Don't Teach Me About Pathwork!

I cherish the Pathwork Lectures. I bathe in their wisdom.  They guide me in my daily life.  I can read and ponder a few sentences from them and my spirit is lifted and enlivened.  The Pathwork Lectures are the core of my spiritual life and have been for seven or more of the ten years I have been in the various Pathwork programs at Sevenoaks Pathwork Center.

The real growth comes, and is frankly my edge, in practicing the multitude of spiritual exercises given in the lectures, things from daily review, mind-focusing exercises, meditation in three voices, various visioning exercises, and the like.  Some of these practices, like daily review, are integral in my life, but in most I am not consistent.  My inconsistency notwithstanding, sit me down with a Pathwork lecture and I immediately feel my inner Spirit come alive. The resonance of my Soul with this material is palpable.

Recently I participated in a Pathwork Lecture study group.  I had recorded the lecture and before the class had listened to the lecture we were studying several times.  In these readings and listenings, the lecture had quickened me, enlivened me.  But as we got into the lecture in the class it was as if I had never read the lecture! People and the teacher would bring up topics that obviously were core to the lecture we were studying and that I had read and listened to, but I had no recall.  I felt confused, even dismayed and troubled.  Why was I not on board to this teaching and learning process from material I so deeply love?

Then this week I was in conversation with a person who was with me in all eight years of my Pathwork training program.  She, too, loves the lectures, even reads them in the unedited version in order to get closer to the original energy of them. In our conversation, reflecting on her experiences in our years of Pathwork classes, she blurted out, “For me I know that I love this lecture, it means much to me, I read it several times before this class, now PLEASE to not try to teach me what it says in a 45-minute lecture-study session!” I was stunned at her strong energy behind this statement.  And she spoke my experience precisely! Yes, let the lectures penetrate my mind, heart, and soul as I read them before class, but PLEASE do not talk to me about some systematic outline that summarizes the lecture or give me an exercise that deals with one small aspect of the lecture.  Apparently I am not interested in or open to being taught!

But as we talked further we noticed that some lecture studies were more enlivening than others. What made the difference?  When the teacher (often a fellow student) was sharing from his or her heart an insight that had touched and moved his or her soul deeply, when that energy flowed out through his or her being during a presentation of the lecture, we were moved and enlivened.

Yes, show me how a sentence or two changed your life, or get into your excitement about the lecture, even in its grand framework, and I’m with you! This isn’t about “learning” the lecture so I can take a test about it.  It is about applying the lecture to my life, right here, right now. Beautiful.  An energy exchange between teacher and class happens. An awakening occurs — in teacher and student.

And this happened this morning.  Pat is gone, and instead of “morning coffee time with Pat,” I had “coffee time with Pat-hwork Lecture #43 — Three Personality Types: Reason, Will, Emotion.” I was in the introduction of this lecture, the first few paragraphs, and was not even to the body of the lecture dealing with reason, will, and emotion.  No, I was caught up in the four paragraphs dealing with how what we see as problems, conflicts, frictions, or things that induce one to feel unjustly treated are, in reality, oftentimes an answer to our prayer, things to wake us up to what separates us from God so that we can grow in our development.  (Open these four paragraphs from L43)

Yes, these four paragraphs are enough wisdom to enrich, nurture, and enliven my day. And chances are that if I were faced with teaching this lecture in a 90-minute lecture study class, in the first class I’d likely not get beyond these four paragraphs. Rather, I would plunge deeply into them with each person in the class and together we would explore their meaning and application in our everyday lives. That I can do! And can feel my energy for doing it as well.  For me, this teaching style models how to use the lectures, not only as a body of concepts to learn and systematize into a framework of “This is Pathwork,” but rather to simply bathe in these truths one-by-one in day-to-day living. And of course it is a “both/and,” because many times the overarching framework presented in the Pathwork lectures is also what so inspires me.

If you are new to Pathwork, I invite you to try this frequent one-truth-at-a-time approach to applying the Pathwork Lectures as food for the soul.  It can be a waking-up process.  Of course this works for us who are old-timers in Pathwork also.  Enjoy!  Know that I’m feeling lots of love for those reading this blog.