Possibility of a New Way, Possibility for Love?
I carried my feeling the weight of the Pathwork School and the burden of the financial challenges of Sevenoaks described in my previous blog into my helper session with Moira. My questions were about whether or not carrying all this responsibility was part of my Call. Or was I ramping up the weight? Or was all of this a product of my patterns, wrong conclusions, and images?
I shared with Moira that Pat had joined me at my most recent visit to Sevenoaks where I was working with the leadership team off and on and participating in the graduation program. In being with me in much of this Pat observed that I did not seem to have much joy, that I seemed intense and not relaxed, that I appeared to be a loner outside the very group I work so hard for and with. Pat was perplexed at this. Why, when I invest so much of myself in the enterprise called Sevenoaks, do I not experience more joy. And why am I so intense and not more relaxed in this space?
Moira observed that my intensity could be an inner issue, not an outer issue. If I quit everything at Sevenoaks tomorrow so that I could do deeper personal work instead, in short order I would perhaps be back at being intense, only in a different area – I would find myself intense about doing my inner work. I quickly came to see that my intensity in all of life was a defense of some kind. But a defense against what?
Slow down, Gary. Slow down. Just pause to sit with this possibility: Is it possible that your intensity is a defense against something? It is true that you may not know what it is a defense against, but that is not important just now. Just the awareness that when you find yourself intense in any area of your life that you may be using intensity as a defense against feeling some deep feeling is powerful. From there you can be curious about what your intensity might be a defense against feeling.
Intensity could be in opposition to being in the flow of life. Again, an inward issue. It seems that my intensity is always pushing ahead of what is. Moira asked, “What would happen if you slowed down?” If I slowed down I would not be doing my best, I would not be giving the task my all. It is as if I believe I cannot really do something competently, and further that I believe that being incompetent at something is unacceptable – incompetence would result in punishment or shame or rejection. So I throw my all at the task at hand. At least others cannot fault me for not trying and not giving my best effort. I don’t really expect positive results from all the effort because I believe I am incompetent. So I am sometimes stuck in a place of constantly giving my all and then expecting myself to be a failure in what it is I am doing, believing deep down that I am truly incompetent.
Moira pointed out that incompetence is an assessment and not a feeling. What is the feeling associated with believing yourself to be incompetent, let’s say in something your dad thought was important for you to do? She offered three choices: Pain, Helplessness (helpless in the face of pain, unable to avoid the pain), and Rage (at being helpless to avoid the pain). I chose helplessness. For example, growing up I was incompetent in sight-reading modern music on the piano, which my dad could do easily and couldn’t understand why I could not. There I sat practicing the piano with Dad supervising. There was no out. I suffered through the humiliation of not being able to play the piano well enough to please him, and I was not strong enough to get up and leave. Yes, helplessness was the feeling.
So if I would have been stronger I would have felt my rage at being in this helpless situation. And what is the pain that I am helpless to defend against? The pain of disappointing Dad, the pain of feeling separate from Dad, the feeling of loneliness in the world. The assessment that I am unlovable because I am not competent at what an authority expects of me gives me this feeling of isolation, detachment, alienation, and utter loneliness. I feel helpless to overcome such painful feelings, believing that being competent at doing or being what authority wants is the only way to truly connect and that I simply am not competent and never will be competent in that area of my life.
And I can see in me a negative intentionality to stay both incompetent and outside the feelings of love and connection – my intention to stay separate, to not give or receive love, whatever love may be.
So I can see that I use intensity to defend against helplessness and against the pain underneath the helplessness. Moira remembered Pathwork Lecture 151: Intensity: An Obstacle to Self-realization and we agreed that that lecture could apply here. So as part of my meditation this morning I read the first few paragraphs:
Greetings, my dearest friends. The divine blessings streaming in the atmosphere around and within you are a powerful force, available to you provided you are open and receptive to it.
Self-realization means becoming aware of this universal, cosmic power, available at all times. It is your tragedy to be cut off from this power, to be oblivious or ignorant of its existence. For knowing of it is one of the prerequisites for making it available. When you enter the realm where it is possible to make this power available, you find yourself in the predicament of not being able to know what you have not experienced. Therefore, to bridge the gap between previous experience and the available power, it is necessary to consider the new possibility. This is always the intelligent approach to every new step of branching out, whether in science or in any other realization of truth. However, you are usually not ready to do this, for you falsely believe you must have definite opinions. You fluctuate at all times between a definite yes and a definite no. No discovery can ever be made with this attitude. The attitude must truly be, “Is it possible? Could it be? I will honestly look and consider the possibility, with all sincerity and without shirking any effort, in any direction that may prove to be necessary.”
I can stop here and take this in. I can look at where I am and consider new possibilities. Perhaps I do not have to be competent in a given area in order to feel connected and engaged with another. Could I feel part of the Tribe at Sevenoaks? Or take love. Perhaps I can feel Love even if I assess I am incapable of love. Perhaps I have the wrong idea about love. What are some new ways I can be open to the universal, cosmic power, available at all times around and within me? What are some new ways I can connect? Perhaps love is possible for me. Can I be open to that possibility?
Being open to these powers, being open to love, seems more like riding the waves of life, being in the flow of life, the flows within and without. Accessing these powers perhaps would dissolve my inner defense of intensity. All new possibilities. I feel such gratitude and joy in this moment. And yet I feel my resistance and the call of intensity. I pray for openness to new ways of being with all at Sevenoaks, all with Pat and other friends, and all of life. Yes, I pray for openness to love.
Shared in love, Gary