Patty and I are thoroughly enjoying working with our Tuesday Pathwork Series. Our first session brought a lot of relief. It is actually happening. Seven beautiful people attended. We had a good time. And we are looking forward to the next sessions with a little more relaxation. It was a big step for us to actually offer this, our first Pathwork program in Cincinnati.
Yesterday in our preparation we hit a snag. We could not agree on a particular concept, the definition and the identity of the conscious ego as it relates to the function of the compassionate objective observer. The concept is important, and our conversation was helpful and enlivening, and we came to agree on how we would present this material.
And we mused over the question of whether three or four senior teachers in Pathwork, each defining the conscious ego in light of the role of the compassionate objective observer, would agree or not. What distinctions would they make, etc.? And we noticed that we would enjoy the debate if offered. Of course that “enjoyment of debate” is our rational sides’ desire. Perhaps rather than giving us answers, the three or four senior teachers would wisely stop and ask us, “So why is this so important to you two?” An interesting question in its own right!
For me it is a matter of discerning where I was clinging to a particular view that I had and where, together with Patty, we were wrestling for the sake of a deeper understanding of Truth. Growing up conservative Lutheran, discerning right from wrong concepts, especially on matters spiritual, was a big deal, in some areas even a life-or-death deal. From this background I tend to cling to what I think is correct, I have a stake in being “right.” This is because I am making my ideas and understanding of things my security blanket, if you please.
I appreciate the Pathwork Lectures in that they explicitly say, “Do not cling to my words and concepts. Rather, have your own opinions. But at the same time consider my words, and if they resonate with your inner sense of truth, take them in and let them inspire you. On the other hand, if they do not resonate now, let them go, but stay open to the possibility that they are correct. Do not superimpose my words over your opinions, but stay engaged with the inquiry as to what is Truth.” Openness combined with accepting and honoring where you are, that appeals to me.
For me, the Pathwork lectures are a kind of map of the territory of Life. They help me have perspective and context, but they are only a map. They are not the ultimate experiential reality, and the experiential reality is what is true for me in this moment, in this NOW. The Lectures say “Life and Feeling are one.” So being open to my feelings, all of them, is what makes life rich for me. Hiding behind an elaborate framework of maps, even Pathwork maps or biblical maps, is not living. Rather, holding rigidly to maps blocks my feelings, filters them, making some “right” or “good,” and others “wrong” or “bad.” The filtering process can be exhausting, exasperating, and gets me nowhere.
“So, Gary, just let go of any clinging to your security blanket of beliefs. Go with the flow, including accepting that you may in fact be ‘right,’ or, on the other hand, that you may be “wrong.” Wrestling and engagement with the material of Pathwork and with my own experiences of life, and with other seekers and wrestlers, and then living accordingly is living, and is living abundantly. May I live abundantly and fully, thrilling at the healthy wrestling and then the applications of the truths that I uncover. This seems to be what constitutes my life when it is at its best.