In our morning coffee time yesterday Pat remarked that she is so thankful for the practices of her spiritual program, Awakening Into Presence (AIP). For over three years now these practices have been an integral part of her daily routine, built upon the significant morning and evening meditation practices that have been carefully created and are the foundation of the program. These special meditation practices are augmented by teachings and sessions from her teacher, as well as readings and quarterly group meetings. But the core is the special daily meditation practice, and the sessions and group meetings often deal with teaching these practices and inquiring about how the practices are going and what is being revealed or experienced as a result. Very rich.
By comparison, it seems that my experience of Pathwork has been much less disciplined, and leads me to wonder if I am missing opportunities for growth by not having a more systematic set of Pathwork practices that would become a part of my daily routine, grounding me and my spirituality in my life on this earth.
What might such practices include? I join Pat every morning in her meditation practice, which consists of 45 minutes of quiet time for me while Pat goes through her practices. During this quiet time, sitting on my cushion next to her, my mind quiets for a while. And then sensations, feelings, and, most often, insights about my life arise, seemingly from a deep place. I keep my journal nearby, and jot down what arises. This is a key part of my spiritual practice, and I am grateful that this is time Pat and I can spend together in this way.
Another “practice” is the time, usually 30 – 90 minutes, Pat and I spend in our morning coffee time following our meditation time. This sharing is rich. Insights get refined in our mutual exchanges. Often material for my blog entries arise from this combination of meditation and conversation time, as is the case this morning.
Certainly my time with the Pathwork lectures is a core part of my Pathwork practice. Whether it is the time of careful reading in preparation for recording, or simply listening to them while driving around or working out at the gym, this time is always precious for me, full of bursts of inspiration and encouragement, with a big YES! thrown in now and then.
I include writing these blog posts in my spiritual practice. It is a time of crystalizing what comes up in me into clearer thoughts. This process energizes me. I feel somehow satisfied and complete when I finish an entry, the same feeling I experience when completing another lecture recording.
Perhaps my sessions with my helper, supervisor, or Hakomi body-worker also become a part of my practice. I now have my Hakomi body-work sessions recorded on video and it is amazing to observe myself in these sessions and take this in on a deeper level. I am also recording my helper sessions and spending time digesting and writing up these sessions. All feels rich.
I do my Daily Review practice with some regularity — noting my times of disharmony during the day, times when I act out or just feel unsettled over some incident. All times of self-discovery and opportunity for growth as I find patterns of behavior that are a part of my mask self and lower self, as the Pathwork material would frame this process.
Finally, my practice includes numerous conversations with others. In addition to Pat there are Pathwork friends, my brother and my three kids, and many other friends with whom I can “dive deep” in matters of Life. These are often, again, stimulating and quite rich, as we compare life experiences.
Perhaps this is enough, yet I have that deep sense that something is missing. The Pathwork lectures throw out perhaps hundreds of practices large and small that could be incorporated into my life. I want to consider some of them, like the meditation in three voices practice or the various mind training and focusing and visualization exercises. They seem important and I suspect they hold a key for further growth on my path.
As I conclude this I am filled with gratefulness. I began this entry thinking much was missing, but as this unfolded I could see the blessings in the practices I do have. Yes, I have a foundation. And yes, I could build more intentionally on this foundation as I continue. Another both/and.