Shadow Work: Insights From The Pathwork Lectures

Shadow Work: Insights From The Pathwork Lectures

Nov 18

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Shadow Work: Insights From The Pathwork Lectures
By David Sunfellow

The Pathwork Lectures of Eva Pierrakos provide an exceptionally insightful overview of personal growth and the spiritual path. Along with viewing and encouraging personal growth in a very well-rounded way, the Pathwork Lectures are unique in terms of how much, and how clearly, they deal with shadow issues. To give you a taste of this remarkable material, I’ve included a few of my favorite quotes below. If you want to read these quotes in context, or see the complete lecture that they are taken from, you can find all 258 Pathwork Lectures posted here. Audio recordings of the lectures are located here. You can find a quick overview of where the Pathwork Lectures came from and what, exactly, they teach posted here. And you can find current information about the Pathwork organization on their website.

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“Relationship represents the greatest challenge for the individual, for it is only in relationship to others that unresolved problems still existing within the individual psyche are affected and activated.”

— Pg. 93, The Pathwork of Self-Transformation

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“Often the dualistic misunderstanding that either you depend on yourself and therefore must be all alone, or that you are in a fulfilling relationship and then utterly depend on the other, prevents you from even wanting to assume self-responsibility. Doing so seems to require giving up all hope for a loving partner. Exactly the opposite is true. Only as you bring your feelings back to yourself, tap the resources within yourself and open the wells of your giving and loving feelings, will fulfillment become an inevitable reality.”

— Pg. 126, The Pathwork of Self-Transformation

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“You are never, never dependent on another person, even if it seems that way. That is the illusion of the world of manifestation. The teachings and the path I show you must prove to you forever more that it is you yourself who inflict difficulties, conflicts, and hurts on yourself, no matter how much the other person may be at fault. If you are free of images, illusions, wrong conclusions and wrong concepts, the wrong deeds of others can never affect you. You will adjust to the world and the happy or unhappy incidents in your life; favorable or unfavorable happenings will have exactly the same affect on you.”

–From Guide Lecture 52

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“So often man concentrates unduly on the apparent injustice that has come to him. He thinks and thinks again of how wrong others are. This can and should be recognized. But try to find out how you have helped bring this about. If you make half the effort you usually make finding other’s faults to find your own, you will see the connection with your own law of cause and effect and this alone will set you free, will show you that there is no injustice. This alone will show you that it is not God, nor the fates, nor any unjust world order wherein you have to suffer the consequences of other people’s shortcomings, but your ignorance, your fear, your pride, your egotism that directly or indirectly caused that which seemed, so far, to come your way without you attracting it….Your own unconscious affects the unconscious of the other person. This truth is perhaps most relevant to the discovery of how you call forth all happenings in your life, good and bad, favorable and unfavorable.”

— From Pathwork Guide Lecture 52

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“The conscious ego must reach down and say, ‘Whatever is in me, whatever is hidden that I ought to know about myself, whatever negativity and destructiveness there is, it should be out in the open; I want to see it. I commit myself to seeing it, regardless of the hurt to my vanity; I want to be aware of how I deliberately refuse to see my part and how I therefore overconcentrate on the wrongs of others.’ This is one direction of meditation.

“The other direction of meditation must point toward the Universal, Higher Self, which has powers that surpass the limitation of the conscious self. These higher powers should also be called upon for the purpose of exposing the destructive little self, so that resistance can be overcome. The ego-will alone may be incapable of accomplishing this. But the ego can and must meditate to request the High Powers to help. The Universal Consciousness should also be asked to help your consciousness understand the expressions of the destructive infant correctly, proportionately, without exaggeration, without losing a sense of reality in the opposite direction. A person can easily fluctuate from an outer self-aggrandizement to a hidden inner self-depreciation. When the destructive infant reveals itself, the person could fall prey to believing this destructive self to be the final, ultimate, sad reality. To give a full sense of reality surrounding the revelation of the egotistic infant, the guidance of the Universal Self must constantly be sought.”

— From Pathwork Guide Lecture 182

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“Three phases of the process of meditation: 1. Recognition of the unconscious destructive egotistical self; 2. Recognition of the underlying misconceptions, the causes and effects, the meaning and the price to be paid in regard to the present destructive attitudes; 3. Reorientation, re-education of the destructive part of self.”

— From Pathwork Guide Lecture 182

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“Take a current problem. Strip it of all the superimposed layers of your reactions. The first and most handy layer is that of rationalization, that of ‘proving’ that others, or situations are at fault, not your innermost conflicts which make you adopt the wrong attitude to the actual problem that confronts you. The next layer might be anger, resentment, anxiety, frustration. Behind all these reactions, you will find the hurt of not being loved.”

— From Guide Lecture 73

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“Since you are no longer a child, you will seek love in a different way, by giving it instead of by expecting it.”

— From Guide Lecture 73

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“First, your thinking and your attitudes change; then the feelings follow suit; then your actions and reactions begin to respond to new spontaneous impulses. And these, in turn, bring forth new life experiences.”

— Pg. 177, The Pathwork of Self-Transformation

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“Each living individual has the understandable tendency to want to appear superior when he deals with his fellow creatures. He hides his faults, he hides his shortcomings and he wants to show his best side. Why? This is because he craves admiration, he craves acceptance, and he craves love. He thinks that showing his best side will bring him love. And yet all of you know that if you want to receive love, you have to give it first. Do you really give love by impressing other people? In effect, this is what you actually believe consciously and subconsciously. On the other hand, you very decidedly give love in the deepest sense if you give and show yourself as you really are, without any masks…

“If you show yourself as you really are, with all your weaknesses and without any pretense, you make a great and generous gift; your brother or sister will say and feel, ‘Well, he is not any better than I am,’ and it will give him a lift. He will relax, will feel less lonely. Then do you know what will happen? You will receive in this way exactly what you have set out to gain: love, admiration.”

— From Pathwork Guide Lecture 17, “The Call”

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“When you want to be special in order to triumph over others, when your uniqueness exists at the expense of others and measures itself against others, this uniqueness is destructive and must lead to innumerable problems.

“But when you realize that your own specialness can be unlocked without measuring yourself against others, you will have no problem whatsoever. You will be free to unblock and unfold the best in yourself without infringing upon other people’s rights or needs. Quite the contrary, your best will contribute to others rather than take away from them and you will give your best without the need to cheat, to get by, to get more than you give.”

— From Pathwork Guide Lecture 148, “Positivity & Negativity: One Energy Current”

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“The more the man strives to prove his friend wrong, the more friction is created. He believes that by proving himself right and the friend wrong, the friend will finally accept and love him again and all will be well. When this does not occur, he misinterprets it and tries harder; he thinks he has not sufficiently proven that he is right and the other wrong. The rift widens and his anxiety increases. The more weapons he uses in his effort to win the fight, the deeper into difficulty he gets, until he actually damages himself and the other and acts against his own best interest. He is now faced with a further conflict which has arisen out of the first error and dualistic split. In order to avoid a total rift, with all its real and imagined dangers–for real damage has begun to be wrought–he is now faced with the alternatives of having to give in to appease and avoid damage to himself, or to continue fighting. Since he is still convinced that there is a right and a wrong, appeasement robs him of self-respect. Whether he uses this ‘solution’ or not, he will be torn between the two alternatives: fighting or submitting. Both create tension, anxiety, and inner and outer disadvantages.

“The act which appears to be the most difficult for a man to perform but which, in reality, is the easiest and most unstrained act possible, is to ask, ‘What is the truth of the matter?’ The moment an individual is more bent on the truth than on proving that he is right, he contacts the Divine principle or transcendent, unified truth. If the desire to be in truth is genuine, inspiration must come forth. No matter how much circumstances seem to point in one direction, man must be willing to relinquish and question that what he sees is all there is to the issue. This generous act of integrity opens the way to the Real Self. This act will be easier to perform when man contemplates that it is not necessarily a question of either/or, but that there may be aspects of right in the other and of wrong in himself that, so far, he has not seen because his attention was not directed to this eventuality.

“With this approach to a problem, man immediately opens the way to enter into the unified plane of existence and to be moved by the Real Self. This immediately releases an energy which is distinctly felt when this act is committed in a deep, and sincere way. It also brings release of tension. What he then finds out is always totally different from both what he hoped for and feared on the dualistic plane. He finds that he is not as right and innocent as he thought, nor as wrong as he feared, nor is the opponent. He soon discovers aspects in the matter that he never saw before, although they were not necessarily concealed. He understands exactly how the quarrel came into existence in the first place, what led to it, its history before its actual manifestation. With this he gains insight into the nature of the relationship, he learns about himself and the other and he increases his understanding of the laws of communication. The more vision he thus gains, the freer, stronger, and more secure he feels.”

— From Pathwork Guide Lecture 143

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“I will try to tell you how God can be found, THE ONLY WAY HE CAN BE FOUND, regardless of what religion or philosophy you believe in. You can only find God within yourself by going through your lower self. That is the only way. If you have a treasure hidden under a great deal of dirt and soil, the only way you can get to that treasure is by digging up the dirt. This means that you have to come in close contact with it for a while. You cannot shirk handling this dirt. You know that this task is worthwhile in order to get your treasure free. So you do it temporarily in order to get the unpleasant work over and done with once and for all…”

— From Pathwork Guide Lecture 28

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“Opening to the greater universal consciousness must not be approached in a spirit of magic that is supposed to eliminate the becoming, the growing, the learning process. Now, in whatever way this ultimate power is supposed to fill and sustain you, your outer mind must go through the steps of acquiring whatever knowledge and know-how are necessary. You see this in the fields of arts and sciences. You cannot be inspired as a great artist, no matter how much genius you have, unless you learn the craft and the technical dexterity. If the childish, lower self wants to use the channel to the greater universe in order to avoid the initial tedium of learning and becoming, the channel will remain closed. For this amounts to cheating, and God cannot be cheated.”

— From Pathwork Guide Lecture 224

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“Little by little, you will all enjoy the glory that life can be, even on this earth sphere. Learn to enjoy the serious and honest labor…that leads to it. Do not seek for miracles, tricks, and short-cuts to happiness. It cannot be.”

— From Pathwork Guide Lecture 56

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“The human condition can best be expressed, in a broad, overall way, in terms of the following levels of consciousness: THE HIGHER SELF, which is the God-Consciousness; THE LOWER SELF, which is the demonic self; and THE MASK SELF, which hides the demonic…. The aim…is to unify all these levels so that the mask and lower selves dissolve and only the true Higher Self manifests and expresses Itself.”

— From Pathwork Guide Lecture 193

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“Only when the lower and mask selves are entirely conscious and their exact manifestation understood can misconceptions be corrected.”

— From Pathwork Guide Lecture 193

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“The levels to be worked with on the path — each in a different way — are the following aspects of the human personality: 1. The level of mind and thought; 2. The level of will; 3. The level of feelings; 4. The level of physicality and physical expression. When all these levels are conscious, when their inevitable divergence from each other is faced and accepted, a unification process can begin. When the lower self is understood, accepted, and dissolved, and when the mask is dispensed with, then unification in the spiritual reality of being can take place in a realistic way.”

— From Pathwork Guide Lecture 193

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“Three phases of the process of meditation: 1. Recognition of the unconscious destructive egotistical self; 2. Recognition of the underlying misconceptions, the causes and effects, the meaning and the price to be paid in regard to the present destructive attitudes; 3. Reorientation, re-education of the destructive part of self.”

— From Pathwork Guide Lecture 182

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“You may begin each meditation by asking yourself, ‘What do I really feel at this moment? About this or that issue? In what respect am I dissatisfied? What is it I look away from?’ You may request the universal spirit in you to help you find these particular answers. Then wait trustingly for what may unfold. Only when it unfolds can you have a direct confrontation, communication, or dialogue with it and ask it further questions, as well as instruct it. With patience and determination you can remold the distorted part, but only after it has fully expressed itself. You can re-form, reorient stagnant psychic energy with your willingness to be totally honest, totally constructive, loving and open. If you find an unwillingness in this regard, then that must be confronted, explored and re-educated.”

— From Pathwork Guide Lecture 182

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“Rushing and pressuring the resisting part is as useless and ineffective as its direct refusal to budge. When the conscious ego does not recognize that there is a part of the self that actually refuses every step toward health, unfoldment, and the good life, a counter-active movement may be one of a hurried, impatient pressure…. When you feel yourself stymied and hopeless, it should be a sign for you to search for that part of you that says, ‘I do not wish to change, I do not wish to be constructive.’ Set out and find this voice. Use meditation here to explore and let the worst in you express itself.”

— From Pathwork Guide Lecture 182

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“Immature emotions have to express themselves. Only as they are allowed expression, so that you can understand their meaning and significance, will you finally reach a point when you no longer need such immature emotions. This will not happen through a process of will, an outer mental decision which represses what is still a part of your emotional being, but through an organic process of emotional growth wherein feelings will naturally change their direction, their aim, their intensity, their nature. But this can only be done if you experience your emotions as they exist in you now.”

— From Pathwork Guide Lecture 89

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“Once rage is admitted to exist and fully experienced in a way that is not destructive to anyone, under the proper circumstances and in a manner which at one and the same time lets one fully identify with the emotion and yet keep a sense of proportion about it — without rejecting the total personality because of it — the rage will transform itself into warmth, pleasure feelings, love. This transformation may occur directly or indirectly via a number of other emotions such as sadness, self-pity, pain, healthy aggression, and self-assertion. All these energy-currents must be experienced and owned up to, they must be allowed to exist at the moment and for as long as they naturally exist. Then and then only will that which is unnatural and destructive reconvert itself.”

— From Pathwork Guide Lecture 155

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“As long as you hope against hope that your life would be free from painful feelings, you hope for an illusion. And deep down you know it, yet you cling to it. Hence you are afraid and feel shaky and inadequate. But when your feelings can be experienced, no matter what they are, you become automatically secure, unafraid, and therefore relaxed. And this state of being relaxed and loose — in mind, will, feelings, and body — is the indispensable prerequisite for pleasure and fulfillment.”

— From Guide Lecture 193

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“Paradoxical as it may seem, the more you can accept the mean little creature, the ignorant little infant in you, without losing your sense of self-worth, the more you will perceive the greatness of your Innermost Being, provided you truly do not use the discoveries about the little self to beat yourself down. The little self wants to seduce the conscious ego to stay within the narrow confines of neurotic self-beating, hopelessness, and morbid capitulation, which really always cover unexpressed hatred. The conscious ego must prevent this by using all its knowledge and resources. Observe this habit of self-beating, hopelessness, and capitulation in yourself and counteract it, not by pushing it underground again, but by using what you know, by talking to this part of yourself, by bringing to bear on it all the knowledge of your conscious ego. If this is not sufficient, then request the help of the powers beyond your consciousness.”

— From Pathwork Guide Lecture 182

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“Take a current problem. Strip it of all the superimposed layers of your reactions. The first and most handy layer is that of rationalization, that of ‘proving’ that others, or situations are at fault, not your innermost conflicts which make you adopt the wrong attitude to the actual problem that confronts you. The next layer might be anger, resentment, anxiety, frustration. Behind all these reactions, you will find the hurt of not being loved.”

— From Guide Lecture 73

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“The real reasons of your inferiority feelings are the little deviations that result from your trying to deceive yourself. These deviations are registered, but as long as the registration takes place subconsciously only, they manifest as a feeling of inferiority. That is why a person loses his inferiority feelings in the measure that he finds his unconscious deviations and comes to terms with them….You can be quite certain, my friends, that there is no other reason for inferiority feelings than self-deceit: deceit about your own motives, why you want to do certain things. When you face squarely that which is you, imperfect as a desire or action or attitude may be, the inferiority complex must cease in the measure that you gain objective clarity about yourself.”

— From Pathwork Guide Lecture 56

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“The genuine desire to better oneself leads one to accept the personality as it is now. If this basic premise is the main governing force of your motivation for perfection, any discovery of where you fall short of your ideals will not throw you into depression, anxiety, and guilt but rather strengthen you. You will not need to exaggerate the ‘badness’ of the behavior in question, nor will you defend yourself against it with the excuse that it is the fault of others, of life, of fate. You will gain an objective view of yourself in this respect and this will liberate you. You will fully assume responsibility for the faulty attitude, being willing to take the consequences upon yourself. When you act out of your idealized self, you dread nothing more than that, for taking responsibility for your shortcomings is tantamount to saying, ‘I am not my idealized self.'”

— From Pathwork Guide Lecture 83

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“A sense of failure, frustration, and compulsion, as well as guilt and shame, are the most outstanding indications that your idealized self is at work. These are the only consciously felt emotions out of all those that lie hidden underneath.”

— From Pathwork Guide Lecture 83

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“The idealized self wants to be perfect, according to its specific demands, right now! The real self knows this cannot be and does not suffer from this fact. Of course you are not perfect in your real self. It is a complex of everything you are at the moment. Of course you have your basic egocentricity, but if you own up to it, you can cope with it.”

— From Pathwork Guide Lecture 83

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“Duality ceases to exist once you accept yourself as part good and part bad, as consisting partly of the higher and partly of the lower self. These two sides will be integrated and live in peace with one another once you accept yourself with both. And only then can the lower side gradually develop and grow out of its blindness…. By accepting your lower self you can gradually overcome it and, as well, the duality between the higher and lower self.”

— From Pathwork Guide Lecture 83

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“In effective meditation, the conscious ego-level activates both the unconscious, egotistical, destructive self and the supra-conscious, superior self. A constant interaction between these three levels must take place. In order to make this constant interaction possible, a tremendous amount of alertness, of wakefulness on the part of the conscious ego-self is required.”

— From Pathwork Guide Lecture 182

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“Many people meditate, but they neglect the two-sidedness of the endeavor and therefore they miss out on integration. They may indeed actualize some of the universal powers which come into play wherever the personality is sufficiently free, positive, open, but the unfree, negative, closed areas are neglected and ignored. The actualized universal powers will not, by themselves, enforce integration with the undeveloped part of the self. The conscious ego must decide for this integration and fight for it, otherwise the universal self cannot get through to the blocked off areas. Partial integration with the universal self may lead to even grater self-deception in that the consciousness is deluded by the actually existing partial integration with Divine powers and becomes even more prone to overlook the negative side. This makes for lop-sided development.”

— From Pathwork Guide Lecture 182

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“First, your thinking and your attitudes change; then the feelings follow suit; then your actions and reactions begin to respond to new spontaneous impulses. And these, in turn, bring forth new life experiences.”

— Pg. 177, The Pathwork of Self-Transformation

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“Many of you believe that in order to find yourself, to explore the subconscious, you have to dig for knowledge so completely out of reach, out of your consciousness, that you do not know where to begin and you feel at a loss….Do not approach this search with the idea of finding something you have had no inkling of. The truth is much simpler than that. By observing your everyday reactions and emotions in the most mundane matters, you will find the answer. You are so conditioned to pass them by, not to pay any attention to them–how you react to other people, or how you act in certain situations of your life — that much eludes you that could be of the greatest value to your work.”

— From Pathwork Guide Lecture 56

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“All you should do is review the day and think of all the instances that have caused you disharmony in any manner, shape, or form. Even if you cannot at the beginning understand why you felt in disharmony, just put down the incident and what you felt. When you have done this for a while, a pattern will evolve that still may not give you a clue as to what is wrong in your own inner makeup, but you will at least see a repetition that points out that there must be something in you that is wrong, no matter how wrong the other people who are involved may be in their own way. If something recurs constantly, it is a clue to your soul….

“After you have kept a daily review for a while, I would advise you to read it all through and recollect the incidents along with your reactions to them. Then begin to think of your various faults that you have discovered and ask God for enlightenment about what may even remotely or indirectly be connected with your faults. Thus you get right into the middle of this path….

“I beg of you, all of you, for your own sake, do it.”

— From Pathwork Guide Lecture 28

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“One’s life does not lie. It expresses exactly what you really, inwardly believe. You may consciously claim that you are a loving person and indeed believe in love. But if you suffer from a loveless life, it testifies clearly that somewhere inside of you, you do not believe in love, you do not want to love, and you have your reasons — that is, misconceptions — for not loving.”

— From Pathwork Guide Lecture 193

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“One of the difficulties is a particular confusion that confronts a growing spirit in the approach to suffering. Many of the more enlightened people know that suffering is self-created. Your realizing this whether vaguely or fully whenever suffering comes your way, causes you to become frantic, because of the frustration of not knowing instantly by what particular attitude or action you have created it. This lack of knowledge makes you fear that more suffering may come out of this hidden cause. Since you are impatient to find out, you sabotage — consciously or unconsciously — any of your attempts to get to the cause. Whatever is done in impatience and haste, in frustration and fear, must slow down the process of activity. That is why those believing that God sent them suffering which they have to accept without understanding the reason, often fare better in a different sense. They may not learn their own underlying causes — and this is a pity since this, too, has to be done at some time — but their attitude is much more relaxed and open. However, if you really examine this precept, you will see that such people are conditioned by a lazy fatalism and are conducive to a belief in a cruel and sadistic God. Hence, the ideal attitude is to combine the active spirit of searching for one’s own hidden causes with the relaxed attitude of, for the moment, accepting the unwanted in the full understanding that the self-produced misery is of therapeutic value. Here again, it is a question of a right combination of healthy activity and passivity, as opposed to the distortion of unhealthy activity and passivity.”

— From Pathwork Guide Lecture 82

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“You confuse self-acceptance and self-forgiveness with condoning and white-washing the negativities of the lower self; and you equally confuse self-devastating guilt and self-hate with honest admission of what is indeed wrong and needs to be changed. This specific dualistic confusion is obviously extremely important. It is not hard to see how it can be an enormous obstacle on your path, for either alternative prevents you from growing and expanding and becoming one with your God. The negative aspects must be fully accepted, forgiven, and seen in context with the whole personality, but they must never be condoned.”

— From Pathwork Guide Lecture 226

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“If you are truly ready and truly prepared to accept also that which you like least, provided it is God’s will, you will have stepped over the most important borderline on your spiritual path in your entire spiritual development. Up to that point, everything is but theory or preparation for that great dividing mark on your road upward…”

— From Pathwork Guide Lecture 28

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“Answers may come in various ways: through inspiration, sudden new ideas (usually when you expect it least), new realizations of feelings, through a word someone else says or that you read somewhere. As you go on, you will recognize that these answers are the manifestation of a live process that is so profoundly meaningful and organic that nothing the intellect can think up can ever match it. You will recognize that such answers and the enlightenment that comes are pieces in a jigsaw puzzle, forming little by little a comprehensive picture. Eventually you will rely on this process as on nothing else.”

— From Pathwork Lecture 194

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“Sin, as you all know, is nothing but ignorance. It is distortion. No one is wicked or bad or malicious because he enjoys it of itself. He may be all that because he mistakenly thinks it serves him as a protection. The more you analyze and understand yourself, the more will you find this to be true in your own case, and, therefore, it holds true for the other as well. Therefore, when people are bad, you will no longer feel frightened, or personally involved. It will no longer cause you hardship….Once you understand the motive of evil and sin, you no longer fear it….you lose the sense of its reality.”

— From Pathwork Guide Lecture 66

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