What comes after re-alignment?

I’ve come to call that place “full permission living.” The phrase came to me spontaneously after I broke through my own character structure. I felt that I could now be more and more able, as time progressed post-character structure, to follow my desires, trust my impulses, act spontaneously – basically, do whatever I wanted – and that, in so doing, I could trust that I would be living in my own best interest, and in harmony with others and with life.

Full permission living is a place of being. Having moved from awareness to understanding to knowing, a person at this level of their development is simply a human… being.

Eva Broch, in Pathwork Guide Lecture #127, delineates four stages of the evolution of consciousness: “automatic reflex, awareness, understanding and knowing.” Spinning off from that lecture, one can think of the movement through states of consciousness in the healing process as having four stages: awareness, understanding, knowing and being.

Awareness and understanding come by freeing up the mind. This is accomplished first by clearly seeing what is going on in one’s inner and outer life (awareness), and then making the cause and effect connections about the events (understanding). Awareness can begin increasing right in the first therapy session with the therapist’s initial reflections and assessment. Often in a first session, a patient may say in response to the therapist’s observation about something, “Oh! I never realized that before.” His awareness has been activated.

Understanding comes somewhat afterwards as connections are made mentally and repetitive patterns that were previously thought of as mysterious or cruelly random are seen in their predictable light. Hidden agendas, intentions and beliefs are accepted as personal realities.

Knowing comes with freeing up the emotions in the body. It is only from our gut, from within our bodies, that we can ever say “I know” something with certainty. That is why we say, “I just feel it”, when we are definite about something. The person who truly feels, knows their own truth confidently. Getting to a place of knowing takes hard work and determined effort. In addition to developing awareness and understanding, one must now undertake the “breaking” of the body’s defenses and armoring, and really feel, especially, at first, the difficult feelings of sorrow, rage and fear. This is the “point of no return.” If a person breaks through here - and it could take 6 or more years - they will never “go back” to their previous levels of functioning. They are on their way to being.

Being is just living, spontaneously and naturally, and comes from letting go. Of everything! It is living without attachment. Although awareness, understanding and knowing are part of being, they are incorporated now without effort, without thinking in the usual sense. Basic trust has been firmly re-established, but now combined with the knowledge, courage and wisdom of an adult.

The re-establishment of basic trust leads to the rediscovery that at its base, life “works”, and that at our own cores, we are loving, creative, compassionate beings. At this phase of development, a person knows that he or she creates their own reality and he accepts responsibility for his creations without judgement or blame. One lives without attachment to outcomes, without regrets about past events, without worry about future happenings. Dualistic thinking falls by the wayside, and there is a true sense of oneness felt in connection with all others and with life. Body, mind and spirit are felt to be one. The person here doesn’t think of oneself as “sick” when experiencing a symptom, but rather this person experiences pain as information and guidance. There is no irrational fear of death… or life. Perfection is not demanded from oneself or others. Life is lived spontaneously.

In one way, life at this point resembles life before therapy. Neurotic individuals operate pretty much automatically in their lives, operating automatically, from what Broch calls "automatic reflexes”, acting out the dictates of their unconscious mind unquestioningly. It is only the suffering that keeps intruding into their daily existence that makes them question what’s going on and seek out guidance. Their suffering is caused by the fact that the unconscious dictates they’re acting out are coming from the wounded child aspect of the personality. The healing of this wounded aspect in us requires a very intense and focused period of intrusive “excavation” into the unconscious mind and body. It is an immersion in self-examination, questioning, exposing, analyzing, surfacing, penetrating, releasing, cleansing, re-educating and re-aligning that takes years.

However, once the “hard work” is done, in a sense the person can go back to living automatically again. Only this time, it is the most developed aspect of the self, the “higher self”, that is motivating actions more directly. This higher self aspect is also unconscious to the person for the most part, but the free adult can understand and sense its workings more clearly because now the ego has gone back to its original, natural function: observing. Whatever happens in the person’s life at this point, including what used to be thought of fretfully as obstacles, problems or illness, he just observes events without judgement or irrational fear, and accepts everything as information and guidance. The person here is identified with “that which observes”, rather than ‘that which is observed”, as Eva Broch puts it in Guide Lecture #189.

Or as Saint Thomas Aquinas put it in describing the realization at this level of consciousness: “Who we are looking for is who is looking.”

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