Unknowingly Answering my Call to Pathwork
Wanting as many people as possible to benefit from Pathwork the way I have, I have been developing an interview format that I would like to use with fellow Pathworkers to get their stories. How have others arrived at Pathwork? And why do those of us who stay do so?
Coming from a business background as I do, I of course think in terms of market segments – groups of folks with a particular pattern of characteristics – and how those with common characteristics were drawn to Pathwork. While I developed an interview questionnaire for this (click to open), I realize that this may not work. When I look at how I came to Pathwork it doesn’t seem to have logic to it at all. Or does it?
As an adolescent in the Lutheran Church I was drawn to the doctrine of the church. Questions like “Where did we come from?” “What is the purpose of life?” “What is the Cosmos about?” “What about evolution?” Of course the answers to some of these questions seemed to be irrelevant to the teachings of the church, certainly not taking me beyond the first few pages of Genesis. So I complemented the church with avid reading of books on science, especially astronomy, quantum physics, and chemistry.
But I can go back to my confirmation Catechism (used when I was 12-14) and see the notes I took. I even bought a version of the Catechism that had a blank page between each printed page, and there I would take notes on how our religion characterized truth. During my adolescent years I was drawn to works like Worlds in Collision by the Russian astronomer Immanuel Velikovsky, works that for the teenage me bridged the gap between astronomy and some of the stories of the Old Testament Exodus. This linking of the bible to science (not Velikovsky’s aim!) would excite me. But for the most part the gap between the majesty and Mystery of the Cosmos and the stories of the bible left me in two separate worlds. I could not integrate them.
Later in life I would continue my search for truth – but always being unsuccessful in trying to bridge the gap between science and the bible, or science and the conservative teachings of the Lutheran Church. So I would study each separately and trust that some day the two worlds would be reconciled for me.
Let me pause here to bring some current understanding to where I think I was in the years that followed my adolescence – in my twenties and then forties and early fifties. (Why not my thirties? My parents were killed two weeks before I turned thirty. Their sudden and unexpected accident brought me very much into the bible and church for the next decade or so.)
To establish where I think I was back in my twenties and then again in my forties and early fifties, let me draw on a quote from Pathwork Lecture 227 (click here to open). Yes, during these periods of my life – twenties and then forties and early fifties – I assess that I was a closet atheist. I would attend church, go through the motions, even teach bible class. But inwardly I was not on the page of the teachings of the Lutheran Church. I was feeling guilt for not subscribing to the church’s teachings, yet subscribing would have been denying my own truth – namely, that I was (unconsciously – since I could not admit this even to myself) a closet atheist. And since I had not even entered Stage 2, I was certainly not yet awakened into an inner stage of divine essence, that is, Stage 3. Yes, I was in Stage 2 — atheism/agnosticism – a very uncomfortable stage!
And I am still in this Stage 2 – the agnostic stage. But I am more at peace with this truth. I am not fearful for not having the faith required for peace in Stage 1. And I accept that I am not yet purified and transformed, that is, I am not yet awakened to Stage 3. Yet I have an inner peace that I am in process – doing the work – for me, Pathwork – required to move from Stage 2 to Stage 3. It may take a long, long time. But just accepting that in my spiritual life I am solidly in Stage 2 means all the difference.
And I look at all my spiritual adventures in my life after turning 50: 1) seeking and forming several spiritual 12-Step-like groups, 2) leaving my Lutheran Church, 3) taking over 30 hours of graduate-level spirituality courses at a local Catholic Seminary, 4) for nine months being a hospital chaplain intern – and part of a Clinical Pastoral Education program in the hospital, 5) becoming a massage therapist to better connect with my body and relate body and spirit, 6) taking a “listening well” program for becoming a spiritual friend, 7) weekly or biweekly spiritual director sessions to help guide my journey, 8] cranial-sacral training, 9) developing a tai chi practice, 10) getting involved in Enneagram work, 11) entering the intense Pathwork program and taking everything Sevenoaks Pathwork Center offered, 12) participating in a Ken Wilber group for several years, 13) trying several Tantra programs, 14) Completing Newfield life-caoching training program, 15) for four years participating more than two weeks a year in an Ira-Progoff-type Journal writing group, 16) building up a library of 3,000+ volumes on spirituality and psychology, and 17) Holotropic Breathwork. These are off the top of my head, and I’m sure there are more.
On one level this could be interpreted as spiritual materialism. On another level however it speaks to my soul’s hunger for truth and love. I am again drawn to Pathwork Lecture 165 Evolutionary Phases in the Relationship Between the Realms of Feelings, Reason, and Will. I am drawn to Pathwork by its Call to my soul. (Click here to read quote from PWL 165 that I titled The Call of Pathwork.)
So while I have been unconscious that all this spiritual activity has been indisputable evidence that I was following a very strong and deep spiritual Calling, I now see the truth of this. And most of all, I see the strength of the Calling to Pathwork.
My early experiences in Pathwork were challenging and not engaging. For the first two or three years I was not enjoying it, didn’t even understand what it was all about and resisted aspects of it. But for whatever reason I kept at it – just going along with the program, perhaps, but staying with it. Today, however, after nearly 12 years of intense engagement I look up and feel just how much these Pathwork teachings and practices mean to me. They snuck up on me unawares. They probably had to, for 20 years ago there may have been no way I would have allowed myself to have explored these esoteric teachings — teachings in a way that were “beyond” the bible, carrying the bible into 21st Century consciousness where these teachings can hold their own with any other teaching I have found, at least teachings that fit the lock of my heart.
However, I am not sure that I would have rejected this material out of hand in my 20s. It could be that had I met these teachings in my 20s I would have jumped on them. It matters not. What matters is that I have been led to them, they enliven me daily, and I find joy and peace and inspiration with these materials as with no other. Unknowingly, unconsciously, these teachings have found their way into my heart where they grow and inspire me. I am humbled and grateful, so grateful.
Shared in love, Gary