Perspective: A Morning with Pat, Pathwork, and the New York Times
As Pat and I – both having now left our official “jobs” – mine volunteer work with Mid Atlantic Pathwork and Pat’s decade of eldercare work – settle into what brings life meaning for us we come to some new questions for us. This week we have been most aware that there are no “To Do” lists to which we can retreat in order to hide from the anxiety of an at-times seemingly meaningless existence.
No, we must not be tempted to take on some other role or task but rather simply pause and let a deeper source of meaning arise from within to inform us of what’s next for us. As we look ahead we see that meaning will not come from our next jobs and roles defined from without. Looking back we see that in many ways roles and tasks have given our lives much of their meaning to date. So now we step once again into the unknown, the Mystery that Life is without agendas, jobs, and roles.
This morning we had our weekly breakfast read of the Sunday edition of the New York Times. We each skip much of it, skim some of it, and read the articles that seem most relevant for each of us. It’s our way of staying aware of the world around us. For me this morning these meaningful articles included the covering of the violent typhoon that hit the Philippines over the weekend – affecting some 4 million people in 270 towns across the islands; the senseless killing of a 94-year-old Muslim woman at the hands of Buddhists in Myanmar – a country ravaged by religious conflict between majority Buddhists and minority Muslims; and an article expressing concerns over Pope Francis “losing his way” and precipitating the erosion of traditional Catholic values in the eyes of some conservative U.S. Catholics.
The latter article caught my eye in light of an interview Pat and I just read last week in the November issue of the Sun Magazine. The interview was of Sr. Louise Akers and was titled Sisterhood: Sister Louise Akers Challenges the Church Patriarchy. While Pat and I do not know Sr. Louise, she lives here in Cincinnati, and we know people who do know her and who respect her and her position. And we are quite aware of the conservative stance of the local Catholic hierarchy she is so often contending with. So the NYT article was an interesting counterpoint to the Sun interview.
The article I most appreciated, however, was the book review titled Lonely Planet by Dennis Overbye. His review is of Five Billion Years of Solitude – The Search for Life Among the Stars by Lee Billings. I am not that interested in the science involved in looking for exoplanets, or Earth 2.0, in the vernacular. Rather, Billings’ new book establishes more of a philosophical context of our planet earth in the vast cosmos in general and the meaning of our “nanosecond” brief history of life as human consciousness on this planet in the vast cosmos in particular. What we don’t know! Thrilling. I have ordered the book – such material brings up an existential loneliness in me, but it seems like a perspective on reality that I need to integrate into my being.
This week I have also been working on my project of creating what I call Expanded Versions of a few of the Pathwork Lectures. I have done three of them so far (open to find links to them). It takes a couple of days to work through a lecture in this way, but I notice that I become so alive with the spiritual help and guidance offered in these lectures – taking me ever deeper into my Life journey. I am so drawn to their wisdom. And interestingly, for me the Pathwork lectures integrate well with my interests in Cosmology as well as my opening more deeply to Christ within.
And on top of all of this is my own work regarding my intention to expand my consciousness and awareness and to remove obstacles blocking the arising of my Essence, consciousness, and connectedness. How does this personal growth work go? For well over five years Pat and I have had precious times we have set asside to explore the nooks and crannies of our respective resistances – we seem to be so alike in some core areas. Our daily coffee time conversations often seem like opening channels of Wisdom from Spirit. Add to this our many spiritual friends who have joined us in this grand learning experience called Life, and we feel so very blessed.
What arose for me this morning in my meditation time came out of my deep longing for community of some sort. Let me explain. One of the lectures I expanded was Pathwork Lecture 88: Religion: True and False. (As an aside, I found this a very helpful lecture, especially as a former church-goer) Here is a question from that lecture and the Guide’s answer…
QUESTION: From what you say, it becomes clear that religion is a matter of each individual soul developing to its optimum point by way of search and self-realization. The Churches have played a dominant role for many years, however, so it would seem that their function would eventually fall away.
ANSWER: Yes, indeed it will. When more people follow a path of self-recognition, growing and developing their own resources, they will no longer need authority.
So in 1999, 14 years ago, I left my Lutheran church community to no official form of spiritual community. I’ve started and participated in many small groups in these 14 years, and even before, but still there is a deep need for community that I perceive in my soul. So how will my need for community and union be satisfied? Certainly Pat and I are a dyadic version of this union, but is there more? I seem to feel this need, but Pat not so much.
Pat and I have many individual friends in the Cincinnati area that we meet with one-on-one or in casual small groups from time to time. The thought occurred to me in my meditation time this morning that we could invite gatherings of such friends on some regular basis. I’m not sure where we would meet, but somewhere I’m sure could be found. How often? No more frequently than biweekly I would think and no less frequently than monthly. Maybe every three weeks would be good. Maybe these gatherings could be named Souls in Conversation or A Gathering of Souls or Souls Gathering for Conversation. There would be no structure, no teaching, and no agenda beyond like-minded souls gathering for conversation with one another – and of course maybe a bite to eat and a glass of wine. This could be a support group in some ways – sharing needs, caring for one another in sickness or trouble, and so on – all things that in the past have supported Pat and me in the form of the churches we have attended. Just a thought.
Shared in love, Gary