“Are you sure, sweetheart, that you want to be well? … Just so’s you’re sure, sweetheart, and ready to be healed, cause wholeness is no trifling matter. A lot of weight when you’re well.”
~ Toni Cade Bambara, The Salt Eaters
I am reading a book on the intersection of spirituality and social justice that included the above quote, and it really stopped me in my tracks.
A lot of weight when you’re well.
Most people come to Pathwork in a lot of pain — spiritually, psychologically, or both. I’d venture to say a very large percentage of the population on this planet are suffering from some degree of wounding, pain, or trauma. When someone is drawn to the Pathwork, usually they are seeking relief from this pain, and many are open to a spiritual approach that will offer healing. How one defines “healing,” as well as how one defines the purpose of Pathwork, can often be misconstrued.
Just why do we study the Pathwork? Are we here to heal our childhood wounds? Or to deepen spiritually?
The Guide says the answer is both.
While the Pathwork explicitly states that it is not therapy, the Lectures do teach us that as a result of our childhood wounds we develop erroneous beliefs and defensive strategies that we think will shield us from pain and instead only intensifies the suffering. Not only that, but these same beliefs and defenses, coupled with our negative intentionality, are precisely what keeps us from the awareness of our Real Self, and from surrendering to a Higher Power, however we define that.
As so often is true in any profound teaching, the answer is paradoxical. We are healing our childhood wounds in order to deepen spiritually.
While we do find relief from much of the pain and suffering that we are struggling with when we commit ourselves to the principles of the Pathwork, the true healing is not the mending of the wounds of this lifetime, but the healing of the more profound soul wound of our separation from our Real Self. This is the greatest pain we can know, and it often lies at the root of the childhood wounds we seek to heal.
Once we have re-established this connection to at least some degree, we find a peace and security that feels like a great healing, even though we may still find ourselves reactive from time to time when we encounter certain triggers.
And once we have reconnected with ourselves, even if imperfectly, we then feel our connection to all beings, and we awaken to the responsibility we have to bring love and compassion to others, to support them in their journey to open to this greater awareness. We realize our greatest need is to be of service to others.
Many of us don’t want that responsibility. We’d rather stay a wounded child, reaching out to a loving parent substitution to tend to these wounds. We’d rather stay small so we don’t risk encountering more pain. The trouble is, if this is what we choose, we are choosing to remain stuck in the festering wound, in the prison of our pain.
Healing requires growth.
So….. “Are you sure, sweetheart, that you want to be well?… Just so’s you’re sure, sweetheart, and ready to be healed, cause wholeness is no trifling matter. A lot of weight when you’re well.”
It’s an important question to ask yourself. Are you ready to be well?
- Who would you be if you weren’t that wounded child?
- How would your life change if you let go of your ideas about not being enough?
- What would you have to let go of in order to receive the healing you long for?
As it says in Pathwork Lecture 60:
Wherever you look, you will see that it cannot be otherwise: the more freedom, the more responsibility. If you do not desire responsibility according to the degree of your capacity, you have to forfeit freedom.
Life cannot be cheated. But the price you are asked to pay rewards you a hundredfold.
I invite you to deeply consider …. just how sincere are you in your thirst for wholeness?