Pausing Before the Mystery of Deep Friendship
In my recent session with my Pathwork helper Moira, she encouraged me to do what I so love – maintaining my website rich with Pathwork materials and writing my blog posts. Then she added, “You are making Pathwork accessible by your blog writings.” I let her words sink in. Yes, of course, that is what I intend to do, to illustrate the work of Pathwork by sharing how Pathwork affects my life every day.
But before I go too far with this encouragement I also am aware that few people actually access my website – typically averaging 5 unique visits a day and averaging 3 minutes per visit. And no one actually contacts me as a result, so I have no idea how really “accessible” I’m making Pathwork, or for that matter how useful people are actually finding Pathwork to be. While long ago I gave up concern about how few people actually visit my website, sometimes the discouragement of no feedback does rise in my awareness. And yet I continue. This sharing feels like a Call.
My brother Paul is so faithful in being with me in my journey, though he cannot relate to much of where I am with God or Jesus Christ and has some concern with my going to hell when I die due to my lack of faith in Jesus Christ as my savior from my sin. Yet he hangs in. Sometimes he dares to read one of my blog entries. He confesses, “Your writing is so complex, so intellectual, and the Pathwork Lectures even more so.” So I am not succeeding in making Pathwork very accessible to Paul, but I am so grateful that he stays with me in his love for me. We meet two or three times a month – each time for an hour and a half or more, and always including deep sharing on matters spiritual. He truly hangs in with me, and I with him, encouraging him to be fully right where he is.
Then yesterday I had lunch with a dear friend from my former church. A number of months ago he challenged me to come up with a 3-minute “elevator speech” describing Pathwork. I tried but could not. Since his challenge, however, I have from time to time sent him to particular of my blog entries and quotes from Pathwork Lectures that I thought would explain both Pathwork and me to him. We had a friendly talk yesterday, as always, but then as we were adjourning he said he just had to share what his reaction has been to the Pathwork and blog material I had sent him. “I found the material absolutely unintelligible! I could neither agree nor disagree with it, for I could not understand it at all.”
I found I was very disheartened by his response. I thought I was being so clear in my writing, and this man, brilliant and successful in so many areas of life, could in no way access what I was sharing. After our lunch together I found I was stunned and had to walk around alone a bit and just let his comments settle into me. Unintelligible. Pretty hard to hear.
I also find that but a few of my Pathwork friends are really on the same page as I am even with Pathwork understanding and practices. One or two are, however, close to sharing similar views, and these friends are precious to me. And Pat, although her Tibetan Buddhist practices these past six years are different from Pathwork, seems to understand me at these deeper levels, as I do her. This mutual understanding is the basis of the richness of our near-daily coffee times.
As I sat with these experiences this morning I realized that my spiritual path is unique and very personal to me. That Pat’s and others’ paths are unique to them as well. Even each Pathworker’s path is also unique. Each of us is unique. Pursuing my path further and further seems to take me deeper and deeper into the forest of my unique being and in a way farther away from others and their paths. I realized this uniqueness of my path, and I saw that this is true for every faithful spiritual seeker. In the end, it seemed to me, we are alone with ourselves. Very alone. Or are we?
I then went back to a comment made many months ago by Moira, my Pathwork helper. “Pathwork is not intended primarily to create community among us Pathworkers but rather to serve as a place where each Pathworker can awake to his or her unique divine Essence.” She went on to say that in the beginning many people come to Pathwork or another spiritual group in order to experience the community, the familiar, the family they are creating in their Pathwork community to replace the family they were born into but into which they did not seem to fit. When this sense of spiritual community wanes, as it must, they often leave, disillusioned. This perspective is important for me to realize.
But I noticed that even here I am different. Pathwork has not given me this sense of community. Yes, I enjoy the people in my various Pathwork and other groups, but I do not experience what I would call community or deep friendship. In fact, I do not recall experiencing community or deep friendships growing up in my family, in school, or even in the family I created. In my job, in my church, in the neighborhoods in which I lived, and in the various organizations I served, I always felt insulated, isolated, and private at this personality level. I did not form deep friendships at any point in my life it seems. I didn’t even consciously long for community or deep friendships because these had never been a felt experience to me growing up. I am frankly perplexed by the meaning of deep friendship from this human personality level.
Yet I am also aware that something is missing in my relationship with Paul, or my church friend, or even with Pat. I am comfortable being alone in so many ways, but it seems there must be something more in connecting, in having deep friendships. What could it be?
As I sit with this I see that my expectations, if any, have been for external connections with others. I am not aware of deeper inner heart-connections. I am still in a world of reason and will, not yet familiar with connections from the heart. While I am very capable of acts of love on many levels, I seem to resist dropping into the deeper spontaneous true loving feelings of the heart. And even when the latter dare to show up, I push them back down. I must stay in control, not allowing spontaneous arising of feelings. This defensive layer in me guards my heart from the real or illusory danger of feelings, especially those of deep friendship or, dare I say, love.
What would happen if I dared to drop the wall of defenses around my heart? As my spiritual journey continues, taking me deeper and deeper into the forest of isolation and aloneness, it seems that I eventually will come to a place of utter and profound Mystery. I suspect that entering this Mystery will feel like a risk to my ego, to my sense of reason and self-will. Stepping into this Mystery will likely mean surrendering to my heart, to my center of feelings, spontaneity, and aliveness, touching my divine essence, a place I have unconsciously resisted my entire life.
Here I pause. Perhaps here, in the Mystery before me, “connecting” or “friendship” happens on an entirely new level, a level well beyond the personality or anything I have experienced or could imagine. Perhaps a felt sense of Oneness. Perhaps. For now I simply sit and pause before the Mystery, trusting that Deep Friendship, Connecting, and Love will unfold for me as my heart slowly opens. To say more would be to say more than I know. Actually, to have said what I’ve already said is to have said more than I know. But as I sit here before the Mystery and the “Deep Friendship” that may unfold, I am at peace. What will it mean for my brother and me? Pat and me? My church friend and me? My Pathwork friends and me? Everyone and me?… I trust that some day I will know. In that trust I find I am at peace, just where I am in this present moment.
Shared in love, Gary