(804) 928-3189 BethHedquist@gmail.com
Commitment: Prison or Prayer?

Commitment: Prison or Prayer?

I recently taught in the Pathwork Transformation Program at Sevenoaks Retreat Center, and we concluded the year with a Community Commitment Ceremony. This is a tradition based on the Guide’s descriptions of four stages of commitment in the Pathwork. I find it to be a beautiful, moving ceremony, and yet I am aware that just the word “commitment” can bring up a lot of reactions.    What is it about the word commitment that spooks us? Here are some of the reactions this word can trigger in me:   What if I change my mind? What if I fail to live up to my Idealized Self Image’s version of this commitment? Will I end up acting from a “should” instead of from my heart? No one tells me what to do! Will I be required to do something I don’t want to do? What will I have to give up?   If I am honest, I know these questions originate from my Lower Self, convincing me that it is not safe or desirable to commit to anything or anyone. Always leave a backdoor open for escape.   So what does commitment really mean?   In Pathwork Lecure 196, the Guide says commitment “means, above all, a one-pointedness of attention; giving the self in a wholehearted way to whatever the commitment may be. If you are committed to give your best to whatever you do, you will focus on all aspects of the subject. You will not shy away from investing all your energies, all your attention. You will use your faculties of thinking, of intuition, of meditation. In other...
Politics as Spiritual Practice

Politics as Spiritual Practice

This presidential election cycle has been a very INTERESTING time. Not necessarily in a positive way, but it definitely has not been a ho-hum run of the mill election. Tensions are stoked on both sides, the world in general seems to be spinning into chaos, and as a country we are more polarized than I’ve ever experienced. The dualistic world we live in seems magnified exponentially these days.   And yet crisis always has the opportunity for growth. I have learned that politics in general, and an election year in particular, is a great opportunity for me to practice reflecting on how well I “walk the talk” regarding my desire to live from a unitive perspective, and to observe compassionately the many, many ways I fall short of that.   Politics as spiritual practice. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton as my spiritual teachers. Who’d have ever guessed? I don’t think I’d ever willingly sign up for that workshop! But every day life offers itself as the most fruitful spiritual practice. Our adversaries have much more to teach us than our friends.   So what better way to put our ideals to the test than this election?   I’d like to invite you to join me in slowing down a bit in your response to the media frenzy around the election and the challenges that our world is currently facing. Regardless of what country you live in, consider incorporating some or all of these practices in your daily life:   Meditate and/or pray before you take in the first news story of the day. Ground yourself in your spiritual center...
Spiritual Practices for the “Meditationally Challenged”

Spiritual Practices for the “Meditationally Challenged”

I have long considered myself a very committed student of personal and spiritual development, placing my spiritual growth as the number one priority in my life. At the beginning of my spiritual journey, it didn’t take long to realize that everyone I spoke to and everything I read said you cannot grow spiritually unless you meditate. You have to meditate.   So of course, I didn’t meditate.   It was too hard. I didn’t have enough time. It just wasn’t my style. Really, do I have to meditate? The truth is, I don’t want to do anything that someone tells me I have to do.   I spent a fair amount of time beating myself up for not being the most accomplished meditator on the planet. You know, the one who faithfully sits twice a day for at least 30 minutes, and revels in ten day silent meditation retreats?   Then one day one of my teachers told me she considered herself “meditationally challenged.” I laughed out loud in relief. Maybe there was hope for me yet??? Now, I’m not knocking meditation. The classic sitting meditation is an excellent tool for spiritual development, but after years of battling perfectionism and stubborn rebellion, I’ve realized its not the only tool in the box. Some people take to sitting meditation like a duck takes to water, while others struggle for years with the practice, and in my humble opinion, it doesn’t mean the former is necessarily the more spiritually developed.   The goal of meditation (as I understand it) is to quiet the mind, become more present in the moment, more...