My Shifting Relationship with Pathwork
In my most recent session with Ed, my Hakomi therapist, I was able to detect a shifting in my relationship with Pathwork. This feels significant, and in this entry I want to capture aspects of this deepening relationship.
I began the session by sharing with Ed how easily I can be pulled off center, off my sense of ground, when I discuss Pathwork with friends or even try to work with students or workers. I seem to fall into a defensive posture, thinking that if Pathwork is worth anything, I should be able to use it to change lives, to help others, in a direct way. Part of me says this way has to be intellectual, persuasive in its compelling logic and level of insight into the nature of God, the cosmos, and the human soul. And in such an intellectual arena my internal critic comes out to say, “Who do you think you are, Gary? You are so inept, so incompetent in the concepts of spirituality in general and of Pathwork in particular, how could you possibly defend your stance or help others in their lives!”
“So who is that part of you that says you are clueless in the ways of Pathwork, you who have been working so deeply with Pathwork for over ten years?” asks Ed in response to my opening remarks. I could see that this part claiming that I was clueless was my inner critic. Ed continues, “Gary, do you have times when you have felt competent with the Pathwork material, or not? Are you, in fact, competent, or not?” Ed’s questions seem right, and caused me to slow down.
My answer was “No, I do not have times of feeling competent when working with others with Pathwork material.” That felt humbling and shocking to me as the words came out of my mouth, the one who has spent over ten years in Pathwork, as Ed had reminded me. So what is my Pathwork all about if I feel so inept in explaining it to others? When my daughter asks, “So Dad, my life needs some help, how can Pathwork help me?” why do I freeze up and become tongue-tied?
Yet in honesty Pathwork has helped me immensely. When I go back and read a Pathwork lecture I am pulled out of my funk and brought into moments of light. As I said in my previous entry, I am devoted to Pathwork materials, they are present in many hours of my life each week, either directly or indirectly. I am truly a different person today than I was ten years ago. And today, when I am reading a lecture, or doing a piece of homework with the Pathwork lectures, my spirit awakens and I say, almost out loud, “Wow, this is such good stuff!” Ed mirrors back, “This material is important to you, you find it beneficial to you and your growth.” “Absolutely.” “You feel restored in some way, rejuvenated,” Ed adds. And I answer with a passionate, “Yes.”
Ed invites me to slow down and experience what is happening in my body as I find this profoundness, this benefit from what the material does for me. I respond, “Just recognizing that I can say, in truth, that I am devoted to this material, and know that this devotion is enough. That I do not need to make it relevant to anyone else. I just know that spending time in these Pathwork materials and processes enlivens me and pulls me out of my funks many times. I feel an enlivening in me as I speak this truth right now with Ed. And once again Ed slows me down, “Be with this energy, notice what a strengthening, enlivening quality this devotion to Pathwork brings you.” I slow down, and get in touch with deeper levels within me. “I feel very alive. And I feel gratitude for the Pathwork material.” Ed, “Just take time to feel all of this in your body. What happens when you feel this gratitude?” We pause.
“Gary, as you sit fully aware and grateful for the outcomes of your devoted study, your profound connection to this material, when you really feel this part of yourself, this immediate state in your body, what would you say to that part in you, that inner critic who says you don’t know what you are talking about with Pathwork?” Let me call this part who experiences all this gratefulness and aliveness Part A, facing Part B of me, the critic. Part A says to Part B, “I simply do not understand your confusion here. I sit before you. I feel at peace. I am a changed man. I feel so alive. I have been helped by this Pathwork. So what is your confusion about Pathwork being helpful? I just do not understand you.”
Ed invites, “And what happens as Part B listens to Part A and hears what Part A has to say?” I respond, “Part B pauses to take that in from Part A and then asks, ‘Is that really true? Are you really helped by this Pathwork material?'” Part A, “Yes, I know I am really helped by this material. It enlivens me, awakens me, brings me peace.” Part B responds, “It is very helpful to witness you and to see how this material has affected you. It is very important that I get this. … But really, how does this work for you? I want to understand how this material affects you the way it does.” Ed interrupts with his own question, this time back to Part B, “How does it feel about getting to ask this question?” Part B reflects a moment, “I am feeling less agitated, I am feeling heard, I am feeling accepted even though I am confused by all this.”
And Part A answers Part B’s question, “If I enter the Pathwork material in a disquieted anxious state, just by ingesting the material I quiet down. On some level, I feel the connection with the material. And as I feel the connection with the material my anxiety lessens. I see, as I explain this to you, that this process of quieting my soul does not mean that what I was reading directly relates to the cause of my anxiety intellectually. No, I am realizing that it is the connection with the material per se — just experiencing and feeling that I have this connection — that is the aspect that calms my soul.” As I speak these words I am struck by them myself, they are giving me a new understanding of my relationship with Pathwork.
Ed also sees this, “There is a relationship, a connection with this profound material that has an immediate influence on your on your state of being. Feel that.” “Yes, to see that this Pathwork material touches me, touches my soul in some way.” Ed continues, “What happens in Part B hearing from Part A how this process works for him?” I respond, “Part B begins to recognize that he has had a distortion about how the material of Pathwork affects the soul. He has been thinking that the process was one of intellectual logic and insight. Now he is seeing that this intellectual side is not the entire story, and maybe not even the most important aspect of the story.
Part B questions Part A further, “So it is just being with the Pathwork material that affects you?” Part A answers, “Yes, it is just being in the presence of the Pathwork material — whether I’m reading it or listening to a recording I made of it. It is as if the entity that was channeled through Eva — the Pathwork Guide as this entity is named in Pathwork circles — were right here with me.” Ed is struck by this shift, “So you feel a connection with that being, the Pathwork Guide?” “Yes, it is as if I were sitting down with a guru. So I experience the connection to the material of the Pathwork lectures and then the experience of the connection to the Spiritual Being behind the material, the Guide.”
As I sit with all of this I notice and share with Ed, “It isn’t my intellect alone that is engaged in the material. It is beyond that — it is as if I were experiencing love from the material, a caring from the material, or rather from the Guide and Eva through whom the material was channeled, that someone has given a lot of care to providing the material and I can just take it in. It brings up a profound sense and feeling of gratitude. Ed invites, “Feel this in your body as you are recognizing these insights, but beyond insights, feeling the mood that is arising in you, and how this mood is showing up in your body when you are really in touch with this quality of relationship that you experience from this material and the Guide. Notice how you are allowing this precious experience to be known by Part B that has been confused and has thought that this Pathwork was strictly an intellectual process.”
Part B begins to explore, “I wonder if I could trust that this new modus operandi could be of benefit to others — rather than getting freaked out that I have to explain some Pathwork concept to another on strictly intellectual terms. I realize that perhaps I do not have to explain Pathwork concepts as my only technique. Perhaps where I begin is rather to attest, to give voice to, how the material affects me. Ed, “I am struck by how this material truly informs you, how it has become imbued in you in a way that profoundly influences your perception, your reception, everything.” I agree, “Everything in my life seems to be framed by this Pathwork material.”
I note that spend much, no MOST, of my time in spiritual matters in general and Pathwork in particular. Ed responds, “This is your devotion in action!” “I am drawn to this material, and it is evoking a commitment in me. Not a commitment of duty, but a commitment of love. Pathwork is a gift, and I am appreciating the gift, savoring the gift! I am really dedicated to Pathwork.” Ed, “Feel how true that is when you say this right now.”
I recognize a uniqueness here. There are many techniques used in Pathwork — emotional processing of every variety, breathwork, ritual, core energetics, meditation, and the like. But I feel most connected to the lectures themselves, connected to the Pathwork Guide, and the energy they awaken in me. Ed reminds me that I have truly found my path. In a way it is a path, rather my path, within Pathwork. All of this feels empowering and clarifying. Yes, I can feel my gratefulness for all who have contributed to bringing the Pathwork wisdom to me and especially for the loving connection and relationship I feel with the Pathwork Guide and the Pathwork material. Quite a session. Quite a clarifying.