How to walk this spiritual pathJill Loree2023-05-10T08:40:11+00:00
How to walk this spiritual path
The life-changing process of self-transformation
10 Steps toward healing
Deeply profound and highly practical, this body of spiritual wisdom—based on the teachings offered to humanity by the Pathwork® Guide—is incomparable in its ability to guide us to realizing our full potential. And now, by following this 10-Step Guide, anyone can get going on this spiritual path.
New to a spiritual path? You can follow these steps in the suggested order. Then, when you’re ready to move on to another step, add it to what you were previously exploring.
Already well underway on your healing journey? You may want to start with After the Ego: Insights from the Pathwork® Guide on how to wake up. This remarkable collection of teachings gives a clear perspective on the work of healing and what it means to wake up. After all, any spiritual journey is really all about waking up from duality.
In the end, this is where all these teachings are leading us, walking us step-by-step along a spiral toward wholeness—toward living in harmony and unity.
Straightforward, but not linear
When we’re working towards uncovering our inner light, it’s important we listen within and go where we feel called. (Caution: We’ll learn in Step One that there are multiple inner voices shouting for our attention, and the loudest ones often aren’t acting in our best interest.) It’s also important to not skip steps. For as we’re starting out, we must do the difficult work of unwinding the inner obstacles that are blocking our inner light. These are what stop us from living in harmony.
This series of personal healing steps offers straightforward guidance for helping us unwind our difficulties and find peace. And yet, as we focus intently on doing our inner work, we must never lose sight of our goal, which is to bring more and more light into the world.
To do this, we’ll need to connect—as best we can—with our inner light, or Higher Self, so we can find our way through our inner darkness. As such, a spiritual path is not a linear process.
Avoid spiritual bypassing
The work of healing asks us to dig deep and uncover whatever inside us is blocking our light. As we come to comprehend the full scope of these teachings, we’ll realize how destructiveness came into being. Then we will understand that the way to overcome duality is by going through our uncomfortable feelings and unwinding the untruths that are holding them in place. These negative emotions and wrong beliefs are the very reason we feel stuck in unpleasant life circumstances.
It won’t work, then, to go around them, hoping that by clinging to the sunny side of life we can avoid our own self-created problems. To do so is to attempt a spiritual bypass. This is what it looks like when the ego tries to wake up all by itself, rather than genuinely engaging in the work of personal healing, which is paramount for living from our greater spiritual self. This, after all, is what it means to be spiritual.
But once we make peace with the truth of who and how we are, right now—typically over-identified with our ego and disconnected from the light of truth within—we can transform ourselves and our lives. Going this way leads to living an authentic life filled with true abundance and real joy.
If you truly want to stop living in conflict and learn to live from your greatness, this can be your path. These teachings can guide us all the way to freedom.
But true deep healing is never a short or simple process. It takes effort and time. Calm and steady is the way to go.
Before jumping in, take the time to read through all the steps below. Consider working with someone who can help guide you in this process*. Look for people to connect with on your journey. Become willing to go the extra mile in committing to your self-care.
In addition to reading through these steps, here are a few more ways to get a high-level overview of this spiritual path before you begin:
Understand the basics of these spiritual teachings:
A human being is made up of many different moving parts. Sorting out which one is speaking can be challenging, but this is a necessary part of a spiritual path. For if we don’t realize when our Lower Self has taken the lead, we’ll find ourselves lost in untruth and living in a world of disharmony. Said another way, if we are experiencing disharmony in life, our Lower Self is running the show.
Start to identify their voices by observing them in daily life.
Make notes in your journal about what each is saying. Can you hear your Higher Self? (Hint: It’s the quietest one.) You may want to weave in the teachings from Step 6 about meditation to strengthen this connection. For the work of transforming the Lower Self is always an act of the Higher Self.
2 Learn about Personality Types
To know ourselves is not a simple thing. There is our essence, or Higher Self, that’s covered over by the destructiveness of our Lower Self. Together, these create our Real Self, and it’s important we figure out how they operate. Depending on our personality type, we will have a favorite way of relating to the world and defending ourselves against pain. Understanding this will be important for learning to live more fully and peacefully.
The three personality types of Reason, Will and Emotion align with the three primary essences of Serenity, Power and Love. Which type mainly are you?
We figure out at an early age that we won’t get far in life if people see our negativity and destructiveness. So we cover our Lower Self with a Mask Self. These masks become our defensive strategies for keeping ourselves safe from pain. They are also a strategy for getting our demands for love and approval met. (Spoiler: None of them actually work, and instead keep us stuck and attract more pain.)
The three defenses are Serenity Mask (we avoid others and life by isolating and disconnecting), Love Mask (we attach ourselves to others, hanging on them to get our needs met), and Power Mask (we attack others, believing we must fight to survive). Which is your go-to defense? Begin to notice it in action, and then pray for the wisdom to make another choice. Start choosing the light, opting for connection instead of separation.
Because our defenses are really nothing more than strategies, they are not actually real. But as we begin to dismantle our defensive masks—which is a necessary first step—we’ll come face-to-face with the destructive parts of ourselves. This is our Lower Self and it, on the other hand, is very real. It is highly charged and it acts out cruelty towards ourselves and others.
Take heart, for this is not the essence of who you are. Yet to set ourselves free, we must come to see and accept our distortions and misunderstandings so we can simultaneously work to transform them. Our willingness to do this sets into place the essential stepping stones of our spiritual path.
Self-compassion and self-forgiveness then are greatly needed for doing this work of self-healing.
If we want to walk a spiritual path, we must have a certain amount of ego strength. For the ego plays an important role in the process of personal healing. It’s the part of ourselves we have direct access to, and it needs to wake up and become our inner observer.
Observe yourself in action and become aware of which parts you are identifying with.
Our defenses work by blocking access to our feelings in the misguided belief this will eliminate pain. This would be a great strategy if it worked. It does not. For feeling nothing—feeling numb, lifeless and dead—is worse than feeling something unpleasant.
We have been avoiding painful feelings for a long time, and we won’t resolve and transform them instantly. Also, we may need to work with someone who can help us navigate these choppy waters. The Guide teaches that if we are ready to do this work, we will be guided to find someone who can help us. Pay attention to this guidance and use discernment.
Daily Review: Every evening, jot down a few notes about the disharmonies of the day and your associated feelings. For now, just get in touch with your feelings, or lack thereof.
One of our first steps on a spiritual path involves sorting out our inner voices. The hardest one to hear—and the most important—is the wise, quiet voice of our Higher Self. The way to hear it is to actively listen for it. At the same time, we need to listen to the loud clamoring of the other Lower Self voices. They are showing us where we need healing.
There are many approaches to meditation. On this path, we get the most from meditation by using it to illuminate our inner work.
Everyone has shortcomings. The key is to recognize our own faults and take steps to return them to their original divine form. For every fault was originally a divine quality. No exceptions.
If we don’t already know what our faults are, this is a clear indication we don’t know ourselves very well. Consider asking someone you trust and know well to share what they see. Search for the grain of truth. For by finding our faults, we start to understand ourselves better.
Our unconscious is home to many goodies. It’s also the repository of beliefs that don’t make sense and the parking lot for our powerful No to life. That’s a lot to unpack.
The Pathwork Guide teaches us that we could learn to speak many different languages, but none would serve us as well as learning to speak the language of our own unconscious self. This is necessary for unlocking our negative intention toward life.
All disharmonies in life are linked to untruth. A fundamental aspect of spiritual healing work, then, is to find where untruth lives in us. These misunderstandings about life, which the Pathwork Guide calls “images,” pin our struggles into place and cause us to be triggered into immature emotional reactions by life experiences. It’s as though we took a picture of a thought—a wrong conclusion about life—and then put it in frame and set it on the shelf of our mind. By now we’ve looked at it for so long, we don’t even notice it is there. But these images hold untruth, so we can never be fully free until we find them and unwind them.
Once we understand how our unconscious operates, it’s time to sift through it for the landmines it’s harboring. For it holds life-limiting beliefs that keep us locked in repetitive patterns of misery.
Find Your Images: Here’s a suggestion for forming a small group who can work together in finding your images.
One of the hardest things about images is seeing them. If we were fish, they would be the water we are swimming in. If we aren’t yet working with someone who can help us on our spiritual path, this would be a great time to find a helper—a therapist, psychologist, spiritual director, counselor or other trained advisor—who can help us find our images.
All these teachings are really pointing to one thing: We need to wake up. But wake up from what? Duality. Duality, after all, is what makes life on Earth so unpleasant. It’s a difficult reality in which the ego splits everything into this or that: Black or white, good or bad, right or wrong, me or the other. Yet this is not the only reality.
It is by overcoming our resistance to pain that we stop avoiding the “bad half” of life. Once we make peace with all the parts of ourselves—uncovering what’s unconscious and transforming what’s negative—our awareness will expand until we eventually discover the whole truth. Then, when we are fully in truth, all opposites will be reconciled and we will transition from living in duality to living in unity. This is the way home.
While there are many paths for reaching this goal of wholeness, everyone must eventually go this way.
There are many spiritual laws that govern all that happens in life. For example, according to the Law of Brotherhood and Sisterhood, opening our heart to another brings spiritual help we could not receive by ourselves. Learn about many of the spiritual laws mentioned by the Pathwork Guide and gain insight into how this world works.
*Pathwork Helper and teacher, Cynthia Schwartzberg, has written a book about walking a spiritual path. It is called The Curious Voyage: A Rule-Breaking Guidebook to Authenticity, available in paperback and eBook from Amazon. The book offers many self-guided exercises that can help you open up your connection with your inner divine self.