AN INTRODUCTION TO PATHWORK
© Ian Lawton 2009
My abiding thanks go to correspondent David Stollar for bringing this little-known material to my attention. It was channelled by Eva Pierrakos from 1957 to 1979, and it represents some of the most profound spiritual self-help advice available to assist us to get in touch with our higher, divine selves. What is more it fits entirely with the propositions of Rational Spirituality, and of the holographic soul, while adding considerably to them. It is not to be approached lightly, however.
This main page merely contains summaries of the key themes. Clicking on the lecture headings in each section takes you to the detailed extracts from the original Pathwork lectures. Alternatively the entire material can be downloaded as a pdf that runs to more than fifty pages.
1 OVERVIEW: 1.1 What is the Path?
2 INTRODUCTORY TOPICS: 2.1 Relationships, Eros & Love 2.2 The Spiritual Meaning of Crisis 2.3 Pursuing Unity Instead of Duality
3 THE WHAT OF TRANSFORMATION: 3.1 Developing the Observer Self 3.2 Uncovering the Mask Self 3.3 Understanding Repeating Patterns & Assimilating Unresolved Emotions 3.4 Facing, Understanding & Transforming the Lower Self 3.5 Expanding into the Divine Self & Conscious Creation 3.6 Surrendering to God
4 THE HOW OF TRANSFORMATION: 4.1 Approaches to Meditation 4.2 The Daily Review 4.3 Suggested Practical Steps
5 CORROBORATION OF RATIONAL SPIRITUALITY: 5.1 The Interlife: Transition, Life Review & Life Planning 5.2 The Holographic Soul & the Objective of Experience 5.3 Psychology & Psychiatry
6 THE FULL LIST OF LECTURES
‘Pathwork’ or ‘the Path’ comes from a series of 258 ‘lectures’ delivered by a spiritual entity who referred to himself only as ‘the Guide’. They were channeled in New York by Eva Pierrakos, a petite, vivacious woman originally born and brought up in Austria. They commenced in 1957 and carried on through to her death in 1979.
The main objective of Pathwork is to properly reconnect with our divine inner or ‘higher self’. Many spiritual approaches have a similar objective, but Pathwork differs is in its insistence that this reconnection requires us to face up to and then eliminate both the undesirable, undeveloped character aspects of our ‘lower self’, and the idealized self-image or ‘mask’ that we create in an attempt to hide these from ourselves and others. It is this mixture of spirituality and basic psychology that makes Pathwork so unique. Reconnection with the divine self then allows us to fully and consciously create our own reality as we go along, without being hampered by subconscious blockages, as long as our motivations are divinely inspired. Thereby we achieve the genuine inner peace and happiness that is our true birthright as human beings.
The summaries and extracts that follow are intended as an introduction to Pathwork only. Although this document itself runs to nearly fifty pages, it is considerably shorter than any other source in summarizing a huge quantity of material that runs to many thousands of pages. But in no sense should this introduction be taken as a full replacement for the crucial, more in-depth reading that should be undertaken by serious students. This will include key publications available from the Pathwork Foundation and, in the final analysis, the full lectures themselves.
It is clearly important to present unedited extracts so that the full original flavor comes across. The subliminal messages of the lectures, and the impact the Guide’s words have at a subconscious level, are just as important as the logical, conscious messages. Although the original wording of the lectures can be somewhat archaic in its tone, it is to be hoped that this will not be allowed to unduly distract the reader or to detract from the real messages. Finally, although to some extent the extracts chosen must inevitably be those that have resonated personally, they ought nevertheless to provide a reasonably fair and balanced introduction to Pathwork.
1.1 What is the Path?
* The Path is a difficult one and not to be attempted lightly.
* The ultimate aim is for the follower to attain full spiritual consciousness, but this can only be done with proper psychotherapeutic effort. Any enlightenment or cosmic consciousness attempted via short-cuts and without this full effort will be short-lived.
* Spiritual wholeness can only come from inner truth. Real security and joy can only come from the inner centre, not from external sources, although once this inner centre is fully activated all abundance will be attracted.
* True spirituality embraces practical, everyday, physical life rather than attempting to renounce it.
Key Extracts from Lecture 204: What is the Path?
2 INTRODUCTORY TOPICS
2.1 Relationships, Eros & Love
* We cannot love someone else unconditionally until we have first practiced this on ourselves.
* Relationships act as a gauge of our state of balance and development, and lengthy withdrawal from them can only stifle true growth.
* The cause of any problem in any relationship should be looked for in ourselves, not in the other person, whatever greater or lesser problems they may have that are contributing to it. Then we can work on it. To avoid responsibility and seek to blame others, or to overplay their contribution while underplaying our own, is a sure sign of lack of spiritual maturity.
* Any relationship that is or becomes overwhelmingly negative should be ended, but in a spirit of growth not of spite or escape.
* We should not search for perfection in others, such unattainable expectations can only lead to disillusion and apparent unfulfillment.
* The state of a relationship between lovers is an accurate measure of personal growth, and we attract those who will be on a similar level.
* Only true sharing of problems and responsibilities in a quest for personal and mutual growth can lead to genuine long-term fulfillment. When a relationship is no longer concerned with growth it will fail. The force of eros is deliberately designed to hit us hard, bring us together and pave the way for love. But if true sharing and growth is not continually sought to keep eros alive after its initial, autonomous power has waned, the bridge to true love will not be built and it will falter and die. This requires a continual search for the endless treasures hidden in the recesses of the other’s soul, and an equal preparedness to reveal our own. We should be constantly alert and searching, fighting off the natural tendency to fall into laziness, habit and inertia. Overcoming the difficulties of loving relationships in these ways is by far the best available vehicle for soul growth.
Key Extracts from Lecture 180: The Spiritual Significance of Human Relationship
Key Extracts from Lecture 044: The Forces of Love, Eros & Sex
2.2 The Spiritual Meaning of Crisis
* Crisis is what allows us to grow by getting rid of the old and bringing in the new, but the more we grow in awareness, the less we need such strong jolts
* Every single negative experience we ever have is the result of a wrong attitude or idea in ourselves.
* Our ability to create a life of total joy, fulfillment and abundance, which is our birthright, is infinite. The more we have true faith and belief that this is so, the more we will make it reality.
Key Extracts from Lecture 183: The Spiritual Meaning of Crisis
2.3 Pursuing Unity Instead of Duality
* In the unified state of consciousness that is our goal, the dualistic notions of good and bad, right and wrong and so on are replaced by a single, more all-encompassing, less egoic truth. We no longer see conflict in what previously seemed like opposites.
* We should aim for truth, not to be right. So in any conflict we should look for the right in the other and the wrong in ourselves that will always be there, and also be prepared to look beyond ingrained convictions and cherished beliefs.
* In various ways we all want to be special, which also means separate, but others will give us love only when we no longer want to be more special than or different from them. So our accomplishments should aim to enrich the lives of others, not to make them somehow less than us.
* To be in unity means to go with the flow of what is happening in the moment, and to realize that everything you need is already within you.
* All problems between people are co-productions for which we should not attempt to apportion blame.
Key Extracts from Lecture 143: Unity & Duality
Key Extracts from Lecture 148: Positivity & Negativity – One Energy Current
3 THE WHAT OF TRANSFORMATION
The following six main elements of practical Pathwork will interact and overlap as transformation progresses:
3.1 Developing the Observer Self
* Various aspects of the universal consciousness have separated and ‘float around’ in the universe. These include every kind of emotion. Also, they each form part of each human being’s consciousness or soul, and in that way each of us takes on our share of the responsibility for assimilating them and reintegrating them into the whole. So, for example, one person’s anger is not theirs per se, it is just a manifesting part of a much broader pool of this emotional aspect of universal consciousness that has separated off. Seen in this light the emotion becomes part of a much broader challenge, indeed an evolutionary imperative, and not so much a personal problem.
* It is only by putting the conscious self that we already are to proper use that full spiritual consciousness can be attained. Each of us already has the capacity to face the negative within, to bring truth in, and to get rid of old, ingrained ways of thinking and reacting.
* We should stop identifying with our negative traits and start merely identifying them. As soon as we do that we become the observer self who has some objective power to do something about them.
* The expansion of consciousness is not some sudden miracle that can be achieved purely by meditation, withdrawal and so on. It requires full inner contemplation of our negative traits, attitudes and thought patterns. This takes a lot of time and effort, and many times we will slip back and forget. But only by persevering can we attain the true goal.
* The attitude of the observer self should be objective/truthful but also compassionate/loving.
3.2 Uncovering the Mask Self
* The ‘idealized self-image’ is supposed to avoid unhappiness but in fact leads directly to it, because the apparent self-confidence generated is artificial not genuine. In addition it creates inner tyranny because we are forever chastising ourselves for failing to live up to its demands for perfection, creating a vicious circle of unhappiness. Crisis results when circumstances ensure that the mask can no longer be maintained.
* We feel a huge liberation when we let go of our idealized self. It is a big part of our coming home to the centre of ourself. If we attempt growth rather than perfection we will live in the now.
* Submissiveness, aggressiveness and withdrawal are the respective distortions of the three divine attributes of love, power, and serenity. One of these ‘pseudosolutions’ may tend to dominate the idealized self-image, although in many people all three interact and it takes a great deal of honest self-observation to unravel them.
* So we may exhibit undue submissiveness in our search to receive love, without being true to our real selves and needs. Or, in our search for power and strength, we may cultivate undue independence by refusing all love, friendship and help, perhaps coupled with a competitive ‘win at all costs’ mentality. Or we may mistake withdrawal, aloofness and non-attachment for true serenity.
* We should switch from relying on other people’s evaluations of ourselves to relying on our own. We should start to trust and like ourselves, warts and all.
* In the developed personality genuine love is not a self-centered means to an end. Genuine power involves mastering oneself to promote growth, not others to promote superiority. And genuine serenity involves objectively facing and learning from the inevitable pain and problems that will come from time to time, not trying to isolate ourselves from them.
Key Extracts from Lecture 083: The Idealized Self-Image
Key Extracts from Lecture 084: Love, Power, Serenity as Divine Attributes & as Distortions
3.3 Understanding Repeating Patterns & Assimilating Unresolved Emotions
* We continually attempt to recreate the situations that hurt us in childhood in the hope of this time overcoming them. We do this especially by attracting partners with similar qualities to our parents. These patterns are entirely unconscious and very deeply ingrained. Once we learn to give them up we are free to give love rather than expect it.
* We adopt certain irrational attitudes even from as early as infancy as an emotional response to our environment or particular events. Over time these become deeply ingrained preconceptions. They act as largely subconscious blockages that restrict the free flow of psychic current and cause us to feel unhappy or anxious. Once we let these ‘images’ go we can react flexibly and dynamically to the ebb and flow of life.
* We express images in repeated phrases such as ‘all men/women are…’ or ‘men/women never…’ or ‘work is always…’ etc. Often these are so engrained and thought so regularly that we hardly notice them on a conscious level. And they attract situations in repeated patterns that are often the exact opposite of what we consciously wish for, because unconscious desires are far stronger than conscious ones.
* There will be one main image that we are working with. To find it we should search through and write down all the repeating patterns in our life to date, from earliest childhood. To find the link between these is painstaking work and will not be accomplished overnight. The ongoing recording of problems and attitudes in our life will help. Even then, to translate the common denominator into the true source image will require further introspection. Indeed, to be properly successful this work requires us to have the humility to work with someone else to help us.
* We choose our parents and childhood in advance specifically to trigger the key emotions we want to work on in this life, which we may well have been working on in previous lives too. But we should stop thinking about our past lives and start thinking about how what we accomplish now will impact our future ones. If we do not take our chance now, the circumstances that allow us to face the particular emotions we are currently working on will become progressively more unpleasant and obvious, both in this life and those to come, until we are forced to face them properly.
* Real purification takes a long time, because it requires us to reprogram the ingrained reactions and images we have long cultivated. We should accept that this is a lengthy process that will have its unhappiness and setbacks, and again we should start by loving ourselves as we are, warts and all. But ultimately purification requires us to have complete control over our subconscious, and that must be a lengthy journey.
* We tend to foster physical and mental growth, but ignore the crucial third aspect of emotional growth. All three are required for proper balance. Only by opening up to emotion can we experience real happiness and fulfill our intuitive, creative potential. But nor is it right to suggest as some spiritual practices do that the mind should be ignored.
* Growth requires us to accept and experience our more immature emotions, not to repress and disown them. Only in this way can we gradually adjust them. If we insist on adopting mask emotions that are not what we genuinely feel, crisis will ensue to make sure the real underlying emotions come to the fore. But then we should recognize that the repressed emotions caused the crisis, not the other way around. Also, we should always look for the real underlying cause of any immature or negative emotion.
* Experiencing our more immature emotions does not mean allowing them free reign to rule us without purpose. It means recognizing them as they arise and talking about them in a direct, honest and nonjudgmental way with the right people at the right time. In this way they are not destructive for us or for others. But emotions that remain repressed and unresolved will always attract repeated situations in which they will be faced again.
* Our intuition will not be reliable until we have overcome immature emotions. Also, once we have fully expressed the immature emotions, we create the space for more positive, harmonious emotions to come to the fore. And these will be genuine, not related to our idealized self.
* Detached spirituality that does not immerse itself in the experience of emotions cannot ever be related to love, because it never properly experiences it.
Key Extracts from Lecture 073: Compulsion to Recreate & Overcome Childhood Hurts
Key Extracts from Lecture 038: Images
Key Extracts from Lecture 089: Emotional Growth & Its Function
3.4 Facing, Understanding & Transforming the Lower Self
* The Lower Self tends to be highly resistant to change. Our aim is to face it and eliminate it layer by layer, so that we progressively free the Higher Self.
* We should strive to accept our destructive emotions without condoning them; to understand them without staying with them; to evaluate them realistically without projection onto others, self-justification or denial. But even destructive emotions are made up of creative energy at heart. Underneath laziness is the ability to relax and go with the flow; underneath hyperactivity is the ability to act; underneath judgmentality is the ability to be discerning. So a negative emotion cannot be replaced by a separate positive emotion. Instead it must be transformed into its own positive state.
* We should look for and acknowledge both the good and the bad in both ourselves and others, and not be blinded by one or the other.
* The very worst impulses and emotions are not harmful if they are neither acted out irresponsibly nor repressed. The only real sources of distortion and destructiveness in humankind are self-will, pride, and fear. Self-will is egotistic, small-minded and selfish, and ignores the greater picture. Pride cultivates separateness and one-upmanship instead of love. Fear is a failure to trust.
* For every single one of us, our true Higher Self must emerge sooner or later, and merely acknowledging this fact will help us to feel less hopeless and desperate. All negative traits will become positive in the end, no matter how bad the current situation may appear, or how much we may feel that we have no power to change. The universe is entirely dynamic, so at any moment we are free to think new and different thoughts that will create a different reality for us. So when we find ourselves reacting negatively to a situation, we should always consider that there will be a better, more positive reaction that we could adopt.
* The unified state is approached when self-liking is no longer confused with self-indulgence, and honest self-confrontation does not bring self-loathing; when we can truly accept the ugliest in us while never losing sight of our intrinsic beauty.
* Restitution for past wrongs should be undertaken if it is truly desired and not a mere sop. If it is still possible to talk to the person, so much the better. But, if not, merely ensuring that we do not repeat the mistake with someone else is a restitution in itself.
* The most common need of a child is to receive love. If this remains in any sense thwarted it will be translated into adulthood. But as a demand made upon others it is a false need that can never be properly fulfilled and can only bring unhappiness and pain. Once this is recognized it can be replaced by the proper desire to give love without needing to receive in return.
* Other unreal needs involve expectations, such as that we must have approval, understanding or recognition from others. But in time we can come to see that we can gain fulfillment and contentment without these demands being met.
Key Extracts from Lecture 014: The Higher Self, the Lower Self & the Mask
Key Extracts from Lecture 184: The Meaning of Evil & its Transcendence
Key Extracts from Lecture 177: Pleasure - The Full Pulsation of Life
Key Extracts from Lecture 174: Self-Esteem
Key Extracts from Lecture 192: Real & False Needs
3.5 Expanding into the Divine Self & Conscious Creation
* The ultimate creative power is fascinated by all possibilities. To It experiencing increasing limitations is just as fascinating as experiencing complete freedom. This is why, for example, the physical plane exists, and it is the true meaning of the ‘fallen angel’ theme in many religious traditions. But this took on a momentum of its own that has led to such a degree of disconnectedness that as a species we have forgotten where we came from, what we are and what unlimited potentials we have. So the process now needs to be reversed. One aspect of reconnection is to understand that we can remain individual without having to see ourselves as separate.
* The first stirrings of the universal spirit within us, or our Higher Selves, may be vague intuitions and various synchronicities that we start to notice. But gradually the internal dialogue will become less vague and more vibrant, direct and specific to us.
* We should learn to trust and find security in continual movement, rather than trying to hang onto stasis; also to be comfortable with being no better than, worse than or different from who we happen to be at this point in time.
* The ultimate pleasure of being in a state of deep emotional, spiritual and physical bliss in every cell is humanity’s birthright, and available to us all. Pleasure is made possible when we are quietly confident, calmly and trustingly expectant and receptive, patient and unanxious, unhurried and unworried. To be in a totally relaxed inner state we must be finely attuned to the cosmic rhythm within. This is very hard, but difficult times help to train us in the right direction.
* The ‘life force of God’ does not dispense justice, it just exists in all of us, and like all tools it can be used for good or bad. We have complete free will to either go with its flow into bliss or against its flow into unhappiness. But the more we swim against the flow, the worse our suffering until we are forced to turn around again. This self-correction mechanism is the ultimate law that sums up ‘God’s love’.
* Forced actions that go against the flow create psychic currents or substance that is cramped, tight and hardened, and make others turn away. So, for example, we should ask ourselves what we most ardently want from others or from a partner, and then let that thing go. This will create free rather than forced relationships.
* The ability to manifest by ‘will’ is the most powerful aspect of consciousness, and humanity is the first species on earth to have it. But there is no suffering worse than not realizing this. Until we do we each create a reality that often brings us unhappiness and makes us feel like the victims of circumstance, without realizing we ourselves are responsible for it.
* Switching from apparently hapless victim to responsible creator requires a massive change in viewpoint. We should start by going back and looking at all the times we felt hopeless and excluded from the bounty of the world, and by working out the ways in which we swam against the flow to produce those situations. Then we can start to connect cause and effect, even though they appeared separated in our world of time.
* The less developed aspects of our lower self are the things that create unconscious blockages and prevent us from creating the outcome we desire, however much we might consciously concentrate on it. That is why these must be dealt with first. Any attempt to consciously create without this effort will be a cheat and a short-cut and will fail. It is also true that we often have a number of contradictory ‘will currents’ at a subconscious level, and these must all be brought to the surface.
* On an ongoing basis we should learn to observe the negative patterns that dominate our thoughts to such an extent that we become unaware of their constant presence, and to realize how they are often attracting the very opposite of what we want. Then we should start to recondition these thought patterns and channel them in more positive directions. Positive creation will always be more powerful than negative creation because it contains no conflicts.
* To give full reign to our creative potential we need to fully understand that every possibility already exists as a potentiality on another level. This in turn requires that we confront our preconceptions of limitation and replace them with a genuine belief that anything is possible.
* The changes in consciousness in and power now available to humanity are unprecedented in history. But in order to be receptive to this Christ consciousness we must be empty so that we can be filled.
* There are a number of apparent paradoxes when we are attempting to consciously create positive outcomes, and we must feel our way through them rather than trying to rationalize them with the intellect – which, of course, gets easier as we approach the unified state. We must be positive and expectant about the outcome, yet free from preconceived notions of how it should be achieved. And we must be specific, yet this specificity must be light and neutral. We must be patient yet persevering. Also we must become a receptive, empty vessel that is full of divine creative potential. We must be neutral and flexible, trusting that our Higher Self will lead us in the right direction, even if the path seems to be strewn with twists and turns we had not anticipated. And we must meet each situation afresh and inspired, knowing that what is right in one may not be right in another.
* Where we were once passive, for example in not confronting our Lower Selves, we must now become active. And where we were once active, for example in trying to force our way against the flow, we must now cultivate passivity and quietness of the mind, again confident that our Higher Self will lead us with the flow instead. This will still result in actions but they will be free and flexible, not tight and cramped.
Key Extracts from Lecture 152: Connection Between Ego & Universal Power
Key Extracts from Lecture 177: Pleasure - The Full Pulsation of Life
Key Extracts from Lecture 052: The God Image
Key Extracts from Lecture 157: Infinite Possibilities of Experience Hindered by Dependency
Key Extracts from Lecture 174: Self-Esteem
Key Extracts from Lecture 175: Consciousness
Key Extracts from Lecture 224: Creative Emptiness
3.6 Surrendering to God
* We should aim to reach a point where we are ready to completely surrender to the will of our Higher Self, trusting it to lead us in the right direction – even if initially it appears to be a painful or less desirable one, or involves giving up something that we cherish.
Key Extracts from Lecture 028: Communication with God
4 THE HOW OF TRANSFORMATION
4.1 Approaches to Meditation
* Meditation should be controlled by the observer self, but having dialogue with the unconscious, destructive, inner child or Lower Self, and asking for guidance and assistance from the supraconscious Higher Self, where appropriate. If the Lower Self is ignored, full integration cannot take place.
* Any material that emerges about blockages, masks, repetitive patterns and so on should be added into the mix of conscious analysis and review.
* We should always ask our Higher Self to point out the real truth of the matter regarding anything that is troubling us, and this requires the same calm, patient, receptive and flexible state of mind that we have discussed in relation to the creation of positive outcomes.
* Destructive patterns create frozen, paralyzed blocks of energy that cannot flow with the dynamic current of life. To unfreeze them requires that they be properly allowed to express themselves and be understood without judgment or self-loathing.
* If we attempt a shortcut to a positive outcome, by not being prepared to confront the blockages to it created by the Lower Self, we will inevitably fail.
* When creating positive outcomes we must correctly balance desire with desirelessness. That is to say, while we must be flexible about the timing and the way in which the outcome will come about, we must have absolute trust that our Higher Self will bring it about provided we have removed all blockages. This in turn requires us to have no fear about the interim period in which that desire remains unfulfilled, or about the fact that it will be fulfilled when all the circumstances are right. Any fear of this nature causes blockages and cramped psychic currents again. Undue fears of this nature may indicate that subconsciously we do not actually believe we can achieve that outcome, or even in some senses do not actually want it. When there are conflicts between conscious and unconscious desires there can be no clarity of purpose.
* We also need to balance involvement and detachment when creating outcomes. We need to be sufficiently detached from them that we do not create cramped psychic currents and new blockages. Yet we also need to be sufficiently involved that we are not indifferent, and that our detachment does not mask a reticence to be fully involved in life because of fear of pain and failure.
* Again in meditation we are also balancing active searching for answers, reprogramming of the Lower Self and concentration on positive outcomes with passive waiting for answers from and delivery of outcomes by the Higher Self.
* Clarity of purpose mixed with openness and flexibility allows us to create strong imprints on our ‘soul substance’ because it will be malleable. Conflicts, fears and blockages create a brittle surface on our soul substance that makes it impossible to imprint. Again the correct process involves a mixture of actively impressing with conscious, directed thought, and passively and receptively creating the conditions that allow the soul to be impressed.
* Active visualization must not be confused with daydreaming and escapism. The best outcomes involve aiming to achieve particular states of mind. So, for example, we should envisage ourselves as being able to fully love and give ourselves to another person, instead of being alone; as feeling fulfilled instead of empty; or as feeling content instead of anxious and depressed. If these states of mind cannot be envisaged and properly felt during meditation without the prop of something more specific, such as a particular partner or a particular means by which one will become fulfilled or content, it may be a sign that there are still blockages. All this is in part what is meant by being non-specific.
* Faith and trust cannot be imposed by will, they must be developed over time, and they cannot remain just an untested theory. Sooner or later they must be put to the test with courage and a willingness to face whatever may come. Real faith is based on inner experience.
* We should be increasingly open to and aware of the dynamic way in which answers and inspiration come to us from our Higher Self as we progress. This may start off by way of sudden strong intuitions or other synchronicities, but increasingly it will be more specific. And this will not just be specific messages received via meditation and so on, but also via dreams, or via particular words spoken by a friend or even a stranger, or via passages or messages in films and books, or via myriad other mechanisms. It is this dynamic, evolving process that helps us to gradually complete the jigsaw of who we are and why we are here, and it truly shows just how complex and perfect are the underlying workings of the universe.
* It is very useful to remember that during meditation we can even ask for advice about what to meditate on. But over time we will usually need to alternate between positive visualization and contemplation of blockages, again as the layers of the onion are peeled away.
Key Extracts from Lecture 182: The Process of Meditation
Key Extracts from Lecture 194: Meditation Laws & Approaches
4.2 The Daily Review
* We should keep a dairy in which we review the key events of the day, and especially anything that involved any sort of disharmony, because this is a sure sign that something underneath is not right. Only in this way will the largely unconscious repeating patterns be brought into consciousness. Then we can compare them with our known list of problems that manifest via the Lower Self, and start to see exactly where we are still going wrong.
* When all this is put into a longer term perspective we can also start to understand why we attracted the unhappy events of the past, and what we learnt from them or what we still need to work on. And gradually all hardships will come to be seen not as a burden but as a gift.
Key Extracts from Lecture 028: Communication with God - Daily Review
4.3 Suggested Practical Steps
1 Learn to step back and develop your observer self. You can practice when doing something everyday like brushing your teeth. But it will be most important to bring this into play whenever you are in a difficult situation, either with someone else or because of a problem you are facing, or if you feel some inner aspect of yourself being judgmental about yourself.
2 Write down all the ways in which you create an idealized mask.
3 Take some time to go right back through your whole life, including childhood, in some detail. Write down:
a) The key events and crisis’ that keep cropping up in a repeating pattern. Try to establish what engrained images, emotions and attitudes might be causing these patterns.
b) A list of situations from which unresolved emotions may need to be re-experienced, both from childhood and as an adult.
4 Write down all the undesirable, undeveloped traits that represent your Lower Self. Most of these should relate to the items in 2 and 3 above. At the same time, to act as a balance, create a list of all the more positive, developed traits that hint at the Higher Self already being more active.
5 Write down a list of the positive outcomes you want to create, although remembering not to be too specific. It may be better to concentrate on states of mind rather than specific results – for example being able to fully love another person instead of being alone, or feeling fulfilled instead of empty, or feeling content instead of anxious and depressed.
6 Meditate daily. It might be helpful to think of this process as a combination of prayer and meditation. For example, when you consciously ask for guidance about a specific issue from your Higher Self, or if you repeat some sort of positive mantra, you are actively praying; by contrast when you are waiting for answers from your Higher Self you are passively meditating. Above all allow your intuition to tell you where to start and how to carry on, but some suggestions are as follows:
a) Concentrate on items in each of the lists above in turn at whatever pace seems appropriate to you, or
b) Concentrate on each positive outcome, and ask for help from your Higher Self to identify any blockages that are preventing it from coming to fruition.
c) When you can concentrate on a particular positive outcome and there no longer seem to be blockages to it, use creative visualization to affirm it knowing that the outcome already exists as a potentiality. Remember to be positive and expectant yet free from preconceived notions of how it should be achieved; to be specific yet light and neutral; and to be patient yet persevering. Think of yourself as a receptive, empty vessel that is full of divine creative potential. Above all, eliminate all fear of failure and ensure there is only trust in success.
d) At some point you should be ready to actively surrender to your Higher Self by asking if there is something in your life that it may wish to change, and being fully prepared to give up on something very dear to you. It may take weeks or months for the answer to come through, and actually it may be that you do not need to relinquish anything. It is your being truly and honestly prepared to that is the key.
7 Keep a daily diary in which you record:
b) Insights from meditations.
c) A daily review in which you consider all the events that have caused you to feel ill-at-ease or any sort of disharmony, however small. How did you react? Be honest about your real emotions, however petty, unpleasant or shameful, and even if you attempted to smother or ignore them at the time. Regularly go back and reread this, looking for patterns. What underlying, undeveloped aspects were these incidents pointing towards?
Remember that you are always looking to delve deeper into the dynamics of what is really happening at the innermost level of your being. Pathwork transformation tends to move in a cycle or spiral where we do some good transformative work, we open up and things improve, but then they may falter again for a while. This suggests we have to go back in and start delving again, this time at a deeper level. It is like peeling away the layers of an onion.
5 CORROBORATION OF RATIONAL SPIRITUALITY
5.1 The Interlife: Transition, Life Review & Life Planning
Key Extracts from Lecture 012: Spirit at Work - Life in the Spirit World
Key Extracts from Lecture 249: Cosmic Records of All Personal & Collective Events
Key Extracts from Lecture 003: The Spirit World - You Choose Your Destiny
5.2 The Holographic Soul & the Objective of Experience
Key Extracts from Lecture 152: Connection Between Ego & Universal Power
5.3 Psychology & Psychiatry
Key Extracts from Lecture 014: The Higher Self, the Lower Self, & the Mask
6 THE FULL LIST OF LECTURES
The International Pathwork Foundation's official website.
The Atlas of Wisdom, which provides an excellent keyword search facility on the full Pathwork lectures, plus other invaluable Pathwork-related resources.