Opening to God, to Jesus Christ
Why do I wrestle so with relating to God or Jesus Christ? What images do I hold about God and Jesus Christ that stand in the way of relating to them in any way that could be called love? Perhaps this is one of my main life issues. And it relates, perhaps, to my relationships with others, especially those to whom I give authority.
I faced this head on in my most recent session with my helper Moira. We were talking about ego strength, the importance of the healthy positive ego, the part of me with which I can identify. I cannot identify with my Higher Self — for that is not always available to me, and could lead to spiritual bypassing of other parts of me that need work and purification. Not my Mask Self — for that is not the real me, only a what I have worked so hard at pretending to be. Not my Lower Self — so easily identified with in my upbringing as a “poor miserable sinner” in my conservative Lutheran roots. This latter “poor miserable sinner” identification is rooted in my cells and so the healing has taken time, perhaps lifetimes. But I can safely identify with my mature ego, the part of me that observes, that chooses, that thinks, that acts.
So why does my adult ego resist and fight against a relationship with God or Jesus Christ? The answer came as a flash of insight in my helper session with Moira. My adult ego has chosen to pursue Pathwork, resonates with the work and teachings of the Pathwork Guide. He has faced his doubts, his pride, his patterns, his idealization of himself, his fears, his self-will and controlling nature. He has chosen to leave a marriage that wasn’t seeming to work for him. And in all of this he has still not arrived at a felt sense of true fulfillment and happiness.
Intellectually I understand that I can not take the next steps of my journey alone. I need help. Help from God, whoever God is. Help from Source. But emotionally I resist going to a power greater than my ego. Why?
The insight that came was that emotionally I associated going to God for help as regression to childhood, not a surrendering from a place of adult strength. I realized that my image was that to go to God for help meant I was a helpless little boy going to a mommy/daddy God. It meant negating all the work, all the choices, by which my ego has navigated my life. It meant defeat. It meant I was wrong in pursuing this path, this Pathwork, and that I needed to get on my knees before the authority of a fundamentalist church and confess that I was dead wrong, confess they are right, plead for forgiveness for my waywardness, and hopefully be taken back into the family of God, the God of my Lutheran Church.
This was too much for my ego to take. He would never do this. Yet I was accosted by the words of Jesus, “Unless you come to the Kingdom of God as a little child, you cannot enter therein.” What I heard was, “So, Gary, be helpless, be a baby, a little child. Bow to the authority of the Church, bow before God and Jesus Christ.”
This would make coming to God a regression to childhood for me. I would become a weak, helpless, dependent child, and God would sweep me up into His ever-loving arms, and I would be happy at last, and forevermore.
There was a second distorted image as well. I realize that for most of my recent life I have felt like the prodigal son, the one who left his father’s nest and squandered his father’s money, the son who needed to come back and throw himself at the mercy of his father. While I resonate and get that story, in my adult ego I realize that I am not the prodigal son of this parable, at least that’s not all of me. I have not gone off and squandered my life, though a part of me would accuse me of just that! No, mine has been more the life described by Campbell as the hero’s journey — leaving “home,” yes, but learning, growing, wrestling, and returning a wiser man with gifts to give. I am amazed that for so long I have assumed I was, and identified with, the prodigal son going down the path to destruction, rather than the hero on a journey of growth. This new self-image of hero vs. prodigal brings me joy and peace.
So in this recent helper session I suddenly got that my two images of needing to regress to childhood or return as the prodigal were images, not reality. My image was that a healthy adult could not have a relationship with God, rather only a helpless child or returning prodigal could experience such a relationship with God. These images were strongly and rightly rejected by my healthy ego, but it knew no alternatives.
But now I can see that surrender is neither regression to childhood nor the confession and return of the prodigal. Rather it is taking self responsibility for my life, self responsibility for my choices in life, self responsibility for how I spend my time and effort and money. And yes, self-responsibility for calling on a power greater than my ego when I realize in my adult self the wisdom of such a reaching out and surrender.
From this adult self I can answer “Yes” to the call that the Pathwork lectures seem to hold for me. AND from here I can realize that I cannot go on alone, that I need to call on a Source greater than myself, even wrestle with that Source if needs be, as Jacob and other saints have done through the ages in their journeys to God. This is humility, not fearful or embarrassing humiliation. I am not coming as a helpless child or wayward prodigal but rather as a strong healthy ego, wrestling with Source to to find Truth, Love, Meaning in Life. This adult can come to God, can come to Jesus Christ as a friend along the path.
All of this is fresh and raw. I’ve been with it for a couple of weeks and still it feels to be a profound shift that can open the door to God and to Jesus Christ. I feel relief. Amen!