Flowing With the Waves of Life — Bitterness AND the Abundant Life

Meditation and Coffee Time with Pat on Monday 12/3/12

In meditation I reflected on my Enneagram THREEness – the Performer. In my unredeemed THREEness I hold onto bitterness and resentment. Why? This is because of my choice to PERFORM for the world rather than to be myself in the world. From this choice a bitterness results, and in my bitterness and resentment I close my heart.  This is serious, because a THREE is the Enneagram’s center point for the HEART (feelings), as SIX is the center for the HEAD (intellect) and NINE is the center of the BODY (groundedness). So HEART (feelings) is of my Essence, but while unredeemed, the hardest thing for a THREE to experience is his feeling nature.

In this awareness of my bitterness and my closed heart I proceeded further into my meditation.

I floated in the space of my feelings. I recalled that yesterday I had glanced at a beautiful book that I purchased recently: Oceans—A Visual Guide by Hutchinson and Hawkins. In my morning meditation I remembered my feelings evoked by this book the day before: the unfathomable depth of the Cosmos with its billions of galaxies each containing billions of stars. I was feeling into this unimaginable vastness and at the same time seeing the uniqueness and fragility of this Blue Planet Earth circling the Sun. I was awed by the realization that the Earth’s life-filled surface with its thin surface, which is 70% water (which at its deepest depth measures 7 miles) and 30% land (where the highest mountain peaks reach 5 miles above the surface of the oceans). This difference between the deepest ocean depth to the highest mountain peak is but 12 miles, about 0.15% of the planet’s diameter. And yet all of the richness of life on this Earth as we experience it lives in this thin delicate shell of water and land. I am humbled and awed by the Vastness, Majesty and Mystery of our Cosmos and Planet.

Add to this my capacity to have awareness of this Cosmos as well as self-awareness and I am even further humbled and overpowered by the Grandeur of it all. In this context I could appreciate all that supports my growing awareness and consciousness – my many helper and counseling sessions, deep conversations with Pat and so many other spiritual friends, and the arts that fill the culture around me. I could see that my website and my blog are honoring this life journey of mine, and this honoring of my journey, too, satisfied me. I had come to a place of Joy and Peace.

I was then, as often happens for me, drawn to a bible verse I learned so well in my Lutheran grade school in Quincy, Illinois. It is John 10:10, the words of Jesus in the section on the Good Shepherd, and reads in the King James: “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” Yes, this is what arose in me during meditation: my abundant life. Here was the taste of transformation that was graced upon me in meditation. And in this brief transformation experience the backdrop of my life swung from malaise to abundance!

Pat then joined me for our coffee time together. I shared enthusiastically what had come in my meditation. Pat: This time alone in mediation, this time with the Pathwork Lectures – all of this, plus our coffee time and life together and your website and writing your blog, all of this IS your Practice. You have to make time for this. This is your Calling, certainly more than all the administrative activities that fill so much of your time.

Gary: Thank you.   …  In looking at the bible passage from John on Jesus Christ somehow playing a role in my having an abundant life, I am wondering just how my relationship with Jesus Christ relates to the abundant life that arose in me this morning and is with me still. How does Jesus Christ relate to my abundant living – not on a conceptual level but on a felt-sense level?  I have such negative images of Jesus Christ from my youth. One of these images dealt with my emerging sexuality. Here in my sexuality and related feelings of Eros the Life Force was arising in me, and I thought that there was no room for my sexuality and Eros with Jesus Christ. This caused a split in me. Intellectually I knew the teachings of the bible about God’s love for me and Jesus Christ giving me abundant life, but somehow this “love” ruled out celebrating my sexuality here in this life now. Rather, the teachings about Jesus Christ and abundance seemed to be related to some future “heaven” and not in the NOW. So part of me came to resent Jesus Christ for taking Life away from me in this life now instead of encouraging and nurturing this Life now. Later I would find that this was a distortion, or at least an incomplete picture – due to my not being able to experience a bigger scope or picture. But as I grew up, at first this split widened. Not only did Jesus Christ not support my sexuality, in my distortions I came to intellectually believe that spirituality itself did not support my sexuality and feelings of Eros.

In my fifties I came to a crossroads and needed to make a decision concerning my split.  I formalized the split in my mind: If my sexuality is the road to hell, well then to hell I would go. I sat with this extreme but private conviction. Sure it bothered me on some level, but if I had to make a choice, the choice was clear!

And then came Pathwork!  The first Pathwork book I read was Creating Union, which consists of those Pathwork Lectures related to sexuality and intimate relationships. Not only was sexuality not seen as oppositional to spirituality, sexuality was honored and celebrated, combined with Eros and love, as the greatest of spiritual experiences graced upon humankind. Finally I had a spirituality that fit life as I was experiencing it. Here in Pathwork was a spirituality that was giving me Life built on what was alive in me, including my sexuality and my precious feelings of Eros.

Yesterday after our coffee time I listened to Pathwork Lecture 251 The Evolution and Spiritual Meaning of Marriage — New Age Marriage. As I listened I could celebrate the wisdom put forth in this material.  Freedom and inspiration were felt experiences in me as I listened.

And where does Jesus Christ fit in here? All I can say is that the Pathwork Lectures give such a high view of Jesus Christ that there cannot be a split in reality between Jesus Christ and sexuality or spirituality and sexuality. But my capacity of experiencing a deeper heart-felt relationship with Christ, or other people for that matter, is not yet well enough developed to heal the split between sexuality and Jesus Christ/spirituality. More work – but I am far from depressed about this. In fact, quite the contrary: I trust the process! I am experiencing the abundant life on one level while, on another level and at the same time, I am still in my bitterness and resentment.

Pat: (Changing the subject after a period of silence) I have a challenge in living a simple life. I idealized “Grandma Pete” who thrived in her simple life. Yet as much as I respected and admired her for living such a full but simple life, part of me cannot be satisfied with “simple” living. I long for a simple life in part of me, yet another part of me both denigrates and is averse to simple living. A dear member of my spiritual group has just recently decided to give up her busy therapy practice, sell her house, and live much more simply, AND live more faithfully her Buddhist practice. I so admire her, but could never see me doing such a thing as simplifying my life and committing to my practice to that degree.

Of course this comes out of my early patterning. As a child I had a distorted view of life, needing to BE and DO other than what was arising in me naturally. Here today “arising in me naturally” would include “living simply.” But as a child I was cut off from being able to receive and be aligned with these natural arisings in me. In my evening practice I am working with my Joe Bfstplk scene with Dad. From this scene I have come to see that I came to believe I was somehow flawed (simple living would be my flaw) – Dad saying that Joe Bfstplk is who I am – the one with the dark cloud over her head – and as such, I was not OK as I am. So I had to be somebody other than who I am in order to be accepted in the world.

I assumed that most of us come into life bursting forth with “I’m Alive!” They come in with the sheer love of life, the pure clear love of life. But not me. I came in with the dark cloud of gloom over my head. Gary: Well maybe part of each of us has this LIFE! feeling and part of us is more on the Joe Bfstplk NO-LIFE side of the ledger. The NO-LIFE side is evoked by our parents and others in authority in order that we can be made conscious of this NO-LIFE part and come to heal it. For me the Joe Bfstplk NO-LIFE side was the bitterness and resentment I held against authority and Jesus Christ (unconsciously) while the LIFE side would be the Living Abundantly side, somehow connected to my felt-sense (vs. intellectual, theoretical or dogmatic) relationship with Jesus Christ. More and more of this abundant living lies before me as my awareness and consciousness build.

Pat: We have these childhood experiences that set these negative Joe-Bfstplk clouds in place. The Buddhist visualization practices that I do as part of my Awakening Into Presence program begin to thaw these fixated and stagnant places of negativity. I had my own “Fall from Grace” experiences when I left the convent and later when I left the Catholic Church. For you it is your image that Jesus Christ does not want you to live from within abundantly, especially if that abundance includes your sexuality, which of course it does. The clearer we can be about these distortions and images, the clearer we can be about what our work is.

Pat: Something in what happens in our morning coffee times must be intercourse on a spiritual level. I am not sure what is yours and what is mine – the barriers between us come down – releasing the particularity of each of us. Even as each of us is informed in a specific configuration that’s here in you and here in me – including all of each of us: our personalities, distortions, Divine aspects. This is all beyond what one of us alone can be. What Jesus said, “Where two are gathered” something more happens. Gary: Yes. Jesus said, somehow “There am I in the midst of them.” I am not sure what this means on an experiential level as yet. And what you speak – this is what Creating Union is all about as well. So here’s to Love!

Shared in love, Gary