Living Beyond the Maps
How do I live beyond the maps of life? As I dive into various modalities and various paths, I begin with maps. What concepts do these paths provide? What experiences? I may try to follow them, as I have with Pathwork for ten years and a more traditional Christianity the many years before that. I can ask whether or not the maps make sense, could they work for me? If they might work, I will likely throw myself into the work.
But now I am faced with opening the doors to things beyond maps. There are many many examples, but let me take just one. Pat and I have a friend who is a whirling dervish. That ceremonial dancing takes one into a state of experiencing death, Pat and I are told, and who you are before this “death” experience is radically different from who you are afterwards. So what do I make of that? And there are hundreds of these modalities beyond my comprehension or experience.
I am deeply engaged in our Pathwork community just now in working on curricula for our five-year transformation program, a program which is followed by five-years of training for helpership. Ten years of work in all. And supposedly we grow in stages of consciousness through all this — in one model from personal, to inter-personal, to trans-personal, to unitive or impersonal stages. One’s sense of identity, sense of who one is, changes through these stages, changes radically. One’s life purpose changes through these stages, changes radically. In the final stage, the unitive impersonal stage, we enter a NO-SELF stage of consciousness. A “No-I” stage.
One does not enter such a program in order to grow into a “No-I” stage. Who would want to! Yet those ahead of me on the path have discovered bliss in this “No-I” stage. Well “bliss” is too limiting a term, for in the mapless stage there are no words to describe one’s experiences.
From this perspective it seems meaningless to talk about being a Christian, a Buddhist, a Pathworker, a follower of any particular path. All of these paths suggest movement and growth. All of them have maps. But in the land beyond maps all is experience. Experience of Being.
As I said, I am serving on the Pathwork Council of my local Pathwork community. This council is responsible for the Pathwork School at Sevenoaks. While responsible for curricula, I am now in this awkward position of having no idea how a set of Pathwork program curricula can be constructed that comprehends, even facilitates, “arriving” at a mapless state. It seems the curricula of our programs must comprehend this maplessness. They must constantly fan the flames of each unique participant’s soul in that particular soul’s stage of consciousness. Teaching concepts I guess is important, as is some level of emotional processing I guess, provided we realize these activities and concepts are the scaffolding for the soul that will be torn down when the building, the “NO-I” building, is complete.
I am not dismayed but rather inspired by the task of building non-curricula curricula for the various Pathwork programs in my role on the Pathwork Council and now the Transformation Curriculum Committee. But I do feel an overwhelm that this is a task well beyond my grasp to fulfill.
This goes way beyond questions like, “should the Pathwork Transformation program be four years or five years.” It seems the Transformation program should be as long as it needs to be for each unique student.
And on some level we are all students, perhaps forever; so I am again taken back to the idea of what “Pathwork” is, if it is anything in form, is a church, a safe place where people at all levels, including the unitive impersonal level, grow and share every day of their lives.
A church is not the form we are in now, yet I find some energy in this vision. It seems to answer a need I have for community and purpose. And my own continued growth and development. Arriving “they” say, at the “No-Gary” stage some day — outside of time, of course. Am I crazy yet? I smile.
It seems all I can do is stay faithful to what feeds me now. If I do not yet relate to the higher stages of consciousness, I am not helped by “trying harder.” Yet I have to do my work. The result comes from Grace, but Grace does not happen out of the blue, though it does happen spontaneously.
Just be with all of this Gary. These seem like the right questions just now. Or non-questions. Whatever is beyond questions.