**This post continues a series I am writing on the Pathwork Stages of Commitment. In previous posts we covered the First Stage, which explores the spiritual journey on the personal level of self-responsibility — a necessary foundation. We also covered the Stage Two Commitment, which explores the interpersonal level of the journey. This is the stage where we come to understand that we have a responsibility not only for our own growth, but to support the well-being of our fellow brothers and sisters.
Today I’d like to explore Stage Three of the Pathwork Stages of Commitment. I have taken the liberty to expand their original meaning and significance beyond just the Pathwork Community to represent the larger spiritual journey we are all on, consciously or unconsciously.
So what does the Stage Three Commitment call us to?
The Guide says, “Here the awakening occurs in which the path is no longer seen as a mere personal venture but the sense of planetary responsibility is released within the soul.”
We have moved from a sense of personal responsibility to interpersonal responsibility, and in Stage Three we are now called to expand our awareness to include a sense of planetary responsibility. It is at this point that one intuits that personal and spiritual growth is not a means to a better life for “me.” That does happen along the way, but it is not the goal. In this stage one realizes on a very deep level that all growth work is in service of the entire planet — every creation that exists. The web of interconnection has expanded beyond our limited selves and our common humanity to include animals, plants, rocks and rivers.
Comfort, security, and approval are no longer the primary focus driving our behavior. We have a much larger understanding of cause and effect, and of our power to create positively.
We’ve got the whole world in our hands.
While that seems like quite a daunting responsibility, I find it actually a relief to shed the focus of self-interest and devote oneself to a cause greater than the separate self. When you reach the layers of the psyche that have been hidden deep within, the dark corners that don’t want to be revealed and released in spite of the suffering that results, serving a greater cause can fuel one with the courage, discipline, and willingness to continue stepping out of your comfort zone, to keep surrendering to whatever presents itself as the next step on the journey to Truth and Love.
The Pathwork Lectures offer us a roadmap from dualistic ways of thinking and reacting to union with all that is. Our language, however, inherently expresses duality which can sometimes be confusing. The Guide has presented the Stages of Commitment in numerical order, so while it can appear that we undertake them sequentially, the truth is that they are not linear or progressive.
- Some activists are passionate about animals and nature, and yet treat fellow humans with contempt and hostility.
- Some humanitarians excel at relieving the suffering of others while neglecting their own inner work.
- Some people who regard themselves as spiritual and/or religious are blind to the damage they do to the planet with their unconscious consumerism.
Each of us approaches these stages in our own time and in our own way. Ideally, growth in one area supports growth in the other, and we find the work spirals around and inward on an ever deepening journey.
So we can take these commitments seriously while holding them gently, recognizing how each stage represents a different dimension of the path to union. The path is full of apparent paradox and contradiction, and our task is ultimately to reconcile paradox and learn to embody all of these stages simultaneously.
My next post will cover the fourth and final Pathwork Stage of Commitment. But just for today, consider again these three stages:
Commitment to personal responsibility
Commitment to interpersonal responsibility
Commitment to planetary responsibility
Which one do you naturally gravitate toward?
Which stage requires greater discipline to achieve balance?
Which of these is calling you TODAY?
I’d love to hear your comments below about where your path is leading you along these stages of commitment.
Read more on the Pathwork Stages of Commitment here.
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This is wonderful work Beth. In my own life recently I have seen the beginning of more opening into doing work of service. I have realized how easy it is to be comfort and complacent in my personal life with reasons like “well I earned this” etc. I just took a 2 day course to learn how to teach ESL (English as second language) something I’ve always wanted to do. To find a way to make a big difference in another’s life doing something I can share is a gift. I had to make a commitment for 6 months and fit this into a busy schedule but it feels good to give this way. We are all different in what this giving back means but WE know inside what it means and with more and more awareness we can understand better what this really means WITHOUT berating ourselves for having been self-centered, selfish, myopic, etc. It’s exciting to keep opening to this. As Adyashanti says enlightenment is about the mind, the heart, and then the gut.
Wow, thank you so much for what you are doing by teaching ESL! It’s quite a commitment and I know that many will benefit from your willingness to serve. Much love to you!
Very lucidly explained, integrating the important aspects of life and foresight
Thanks so much! I am glad it spoke to you.
I am searching more on a personal level to find interpeace….
Thanks for sharing, Tammy. I believe the personal inner search is the foundation for all other commitments. You may want to check out the post I wrote on the commitment to self. http://sacreddiscoveriespathwork.com/what-is-your-commitment-to-yourself/