I have been aware of wrestling with an on again, off again feeling of hopelessness for a couple of years now. I suspect it’s been residing in me most of my life, but it seems to be a rather frequent visitor these days.
Hopelessness. Despair. Resignation. Powerlessness. Depression.
All variations of the voice that says,
“Don’t open your heart. Don’t step out on a ledge and give all of yourself. Don’t invest your time and energy and love.
Stay safe. Protect yourself. It’s their fault. They are so bad. You are right to separate from them.”
Have you ever felt this way? Perhaps you are experiencing it now in some area of your life?
Hopelessness is not a pleasant feeling, and so often we can cover it over with another layer of defense…. willfulness, judgment, self-righteousness, a mask of love or serenity. Anything to distance ourself from the pain inherent in the reality of the dualistic nature of our humanity… we will never fully eradicate our lower selves.
Fortunately, the Guide teaches us that hopelessness is not a dead end street. It is not the final destination we are asked to accept. It is but another portal to a deeper truth.
The Guide says that if we are in hopelessness we are not in truth. Hopelessness is a defense against feeling our negative intention to separate, to hold back, to say no to all of life. Hopelessness is a form of hard pain, which distracts us from feeling the pain of our negative intention. Our task is to meet both of these layers and drop into the soft pain that lies underneath that.
When I fully feel my hopelessness I find my refusal to surrender to the truth that I can’t control life, and I can’t always have things the way I want them. And I find my refusal to love in the face of this truth. Control has always been an illusion, but it is one I stubbornly hold on to. Meeting this negative intention and my choice to stay in separation inevitably begins the process of melting it, of transitioning from a no to a yes current.
Moving through my hopelessness and my negative intention offers me the opportunity to forgive life for not meeting my expectations and demands, and to make the choice to love anyway. Because love is not given to change the other. It is not given in exchange for getting something in return. It is given because this is how I want to live my life, even if that means feeling pain at times.
And when I allow my heart and my will to be broken I find the strength to bring compassion to the brokenness in this world.
Hopelessness is not the bottom of the abyss. Love is what we find when we go all the way through. It is the Alpha and the Omega. The beginning and the end. And remembering that returns me full circle to hope.
This is the promise that the Pathwork offers in the Gateway prayer:
Through the gateway of feeling your weakness lies your strength; through the gateway of feeling your pain lies your pleasure and joy; through the gateway of feeling your fear lies your security and safety; through the gateway of feeling your loneliness lies your capacity to have fulfillment, love, and companionship; through the gateway of feeling your hate lies your capacity to love; through the gateway of feeling your hopelessness lies true and justified hope; through the gateway of accepting the lacks of your childhood lies your fulfillment now. ~ Pathwork Lecture 190
I thank God the Pathwork teachings remind me of this when I feel lost. They just keep bringing me back home.
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TREASURE IN THE DEPTHS: Identifying Hidden Obstacles to Fulfillment.