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A Shared Life of Wrestling, Growth, and Discovery

When Light Meets Darkness

Yesterday, Saturday, I spent a good bit of time creating the Devotional Format of Pathwork Lecture 155Fear of Self – Giving And Receiving, especially paragraphs 8 -14 (pages 5-15) (I shall post this Devotional Format of Lecture 155 when I complete it, likely by May  20 – it is one of 4 assigned lectures for the Sacred Dimensions of the Pathwork Module 4 coming up June 9-12 at Sevenoaks). As I work with it, I find that Lecture 155 is, once again, a beautiful, inspiring lecture seemingly especially for me right where I am. Drinking in the wisdom of the Pathwork Guide on Saturday was, as usual, a wonderful treat for the weekend.

Saturday evening, after Pat and I had created a wonderful meal together, we decided to watch a Netflix movie. Which movie to select is always the question we ask as we go through our list of streaming options.

Pat showed me four or five possibilities, and I noticed that I was guided most by the rating, not the title. I was not in the mood for a PG or PG-13. I was going for a romantic drama in the R and NR categorieswanting a little more erotic juice than most PG-13 movies provide. Of course I was secretive about my selection criteria, not confessing my motive for selection with Pat, but rather I simply helped (OK, manipulated) “us” to choose the option I wanted, albeit for the wrong reasons.  The movie I led us to was The Girl In The Book, rated NR, a rating that has “many possibilities” for what I was looking for.

Having suppressed my queasiness and guilt over my selection, we watched the movie. Actually I enjoyed the movie overall much more than I thought I would, but there were dark sides in the movie as well that triggered me. First off there was a lot of sexual dysfunction and addiction spawned by early sexual abuse of the lead female (Alice) by the much older lead male (Milan). This sexual addiction with its risk-taking behaviors disturbed me, reminding me of my own risk taking when I was in my various affairs. The second dark side of the movie was the central theme of the movie, Milan, a famous author, would write about some of his abusive behavior with Alice (Alice was “The Girl In Milan’s Book”) in his novels. This second aspect of the movie led me to feel guilty over what I so often share in my blog regarding Pat’s and my experiences in our relationship.While I want to be real in my blog, am I “over-sharing,” especially in matters related to Pat and our relationship, and if I am over-sharing, why do I share so much?

After we watched the movie I was noticeably unsettled with guilt and anxiety. I did not share my anxiousness or severe guilt with Pat after the movie, but rather invited Pat to take a half-hour reading break with me before we adjourned to bed for a good night’s sleep. In this time before bed I was able to enjoy about 30 pages from Jacob Bronowski’s The Ascent of Man, a great science/philosophical read that I instantly enjoyed. The reading settled me down, and I slept soundly.

This morning, Sunday morning, during our morning coffee time, I shared my anxiety, guilt, and dis-ease concerning the movie and my selection motive with Pat. I confessed that I realized I was not in integrity last night in leading “us” to choose the movie we did. I shared how awful that made me feel, and then I began to denigrate my lack of integrity profusely and loudly.

Pat stopped me. “Hear your tyrant judge, Gary! Hear the one who denigrates your lack of integrity, thereby adding insult to injury.” It was so great that Pat saw this self-denigration for what it was and mirrored it back to me. What I had been reading in Lecture 155 the previous day spoke directly to me and to my self-denigrating behavior. In my self-denigration I loathed my lack of integrity that I exhibited the night before, made doubly painful since I had enjoyed such a glorious day, such a “spiritual” day if your please, pondering and formatting Lecture 155.

I could see Lecture 155 play out as scripted: my self-loathing stopped my spontaneity, my connection with the life-force which is also the erotic force. I could not stand my own dark side, so I shut down my eros (both its mature and immature sides).  Yet facing, accepting, purifying, and transforming my dark side is what Pathwork is all about. By lashing out at my lack of integrity rather than just observing it and being accepting of its presence in my life as a human, I was whisking my lack of integrity away, covering it over so I and others would not see it. Yet it gnawed at me relentlessly. So here I was reminded that Matt Kahn said, in his Whatever Arises, Love That, said that I need to really feel the pain both the pain of being out of integrity AS WELL AS the pain of my tyrant’s harsh and mercilessly judgment against me for being out of integrity.

I realized that I had not merely identified these two parts of me, the part of me acting out of integrity and a second part of me, the tyrant in me, harshly judging that first part of me, but also I had identified with both of these parts of me. I was falling into the trap of false identification! This began a vicious cycle driving me down the rat hole of ever deepening self-hate and hopelessness.

Pat was also helpful in suggesting my motivation for wanting to watch the sexy movie was coming from that part of me that longed for a deeper emotional/physical connection with her. It was so good for her to say this. That this was her statement really freed me to look more deeply at my negative aspects without all the hatred toward my immature undeveloped self.

Pat’s words could have been taken directly out of what I had been reading in Lecture 155 all day Saturday. I have that deep part of me that longs for union [read LOVE] on all levels of my being. This longing for union is a window looking into the deep part of my life force, my erotic force, my sexual force, and my love force. What happens is that I fear to enter direct experience of these erotic, sexual, and love forces with Pat. Why do I fear direct experiences of eros and sex? I fear rejection. So this life force [or LOVE] gets distorted, and I pursue vicarious experiences of union by being drawn to this “hopefully erotic” movie – a displacement of what my soul really long for.

But this distortion of my healthy erotic, sexual, and love force that pursues a sexy movie as opposed to entering a real connection with Pat is recognized by another part of me and this second part of me finds my distorted pursuits for union disgusting and judges the first part of me harshly for being so immature and undeveloped, for being in distortion rather than in integrity. However I must see that even this second part of me that judges harshly is also a part of me that desires healthy union, who recognizes my distortion that comes from my preferring to watch a sexy movie rather than be in a real warm and loving relationship with Pat, is, in its own right, also a distortion, a HATE which lashes out rather than being in LOVE that heals.  So both parts of me are distortions of that deepest part of me that seeks union! This is a grand insight!

It was at once both painful to feel these parts of me in distortion and yet exhilarating to see how I had entered this vicious cycle of distortions, one on top of the next, and on and on. I was no longer unconscious of what was going on in me. I could breathe deeply and feel a relaxing of tension. In sharing my double-distortion honestly with Pat, I was breaking the vicious cycle.

Also on Sunday morning I got an email from Marjorie Bair, the spiritual teacher, the “elder,” who had led us in Module 3 of The Sacred Dimensions of the Pathwork – the so-called “Trust Weekend” – which took place only four short weeks ago (April 14-17). To my amazement and delight (OK, and, at first, to my panic) Marjorie had read not only my write up on the April 14-17 Trust Workshop that she had led, but she also had now read both of my two previous blog entries on Pat’s and my experience at Sage’s workshop on Divine Sexuality, the workshop we attended this past weekend as well as our processing of same. Having had read earlier my blog entry about the Trust Weekend, Marjorie posed a thoughtful inquiry for my reflection: “[The work with Sage was] Clearly deep and important work.  Curious to know what happened, in contrast, to your sense of yourself as the flow of life (or similar), itself, after the Trust weekend.”

I sat with Marjorie’s invitation to compare and contrast my experience of being the stream of life that I  had shared in my blog entry of April 23rd with my two subsequent blogs dealing with LOVE and HATE from Sage’s workshop this past weekend as described in my blog entry of May 11th and my follow-up blog entry of May 13th.

As I pondered this inquiry I saw that in the Trust Weekend described in my April 23rd blog entry I was in touch with being the stream of life, not just flowing with or on the stream of life. In intuitively experiencing myself being the stream of life I identified with the higher self, with God within, with the LOVE energy, or with the LIGHT. It was a marvelous exhilarating experience. In the latter two blog entries in which I was in the energy of Sage’s workshop on Divine Sexuality I was seeing not only the LOVE and LIGHT in the higher self energy but also lower self HATE and DARKNESS.

What was I to do with these negative energies of HATE and DARKNESS?

First I noticed that the HATE and DARKNESS felt foreign. I was not really the HATE or the DARKNESS. But these were clouds coming in to the field of LIGHT and LOVE that I had experienced in Marjorie’s Trust Weekend as where I experienced myself as the stream of life, in Life that just IS and LOVE that just IS. How do the LIGHT and DARKNESS, the LOVE and the HATE face each other? How am I to be with these DARK and LIGHT energies in my human condition, in my 50/50 real self, as Moira would say?

With Pat’s helpful observations on the heels of my work with Lecture 155 I could get a possible glimpse of how these LOVE and HATE energies and forces work in me. Yes, I am, in my Divine Essence, the fields of LIGHT, LOVE, and my CHRISTED self. The DARKNESS rolls in as clouds of foreign material: clouds of darkness and hate that separate. But, the LIGHT, that also, like LOVE, just IS, overcomes the DARKNESS. LOVE, also since LOVE just IS and is unaffected by the DARKNESS, eventually floods the DARKNESS and the DARKNESS is no more. This process of overcoming forces of DARKNESS and HATE in the the universe reflects the purpose of my life as a human being on this earth plane. Over time in this life I come to identify with CHRIST. As Pat and I confess in our morning meditation, “We open to the Mystery of the Presence of Christ; we realize we are the HEART, MIND, BODY, and LIGHT of CHRIST!”  We have used this statement in our morning meditation for many months now. Perhaps by repeating these words each day we are coming to manifest this intention’s truth into our reality!

Seeing this, I am reminded of the introduction of John’s Gospel (John 1:3b-5) “What has come into being in him [i.e., in Jesus Christ] was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”

As Pat and I also exclaim each time we conclude our morning meditation, “Amen!, Hallelujah!, Aho!” I am so filled with gratitude for all the support I get, that Pat and I get as a couple, in our journey both together and as individuals on this earth plane. AND the synchronicity is unmistakable – be it the timing of this April-June series of workshops culminating in our intensive with Sage and Anthony in June, Pat’s helpful comments and presence in our morning coffee times, Marjorie’s perfectly timed email with her invitation of inquiry, and my work with Lecture 155 on Saturday which Erena assigned. Amazing. Simply amazing. I bow in humility to it all, to Spirit, to Source, to God.

Shared in love, Gary

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Gary Vollbracht