Relating to Jesus Christ — A State of Consciousness
In college I was cornered by two Evangelical Christians after class one night. They said we would not leave the room until I knew I was going to heaven by accepting Jesus Christ as my personal savior. I felt intimidated and frightened. Here I was, a “solid” Lutheran, and they were suggesting that my faith was somehow lacking if I had any doubts about going to heaven when I died.
Of course I knew my faith was lacking. I had a lot of head knowledge about God and Jesus Christ, about the Holy Ghost and Heaven and Hell, but the sense of faith they were talking about, the faith that transcends understanding and would give me peace, was somehow foreign to me.
And this faith did not fit my experience or my sensibilities. I could not go there. We did not leave the classroom with my knowing I was going to heaven. The entire incident was upsetting to me. And I can easily see that my relationship to Jesus Christ, or to God for that matter, has been a point of tension in me my entire life. “If only I would turn my life over to Jesus!” But this I seemed unwilling to do, and I had no real idea why my resistance was so strong.
This matter of relating to Jesus Christ comes up often. Most recently it occurred when one of our Pathwork faculty boldly expressed her desire to have “More Jesus” in our Sevenoaks’ Pathwork programs in general and in the upcoming Pathwork Transformation Program session in particular – it being the Christmas season and all. I am not teaching this year, but this matter raised lots of anxiety in me – I resist making Jesus Christ the center figure in Pathwork – this despite the prominent place Jesus Christ holds in the Pathwork lectures that so feed me. So this situation was just another opportunity for me to look at my relationship with Jesus Christ and at my resistance to making Jesus Christ central either in my life or in the Pathwork programs at Sevenoaks. What does this all mean to me?
I began by taking this matter into my morning meditation. Immediately my resistance came up. I felt fear in going into this matter at all. I am more in the Nicodemus camp, the educated Jewish leader who went to Jesus by night and was told he needed to be born again, than I am in the fisherman camp, the uneducated but devoted disciples of Jesus.
Then what came up in meditation was the fact that I could not superimpose a “decision for Christ” on top of whatever my unconscious resistance to Jesus Christ was all about. This superimposition of “right” ideas on top of unconscious “wrong” ideas never works and blinds me to what stands in the way for me to embracing Jesus Christ more openly. So I needed to find the images, face them, discern their origins, examine them for truthfulness, and let what is not true in them dissolve.
So what are my images about relating to Jesus Christ? I could feel the fear in my even asking the question. Why the fear? What am I afraid of? First I fear that Jesus Christ would ask me to give up my inner authority to him. This is not giving my ego over to Jesus Christ, that I get, but rather giving my inner authority, my Essence, over to Jesus Christ. It would mean denying my Divine Essence. This image leads me to resist turning my life over to Jesus Christ with every ounce of energy I have. But this is, of course, an image, not the total truth. It is not what Jesus wants – quite the contrary, Jesus Christ wants to set me free to live from my Divine Essence within! And guess what. That Divine Essence that is me IS Jesus Christ in me. This is the experience of Unitive consciousness vs. duality that Jesus is inviting me to consider. Something to sit and be with. Can I take that in?
Second, turning my life over to Jesus would take me beyond my mind, my Guardian at the gate of my being. I would lose control. I, like Nicodemus, depend on my mind’s discernment for direction in my life. I am not willing to throw away my mind to follow Christ. This image, like the preceding one, makes me resist Jesus Christ with all my might. And again, this is an image. Jesus is not asking me to throw away my mind but rather quite the contrary — I am to use my mind in discernment, an open discernment, however, not one biased by my images. I am to use my mind exactly as I am doing here in my self-facing. I use my mind to do my work, the work needed for my spiritual development. Beautiful.
Thirdly, rather than feeling peace in the presence of Jesus’ love for me I feel intimidated by the claimed depth of Jesus’ love for me. This image deals with my image that love for another means total submission to another. So again this image blocks the door to turning my life over to Jesus. And again, it is an image: true love is not submission!
These powerful images preclude me from relating to Jesus Christ. The only way to open the door to a relationship to Jesus Christ is to examine these images and work with them, find their origin, and let them dissolve. This dissolving has begun!
But the approach to this dissolution is important. Don’t tell me about what the Pathwork Lectures say about Jesus Christ! Please! This is not about obedience to an external authority, even if that authority is the Pathwork Guide! Time and time again the Pathwork Lectures warn against taking the Pathwork wisdom as dogma that has to be accepted. The lectures stress over and over again that each of us must have our own opinions and know where they come from. If something is True, our hearts and souls, our Divine Essence, will resonate to it and awake in its presence. For example, the Lectures say that reincarnation is true AND warns against believing in reincarnation just because the Lectures say so. If reincarnation is True, eventually our level of consciousness will awaken to it, not because of outer authority proving it, and not as a security blanket for dealing with any fear of death I might hold, but rather as a simple fact of Truth. And so it is with Jesus Christ. To force Pathwork teachings about Jesus Christ onto a student would make Pathwork a religion, a movement where holding onto a body of dogma was necessary for one to “belong.”
Even here I run into an image. I am afraid to have my own opinion! It is hard for me to hear and come to trust my own heart, my own inner wisdom. I rely on outer authority. So with Jesus Christ I look here and look there – who will tell me the Truth about Jesus Christ? Yet at the same time I resist outer authority, thus putting myself in a real catch 22 situation. I want outer authority to tell me what is true, and I refuse to accept outer authority when it does express a version of truth. So here another image – “My inner authority is wrong, so please tell me your truth so I can know Truth” – has to be faced and dissolved.
These are big issues for me, and it is such a blessing to have them on the table of light. And perhaps I project these issues onto others – thinking that others might also have similar resistances to Jesus Christ, or to God. After all, many of us come to Pathwork having experienced a lot of wounding around God and Jesus Christ, so to address these Truths directly could backfire and drive people like me away, people who are still very much struggling with the entire idea about God and Jesus Christ.
I took this matter into my helper session with Moira Shaw. And she added a key piece. “One’s relationship with Jesus Christ evolves and becomes real only at fairly high states of consciousness. One has to be careful not to impose teachings that students may not yet be ready for.” Of course I recognize this teaching from the Lectures where the Guide says that care was given in preparing the Lectures so as to meet readers where they are and not give material that is beyond them. The lectures are layered in such a way that people get what they are able to get and safely “miss” what they are not yet ready to take in. The Guide also says the lectures are given in an order that builds from one to the next.
As Spirit works to meet me where I am, I “just happen” to be in the midst of recording Pathwork Lecture #115 Perception, Determination, Love as Aspects of Consciousness. Paragraphs 29-42 (See Growing In Love in Pathwork Quotes on my website) describe beautifully the stages of love we humans experience in our evolution. This includes our love of God as it grows from loving ideas about God to levels of inner experience of God, which is Love, the experience of Oneness. Such beautiful words for my soul this day. May you too be blessed this day.
With love, Gary