Getting Healthy in Body, Mind and Spirit

By Working All the Angles

During the 1950, ‘60s and ‘70s, a woman named Eva Pierrakos spoke monthly lectures given by a being we now refer to only as the Pathwork Guide. Over the course of 22 years, the Guide filled hundreds of hours and thousands of printed pages to tell us 1) Why we are here, 2) Why we tend to be so miserable, and 3) What to do about it.

Most of the teachings talk about the human psyche, or soul, and how to clear away our inner obstacles. These obstacles, which we must actively work to clear away, are collectively referred to as the Lower Self by the Pathwork Guide. Unlike our light-filled Higher Self—which emanates things like truth, compassion and understanding from the center of our being—our Lower Self consists of layers of darkness. So our Lower Self includes our defenses, negative attitudes and destructiveness, coupled with our wrong conclusions about life and our stubborn resistance to change. (Spilling the Script: Meeting the Selves)

Our Lower Self attitudes and beliefs all have roots in our childhood. Because believe it or not, our childhood experiences have been carefully designed to tee up our life’s difficulties, and therefore opportunities for healing. In other words, shortly after arriving here, we each have our work cut out for us. (Pearls, Chapter 5: Preparing for Reincarnation: Every Life Counts | podcast)

Now, as adults, our work is to get from where we are now—living life as best we can, mostly by using the limited resources of our egos—to where we want to be. And where is that? Living more and more from our divinely inspired Higher Self.

But crossing the traps, chasms and brambles of our Lower Self is no easy thing.

If we want to get to the root of our troubles, though, this is where we must go. For the Lower Self level of our psyche is where all our troubles sprout.

Health is a both/and process, not either/or.

Getting to the Root of Things

By sifting through for our misunderstandings, our negative attitudes and behaviors, our old unfelt feelings and our many splits, we slowly start to heal our fragmented psyche. Over time, this healing will translate into having a more healthy body, mind and spirit.

But this work takes time. Nothing can happen overnight. Any approach offering easy answers or quick fixes are attempting to skip steps. And as the Guide teaches, we can’t skip steps. We also can’t cheat life. If we want the benefits of true healing, we have to make the effort needed to get them.

Working From the Outside In

Although the roots of our problems can be found in our psyche, they branch out into our body, mind and spirit, and create problems there. What’s important to realize is that we can help ourselves tremendously by working not only from the inside out—by examining the contents of our psyche—but also from the outside in. And we can do this from many different angles.

We can help ourselves tremendously by working not only from the inside out, but also from the outside in.

As an example, consider the topic of order and disorder. When we look around us and see outer disorder or chaos, this is really a reflection of inner disorder and disharmony. And these always stem from the places we’re not yet aligning with truth. After all, the Guide tells us that the Spirit World of God is an orderly one, embodying as it does the whole truth. (Pearls, Chapter 11: Bringing ourselves to Order Inside and Out | podcast)

But we don’t have to wait until our insides are neat and tidy before we straighten up our surroundings. In fact, it can help us create more order inside if the environment we live and work in is not cluttered up, messy or dirty. We can literally feel more squared away inside if we create a good habit of making our bed, cleaning our car or picking up our dirty laundry.

The part of us that needs to make the effort to clean up around us is our ego. This is the part of ourselves we have direct access to. So when we want to develop better self-discipline, this is the part we are working to strengthen.

Too often though, we exhaust our egos by using them in ways that wear them out. Or we let our egos run off in the wrong direction. (More on this in a minute.) Doing personal healing work is hard enough, without an unruly ego making it nearly impossible to head in the right direction.

Health in the Body

In the Spirit World, the more structure something has, the more fluid it is. But in Earth world, our young minds form wrong conclusions about life, and then we build righteous, rigid structures all around this scaffolding of untruth. These blocks in our psyches create areas of tension that get stuck in our bodies. Over time, these disturbances affect our body’s ability to function well.

There are so many things that can go sideways with the human body! And although these problems may originate in our psyche, we still routinely turn to medical remedies to help our bodies heal. Why do we do this? For one thing, proper healthcare helps us feel better and stop hurting. For another, good healthcare helps stick around longer so we can do the spiritual healing work we came here to do.

Of course, given our current state of disconnectedness, we often don’t search for the hidden cause of our physical symptoms. Once our physical illness gets better, we think we’re all done with it. But whenever we fail to find the true root cause of our physical dysfunctions, we leave a lot on the table for our next incarnation.

Several years ago, I sorted through all the Pathwork Q&As, and I filed many that related to physical issues under the topic Body & Health. At the time, I was struck by one particular question and answer. It speaks to the deeper meaning behind a physical condition that we may be inclined to write off as totally random.

Pathwork Q&A

QA241 QUESTION: I recently learned from my doctor that I have a problem with my eyes, which I’ve had since I was child. Basically, I don’t take in very much information with my eyes, but I am somehow able to use my brain to figure out the rest of the information. So I end up with nearly perfect vision. This has made it difficult to read well, but it has also apparently had an influence on my decision to study science.

Another effect this has had is that it overtaxes my brain. Because I am using my brain a lot for seeing rather than for doing other things. So I am tired a lot and have a lot of tension in my body. How is this connected with my task in life?

ANSWER: I will comment in terms of the larger picture. You have had previous lifetimes, in what you refer to as your past, where there was an overemphasis that did not further your development. The process of evolving and integrating involves a constant swing of going back and forth. In this balancing movement, you find a new level of balance by tipping the scale in one direction, and then going once again in the other direction.

Over a number of lifetimes, there was not enough emphasis on using what is essentially a really good brain that’s well-developed. You were lazy. And this created a need to find a new balance. So you have manifested this impediment in your brain, which causes you to use your brain more.

It’s now time for a re-balancing to happen on a higher level. This will allow you to integrate your good intellect with deeper faculties of intuition. This involves developing both your inner vision and your outer vision. And it will help if you put a conscious emphasis on doing this.

By tuning into yourself, you may be able to sense both tendencies in you. One is from way in the past when you had a desire to not use your brain, to be lazy about thinking. You may be able to sense how that created this overemphasis. And then you can also sense how you are creating more integration now by using your brain, which you have succeeded so well in developing. So now you can bring in the function of inner vision.  

Whenever a part lags behind in development like this, it indicates an unwillingness to face and accept certain things, in yourself and in your life. By overcoming your resistance, by seeing more of what you did not want to see, you can see both sides of the two approaches.

You can either use the brain, with its ability to deduce, reason and understand, or the inner vision. Both can be used together in a constructive way. Or they can be used in an exclusive way that makes it impossible to have deeper insight.

So both abilities can be used in a positive way, but both can also be abused.

Read the original question and answer, in the Guide’s words

We Have Options as Well as Preferences

In addition to standard healthcare, there are many ways we can treat our bodies better and help ourselves heal from the outside in. We can start by going for a walk. Walking is one of the easiest things to do, and it’s as good for the body as it is for the soul. It’s a chance to breathe fresh air and calm the mind, and requires nothing more than a decent pair of shoes and a bit of motivation.

It’s especially helpful to walk in nature. As the Guide put it, we are not a part of nature, we are nature. Often, we long for peace, yet when we’re in it we fail to see the beauty of it. We’ve become so accustomed to being, by turns, intense, dramatic and distracted or lazy, lethargic and exhausted, that we don’t have much practice with being active while being at peace.

There are many other options outside of Western medicine that we can practice to help keep our bodies healthy. They include yoga, massage, chiropractic care and acupuncture, all of which I have experienced. I personally prefer doing yoga at home, using a DVD. Others might prefer one of the many online classes available. Still others would rather go to a class with other people. There are so many different preferences and options.

Part of the ego’s job is to make an effort and try things out. If one option or approach doesn’t work, it’s on us to try another. And keep trying. These stuck places in our psyche make this challenging. Part of the problem is that we confuse laziness with contentment. But the two are not related. Not even cousins. (Gems, Chapter 9: Why Lazy is the Worst Way to Be | podcast)

Health in the Mind

Human beings are fragmented. We actually arrive here that way. If we had the vision to see back through time, we could trace our fracturing back to the Fall. Regardless, all that really matters is what’s here now. And for most of us, our minds are a bit scattered. What’s more, it often seems like our minds have a mind of their own. Our thoughts wander easily and get caught in unhelpful loops about unpleasant things. This can be distracting, even nerve-wracking, and can make it hard to rest.

In healing ourselves, we’re trying to put ourselves back together in a better, more integrated way. But on our way to wholeness, we’re going to come across all our scattered pieces. Meditation is a good way to learn to pick them up, sort them out, and reconnect ourselves.

Like yoga, meditation has been around for thousands of years in the East, and the Western world is just now catching on. The Guide offers good suggestions for how to get the most from our time in mediation. (Bones, Chapter 18: How to Use Meditation to Create a Better Life | podcast)

We can also learn a lot about ourselves just by paying attention to what we are thinking and feeling, and how we are behaving. The Guide suggests we jot down some notes each evening about what we noticed that day. Over time, if we keep our notes brief, we will start to see patterns. These are the rigid structures we want to break up so we can restore ourselves to fluidity and flexibility.

Health in the Spirit

Over the course of 250 lectures, the Pathwork Guide spent very little time talking about our spiritual energetic bodies. There are just two lectures about the energy centers, and they are fairly vague. The word chakra is never mentioned. But just as there are doctors who help us heal our bodies and therapists who help us heal our minds and emotions, there are people who are trained in various energetic healing modalities who can provide support for our healing efforts.

Our heart is not our Higher Self.

A key aspect of the energetic system is the heart, which sits at the crossroads of our being. It’s where our vertical connection with the earth intersects with our horizontal connection with others. It’s our center of love and, Lord knows, it doesn’t get much more powerful than that. But our heart is not our Higher Self. According to the Guide, we sense our Higher Self deep in the area of our solar plexus. Our Higher Self exists on the level of our soul, or psyche, and not in our energetic bodies.

As with our physical and mental bodies, problems that show up in the spiritual energetic bodies have their origin in the psyche. So for example, if our heart chakra is closed, we’re going to need to understand why. Because while healers can help us, no one else can open our heart for us.

So once again, it’s on the level of our psyche that we must search for the reasons we’re closing our heart. For when this is the case, something in our Lower Self needs transforming. What is our misunderstanding that causes us close our heart? How do we think this keeps us safe? What is our old pain about, the pain we are hiding or running from because we don’t want to feel it? What is our misunderstanding about the nature of pain? Are we ready to feel that unfelt pain and free ourselves from the prison of our own locked heart?

The Ego and Higher Self are a Team

Our Higher Self is a fountain of truth. And when we are fully in truth we open fully to loving. That’s when our heart opens and we can feel our connection with all that is. But before that can happen, we have to find out why we hate. And why we fear.

The part of us that takes the initiative to discover all our various parts—including our Lower Self— is the ego. The ego itself is a fragment, and it will one day reunite with our Higher Self. But for now, our ego is a separate but important aspect of us, because it has an important job to do.

First, it acts to hold our many fragments together. Second, the ego must learn to pay attention so it can lead us through the work of healing our Lower Self and activating our Higher Self. Third, the ego must then learn to let go and surrender to our Higher Self.

The reason the ego must eventually let go is because the ego is caught at the level of duality. Meaning the ego does not have the ability to hold the whole truth. For that, we must drop into the level of our Higher Self. For there, we have the ability to hold opposites.

And because the Higher Self exists in the present moment, it can be flexible in meeting the needs of each situation. The ego, by contrast, must rely on outer rules. 

The ego must eventually let go is because the ego is caught at the level of duality.

The development of good boundaries is an example of this progression. While we are doing our work, we are re-integrating and maturing the young, fractured aspects of ourselves that remain caught in old childhood hurts. As we get started, we may need to set up some rules about what we will no longer tolerate.

Then, as part of our maturing process, we will start to know ourselves better. We become willing to see what we hadn’t been willing or able to see before. So we will gain new perspectives. And we will grow emotionally. As this happens, we will start to develop clearer boundaries that arise from a firm inner sense of what’s OK with us and what is not. We will start to realize life is not exactly as we thought. For one thing, it’s not so black and white. Over time, we become more fluid and flexible. We look for the middle ground. We develop resilient, reliable inner rules.

But for the duality-bound ego, it’s either all yes or all no, according to rigid, inflexible rules. This makes it hard for the ego to find the middle way. The ego also struggles to hold firm boundaries and keep an open heart. Part of the problem is that the ego mind wanders away from the present moment easily, making it hard to meet the real needs of each moment.

But the more we learn to align with our Higher Self, the more our ego will be able to assess each situation and make choices that align with reality, not just rules. And for that to happen, we’ll need to explore our psyche.

Healthy vs Unhealthy Letting Go

Holding back, holding on and not letting go are classic moves of an ego that hasn’t yet cleared away our Lower Self obstacles. Such an unhealthy ego refuses to give up control, believing that letting go means death for the ego. In reality, letting go is the intended design of the ego.

But we must learn to let go the right way. The idea is let go into our own deep connection with the truth, including the truth of who we are. This is not a one-time event, but something we must practice doing over and over until dying into the truth of each moment is our natural movement. This how we truly learn to live.

But the ego can’t do this until it has made itself compatible with the Higher Self. And we do this by clearing away the obstructing layers of darkness in the Lower Self.

What happens if the ego tries to let go without doing the work of self-realization? It will let go in an unhealthy way. This is the fundamental reason for addictions. In one of her books about the energetic systems of the human body, Barbara Brennon says she can actually see a grey cloudiness in the aura of a person with additions.

So on any spiritual path of self-enlightenment, we must first clear up our addictions before we can make any true progress. For they are an escape from doing the work of healing, and not a path to freedom. In fact, just the opposite happens. Addictions are a trap that keeps us locked out of our own divinity. As such, additions will never, ever get us to where we truly want to go. As Carolyn Miss once said it: “We must call ourselves back from places we shouldn’t have gone to begin with.”

Interestingly, people with addictions often partner with people who go in the opposite direction and won’t give up ego control. Neither, of course, is in truth. There is, however, a tendency to ping pong between these two wrong extremes. For left to its own devices, the ego doesn’t have many levers it can pull. And addiction and codependency are definitely not the right levers to be playing with.

The Right Way to Let Go

The right way to learn to let go is by learning to trust. But until we have started making some progress in cleaning up our Lower Self, we ourselves aren’t yet very trustworthy. For the light from our highly trustworthy Higher Self is still being blocked. So while we can help ourselves by working directly with our body, mind and spirit, in the end, we must discover for ourselves what blocks us from trusting in God, in goodness, in the light at our center. (Pearls, Chapter 17: Discovering the Key to Letting Go & Letting God | podcast)

Healing, then, is a both/and process, not either/or. We want to take better care of our bodies, and listen to what our illness are expressing. We want to pay attention to our thoughts and feelings, and find out what untruths are pinning our disharmonies in place. And we want to turn and face any and all addictions, and learn to trust our own deep intuition.

Our work as humans is to find out the truth of who we are. And we can only do that by truly getting to know all the parts of ourselves, from all angles. By becoming healthy, inside and out. Which is really what the Pathwork Guide is teaching us how to do.

–Jill Loree

Phoenesse: Find Your True You
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