gary to be swayed logically by the irrationality of such a belief. In attending the Lutheran Church we are not in a comparative religion class trying to determine what religion we should try out and learning why the Lutherans really did get it “right.” We are not encouraged to trying out Pathwork as a possible path for us based on logic of its key concepts or worldviews (including the Pathwork worldview purporting an elevated idea such as the Cosmic Christ). No, this orthodox Lutheran attitude toward belief per se had to be challenged on emotional and spiritual levels by Grace.
In my long spiritual journey, by grace I gradually have become open to, trust in, and sense with certainty the possibility of having a personal relationship with Jesus. In this sense and certainty, I am a follower of Jesus, feeling Jesus’ love and care of Gary, as Gary is/was/will be. I was helped to see the depth of this challenge and the role of grace from BJ’s comments – so thank you BJ, for opening up these important reflections.
Then my friend Allen responded by celebrating my feeling of certainty in opening to Jesus. AND Allen offered the Gospel of Thomas for my consideration as a possible next step for me. I know about the Gospel of Thomas and have a copy, but I perhaps have not been ready for engaging and being affected by it. Now I’m feeling this Gospel of Thomas may indeed be the next step – this collection of sayings of Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas may help deepen my relating to Jesus.
Allen goes on in his comments to remind me that when we do his stillpoint meditation (that he has created for his daily Whole Body Mystical Awakening meditation offering – 20 minutes each weekday offered from 7:40-8:00 CT – note that all of us are welcome to participate) we move in the direction of removing our God or Jesus IMAGES that may arise in this meditation and, by clearing these images, become open to an ever-deeper “essence to essence” relationship with Jesus as God is. Thank you, Allen.
There are more points that these comments offer me. Consciously, or unconsciously, they shall affect me as I continue my journey. This opening to others feels like I am opening to “letting go and letting God.” At this realization I smile, remembering that the title of Pathwork Lecture 213 is The Spiritual and the Practical Meaning of “Let Go, Let God.” Yes, in Grace, it seems that Spirit is with me at every turn of the river of life. May I continue to “let go and let God,” and let the flow of the river of life carry me onward.
With a growing love,