Many Paths, One Path

I am struck by all the spiritual paths available these days.  How does one choose a path to follow? In recent weeks I have been quite stimulated by various deep conversations with people from a variety of spiritual paths.  I spoke to Greg who found his way to the Diamond Approach, a program founded by A. H. Almaas. Greg is training to become a teacher or minister in this program.  He helped to organize an active local group where members support each other in meditation and inquiry. It was a stimulating engagement for me.

Then several weeks later I spoke with Jeanne, a person who found meaning in A Course in Miracles. She pulled up roots and spent five years working at the Foundation for A Course In Miracles with one of the organizations founders Ken Wabnick. Grounded in this transformative experience, Jeanne now co-leads a local group.  She is passionate about The Course.  A most inspiring conversation on how she found and follows this path.

And of course there are countless other groups: numerous 12-step groups; consciousness groups connected with folks like Eckhart Tolle, Adayashanti, and Leonard Jacobson; Enneagram groups, Landmark Forum, Mankind Project, and on and on.  My brother Paul is served by his Lutheran Church, and inspired by Christian Schwarz’s work in Natural Church Development, especially Schwarz’s most recent material on the many styles of spirituality.

There is Ken Wilber and all of the Integral Institute work mapping out states of consciousness and paths to awakening, and then encouraging the formation of support groups for personal and spiritual development.  Akin to this is the EnlightenNext establishment and its founder and leader Andrew Cohen.  And of course there is the entire world of therapy, counseling, spiritual directing, and life coaching. And the endless list of self-help authors and programs around the world.

And as I have shared, Pat is involved deeply in Awakening Into Presence, a derivative of Tibetan Buddhism.  Both of us are involved with a woman Faye who leads a powerful Ira-Progoff-type program on journal writing as a means of personal and spiritual growth. And I do body work with my Hakomi therapist to help ground my spiritual and personal development work in my body.

And each of these paths, be they Pathwork, A Course In Miracles, a 12-step program, even a therapy practice, is not monolithic.  Each usually has a number of subgroups or splinter groups or just differences because each group of people is different.  And often this brings conflict and distraction.  But this seeming chaos is all part of what is in the organic unfoldment of our lives on this planet.

And as I pause here, I wonder what has been so captivating for me in Pathwork.   For I have been exposed to many other paths before and after and so far have come back to my home in Pathwork.  I’ll put a bookmark here for a future posting.

In a recent conversation with other Pathworkers we shared pieces of our respective journeys to Pathwork.  I was amazed by the diversity, each path unique and dynamic.  Some come by way of therapy, others by one of the various forms of 12-step programs, others by discovering a Pathwork book that spoke to them, others by meeting and talking with those in the Pathwork program.

Each path unique! I am reminded of the Pathwork sentences in Lecture 68: “…one’s personal spirituality is an eminently private affair.  The maximum growth of one human being may be based on entirely different spiritual factors and ways of life and expression than the maximum growth of another person.” Amen.

Or another quote found by Patty, a Pathwork friend of mine, “As a bee seeks nectar from all kind of flowers, seek teachings everywhere. Like a deer that finds a quiet place to graze, seek seclusion to digest all that you have gathered. Like a madman beyond all limits, go wherever you please and live like a lion completely free of all fear.” — an Ancient Tibetan text.

The key words in this second quote for me are SEEK and DIGEST and FREE. Seeking opens me to find whatever might resonate with my soul.  Digesting means I commit to really living what I find that resonates with me. I am not taking a survey course of all spiritual paths on the planet, but rather diving deeply into a path that really works for me. And free means freedom from fears wherever they show up, important for me since much of my life has been limited by fear.  Fear has kept me from looking at so many things that could help me.

So while there are many paths out there, each perhaps a key for the locks of a particular set of souls, I am grateful that I have found my one path, the key to unlock my soul.

And by my one path I do not mean Pathwork. No!  My path has included a variety of components, each appropriate for a given segment of my life.  And even now, while grounded in Pathwork, I am helped by bleed-over from Pat’s AIP program, Faye’s Ira Progoff-type journaling, and my many conversations with my many friends from many directions.

So in the end my one path is an intricate and unique composite of many pieces.  The goal, after all, is not to know the path itself as one would study to know a map, but rather engage the territory called Life, fully using and living the path, my path, the map, my map.  Living each moment of life is the goal.  We are not going anywhere.  Just growing, perhaps awakening, perhaps being purified. Perhaps growing toward God, whatever that might mean.  But all of this would be another post, another time. OK, many more posts!

And with this, I’ll end.  But know that I’d sincerely like to learn about your path, however such an exchange could come about.