When a spiritual group forms, or really any kind of group, there will be difficulties that must be overcome. These are an expression of the sum total of beings making up this “body”. For any created entity has its own spiritual body. And this body will consist of many different aspects—which are each aspects of the divine spark—the same way an individual person consists of many different aspects.

We are all aspects, then, of the greater consciousness, which is all one. These are nice sounding words, but they are not just words. If we open to them inwardly, we may be able to sense the truth that, in consciousness, we are one. We will start to get a glimpse of this as we make our way along our spiritual path, learning to recognize various aspects of our personality and dealing with them.

Some parts of us, we will find, are out of step with our conscious goodwill. Meanwhile, other parts are working in harmony. At the deepest level, there is an aspect of our consciousness that surpasses in many ways—in beauty, wisdom, love and strength—even the very best of our intentions and abilities to bring all our parts back into harmony.

When we walk on a spiritual path, we must learn to move our bodies, just as we must learn to move our feelings and move our mind.

One by one, we learn to identify each part of the self. And we learn to see when we are identifying with each of them. In this way, we get a glimpse of who we are. When we spot parts we don’t like, we can work to accept them and thereby transform their energy. This is how we restore negative qualities back to their positive form. We want to restore them rather than separating ourselves from them, which causes them to manifest out there in the world where we can see their destructiveness.

What we are talking about applies to all of creation. Just as we have parts that make up our total personality, we are part of the make-up of the universal consciousness. Yet we all fear bridging the gap between our separated ego—our own little consciousness—and the big all-encompassing consciousness. We operate out of the misguided notion that if we do so, we will lose ourselves. But this is completely untrue. It can’t be true. For the more we come to realize all that we are—the more we become our Real Self—the more complete we will be, not less.

What is the aim of creation? Why are we here? Exactly to bridge this gap, establishing the all-in-one consciousness everywhere. “But why does this gap exist?” is a question we repeatedly ask ourselves. There are many explanations, including the story of the Fall which, in religious terms, refers to the fall of the angels from grace. Now let’s explore another version of this same process without any religious overtones.

After the Ego: Insights From the Pathwork® Guide on How to Wake Up

It’s not easy to talk about the truth of all reality using words that humans can understand. For our language is fashioned to fit a very narrow slice of reality.
It’s not easy to talk about the truth of all reality using words that humans can understand. For our language is fashioned to fit a very narrow slice of reality.

A view of creation

What we are about to learn regarding cosmology is not theoretical knowledge. Rather, it has practical value that we can use immediately for our own personal development. This information can open us to profound cosmic truths outside us. And if we wish to see them, it will also help us realize these truths inside ourselves, as they exist right now. For it will help us understand why we identify with our ego—a split off aspect of consciousness—and why we are so afraid to let go and merge with the greater consciousness.

With this information, we will be able to see how our fear is an illusion. And we will see that our suffering is not necessary, as it exists only because of our resistance. If we let them, these words can help us open inner doors to knowing and experiencing the immutable, unending truth about all that is.

It’s not easy to talk about the truth of all reality using words that humans can understand. For our language is fashioned to fit a very narrow slice of reality. The terms we use in this three-dimensional space are not well-equipped for talking about dimensions we can’t comprehend. As a result, it can be easy to distort or misunderstand what is being conveyed. Many may find this teaching to be confusing, contradictory and difficult to comprehend.

Rather than only tuning in using our ego mind, it will help if we can open up our inner listening ears, deliberately allowing our heart and soul to hear this message. If we engage our deepest intuition, these words will penetrate more deeply into us. Then there will be an echo of inner understanding that goes beyond words.

So now let’s jump in and talk about creation. First we will talk about how creation “started.” Notice how we are already challenged to find the right words to use, as creation never really started. But we must squeeze this concept into human language where there is no other word to use. Try to feel the truth of this!

What “started” creation was the divine spark. This spark may have been very tiny within an enormous vacuum, yet this itty-bitty spark was comprised of the utmost reality, and it was divine. It contained everything that is conscious as well as the most powerful creative energy. It held the most incredible love and wisdom.

The aim of the divine creator—which is infinitely good—was to fill this vacuum of nothingness with the spark that contained it all. Gradually, this spark began to spread, and it slowly penetrated the darkness. For the spark had incredible light. It filled the nothingness of the vacuum with glowing aliveness—with all that it contained.

This vacuum formed an infinity in the “outer” regions, and the spark formed an infinity in the “inner” regions. Here, from the perspective of our dualistic mind, we bump into a contradiction: How could there be two infinities? It’s literally impossible to convey the truth of this to human consciousness, that there could be an infinity, but it is both a vacuum and an inner spark of light, with the spark filling the vacuum.

This eternal spark spreads into the infinite inner regions. Perhaps we can visualize this in the form of a picture. Imagine a thick, golden, sparkling liquid that is teeming with energy and creative potential. This liquid contains the seeds for everything. It bubbles with aliveness. It is intensely conscious, endowed with every conceivable power—as well as powers we can’t even conceive of—to create worlds and beings.

As it slowly spreads, its goal is to fill the apparent nothingness that goes on forever. The infinite all—the All That Is—fills the vacuum until there is no more vacuum. It can’t help but penetrate the entire void, since the All is made up of vibrant consciousness and powerful energy. As such, the outer regions will be entirely filled with the inner world of light and life.

During the process of spreading, the divine spark — the particles of this All — get lost, and “forget” where they came from. They forget their original wholeness and connectedness. These particles start believing they are dots—isolated bits of consciousness—that have been hurled into darkness. Now they struggle against being swallowed up by the darkness.

But the struggle is an illusion. The fear is an illusion. For each apparently isolated dot is not really in isolation. The connection still exists. But in the process of advancing and spreading, the All is partly diminished in each dot. In this diminished state, there are “times” when the outer darkness seems more real than the inner life of light.

The outer vacuum is not evil, for evil is not nothing. Evil is what comes into existence when the dots — the particles of divine spark — lose their memory, and haven’t yet remembered that they are connected and struggling against the vacuum.

This ferocious struggle in which the dots fight against existing and being fully alive distorts energy—what’s positive becomes negative—and divine reality—truth turns to untruth. This transition forms a state we might call evil, but it is a temporary state.

This temporary dot—the apparently separate aspect of divine reality—must inevitably be drawn back into the All that is continually spreading. Although it is not really drawn back. It’s more that the fullness of the spreading spark catches up with the dot that has moved ahead in a diminished form. The fullness of nature, with all its various forms, is part of this ever-growing wave that keeps moving further into the outer regions.

We can look at our lives and our struggles in this light. Through our personal development, we can feel how we are bringing truth and divinity to our whole being. This is the spark within that is pushing us to penetrate the outer regions—the outside world. The more we all do this, growing into truth, love and justice—into oneness—the more we fulfill this creative process.

As individual dots, we have lost sight of our connection with this whole scheme and our purpose in it. We can no longer identify with the All we are part of, which explains our resistance to giving up our struggle against it. This is our evil. If we give up our negative attitudes—which is how we express our struggle against the dark vacuum—we feel threatened with extinction.

To give up our evil—our struggle—is like volunteering to go into the dark nothingness, and we confuse that with physical death. But this is where we must eventually go, since divine reality must eventually fill everything that is. All the particles must reunite themselves, and then they’ll rediscover they were always in unity with the All. The connection was never really lost.

When we—as individual dots—meet our innermost terror, we are coming face to face with our fear that the vacuum will consume us. So while as remote, metaphysical and philosophical as all this may sound, is not unrelated to what’s happening in our day-to-day lives. When we go deep inside ourselves, we find this fear running our lives. We will also find the terror of this vacuum. Ultimately, we will also find the all-consciousness which is actually us and which can never die. We are the divine spark that must slowly continue to unfold and push further into the vacuum.

The sooner we make room for these truths, opening up to them and making room for all that wants to unfold inside us, the sooner we will figure out who we truly are. But when our conscious self—our ego mind—is convinced our separateness is the only “reality,” mistaking this temporary state for the permanent reality, our mind blocks off the experience of the true state of our being.

This is why we are here. In fact, this is the plan of creation and what evolution is all about. This is where all this is heading. The question is: Can we see how we are each part of this? We are each a particle of God—in this sense, we are God— and we each have a task. The All in each of us—the ultimate in us—is sending us forth. It is sending an aspect of itself forward, which then shows up here as an aspect of apparently separate ego-consciousness.

The task for each separated aspect is to search its own depths to find its potential for power, wisdom, love and beauty that are eternal and infinite. For just as the part is contained in the whole, the whole is contained in the part. Our work is to make our whole being aware of this, so we can consciously choose to spread ourselves into the vacuum, filling it with our real nature.

When we meditate deeply on these concepts, we will see how we can use them to understand our lives. We will intuitively connect with the truth nestled in these words. Once we know their truth, something vital will change inside us. We will be motivated to accept both the positive in us and the negative. As we start to unify ourselves, we will begin to see our surroundings in the same way. We will now know that all people—whether we like them or not, whether we approve of them or not, whether they are developed or not—are aspects of the whole, just as we are.

We will now also realize that whatever is negative—both in ourselves and in others—is merely a distorted aspect of a positive thing. So we will stop feeling alienated and frightened by it. But what really matters most is that we stop feeling alienated and frightened by ourselves. For the more we fear parts of ourselves, the more we will project this fear onto other people and life. The only way we can stop this is to meet what we are most afraid of in ourselves. This is the path. This is that path!

After the Ego: Insights From the Pathwork® Guide on How to Wake Up

We all harbor a misconception about feelings, which is that we can somehow “get rid of” negative feelings.
We all harbor a misconception about feelings, which is that we can somehow “get rid of” negative feelings.

Movement on every level

Let’s explore some specific exercises that can help us move forward on our path. We’ll start with a very important one that involves the level of feeling. But first, a short explanation.

We all harbor a misconception about feelings, which is that we can somehow “get rid of” negative feelings. So first, we need to make a clear distinction between residual feelings that have become stagnant and which we don’t realize we are holding back, and our innate capacity to experience any feeling, as long as our soul is in a free-flowing state.

Let’s take anger. The less we fear our repressed anger and learn to accept it, the more we will assume responsibility for it and express it appropriately, rather than project it on others. This will free us to produce anger when anger is appropriate. But if we think we must “get rid” of our anger, we will become confused and think that when we transform the energy of a destructive feeling, we are wiping it out.

Many people have a false idea of what a highly developed state looks like. We think it comes complete without anger, rage, fear, pain or sadness. This is a distorted idea that leads to a rigid, unrealistic image, or misconception. For in truth, the more we are capable of experiencing any feeling, the less we will be enslaved by it. We can become conscious of such a free-flowing state—which is currently only a possibility—in which we are flexible and so in command of ourselves that all feelings can be moved along. The potential always exists in everyone.

But the less we can summon our feelings, the more frightened of them we will be. As such, we will be at their mercy. When that’s the case, we may act out destructively and in an uncontrolled way. Either that or we will repress our capacity to feel at all, causing our creative energies and potentials to stagnate. This is the kind of double bind that all dualities must eventually lead to.

The unitive state is fully alive, so movement is one of its key attributes. Whereas the vacuum is stationary, the spark of the All is constantly in motion. As humans, we constantly battle between these two states. We have a hankering for nonmovement which results in a fear of the vacuum. The illusion is that movement will carry us into the vacuum, where consciousness will cease to exist. No wonder we want to hold back and not move. Yet the divine spark in our core is constantly urging us forward, into motion.

This is why, when we walk on a spiritual path, we must learn to move our bodies, just as we must learn to move our feelings and move our mind. We need to do this so that our spirit can move through us. We must allow the moving spirit to move us so it can manifest. All the levels of our personality—spiritual, mental, emotional and physical—must align with spirit’s inherent nature, which is to move.

When we move our bodies, energy is able to flow and penetrate into our entire physical system. So then we have more physical energy. We also need to move our feelings by learning to let them out. Further, we need to let ourselves feel moved by life. We can move our minds by opening them up to new ways of looking at things. And it is essential we do this.

Our fixed ideas stop our spirit from moving our mind, inspiring it with higher truths. Our task is to allow this. We’re not talking about opening up to general concepts, but to truths about our current personal situations. But what often happens is that we have a judgment or opinion we invest so much energy into, we actually start to believe these are our real feelings. Then we generate negative energy with these rigid thoughts which are unavoidably false. For truth is always fluid and free-flowing. We mistake this limited truth for the whole truth, and this error becomes the tool for self-deception.

So what we now believe to be our emotions are really just fixed opinions. Where our feelings should unfold, we are frozen. It is the task of this spiritual path—of really any genuine path—to bring the whole system into harmonious movement. But this requires a lot of finely attuned timing to know what is the right move when, so as to not do any harm.

We need a different approach for each level of our personalities. Also, we will need a certain amount of agility in our body, mind and feelings before we can even use certain exercises, otherwise distortions are apt to set in. For example, if we attempt to deliberately move stuck feelings, we will likely produce dramatization, fakery and exaggeration. Essentially we will use our will to put on a good show, hoping to foster the illusion that our soul is flexible.

The mind can learn to exercise itself by trying out alternative ways of seeing a situation. But if we jump ahead, seeing things differently because we have an ulterior motive of escaping blame, we will end up justifying why we are a victim. Then we may escape this by layering on a false serenity that attempts to cover over our negative feelings. So it’s easy to see how timing can play an important role in our work of self-knowing.

Remembering what we said about negative feelings, namely that it’s a distortion to think we can get rid of them, let’s look at feelings. We can cultivate our ability to experience any feeling we want. Once this is the case, undesirable feelings won’t have any power over us. But we can never put our feelings behind us, once and for all. There is no future state we can reach where we have accomplished all our goals and no longer need to move. Such a concept comes from our fear of movement and hence our rejection of movement. It is based on the illusion that movement is undesirable. But if we are living in a state of truth, we will desire movement and avoid non-movement.

Looking at movement on the physical level, suppose we have worked on ourselves sufficiently enough to have removed all our muscular blocks, which of course are related to our emotional blocks. Does this mean we can now stop moving our bodies? Obviously not. For if we did that, new blocks would immediately start forming all over again. Any choice to remain static and unmoving is building on a wrong idea about how life works. From our misunderstanding, negative feelings develop which in this case would be fear. If we don’t look at this fear to see what it is about, we will give in to the fear and it will prevent us from moving on any level.

After the Ego: Insights From the Pathwork® Guide on How to Wake Up

The joy of movement

A healthy person is going to want to keep moving, not for therapeutic reasons but out of sheer joy. When this is the situation, movement becomes a pleasure, not a chore. But if we choose to think of movement as a chore, we’ll stagnate, for it’s very tempting to give in to the vacuum.

But we can overcome this. The way to start is by moving our mind in a new direction. We must make the decision to move on all levels so our spirit can reach and enliven every part of us. Our spirit is ready and willing to carry light into the darkness. It wants to bring movement to where we have become stagnant. For if we stop moving, we are starting to die.

The same holds true on the level of our feelings. It’s possible for a person to be very far along in their development, and they may still hate. Yes, they may have worked through their residual pain and their residual anger may have dissipated. But that doesn’t mean we won’t ever experience these feelings again. It’s actually the reverse. The more work we have done to accept old residual feeling—so we no longer fear and reject them—the greater will be our ability to allow soul movements to move. These currents can then go in any direction at any time.

Such a person can now experience any feeling at will. But this is not the tight self-will we’re talking about. The experience of feelings has to come from our healthy inner will, which is smooth-flowing. When we are in full possession of ourselves, we can be moved from within. This means we can, at will, produce violent anger and hate. We can also, at will, produce sadness and pain, fear and terror, peace and harmony, joy and pleasure, and love and compassion.

If we are still at a place in our development where we tend to overdramatize—we use our will to create counterfeit feelings—we are not yet ready to do these exercises regarding our feelings. Because we must first shed our mask that is hiding our shame of our real feelings. Also, if we have a tendency to use certain limited emotions as a way to defend against other emotions, we are not yet ready to practice with superimposed feelings. For example, say we use fear as a defense against hate, spite, malice or violence. We will need to work through all of these feelings before we are ready to attempt any feeling exercises.

It’s not hard to see that people who are very contracted and alienated from their core can’t produce any feelings, or at least a very limited amount. They are still numb and paralyzed on that level. By contrast, people who have already freed themselves from their inner shackles—by letting go of their defenses—have dealt with their residual feelings. As such, they are much more flexible and so can easily decide whether to be angry, sad or whatever emotion they wish to feel.

We each need to evaluate where we are in this respect and gradually build up to doing the appropriate exercises. For doing the right kind of movement exercises for each level will help us immensely in our development. We can also call upon our inner guidance to help us know how to use them. It’s important we understand the principles that are at work here.

After the Ego: Insights From the Pathwork® Guide on How to Wake Up

We like to think that our judgments and opinions are a result of a specific situation that is disturbing us. And we really wish this were true.
We like to think that our judgments and opinions are a result of a specific situation that is disturbing us. And we really wish this were true.

Practicing soul movements

When we are able—more and more, over time—to produce feelings, we will be able to bring out any last vestiges of feelings we have overlooked. Even after we are empty of old feelings, we should practice keeping our emotions fluid so our soul substance remains vibrant and flexible.

The movements of our soul are very important. In fact, there are cosmic movements that are constantly streaming within us, and we can only become conscious of them when we have the ability to emote easily. If we are ready, we can practice expressing various feelings. It works best to do this with a room full of people, as it is more difficult to do such exercises alone. But eventually we will be able to do that as well.

A good way to start is by listening inside and determining the predominant feeling we are aware of right now. At first, it may only be faint, so we will need to build it up. Now we can allow ourselves to experience and express it intensely. Then other feelings will begin to surface, and we can explore them.

At times, the person who is helping us—a therapist, counselor, coach or helper of some sort—may suggest a certain feeling to focus on. At other times, our own inspiration can direct us. We always want to be taking our work into our meditations, asking for guidance and inspiration.

Ultimately, if we want to become aligned with our center, we must become fluid and flexible. Here is an exercise we can do to loosen up our mind. We can take any situation we are now in that bothers us. Any disturbance or disharmony will do. Now we can look at the mental construct we have built. What are the tightly held, fixed conclusions we use to convince ourselves we are right? How are we using them to eliminate self-doubt?

Using our active mind, we probe into the situation and see what position we have chosen. Now we can decide to think of other alternative choices that could be made. Play with the alternatives. Again, we can let our spirit inspire us, guiding us into new channels. We can see that we don’t get annihilated if we abandon our original fixed view, which we previously pinned in place with a single interpretation. This fixed view is, to a large extent, the reason we are facing this conflict to begin with. We need to see this.

Our first move is to unearth what we actually believe in this moment. Once we have done this, our beliefs are a bit more flexible already. But this is not the only belief. We can become aware of other beliefs. So we need to broaden our outlook about the particular subject we are doggedly protecting with our ironclad opinions.

We like to think that our judgments and opinions are a result of a specific situation that is disturbing us. And we really wish this were true. But it’s actually the other way around. We are faced with disturbing situations in our life due to our tendency to harbor particular ideas, opinions and judgments. Underneath these lie a particular intention or motivation.

By allowing our mind to become more flexible, we can try on a fresh perspective. Doing this might help us face our current position with less resistance. For any tendency we have toward a certain cluster of opinions and judgments waits, ready to pounce on the next set of circumstances that can activate them. In other words, with our fixed, inflexible mind, we stand to see the world a certain way. This is the root cause of various psychological problems.

As we do our work of healing, year after year, we will get better and better at having mental agility. By becoming more fluid and flexible on every level, we will restore our well-being. We will bring all of ourselves—our mental, emotion, physical and spiritual beings—into alignment with the truth of who we are in our divine center. This should be our motto for our work, as we seek to find and become our Real Self.

After the Ego: Insights From the Pathwork® Guide on How to Wake Up

Working with our faults

For people who are familiar with the Guide’s teachings about the primary faults of self-will, pride and fear, here is an additional exercise we can take into meditation that will help us in dealing with this difficult triad.

Taking the same bothersome situation that came to mind earlier, let’s now look at it from the point of view of pride. In what way are we acting from pride? Now we can try to visualize this situation, focusing our attention on how it would feel to give up our pride. If it seems the only alternative is to feel humiliation, it’s time to start probing around for other possible options.

We can call on our inner guidance to help us see ourselves in this situation with dignity, instead of humiliation. We will need to make a voluntary step into new territory if we want to see ourselves walking in a way that harmonizes dignity with humility, leaving out both pride and the humiliation of submission. If we are ready to walk this way in the world, our divine spirit will begin to produce it from within. But for this to happen, we must first make ourselves receptive to it.

Now we can follow the same process with self-will. We start by envisioning ourselves having a new kind of reaction in which we are neither spineless and taken advantage of, nor are we self-willed. We are able to assert ourselves, but we can also let go and give in. For any given situation, we can find the proper balance coming from our core. But for it to surface, our mind will need to be flexible and open enough for the new possibilities to get in. We will also need to cultivate our connection with our spiritual center so we can come to trust it and the inner guidance that it sends forth. Note too that it will require a certain amount of courage to get through the anxiety that will surface when we first attempt to let go of our pride and self-will.

And now, last but certainly not least, we need to address our fear. The fear is not going to go anywhere unless we abandon our pride and self-will. For as we may know, at least in theory, fear is the product of pride and self-will. Fear also comes from our inability to trust the universe. For it’s evident we have come to believe that the only things that can protect us from danger are our pride and our self-will.

The implication is that the universe is not safe, and we are stuck using this puny protection—our pride and self-will—as our only safeguard. It’s time to question this premise by asking, inside: “Is this true?” We can experiment with a new alternative, and open ourselves to another possible way to be in the world, which is by allowing the divine reality to flow through us.

Eventually, maybe today or maybe a long time from now, it will come. It must. And it will penetrate us with a state of consciousness in which there is no pride, no self-will, and then also no fear. When that day comes, we will have transcended all our conflicts—inside and outside of ourselves.

Now let’s try doing an exercise in truth, by opening ourselves to the possibility that the universe will gladly give us whatever we need. For just a moment, sit with this thought: “Who and how would I be if I trusted the universe? What might happen if, in this particular instance that is disturbing me, I gave up my fear—which is rooted in distrust—and also let go of my pride and self-will?” We can actively do this exercise, allowing our central core to give us a taste of the state we could reach if we were to react to life without pride, self-will and fear. What do we have to lose?

“The universe is good and beautiful, and there is nothing to fear, neither inside nor outside, no matter how much it may appear otherwise, due to your present distortions. Let love flow into you so that it can come out of you. Be blessed, be in peace.”

–The Pathwork Guide

After the Ego: Insights From the Pathwork® Guide on How to Wake Up

After the Ego: Insights From the Pathwork® Guide on How to Wake Up

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Read Original Pathwork Lecture #203: Interpenetration of the Divine Light Spark into the Outer Regions—Mind Exercises