Facing and Daring to Get Beyond My NO! to Life
Pat and I wrote brief biographies for Sage and Anthony in preparation for our couple’s intensive next weekend. As I sit with my bio I see much numbed-out tragic pain in my intimate life. I see that I had very limited emotional connection to Mom and did not get rooted in deep love connection experiences with her. Then I reflect with sadness on the paucity of mutual romantic interludes with girls I experienced through my high school and college days – nothing worked out, no relationship with a girl went very long, became emotionally deep or had physicality as a part of the experience.
I knowingly entered a marriage without Eros and really had no expectancy for profound joy from my marriage. I am filled with sadness and remorse for the impact on my wife and ultimately myself. The strongest Eros I felt came when I was in my fifties, but the relationship, lasting five years, was ended abruptly. I was numb to the pain, sense of loss, and sadness of this ending. I had other relationships since but they were lopsided and not mutually balanced physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually – a balance and mutuality I longed for consciously but unconsciously had little idea what such a relationship would be like.
And Pat and I both struggle with understanding our relationship. We ask, with serious questioning, “What is love?” Each of us brings wounding, defense patterns, and resistance to our relationship. It is the best relationship either of us has experienced on so many levels and we have a commitment to each other, but, with some trepidation, we courageously go into our intensive to gain a deeper experience of union.
As I slow down to take this all in I see much pain in each of us in our respective intimate lives. I have usually denied this pain, feeling, rather, the helplessness I feel covering my pain. Rarely do I cover my feelings of helplessness with the rage I would eventually feel at being helplessness. The rage is there, but I control it and use this energy to courageously take steps to end relationships that I assess, rightly or wrongly, are not working for me and cannot work for me. These actions lead to further pain in the other person, and ultimately in myself.
So I see that in intimate relationships I have sometimes had no expectancy for Joy or Love to arise. This was especially true in my long marriage, yet here I did experience my own joy of my giving and loving generosity from my heart. I could deny that this heart-love existed in me, and I could deny that this love in me gave me joy, but it certainly seeped out. For some reason I did not allow myself to fully feel my love going out nor my wife’s love coming back to me, nor did I allow myself to fully experience all the joy associated with this love. More sadness here.
So on one level I am swimming in a sea of love, its coming into and through me and its flowing out of me, but I do not recognize it, or perhaps I refuse to recognize it. So, needlessly, I feel helpless concerning love. It seems I numb out my needless feelings of helplessness in part by revving up my intensity, either in the area of what I am refusing to feel (giving and receiving love) by egoicly donning a Love Mask, or in another area (such as doing inner spiritual work, planning Sevenoaks activities, etc.), thereby donning a Power Mask. I refuse to allow myself to feel appreciated, loved, or loving.
Pat: Perhaps this relates to your Enneagram THREEness. People see and appreciate your generous and giving heart, but you refuse to take in their affirmation of your divine qualities. Gary: Yes. My experience is not that I am pretending to be generous and giving but rather that these qualities flow naturally out of me, they are part of my Divine Ray as an Enneagram THREE (heart-centered person), but, as part of the patterning of a THREE, I refuse to let myself be conscious of these rays emanating from me. This is part of my “NO! to Life.” I refer to the second point of Pathwork Lecture 166 that speaks to negative intentionality to let Divine Rays out.
I notice this pattern of destructive attitudes invades other areas of my life. In my spiritual life I commit to taking the hardest course of action I can find (Pathwork and other rigorous paths) and giving it my all, yet I have no felt expectation that I shall ever have a transcendent experience of God, that I shall ever have a religious experience, or an experience of a transcendent Oneness with all beings. No, in fact I would likely deny whatever experience I might have here.
And with all my valiant efforts at Sevenoaks it is the same. I’ll work hard, but I really have no expectations that anything positive will manifest through Sevenoaks or that I shall ever feel satisfaction and joy from all my work toward this end. Just like with piano lessons, I am willing to give it my all in effort, but I have no expectations that I shall ever find Joy in playing the piano. And if I did dare to experience joy, even if tears would flow when listening to good classical music (which they do), I would somehow deny the experience as anything relating to transcendence.
Pat and I then spent much of our coffee time talking about my intimate relationships and how each of them played out. Gary: I need to be in my integrity in my intimate relationships. Pat: When were you in integrity and when were you not in your integrity in your intimate relationships? What does being in integrity mean to you? Gary: That’s easy. Integrity to me means being aligned with my Life Force, which shows up powerfully, at least in part, in feeling Eros. When I feel Eros in a relationship I feel aligned with my Life Force and in integrity.
Gary: But I have many distortions about love, and these distortions block the blossoming of Eros into love. I fear that love means “submission to the other” and “loss of self.” This, of course is, intellectually, a distortion, but it is still where my felt-self lives. I need to open this up and mature my heart, let it discover that love is not losing self but that love is about showing up authentically and fully and engaging the other authentically and fully.
Pat: Love is an energetic interface that allows us to experience connection. Gary: And I see that I resist connection, Union, Oneness with all that is. Why? Because on a felt-sense level I fear that in Union I shall be swallowed up and cease to exist. Pat: How do you experience tears that flow out of you sometimes when you are listening to classical music? What do you experience when you are transfixed while you take a photo of a delicate wildflower that has captured your attention? Do you feel beauty? Joy? Gary: I experience Mystery!
Pat: Is this the same Mystery that you experienced in your intimate relationships, especially when Eros was present, but perhaps also when Eros was not present? Gary: I experienced connection at some transcendent level. I felt seen, appreciated, and loved at levels that revealed truly who I am. And I sensed that I saw the woman, appreciated and loved her at levels that revealed truly who she was. Sometimes the latter were projections, but sometimes not, at least not 100%, and I felt pain in the woman’s denial of the woman I saw her to be.
Pat: The complexity of US is fascinating. I’m more interested in the inner workings of human beings than in anything else. More than I am interested in Nature, art, music, even though these are beautiful too. Gary: This is true for me as well. I find I am simply not as interested in photography, music, collecting books, and other things that used to give me pleasure. Yes, I too am much more interested in the inner workings of human beings. My entire website and passion for Pathwork come out of this interest. Here is where I feel I stand in integrity.
Pat: No need to mince words here. We are on an Inner Journey to Union. We may not know what this is. It is unknown and unfamiliar territory, all Mystery. And maybe some of it is more known than we realize, and we simply cannot not yet fully perceive it. But we are inextricably and strongly Called to this Journey. And those who truly know us “get” what we are doing next weekend with Sage and Anthony and know that we are doing it for the benefit of all couples on the planet.
How true. And for those who “get” what our experience next weekend with Sage and Anthony is likely to be, and even those who do not yet “get” this (that includes Pat and me in many ways!) we ask for your prayers. Prayers for what? Prayers for openness to what is possible in a full experience and expression of Union.
We again read the quote from Pathwork Lecture 151: Intensity: An Obstacle to Self-realization:
Greetings, my dearest friends. The divine blessings streaming in the atmosphere around and within you are a powerful force, available to you provided you are open and receptive to it.
Self-realization means becoming aware of this universal, cosmic power, available at all times. It is your tragedy to be cut off from this power, to be oblivious or ignorant of its existence. For knowing of it is one of the prerequisites for making it available. When you enter the realm where it is possible to make this power available, you find yourself in the predicament of not being able to know what you have not experienced. Therefore, to bridge the gap between previous experience and the available power, it is necessary to consider the new possibility. This is always the intelligent approach to every new step of branching out, whether in science or in any other realization of truth. However, you are usually not ready to do this, for you falsely believe you must have definite opinions. You fluctuate at all times between a definite yes and a definite no. No discovery can ever be made with this attitude. 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.”
Shared in love, Gary