These remarkable spiritual teachings are collectively known as the Pathwork®. But what is Pathwork?
- What is Pathwork®?
- Where the Teachings Come From
- Who is the Pathwork Guide?
- Editing Pathwork Teachings
- The Pathwork Guide Q&As
- About Doing the Work
What is Pathwork?
Pathwork is a lifelong spiritual path of self-discovery that helps us understand the workings of life. It also helps us heal our emotional wounds. And fosters harmony and balance within our own being, as well as with others and God.
Where the Teachings Come From
The teachings of the Pathwork come from a collection of about 250 lectures. They were given in the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s by a Vienna-born New Yorker named Eva Pierrakos. Perhaps the least interesting thing to know about these lectures is that they were channeled. But there it is. This relevant-yet-insignificant fact is often among the first that tumbles out when one tries to explain the Pathwork.
It is a relevant point of interest. Because this material, of which there is a lot, is often of great interest to people who like to use their brains. The lectures are long—roughly 10–12 pages each—and it takes some mental stamina to get through them. This is what the Phoenesse spiritual books are for. In addition to organizing them by topic, they paraphrase many of the Guide’s wonderful teachings into easier-to-read language.
At the same time, it is insignificant, because who cares where it came from. As the Guide and other great teachers, including Buddha, often said, you shouldn’t believe anything, no matter who said it, unless it makes sense to you. The Guide’s teachings are unparalleled in their wisdom, scope and practicality, and therefore also in their effectiveness.
Who is the Pathwork Guide?
The Pathwork Guide is the entity who is actually speaking. And he is using Eva as the medium, or channel, through which he spoke. Owed to Eva’s dedication to her task as well as her willingness to do her own work, the material continually evolved. So it deepened over the course of the 22 years she gave monthly lectures.
Note, in those days it was the literary convention to use masculine pronouns generically. But that is not why we say the Pathwork Guide was a “he”. It’s more that people who were present during the lectures sensed the Guide as masculine. For the sake of consistency and to avoid referring to the Pathwork Guide as an “it,” we’ll proceed to speak of him respectfully—but holding this loosely—using the male pronoun.
To the deeper question about who exactly is the Guide, we don’t know. The Guide said that his name was not important. And that we should learn to trust our own discernment rather than rely on the reputation of the source as our reason for listening, trusting or believing. As you may know, the Pathwork Guide was a big champion of this type of self-development.
Editing Pathwork Teachings
Each month, for over 20 years, a small group of people would gather with Eva. She would then go into a trance and begin to speak. My understanding is that the lectures themselves were composed by a council of spirit beings. But if you listen to the tapes of Eva speaking, you can hear that they sound conversational. It doesn’t sound like someone reading a prepared, prewritten lecture.
When you add this together with Eva’s less-than-perfect English—she was raised in Vienna, Austria—you can imagine that some editing was in order for the transcripts. During this work, in addition to creating complete sentences, the editors of the lectures removed that masculine-pronoun convention. They did this to make the lectures more universally appealing. In creating The Guide Speaks, I edited the Q&As only to improve readability.
The Pathwork Guide Q&As
After each prepared lecture, participants were encouraged to ask questions, which it seems the Guide himself answered. For this reason, the Q&As seem to carry a somewhat different vibe from the lectures. This, in addition to their shorter length, makes them a bit easier to digest. The Q&As were either related to the lecture just given, to a person’s personal issues or to life in general. Having read them all, I will offer this plug that they offer a wisdom and perspective that has the potential to change your worldview.
The lectures, including the questions asked immediately following, were all recorded on reel-to-reel tapes. And they are all now available online in the form of printed transcripts (the edited version), free audio recordings read by Gary Vollbracht, or, for a fee, the original recordings by Eva: www.pathwork.org.
In addition to the questions asked following the lectures, once a month (on the off-weeks between the lectures) Eva and the Guide would hold Q&A sessions. I have sorted the thousands of questions into topics to make them more accessible, and they are all available for free reading at www.theguidespeaks.com.
About Doing the Work
Pathwork is a trademarked word owned by the Pathwork Foundation, a non-profit organization. It was coined along the way by Eva and other followers of the Pathwork Guide based on the fact that he so often spoke of “being on a path,” and the reality that it is hard work to follow such a path.
In truth, every human being is on a path, whether we know it or not. Today, however, many more people are becoming conscious about the spiritual journey we are on, so we’re reading books by contemporary spiritual teachers, attending weekend workshops and weeklong retreats, learning about mindfulness, sitting in meditation, and taking yoga classes.
In general, people today are ready for more, and many are realizing it’s hard work either way, whether one is consciously attending to life’s challenges and the opportunities for growth embedded in them, or bumbling along and hoping for the best. No matter our approach, life is going to teach us our lessons. We can go kicking and screaming, or we can go about things in a better way.
Hard as it may be to look directly at our own faults and negativity, at some point we realize we just can’t keep looking away from ourselves and hope to find solutions. And that, in a way, is the heart of what the Guide teaches. The way to get to the other side of our dilemmas in life is by stepping through the gateway of self-responsibility.
The Guide offers profound teachings but they are only valuable if they are put into the service of understanding and unwinding the everyday disharmonies—both large and small—of a person’s life. One has to actively apply the Guide’s teachings to be served by them. That’s really the key.
May all these keywords from the Pathwork Guide come to life in you.