Perhaps It IS Love

In a previous post I noted my strong energy for Truth as a ray of my Divine Essence palette, knowing this from the strong resonance I feel in my search for deeper experiences of Truth. I become enlivened by a sense of Truth.  And, on the other hand, I noted the relative absence of felt energy for Love and for Oneness with the Cosmos on this same Divine Essence palette. I clearly see this as an imbalance and feel some sadness for the seemingly missing key colors on my Divine Ray palette of manifestation. Yesterday I had the opportunity to explore this matter with my somatic therapist Ed Gutfreund.

In my session with Ed I described a number of my experiences from the Mid-Atlantic Pathwork Leaders Retreat this past weekend. The first was that in response to my deep and vulnerable sharing two participants commented on how my sharing had brought them, and maybe the group, into a deeper and more intimate space of connection and sense of belonging. This touched me in the moment in the workshop, but only for a moment. I quickly let it go. But Ed would not. He slowed me down.

“So how did it feel to have someone share how you affected them and made them feel more deeply connected?” I paused to consider what this really had been like. “It felt warm, but in fact a little too good to be true – as if it was meeting my unconscious deep need for connection. It actually brought a little fear. Can this really true – that people were affected positively by my sharing?” I would quickly run away from that possibility and its ramifications.

Ed wondered if perhaps this experience, brief as it was, could have been a touch of love – something I say I don’t really experience. My response, “Well of course. Love is the word that fits this experience perfectly.” I somehow Know that, but do not know why I Know that. But can I just slow down to take this experience in, even if I do not know whether or not it is love? And why do I run away from love, if it is love?

Dignity was another aspect of this connection. I had shared these things from deep in my shadow and so I was quite vulnerable. Yet at least these two people mentioned above saw me as I really am and did not judge me. Quite the contrary. They held me in dignity. I was not humiliated by them in any way but rather truly accepted in dignity. One of the two even commented later on how this sharing demonstrated a kind of leadership for us. I was not at all sure that I understood what this meant.

And yet in other experiences over the weekend I did not feel held in dignity but rather felt humiliated. Words like condescending and patronizing come to mind. In these experiences in the leadership group I was left feeling demeaned and less-than in stature and personhood to the well-intended folks wanting to help me. And here there was a difference I noticed. With the two who commented on the value of my earlier sharing I felt treated with pristine respect throughout the weekend. With others not so much.

But the beauty of this experience regarding dignity vs. condescension was that it helped me see that I do not hold myself in dignity but rather rely on others to establish my dignity. Even in my deep sharing of faults and foibles there is a kind of dissociation from what I am sharing rather than honestly seeing, embracing and accepting what I am exposing about myself. Instead of humbly sharing my foibles and weaknesses while yet maintaining a high sense of dignity, I can enter the field of self-humiliation. In this move toward self-humiliation I “demand” that others rescue me and restore my sense of dignity – “Tell me I am not so bad, etc.” So condescension from others gets amplified into a huge emotional reaction or trigger due to my own self-condescension. All grist for the mill.

Ed mentioned that we sometimes resist judgment from others, even positive judgment. Why would one resist positive feedback? Positive feedback can set up a pattern of expecting the positive feedback to be followed by negative feedback, so one resists both negative and positive feedback.

I shared with Ed that my experience with this was a little different. I did not want positive feedback because I found it dehumanizing, reducing me to a human doer or human performer having these assets and strengths on the one hand and on the other hand another set of liabilities and weaknesses. I resented being seen as a human doer or performer on somebody’s scorecard and wanted to be accepted and loved simply as the human being I am – to experience love between two imperfect entities. Unconsciously I suspect that I have this as a deepest longing.

And here again it is I who is at the center of this issue. For whatever reason I resist valuing myself as a human being whose Divine Rays seek to emanate outward to all around me. Rather, I seem to value myself only as a productive and competent human doer and performer. As a child I learned that it was much safer in the world to be the human doer and performer others wanted me to be rather than to let whatever was my Essence flow freely from my being irrespective of what others, especially those in authority, thought.

Ed and I also discussed the beautiful relationship I have with my brother Paul. For over 20 years Paul and I have met for up to two hours 2 or 3 times a month, and the conversations over coffee are always deep and enlivening. People wonder how this can be seeing that he is a solid conservative Lutheran and I am a freelance Pathworker.

I shared with Ed how meaningful it was to me when the day before Paul and I discovered at least a piece of the heart of our mutual acceptance of each other. Both of us trust that Spirit is alive in both of us and moving each of us in an appropriate way and at an appropriate speed. We trust each other’s and our own integrity, search for meaning and Truth, and openness to an evolving sense of Truth. It is not appropriate to rush Spirit. Spirit is moving each of us at the perfect pace for our role in the cosmos.

There is no judging who is “ahead” or “behind.” How would we even know? If, for example, either of our relationships with Jesus Christ were to change and we we were to become closer on that basis, that would be fine. And if not, that too would be fine. We do not hold much anxiety for the “wrongness” or “rightness” of the other’s or even our own journey. Yes, we hold each other with dignity and honor, as a vessel of Divine Essence, at least on some Mysterious level. And Ed stepped in again, reminding me that perhaps this, too, was a taste of love.

Then came coffee time with Pat this morning. We tackled this love topic among others. Pat offered: Could you consider your deep sharing as generosity, and a gift from your heart, a gift that changes the field with the other or with a group? I felt seen and affirmed by Pat’s observation. Could this, too, be a taste of love?

We went on to talk about my motivation for deep sharing. Was I doing this from my deep heart and its longing to connect, its longing for Union, its longing for the experience of Love? Or am I sharing out of pride or for other egoic reasons? Always a mixture of both of course.

And here again I have such resistance to seeing where possibly I do love, or am loved, and where I may even love deeply from my heart and be loved deeply from the heart of the other.  Why would I not want to see these love qualities within that are actually there in Truth? Is a part of me still judging the loving heart as “merely” being when what another part of me thinks what is needed is doing and performing? In so doing am I devaluing the best of who I truly am?  I can feel some sadness here, but it does not seem possible to simply snap my fingers and let the situation resolve. Or is this “snap-of-the-fingers” possible? And why do I resist even considering that it may be possible? Loving the journey!

Shared in love, Gary