Making Decisions from Your Depth
One of the Pathwork lectures speaks of the power of visualization, but discourages one from visualizing specific goals, like visualizing a relationship with a specific person, visualizing a new home, visualizing a new job, etc. Rather the lecture speaks about visualizing feeling feelings you long to feel in that visualized state. For example what feelings would you feel if you had the relationship of your dreams or the job for which you longed? Here your desired feelings are your goal, and the specific manifestations your intended means, means which may or may not give you the feelings you really long for. In Pathwork, one would go on to visualize feeling these feelings during meditation.
On Friday I had the opportunity to combine this idea in Pathwork with an idea of Ira Progoff in his Intensive Journaling work. He calls this process Imagery in Decision-Making. In this you look at a decision in front of you, identify two or three choices you have, and then, in a quiet space, spend time imaging what would happen in your life if you made the decision for, say, choice 1. What would unfold. Let your imagination go. And notice what you encounter, and especially what feelings arise on that road as your life unfolds. Write down the feelings as they arise in this visualization. Then, after ten minutes or so go back to the beginning and do the same thing for choice 2, and so on. His idea is that by allowing feelings to arise on each path you visualize you are tapping into a layer of your unconscious. It will result in more resolve and commitment to the choice you make because your choice will be more deeply grounded in your being. This is beyond simple rational argument of one decision vs. another, arguments that come from strictly mental processes.
As I said, on Friday I tried this. I have been trying to see how my work with Ira Progoff’s Intensive Journaling could be integrated with my work in Pathwork. On Friday, in Intensive Journaling work, we were looking specifically at how Ira-Progoff-Style Journaling could evolve in our lives. I identified three ways: 1) I could be passive and merely attend journaling activities offered by others. 2) I could work on my own, read his books, listen to his tapes, maybe take a course or two, but simply work apart from others. 3) I could be active in our journal groups, step into leadership with others, and try to integrate this Intensive Journal writing with the various Pathwork activities in which I am involved.
In following Path 1, being passive, I noticed the following came up as I visualized going down this path… I’m relaxed. I’m free to do what I want. I’m frustrated, I assess that I am wasting gifts that have been offered, that I am wasting what I’ve been taught by my teacher and by Ira, I am not following my calling, I feel empty, lazy, selfish. I have low energy. I have hardly anyone around me. I am frustrated with myself. Yikes.
In following Path 2, working on my own, I noticed the following: excitement getting into the books and tapes, excitement in trying to do the Intensive Journaling work. I can work alone and not be bothered by others. I am becoming lonely. Theoretical. Isolated. I am not engaged with others. I am dying on the vine. Yikes.
In following Path 3, becoming active with those around me and with Pathwork, I notice: Lots of energy and enthusiasm, lots of engagement. Feeling fulfilled. Then fear creeps in, lots of fear, even terror. What am I doing in this?! I notice limited capacity to enjoy such abundance in the face of terror. I am offsetting this fear with activity, being swallowed up in doing more and more. Journal work is intense. Overwhelm sets in. Yikes.
Interesting that each path has an upside and a downside. No obvious “right” answer. Another Pathwork lecture talks about every decision offers advantages and disadvantages and it is important to know each. So the next part of the discernment is for me to clearly list the advantages and disadvantages of each side–but from this deeper feeling place, not simply from a head-logic place.
Path 1 – Passive. Advantages: would have free time, no pressures for leadership, no worries about leading anything, I could pick and choose whatever I wanted, would have lots of time for other things. Disadvantages: no inspiration, not much real engagement, sense of wasting talents and gifts offered, I would never master this journaling process, likely.
Path 2 – Work on Own. Advantages: Could go at my own pace, no pressure for teaching or leadership, probably inexpensive, no compromises required with others. Disadvantages: Probably would not do what was needed since no commitment required, no engagement with others — and engagement is something I thrive on.
Path 3 – Actively play a leadership role. Advantages: Requires commitment which would likely mean I would spend the necessary time to do it and grow, engagement — which is important to me, I would feel fulfilled and energized. Disadvantages: Could consume me if I let it, and I do have a pattern of getting overly involved in such programs, would bring up great fear and anxiety — having to teach!– fear that would have to be addressed directly, not get numbed out by excessive work.
I feel drawn to Path 3 — Active Leadership. I realize what the disadvantages are that I have to watch. I see the need to work with my fear, and this would be good for me. My fear is due to a lack of trust. Lots to work on here. But the advantages are worth it. Beyond that, really addressing the disadvantages — my fear in this — could be the greatest advantage I get from Path 3.
So the tools of discernment in decision-making include:
1. Articulate the choices in a given decision
2. Do Ira Progoff’s Imaging Decision Making Process to get below logic into your deeper feelings and other dimensions of your unconscious
3. Identify the advantages and disadvantages of each choice from this deeper place
4. Make your decision, using your associated feelings as your major criteria
5. As Pathwork suggests, visualize feeling the feelings associated with the path you are choosing in your meditations,
6. As Pathwork suggests, be prepared to deal with the disadvantages of your chosen path — and realize that dealing with the disadvantage could be the greatest advantage of the choice you made.
I found this process helpful and wanted to share it. We’ll see how it works out. How might this work for you?