Who is Wrestling, Growing, Discovering, Sharing?
In Jacob Needleman’s interview in the December 2011 issue of The Sun, I was struck by his description of his short but life-transformative interview with the spiritual teacher D. T. Suzuki. At the time Needleman was a graduate student at Harvard, deep into matters of meaning and self. He had completed an undergraduate thesis on these topics, and when he saw that Suzuki was going to be in New York City he went to great lengths to gain an interview with the master. Armed with his studies and research, he asked Suzuki about the meaning of self. In response Suzuki asked, “Who is asking the question?” Frustrated and a bit disoriented by this question, Needleman blurted out, “I am, of course. I am asking about the self!” To this Suzuki responded, “Show me this I.” This unexpected question further frustrated and even angered Needleman. Sitting with this question over the next weeks and months, however, changed Needleman’s life. It was the key to his inquiry.
This interview was complemented for me by an audio interview of Needleman titled Seeking Wisdom that Pat and I listened to in the car driving to my daughter’s for Thanksgiving. Here Needleman speaks of the profound sadness expressed by spiritual teachers he has known. Their sadness, coming near the end of their lives, was their disappointment and frustration that their “disciples” were not “getting” these masters’ fundamental teaching, that being, not responding to the masters’ fundamental invitation to their followers to “Come Forth,” to be “Reborn from and into their deepest selves,” to “wake up!” People would say they were followers, but get stuck on “understanding” the teachings rather than responding to the transmission of Truth: “Wake up!”
I found myself inspired by all of this, even eager to make connections with Needleman. His words were taking me back to looking within. When I consider the banner of my website – “A Shared Life of Wrestling, Growth, and Discovery,” I am moved to ask myself, “So who is the Gary who is wrestling with life, exploring life, thrilling at the discoveries of life, and then sharing all of this in this blog?” I notice how much Life and Energy arises in me in all of this wrestling, growing, and discovery, and in particular all my engaging and wrestling with the Pathwork Lectures and all the conversations I have with so many people on matters spiritual. This is where my lifeblood flows. This is the “I” of Gary, the I who is wrestling, growing, discovering, and sharing.
Let me focus in on my devotion to the Pathwork Lectures. To my knowledge there is no sense of duty or “ought-to” in my reading the lectures. Rather, it is a place of peace, of joy, of inspiration, of Life. My devotion to the Lectures comes from a natural attraction from deep within. I am not sure how to share this rich sense, except I notice that I intend this energy to flow through my recordings of the Lectures.
Another statement from Needleman’s Seeking Wisdom applies here. He has a project of making recordings in his own voice of many sacred texts. His goal is to make this ageless wisdom available via the audio medium. He further observes that the recordings of the original words of current masters often do not capture the energy of transmission that being in the presence of the master transmits. In other words, in some ways his reading and recording the words contain more energy of transmission than the originals. How can this be true?
Yet I find the same with the Pathwork Lectures. I can feel more energy listening to my own readings than listening to the original recordings via Eva. Others really want to experience the originals, and I do too, just to understand what this was all about. But listening to the originals is not my preferred way of taking the material in, of feeling the wisdom of the Pathwork Guide flowing into my being, my soul. I have no sense why this transmission seems to happen in my own readings of the lectures, but wonder if Needleman is pointing to the same phenomenon, which may be true for whatever reason.
Enough for today. Blessed Thanksgiving. With love, Gary