What is Pathwork?

Before talking about Pathwork, let’s begin with the question, “What is a spiritual path?”  Typically Spirit moves within a person, stirring his or her being and is often experienced as an inner force that is enlivening and awakening in nature.  Eventually the person, now a more conscious seeker, discovers a need or hunger for some kind of practice or guru or writings that will guide him or her along the way and provide some kind of framework or map for the journey as well as a set of practices and resources that help to ground and expand the experience of what the seeker now discovers to be his or her personal and spiritual development.  We call such a set of teachings, tools, practices and resources a spiritual path.  

There are a multitude of spiritual paths to choose from.  Formal religions can be such a path, including Christianity of various denominations, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and the many others.  And there are a host of other spiritualities, and usually the seeker grows through several in his or her lifetime.  Some paths help more in the beginning as the seeker gets his or her feet on the ground.  Others seem to fit better later on as the questions become deeper and the searching more profound. This growth can occur within a particular religion as one moves into the higher states of consciousness within that tradition’s more mystical stages. Or it can be a new path altogether for the seeker.  Pathwork seem to me to be one of these paths one finds later in life and requires a strong commitment to self-confrontation and growth for those who seem to be Called to such a path.  

So what is Pathwork? For me Pathwork is a spiritual path that includes a body of helpful inspirational writings, a set of processes, classes, programs and workshops, and a network of experienced helpers and teachers all combined to support me in my personal and spiritual development, my path to fulfillment and God.  It gives me a sense of purpose and meaning in life.  

The body of helpful inspirational writings consists primarily of a set of 258 Pathwork lectures given through Eva Pierrokos between 1957 and her death in 1979. I say given “through” rather than “by” because she sensed that the material coming through her in trance sessions was from beyond her from an unnamed source dubbed simply The Guide.

While I grew up conservative Lutheran, was intensely involved in bible class teaching for 30 years, and was taught that the bible was the only reliable source for truth, somehow the words of these Pathwork Lectures, the lack of clarity of their origin notwithstanding, have truly inspired me, challenged me, and I would say rooted me in a path of the most intense personal and spiritual development I can imagine. Overcoming my Lutheran and Christian Fundamentalist upbringing that claimed that such gnostic-type writings could only be suspect at best and Satanic at worst, I can only say how they have impacted and continue to impact my life, not only in their practical teachings about the means for personal and spiritual growth during our lives as human beings but as an energetic transmission and inspiration that I take in in snippets many times during most days. Sometimes I am nearly moved to tears as pieces of truth resonate so deeply with my inner truth knowing, the resonance calling forth truth from within my being. I am not sure how long this love affair with the Pathwork Lectures will continue, but for now I do not see an end in sight.

All of my passion for the Pathwork Lectures led me to record some of them in my own voice so I could listen to them at my leisure. I did this initially in a very amateurish way using the start-stop approach with a $19 tape deck. Then in 2006 I found professional recording equipment and software by which I could record and edit to a high degree of accuracy and professionalism, not that my voice is professional, but the results satisfied my need. I shared the CDs with others and some of these people got very involved in listening to Lectures as well. I have now recorded over 160 of the 258 lectures (220 hours of recorded material) and make them available both on the International Pathwork Foundation website and also on this website. See link above.

Regarding a set of Pathwork processes, classes, programs and workshops, for me these have been primarily at Sevenoaks Pathwork Center near Charlottesville, Virginia. There are weekend workshops, 4-day holiday workshops, process groups, and lecture study groups. Almost immediately after I found Pathwork I got involved with the 5-year Pathwork Transformation Program at Sevenoaks (2000-2005) and then with the 2-year Pathwork Teacher Training (or Advanced Pathwork Studies classes) and 3-year Pathwork Helper Training class, from which I graduated in 2008.

The processes used, in addition to the teachings of the Pathwork Lectures, included Gestalt-like group processing, Core Energetics (derivative of Bioenergetics), Breath-work, and several forms of meditation and other personal practices for inquiry and reflection. My greatest challenge was, and is, moving from my head to my emotions and body. These process activities have been invaluable for my progress in this challenging area for me. Today I also include a very skilled Cincinnati-based practitioner of Hakomi to access my body sensations and feelings. Through this I am coming to be in my body more and savor my incarnation.

Finally Pathwork includes a network of experienced Pathwork helpers and teachers. These are people ahead of me in this work, people often with decades of training and practice in all aspects of Pathwork. This is a rich body of resource to tap for personal and spiritual development work. For me this personal one-to-one support has taken the form of biweekly private “helper” sessions and, when I am involved in assisting or teaching, “supervisor” sessions. A key requirement for Pathwork Helpers and Supervisors is that they themselves are doing their Pathwork and under a Helper and/or Supervisor themselves.

Finally, this body of 28 helpers and helper apprentices at Sevenoaks (Mid-Atlantic Pathwork) form a spiritual community that becomes a container for my growth. 

To summarize, putting this range of Pathwork resources together, I have found the program in its entirety ideal for my spiritual growth and personal development. If you would like to know more, one of the Pathwork Lectures, #204, is called The Path and gives the framework for these teachings. Of course, like any spiritual path, Pathwork must be tried and practiced to do its work, not just read about. Could it be right for you where you are now in your life? Men and women in the Pathwork programs I have been in have ranged from age 22 to 70, have included MDs and Marines and moms, have come from all kinds of religious and non-religious backgrounds, and most have found the programs and materials helpful. I can just say how Pathwork, with some of the other programs I am or have been in, has and is helping me find fulfillment, love, pleasure, and peace in the labyrinth of life, helping me return to my home in God.