Get a Better Boat

Trustworthy teachings for difficult times

Spiritual essays

If we build our house on sand, it might last for a while. But eventually things will start to crumble and collapse. We may even have forgotten we decided long ago to build on sand. That doesn’t change the reality of the situation though.

Over time, anything not built on a solid foundation of truth is bound to eventually collapse. It must. So it can be rebuilt the right way.

The era that’s now arriving is going to further shake whatever is not sound, whatever has been built on sand. We must collectively come to realize that the only way to get to the other side of our challenges is by waking up and stepping through the doorway of self-responsibility. And that’s exactly what the Pathwork Guide is showing us how to do in this collection of 33 spiritual essays.

Jill Loree began working deeply with the Pathwork teachings in 1997. In 2014, she began working full time to make them easier to access. Now, in Get a Better Boat, she crafts a clear message—a beacon of light—to help us navigate these difficult times.

The spiritual teachings in this book are now 50 years old. Yet these timeless teachings are proven and deeply trustworthy. They chart a highly spiritual—and very practical—way to journey through the seas of life. If you let them, they can become your better boat.

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Get a Better Boat

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What does it mean to become more spiritual?
Chances are, it’s not what you think.

Read spiritual essays included in Get a Better Boat

Essay 1: Jewels in the heart
About: Being present with what’s here now

Reading Time: 2 minutes
In a “conversation” with Eva after she died, Eva seemed to be saying that everyone there was wearing jewels in their heart. Some of these jewels were already polished and others weren’t yet. But nobody was hiding the ones that weren’t polished. They wore them openly, holding them with the right kind of pride. Everyone went around admiring each other’s jewels, saying things like, “So this is what you still have yet to polish.” But it was all OK. The unpolished stones were just those that someone still had to work on.

Essay 2: A simple test for life
About: Seeking connection versus separation

Reading Time: 2 minutes
When we align with anything other than our inner light, we create disharmony in the world. But equally important, we create discord within. For when we serve separation, we are no longer at one with our own selves.

Essay 3: Paying attention: The life-changing process of waking up
About: Sorting out the parts of the self

Reading Time: 6 minutes
Waking up means all parts of the human psyche work together to shift which part is in the lead. The part that needs waking up is the Higher Self. In most people, it lies dormant in the center of our being, rarely seen and seldom consulted. It’s not so much that our Higher Self is asleep, but we’re simply no longer aware of it. It’s patiently waiting for us to access it—to operate our lives from this deeper place within.

Essay 4: Real Self vs True Self: What’s the difference?
About: The reality of untruth

Reading Time: 4 minutes
In our quest to wake up, our mission is to travel the surprisingly long distance from our ego to our Higher Self. We could also call our Higher Self our Real Self or True Self. To reach our Higher Self, our ego will need to clear away the inner obstacles created by our Lower Self. Like our Higher Self, our Lower is part of our Real Self. But it is most definitely not our True Self. And if we want to wake up—to become enlightened—it’s vitally important we understand this distinction.

Essay 5: Finding the light switch: My husband, the ego and imposters
About: Using guidance to help each other

Reading Time: 15 minutes
The journey of a human being—the journey that all the lectures from the Pathwork Guide are pointing to—is about waking up from the domain of the ego and establishing a firm connection with our inner source. This is neither trivial nor easy to do. For it requires us to surface and transform all the parts of ourselves that are blocking our light. Then, when we are connected with our greater being, we will know when we are being visited by an imposter. Without that inner connection, our ego will fall for their tricks and we will be the ones looking foolish.

Essay 6: From believing to knowing: The trip of a lifetime
About: Personal experience becomes our proof

Reading Time: 6 minutes
Are the Pathwork teachings—and in turn, my Phoenesse writings—essentially a philosophy? Perhaps yes. For according to Mark Manson, “Philosophy is the inquiry into our understanding of reality, knowledge, and how we should live.” Indeed, that describes the Pathwork teachings to a “T”. And believing isn’t part of the program.

Essay 7: Taking the more mystical way home
About: The faster way to heaven within

Reading Time: 8 minutes
Just as Kabbalah is the mystical form of the Jewish tradition, there is a mystical form of Islam called Sufism. It’s a bit harder to find a mystical path that dovetails with Christianity. A good candidate might be the path of Phoenesse, which is built on the profound teachings offered to humanity by the Pathwork Guide. This fits well from the perspective that both Phoenesse and Pathwork are Christic paths that don’t resemble Christianity at all.

Essay 8: Two Martin Luthers, two kinds of faith
About: What salvation really means

Reading Time: 8 minutes
Before we begin on a healing journey in which we remove the obstacles that are blocking our inner light—remembering what Christ taught, which is that heaven is within—we can only believe with our ego mind. And belief as a mental concept has no spiritual value.

Essay 9: It’s time to grow up: Maturing through stages
About: Moving into a new era

Reading Time: 12 minutes
As we enter a new era—the start of a new epoch, really—we are going through a time of crisis. But this is just a normal part of growing up. And ready or not, it’s now time for humanity to step fully into adulthood. Let’s look at where we are heading next.

Essay 10: After isolation: Approaching the Great Transition
About: Waking up to our true self

Reading Time: 14 minutes
The great longing of all humanity is to participate in the life that follows after going through this transition. Meanwhile, in our ignorance, we fight this transition. Nevertheless, the longing always remains. Because the state of union is the natural state of all God’s creatures. And in that state, there’s no loneliness anymore. In our present state, however, many of us still feel essentially alone. In this state of isolation, the best we can hope for is a feeling that others are in the same boat as we are. That others also feel utterly alone. But that’s not at all what the new state really feels like.

Essay 11: Living on the good side of life
About: Aligning our will with God’s will

Reading Time: 9 minutes
Eons ago, long before the beginning of time, something bad happened. And in a nutshell, human beings—who were spiritual beings at the time—got in trouble. Our punishment was a bit like being sent to our room. In this case, we were sent into darkness. Which raises at least two questions: What did we do that was so wrong? And who handed out this dreadful punishment?

Essay 12: How inner obstacles let in dark forces
About: The deep impact of childhood wounds

Reading Time: 12 minutes
What’s wrong with having a few faults, you ask? After all, everybody has them! Or perhaps we think that since our faults aren’t as bad as someone else’s, they don’t matter so much. Too often we make allowances for ourselves, saying, “I’m not the only one doing this,” or “Surely others are doing worse.” Or we say, “the devil made me do it,” as though it’s just a coincidence that dark forces were influencing us. No, we’re the ones who open that door by ignoring our own hidden inner obstacles.

Essay 13: Closing the gaps in our awareness
About: Becoming aware of our faults

Reading Time: 7 minutes
For many, there’s a gap between what we say we want in life and what we’re actually getting out of life. Why is there this gap? And really, why bother trying to close the gap if, in the end, it seems like darkness will keep winning anyways? It may be helpful to realize that, no, darkness can’t win in the long run. The reason is simply this: the greater our darkness, or negativity, the lower our awareness. In other words, opting to remain in the dark about our own negativity closes off our ability to perceive what’s going on in and around us.

Essay 14: What’s hiding beneath our stories?
About: Helping others through inner listening

Reading Time: 10 minutes
There is a spiritual law at work when we open up to someone else. Because in that moment, we are taking a risk and performing an act of humility. And becoming humble—as opposed to prideful—is very healing. In fact, one of the most harmful things we do to ourselves is to try to appear more perfect than we are. But the moment we show another person what’s really going on inside us, we will instantly feel relief. Even if the other person doesn’t give us a single bit of advice.

Essay 15: Suffering? It’s time to search for images
About: Images and their importance

Reading Time: 16 minutes
“Here is a room full of people, and not one person is completely happy. There is not one person who would not want some kind of change…You may feel an unhappiness, unrest, disharmony, fear, insecurity, loneliness, yearning. All of you, my friends, including those who will read these words, have the power to change this if you want to.” – The Pathwork® Guide

Essay 16: Four hard lessons about immaturity and images
About: How images color life experiences

Reading Time: 13 minutes
Things are amping up right now. Collectively, the world is experiencing an influx of energy that is helping to shimmy our images to the surface. For that’s the only way we’re going to see them and heal them. This influx, then, is coming to help us heal. We can no longer bury our heads in the sand—along with our immaturity and images—and hope things will just all work out well in the end. For there is a Lower Self script running in the background of every person’s life. And if Lower Self is directing our show, the ending will always be sad.

Essay 17: Why did God make war?
About: The origin of conflict

Reading Time: 16 minutes
According to the Pathwork Guide, if only a small percentage of the people on Earth—like 10% of the world population, and perhaps not even that many—started doing their inner spiritual work, wars would no longer exist. For the more we finish the wars that are waging within nearly every human soul, we more we will all tilt in the direction of goodness.

So then why couldn’t all this have been avoided? Why can’t we just live with people who hail from the same spiritual spheres as us? Well, once upon a time, we did. To understand why we left a place of peace and harmony only to arrive into this difficult dimension, we’ll need to understand the bigger story of creation.

Essay 18: It’s a jungle in there: Hacking our way around a spiritual path
About: The spiraling nature of a spiritual path

Reading Time: 9 minutes
In our psyche, we are constantly building forms by way of our behaviors and actions, our thoughts and feelings. So in every typical human soul, there will be a jungle. That doesn’t mean we’re bad people. It merely means we’re full of confusion, error and lack of awareness. This jungle analogy isn’t just an analogy. These forms do, in fact, exist in our psyche. And when we set off on our spiritual path, we will need to find our way through such difficulties. If we don’t understand what’s going on, this can be very discouraging. Here’s what’s happening.

Essay 19: What’s behind all the resistance?
About: Our reactions to authority

Reading Time: 11 minutes
Holding the whole truth requires a greater capacity than the ego has. So although we may know many things that are true, our ego does not have a deep inner knowing about what’s the truth. As such, it can easily be misled by half-truths. When we don’t know what to think, what to believe, or who we can trust—when we don’t know what the truth is—we are forced to think only of ourselves. Then we latch onto our limited ego even harder and try to understand complex situations without the benefit of deep inner guidance. So we fall back into “it’s either me or you” thinking, and we resist.

Essay 20: Feeling lost? Here’s how to find yourself
About: Doing the work of healing

Reading Time: 14 minutes
The short answer to the question of why we are here is this: We’re here to get to know ourselves. And this must include the parts of ourselves we’re not yet aware of. But to do that— to see what we haven’t been willing to face before—we have to turn ourselves around. For the answers to all of life’s puzzles are inside us.

Essay 21: Healing from every angle, in body, mind and spirit
About: Healing all aspects of ourselves

Reading Time: 11 minutes
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.

Essay 22: The tricky thing about self-responsibility
About: The harm of self-judgment

Reading Time: 8 minutes
The only way to truly unwind our difficulties in life is to look for where they truly originate. And always, that place is inside us. But this is exactly where things become tricky. For the moment we catch on that we are responsible for our troubles, we turn on ourselves and start to judge ourselves as being bad. Yet as the Pathwork Guide teaches, the unconscious does not respond well to a moralizing attitude. So if we’re hoping to give up the untruthful secrets behind our struggles, we’re going to need to find another approach.

Essay 23: How to swim with life, by evolving and resolving our splits
About: The origin and outcome of splits

Reading Time: 22 minutes
One of humanity’s splits is our two theories about how we came into being. When asked about this, the Pathwork Guide’s answer was clear: “The way of evolution is correct.” We are each gradually growing and developing through stages, through lifetimes and perhaps even through different life forms. And the fundamental reason for all these developmental processes? To resolve our splits and return ourselves to wholeness.

Essay 24: Playing the long game
About: Perseverance and trust

Reading Time: 7 minutes

The first time I picked up a Pathwork lecture, I knew I had found something special. The year was 1997, and by then, this material had already been around for a few decades. What I didn’t realize then was that the Pathwork Guide was playing the long game. And at the time, I didn’t yet understand that I, too, would now be playing the long game.

Essay 25: The key to a happy marriage? Honesty
About: How marriage works

Reading Time: 8 minutes

When my husband, Scott, and I met, we immediately had a common connection through our love for the Pathwork Guide. And indeed, in our marriage, it is the tools of this spiritual path that keep us walking straight together. Over our time together, Scott and I have come to realize something interesting.

When we stepped into marriage, something new was created: the union itself. And now we both have the task of keeping this new entity alive. Although we are still two individuals, we now also work as a team. And often, when one of us receives a particular message from within that pertains to us as a couple, the other doesn’t receive the same message. This is by design. Here are the four things this does.

Essay 26: The story of our lives: Why look within?
About: The reason behind self-examination

Reading Time: 17 minutes
The reason we need to “find ourselves” is that along the way, we’ve lost our connection to our own inner divine nature—to our light-filled center. What’s blocking us and our light then—and what is therefore making us so often feel unhappy and stuck—is our own inner obstacles, our own inner darkness. You know, it wasn’t always this way. There was a time—long before the creation of this time-bound universe—when we were all free-flowing beings of light. And we were all living together in freedom and peace, in truth and connection, in joy and contentment. So what happened?

Essay 27: How to heal a country
About: The basis for better governing

Reading Time: 22 minutes
Our perception of the world is backwards—or inside out—from how it actually is. In reality, the world around us is always an out-picturing of what’s inside us. Our world reflects the collective contents of our psyche. What’s happening is we are dropping the ball on the two things a democracy demands most from each of us: self-responsibility and compassion.

Essay 28: Learn to fight the right way, for the right thing
About: The process of improving

Reading Time: 13 minutes
As we start doing our personal development work, we will gradually unwind the twisted wiring in ourselves. And this will bring us into more and more clarity. Our confusion about what to believe—about what is the truth—will go away. But what can happen, as we start to see things more clearly, is we pick up the sword of truth and use it to stab people. After all, even though we’re accessing more light, we still have darkness within us. Overcoming our own darkness is a long, slow process.

Essay 29: The truer way to freedom
About: How hidden hurts imprison us

Reading Time: 28 minutes
In 1989, the world watched as something extraordinary blew up before our eyes. An author many of us had not heard of, Salman Rushdie, had written a book. And the blowback went viral. As in, it almost killed the host.

Those who were adults at the time may remember that Salman Rushdie, after publishing his novel The Satanic Verses, received a death sentence. The Ayatollah Khomeini, Supreme Leader of Iran at the time, had issued a fatwa—a legal ruling—calling for the death of the author.

In this essay, Jill shares some insights—not about The Satanic Verses, but about the author—gained from reading his memoir, Joseph Anton. This memoir tells Rushdie’s version of what was happening behind the scenes, all those years ago.

Rushdie’s defense of writing The Satanic Verses is, by now, somewhat legendary. After all, he basically spent a decade in hiding to avoid being killed and, at the same time, to defend this book. Yet if we focus only on things like freedom of speech, we may miss some equally important underlying pieces. 

For it’s a most intriguing question: What was behind Salman Rushdie’s motivation for writing such an inflammatory story? What made him do it? Believe it or not, perhaps without realizing it, he tells us.

Essay 30: Humor can heal, but sometimes it just hurts
About: The many faces of humor

Reading Time: 12 minutes
Humor is a funny thing (pun intended). It can wear many faces. Depending on what’s going on inside us, our sense of humor may carry a mix of both lightness and darkness. As such, we can look at the way we use humor—at the kind of humor that tickles us—to learn some things about ourselves.

Essay 31: Making life better by changing how we create

These teachings can help us change what we’re creating in life by helping us regain our inner light. We’ll start out talking about some general creation concepts in Part One. In Part Two, we’ll explore the illusion of time and some of the ways we attempt to take shortcuts. Then in Part Three we’ll move into specific ways we can use these truths in our own personal lives. We’ll especially explore the three most common ways people attempt to escape living in the present.

Essay 31a (Part 1 of 3): Creation springs from swirling starting points
About: How creating happens

Reading Time: 20 minutes
For creation to happen, two essential principles must meet. In human terms, we can think of these as the feminine and masculine principles. And they permeate through everything in all of creation. We can also call them the receptive and active principles, which are two aspects of one complete whole. It’s not possible to create anything without having both of them come together.

Essay 31b (Part 2 of 3): Understanding time and the “now point”
About: Time and our shortcuts to bliss

Reading Time: 10 minutes
Time is another thing that results from fragmentation. For time is really just the illusion that gets created by having a disconnected view of reality. To continue using one of the examples for this topic, time is the perception of only the partial steps, those smaller creative units. Too often we can’t see the whole structure that this particle of time is part of. And this causes us to suffer from the feeling that things are senseless.

Essay 31c (Part 3 of 3): The way out of misery
About: Three main ways we escape

Reading Time: 10 minutes
If we truly want the unlimited dimensions of reality to be revealed to us—if we want to attain the blissful “now point”—there is only one safe and secure way to do it. Simply put, we must fulfill the task we have come here for. And it is by walking an authentic spiritual path—such as the one laid out for us by the Pathwork Guide—that we can do so.

We have to learn to travel through our pain. This includes the pain of our guilt, of our illusions, and of our side that is still undeveloped. Ultimately, that’s what it really all comes down to.

Essay 32: Untangling the twisted threads of friction
About: The tools of the dark forces

Reading Time: 10 minutes

These tangles and knots create an actual spiritual form that surrounds groups of people. As mentioned, everyone contributes their share to these tangles, which the dark forces so masterfully tempt us to create. And yes, there is usually one person who adds more to the confusion than most.

But what if someone decides to take the spiritual high road? If they begin to gradually loosen one knot, and then another. Eventually, when there are no more knots, everything becomes clear. The beauty of making such an effort toward true clarity is that it helps even the weaker people to stop deceiving themselves.

Essay 35: So, how’s your little boat doing?
About: The symbolism of the sea

Reading Time: 9 minutes
The sea of life is always alternating between storms and sunny skies. Until one day, we reach our destination. And what is our destination? Firm land. It sounds backwards, but that’s what God’s Spirit World actually is. The firm ground of the divine is our true home. And getting there all depends on how we direct our little boat. How good are we at navigating life?

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Understand these spiritual teachings • Find which Pathwork® teachings are in what Phoenesse® books • Get links to original Pathwork lectures • Read original Pathwork lectures on Pathwork Foundation website

Read spiritual essays • Read all Q&As from the Pathwork® Guide on The Guide Speaks • Get Keywords, a free collection of Jill Loree’s favorite Q&As

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