A Shared Life of Wrestling, Growth, and Discovery

Those "Amazingly Modern" Pathwork Lectures

A version of this post appeared in the February 2017 edition of  In Connection, the publication of the International Pathwork Foundation.

Preface to Blog Post

While I have been a student of many paths (e.g., Ken Wilber’s Integral Life Practices and other of his writings, including a several-year participation in a local Wilber group; the A.H. Almaas Diamond Approach — see his Endless Enlightenment Course for a very forward-looking current overview of the Diamond Approach); regular listening to teachings of Adyashanti and many other spiritual teachers; 16 years of intense work with the Pathwork; and all of this built upon 50 years of active bible study/teaching, 30-class hours of Catholic graduate-level coursework, several small-group life-sharing groups, Jungian therapy, chaplain work at a local hospital, and so on), in no way do I consider myself qualified to evaluate spiritual paths. With that caveat, however, I am moved to share in this blog post my recent engagement with Pathwork Lecture 253: Continue Your Struggle And Cease All Struggle.

Blog Post – Those “Amazingly Modern” Pathwork Lectures

Since I first began recording the Pathwork Lectures ten years ago in 2006 I have been amazed at the depth of the wisdom of their source: The Pathwork Guide. In fact, my amazement of, thrill with, and my deep appreciation for this Pathwork material grows daily. Yes, daily, now as I work nearly every day as the “Happy Philosopher Monk” in creating the Devotional Format of the Pathwork Lectures.

Yes I read and listen to and thoroughly enjoy and appreciate other teachers. But coming back to the Pathwork Guide always feels like “coming home,” coming home to my spiritual roots and soul.

Most recently I created the Devotional Format of Pathwork Lecture 253: Continue Your Struggle And Cease All Struggle. I invite you spend an hour with this lecture and see for yourself how you experience it as the words enter the conscious and unconscious aspects of your being and as they land and germinate in your heart, mind, and soul.

I shall not attempt to do you the disservice of outlining this lecture for you – the power of these lectures, as some Pathworkers know, is in how the Guide’s words AND LOVE engage with the soul of the reader/listener.  But having said that, let me tease you a bit into taking a look at this lecture in the Devotional Format.

In this lecture I am struck by the clarity given to three levels of consciousness: 1)  dual, 2) “non-dual,” and 3) unitive levels of consciousness. I know, and you’re right: the Guide does not use the word “non-dual,” – this lecture was, after all, given nearly 40 years ago in 1978, well before “non-dual” became so popular as a spiritual teaching – but from my perspective, while not using the term “non-dual,” the Guide seems to describe such a “non-dual” state of consciousness in a way similar to that of many current spiritual teachers. See what you think as you read the lecture for yourself…

Secondly I’m struck by how the Guide speaks of the world of duality as the world of “straining and struggle” – the struggle with pain and suffering and the two modes of straining: straining away from pain and suffering and the straining toward pleasure and fulfillment. We know this territory well – after all, it’s the world we were born into and where we live most of  our time on planet earth – and for a reason! The Pathwork over and over again states that our purpose for being on this earth plane and our task in the “Plan of Salvation” (to use a favorite Pathwork term) is twofold: personal growth in the spiritual/psychological work of self-confrontation, self-acceptance, and purification and secondly serving God and others by bringing love and light into the world of darkness. The result as more and more people grow in consciousness, this lecture says, is our, and this earth-sphere’s, transformation to higher and higher levels of consciousness. Yes, our lives have great purpose and meaning – transformation all around — growing in levels of consciousness!

Thirdly, the Guide speaks of the world of detachment – pointing to the Eastern religions and Western mystics who often emphasize the need for detachment. In many of these other paths it appears that detachment is to be from the pain, yes, but also the detachment is to be from the pleasure. This detachment from pain AND pleasure takes us to, what I understand to be, a type of non-dual level of consciousness.  Non-dual consciousness, as I understand it, is detachment from the either/or existence of the dualistic plane of existence.

But then the guide asks, “If God wants our ultimate pleasure and joy, why should we detach from pleasure?”  Good question.

The Guide then introduces the Unitive state of consciousness where we can experience true pleasure even while on this dualistic earth plane, the earth plain that is created by the dualistic mass image.  At this Unitive state of consciousness we experience pleasure but do no straining to reach it and no fearing pleasure’s absence when it is missing. At this level the Guide speaks of faith in the benign (benign meaning “seeking the good”) nature of the universe and knowing God in all – and this, the Guide says, is the Unitive state of consciousness – a level of consciousness where all of life has meaning. And one then “gets” the meaning of the Lecture’s title: Continue Your Struggle (i.e., continue doing your work) And Cease All Struggle (as we are graced, as by a magical byproduct, with transformation).

What I am most amazed about is that this lecture was given in 1978 – nearly 40 years ago – and 20 years before, say, Tolle’s Power Of Now, which was published in 1999 and other writings that followed. People speak of the Pathwork as being out of date and antiquated in its language. However, while sometimes quite complex in sentence structure and sometimes “quaint” in terms that are used, I find that when the lectures are laid out word by word and taken into the heart in love, the words are quite beautiful, expanding, and inspiring.

So I invite you to take an hour out and look at this Lecture 253 in the Devotional Format and allow yourself to be inspired anew concerning your purpose for living more fully into this day. While not the purpose of our work, the seemingly magical byproduct of such work brings, what the Guide calls, “Pleasure Supreme!”

Shared in love, Gary

PS Link to more Lectures in the Devotional Format 

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Gary Vollbracht