Overflowing with Joy, Part 2 — Pathwork Community Applications
Pause and Consider… Overflowing with Joy, Part 2 – Community Application
After being powerfully impacted by what came up in me in my Overflowing with Joy experience yesterday, I could not help but wonder if there might be applications in our Sevenoaks Pathwork Leadership community.
In our Sevenoaks Pathwork organization, what is our aim and longing as a spiritual community? Good question to ask. I would answer: to be a community that supports each other’s spiritual and personal growth and a community that intends to support the growth of whomever is hungry for Pathwork teachings and experiences. Certainly this is an appropriate longing for us as a spiritual community.
Are we that? Well we seem to struggle, and I notice that “struggle” is a key word that gives me a hint that not all is as it could be. Of the hundreds, or probably the thousand or so, people who have come to workshops or participated in the Pathwork Transformation Programs at Sevenoaks down through its 40 year history, only 150 or so are still members, and of these 150, 50 are current students and 20 or so are helpers, leaving 80 others as general members. Why do we not have 500 members or 1,000?
So we as a leadership group get together from time to time and envision great visions – Pathwork becoming a solid spiritual offering taking its seat at the table of other spiritual offerings that seem to be so popular these days. We expand our website and add social media initiatives, we plan Pathwork workshops, many of which have to be cancelled because of poor attendance. But we push onward!
So I wonder if the non-problem problem I discovered yesterday that I have may be at least part of the non-problem problem that our community has, namely that we put forth much effortful effort to be what we are not. Perhaps we want, as I have wanted, to be an oak when we were in fact an acorn. This striving to be what we are not becomes a no-current to being who we are. Being who we are, fully who we are, will make our next steps obvious. And they may be steps of purification rather than steps of grand expansion and growth.
The Guide says we frequently look way ahead and can’t, or won’t, see what is right in front of our faces. So perhaps we do not want to see our current state, this state that is right in front of our noses, and prefer instead to look ahead to some grand vision. Perhaps we have to pause and take full stock of where we actually are right now. Are there things about us that need purification, things that we do not want to see? I wonder what those things might be.
Perhaps our Leaders Retreat in May can focus on the expressing what is most true about us right now. What are some negativities we refuse to see about ourselves – somewhere in those spaces of pride, self-will, fear, impatience, pretense, and all those lower self qualities that need to be looked at and healed. How could we identify what is right in front of our faces? When we are in truth about who we are we can accept who we are, examine who we are, and ask if who we are in truth is sufficiently purified for grander things to evolve out of us organically and naturally — moving us into effortless effort land.
If we are not in truth about who we are and instead strive with forcing currents of all types to be something we are not, this Lecture 131 we are using for the retreat would say we are in a no-current – we are saying no to who we are right now. With this all we can do, no matter the money and volunteer hours we spend, no matter the fancy website and social media we create, is superimpose good work on top of a bad foundation, or add clear water before clearing up the muddy water. The building will crumble, the clear water become muddy if we do not fix the foundation and purify the muddy water first.
I wonder how we could get at our lower self aspects that exist in our Now. If we could see these clearly perhaps what needs to happen next to purify these lower-self aspects of ourselves would be obvious. Of course we would have to have the courage and positive intent and will to change, to mature from our areas of immaturity.
Here is an idea the floated up as an exercise for our May Leaders Retreat. Maybe we could use 8”x10” pieces of cardboard and draw or write on them our own and what we see as the community’s lower self aspects that need to be faced and purified. Then we could hang flip-chart papers around the room that have our higher-self aims and longings for our community. Then the exercise would be to hold the 8×10 pieces of cardboard 18 inches in front of our eyes and walk around trying to reach the higher self visions and longings. We would experientially feel the impossibility of this approach.
But we could go on. Let’s not give up striving to get ahead, even though these 8×10 pieces of cardboard obscure our vision. Let’s not let these lower-self aspects right in front of our faces stop us! Let’s try raising money, building more workshops, expanding and revamping our Pathwork Transformation Program, adding new graduate-level programs. I’m sure we can do it!
But just as I could not become a mighty oak without facing my acornness – with all of its immaturity and impurities – so the community cannot become all it can be without facing where it is right now. What comes next will become obvious if we truly know and accept where we are right now.
So perhaps the remainder of the Leaders Retreat could be built around simply seeing who we are right now. Can we accept who we are, warts and all? Are we willing to change, to purify ourselves? Perhaps these are the questions we should be asking ourselves, rather than what is the grand vision that most inspires us. We are simply incapable of being what we have the potential of becoming if we do not stop and be fully who we are and do what will be obvious when we stop to see and accept who we are.
Shared with love, Gary