Religion to Deeper Consciousness
In addition to Pathwork, I am drawn to the Intensive Journal Workshops created by Ira Progoff and as currently offered in the Cincinnati/Dayton area by Faye Schwelitz. At a recent 4-day journaling workshop Faye focused on the parts of the Journal covered in Ira Progoff’s volume The Practice of Process Meditation, a book he later integrated into a 1992 version of his At a Journal Workshop. I enjoy Progoff’s writing, so I purchased a copy of the original volume of The Practice of Process Meditation and began reading it.
In the early pages I was struck by the clarity Progoff gave of how one’s spiritual/religious life can deepen from surface doctrines and traditions of worship of one’s chosen religion or philosophy to the highly individualized work of deep spiritual transformation. I added excerpts from Progoff’s book to the Quotes from Other Sources page of my website. (Click here to open).
This Progroff passage aligns with a passage from Pathwork Lecture #5 Happiness for Yourself or Happiness as a Link in the Chain of Life. (Click here to open relevant paragraphs). These paragraphs from Lecture 5 say, “Religion means ‘re-connection with God,’ and everybody wants this, whether knowingly or not. All unfulfilled longing is basically nothing else but the wish to return to God, that is, to ‘religion.'” These words resonate with and inspire my soul.
As I have pondered these two readings from Progoff and Pathwork I can see my own rocky but steady road to God. I began by simply taking on my parents’ faith — Missouri Synod Lutheran. As a boy growing up I could not relate to the order of service in the liturgy and the various sacraments and customs practiced, but upon entering confirmation class I found that the teachings of the church appealed to my appetite for understanding the ultimate meaning of life. My earliest relationship to religion was rational.
It then changed to devotional as I related to the bible in a more serious way as a sacred text. Much of it did not make sense, but I did not let that bother me — I accepted it as truth on some level that I just did not understand yet. This was a steady growth time, certainly with many life challenges, including the sudden death of my parents as I was turning 30. This event, the sudden death of my parents, brought me to redouble my commitment to matters spiritual — but mostly in the rational path.
In my late forties and early fifties my life then fell apart and I was unable to connect the dots of meaning from the bible to my life experience. My relationship with the bible went from intense and rational to nil.
I entered Pathwork as I was turning 58. In Pathwork I seemed to be drawn to the Pathwork Lectures and how they were framed in the text by Susan Thesenga titled The Undefended Self. By the third or fourth year I became increasingly drawn to the lectures themselves and devoted to them. Today I experience their truths and my relationship to their truths and to the Pathwork Guide and Eva through whom they came to me.
There was a time where my work with Pathwork was mostly rational, as was much of my relationship with the bible in earlier times of my life as I shared above. But for the past several years the rational has given way to a more heartfelt experience of connection, and I find that the lectures resonate with and awaken truths that are within me.
This is where integration of Pathwork with the Intensive Journal methods of Ira Progoff fits in. I take in the words of the Pathwork lectures, but in the journal writing they get more fully fleshed out and integrated into a deeper life within. In this way lectures become increasingly personal. I have appreciated how these Pathwork and Progoff teachings, methods and approaches have become tools for my life, for deepening my consciousness, leading to deeper experiences of Life. I sense I am but scratching the surface, but the two writings I have drawn from here encourage me as I drop deeper into the well of my life.
I find great gratitude welling up within me for the Pathwork Guide, Eva, Ira, and Faye who have been supporters and companions of my spiritual journey, as well as for Pat, and for my brother, other family members and my many friends, Pathwork and otherwise, who walk with me on this amazing journey of Life. Feeling love. Blessed Easter.