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

The roots of our problems can be found in our psyche. From there, they branch out into our body, mind and spirit, and create problems. 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.

Working from the outside in

Consider the topic of order and disorder. The Pathwork Guide tells us that the Spirit World of God is an orderly one. Yet when we look around us, we often see outer disorder or chaos. This always reflects a state of inner disorder and disharmony. And these stem from the places inside where we’re not yet aligning with truth.

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 clean and uncluttered. We can literally feel more squared away inside by organizing our spaces.

“As we heal and become more whole, we will see the spiritual principle of orderliness surfacing in our lives. When order is not evident, that gives us a lot of information about where we stand, inwardly. For the spiritually unified person is also going to be an orderly person.”

Spiritual Laws, Chapter 16: Mutuality

The part of us making the effort to clean up the physical space around us—as well as inside our physical bodies—is our ego. This is the part of ourselves we have direct access to. So when we need to develop better self-discipline, this is the part we are working to strengthen.

Three things need to move

The only way out is to let in the light of truth as we actively work to free ourselves. And we must do this in three key areas:

    • The ego moves the mind to uncover inner wrong conclusions
    • The ego moves feelings to release old stuck pain
    • The ego moves the body to restore balance between activity and rest

Moving our mind

Human beings are fragmented. We all arrive here that way. If we had the vision to see back through time, we could trace our fracturing back through previous lifetimes. For the work of healing does not stop at the end of a life.

Yet knowing about previous lives, says the Pathwork Guide, is not necessary. Because everything we need to know to heal ourselves can be found in this lifetime. If information from a previous lifetime would be helpful for us, it will surface from within. In other words, we can trust that our childhood experiences in this lifetime will show us plenty about our inner issues.

One way to explore these issues is meditation. In meditation, we are working to empty our mind. But as we become still, what we will first see—what we won’t be able to avoid—is the clutter and chaos currently present. And it’s by paying attention to what’s currently happening in our thoughts, feelings and behaviors that we can sort ourselves out.

The Pathwork Guide suggests doing a daily review. We simply jot notes each evening about what we noticed that day. Over time, if we keep our notes brief, we will start to see patterns. These patterns are the rigid structures we want to break up so we can restore ourselves to fluidity and flexibility.

And the part of ourselves orchestrating this clean-up effort? The ego.

“Anywhere we feel hopeless and have fear, we must also have an idea of finiteness that our mind has locked onto. As a result, we are locking out the great power that is here for all who are ready to honestly receive it…

“We must start to puncture this closed circuit. Note, we can’t just immediately dissolve our mind, because we need it to live. But by puncturing our mind, the flow of new consciousness and energy can work its way into it. Any place it has not been punctured, we stay locked inside its narrow confines, which our spirit is quickly outgrowing.

“On the other hand, our mind must become neutral. It must rest and not hold onto fixed opinions. This is what will allow us to be receptive to the great new force that is now sweeping the inner universe of all consciousness.”

After the Ego, Chapter 12: Creating from Emptiness

Moving our emotions

We uncover our inner truth by first clearing away the frozen difficult feelings, which are blocks of unfelt pain. After a certain amount of work has been done to clear away the old pain and the associated misunderstandings of the Little-L Lower Self, we will find another part of the Lower Self: the Big-L Lower Self. And this part says a great big “No!” towards life.

This part is responsible for digging in our heals, even when saying “no” goes against our own best interest. It’s our rebelliousness and resistance toward life that rolls up into defiance. And it doesn’t care who gets hurt along the way, including our own selves.

Once again, we’ll need to repeat this process and find the untruth that is pinning this “no” into place. We also need to realize that this part of ourselves is highly charged. We’re on fire when we’re aligned with our Big-L Lower Self.

It is hate and anger and self-righteousness and pride and self-will, all fired up and charging against our own Higher Self. Our goal is to restore all this life force—giving us the same aliveness in a version that feels good—by returning it to its original positive face.

When we have something negative hidden in our psyche, we are not only hiding it from ourselves, but we also want to hide it from others. This is what’s often going on behind shyness, which is an out-picturing of our inner desire to keep something from being seen. Alternatively, we might hide an untruth behind our brashness.

Here’s an important truth we must all come to realize: We need to have both a healthy “yes” and a healthy “no” in life. This is what we use to create strong, safe boundaries. Without both, we’ll allow what we shouldn’t and push away what we should allow. And we won’t know which is which if we aren’t in connection with our own Higher Self.

“Obviously then, if we want to move on down our spiritual path, we must directly concern ourselves with what hurts. We have to look at the suffering we endured as children and have gone on to defend ourselves against feeling. We need to allow ourselves to express our until-now unfelt feelings. And then we’ll have the realization—the felt reality—that denying the original hurt is what compels us to recreate it in our lives, again and again. And every time we recreate the denied painful experience, we rub salt in the wound. Now it’s time to feel things in a new, intentional way that is done safely, and which leads to finally healing what hurts.”

Bones, Chapter 2: The Importance of Feeling All Our Feelings, Including Fear

Moving our bodies

Our bodies are the vessels that hold our spiritual beings. If, in our emotions, we are tight because we’re holding back old unfelt pain, we’ll experience that tension in our bodies. This is why, on a spiritual path, we need to move our bodies. We want to free up the stuck energy that’s held frozen in our physical being.

Also, over time, the negativity in our psyche will eventually show up on the physical level in the form of sickness in our body. Illness, then, is a sign pointing to something in us that is out of alignment with truth. So, as always, to find the source of our troubles, that’s where we must look: inside ourselves.

Consider that when the body gets hurt, it immediately begins to try to heal itself. For example, if we damage our skin, our blood starts to clot and white blood cells travel to the area to start the healing process. Bones too automatically start to mend themselves. At the same time, we also typically reach out to people in the health care community to help us heal.

Those who are healers—both medical doctors and nurses, as well as more holistic healthcare providers—must be trained to identify our physical problems and offer remedies that can help us recover. All around the world, there are people in medical communities who are willing to try to help us.

Healing at the level of our psyche works much the same. Our hidden stuck feelings and mistaken beliefs will continually surface difficult situations so that we identify the true cause of the disturbance and heal it. As with the body, this is a natural process that happens for our benefit, even if we don’t like it.

Pay attention to the clues

Too often, regarding physical illness, we fail to use our egos to find the hidden causes. Yet everything is always connected. And our body, mind and spirit are always offering us so much information—so many clues to follow—for inquiring within and investigating further.

In the Pathwork Q&As, people asked questions related to physical issues. This Q&A about vision speaks to the deeper meaning behind a physical eye-related condition:

QUESTION: A few months ago, a doctor told me I have a problem with my eyes which I have had since I was a child. I take in very little information with my eyes but somehow by using my brain, I deduce the rest of the information and end up with 20/20 vision. This has affected my ability to read well and has apparently influenced me to study science.

Another effect has been the overtaxing of my brain in using it for seeing rather than for other things. I also have a lot of tension in my body and tiredness. And I realize I’m telling this story backwards, in Pathwork terms—the cart before the horse. I would like you to comment on this and its relevance to my life task.

ANSWER from the Pathwork Guide: I will comment on it in larger terms. There are other life manifestations in your development in which you have, in what you call the past, had a contrary overemphasis. Integration and evolution is a constant back and forth, a balancing factor of finding new levels of balance where the scale has to go once more in this direction and once more in the other direction.

There was for a considerable time—over lifetimes—an under-emphasis of an essentially very good and well-developed brain, where there was a laziness there. That has created the need to create a new balance in which you have given yourself this impediment in order to use your brain more.

Now the time has come, however, where re-creation of the balance system on the higher level can occur. You can then integrate the deductive brain functioning—the good intellect with the deeper intuitive faculties of inner and outer vision in the receptive centers. Your conscious emphasis on this will help you.

You can then tune into yourself, in which you can perhaps glean both these tendencies in you—the one from way in the past where there was a desire to not use your brain, to be lazy in your thinking, which then has created the overemphasis. You may really be able to connect with this feeling, and then subsequently connect with the feeling how you can now create more integration with the brain function you have succeeded in developing well, and now bring in the visionary function.

Now, I could also say to you, by putting it from the other side, that each of the parts that lags behind at any given period implies an unwillingness to accept and face certain things in self and life. And that is quite obvious. I do not believe you have, at this point, too much difficulty in understanding this, at least theoretically and, to quite a degree, specifically and personally.

As you now make more recognitions about yourself—when you overcome resistance, when you see more of what you did not want to see – you can then understand quite clearly how either of the two approaches – either the brain (the deduction, reason, the understanding) or the vision—could be used in a constructive way or in an exclusive way that makes deeper insight impossible. Both abilities can be used positively or they can be abused. Is that clear?

QUESTION: Yes. When you speak of vision are you speaking of vision through the eyes only?

ANSWER: No, the inner vision.

– Pathwork® Guide Q&A #241 on Body & Health/Vision

–Jill Loree

“Here’s something interesting to ponder: the active principle in distortion—as murderous and harmful as it might be—is never able to cause as much damage as the receptive, passive principle in distortion. So the lowliest attribute on the bad-ways-to-be scale of humanity is not to be hateful, it is to be lazy. Inertia—including laziness, apathy and unwillingness—is the freezing of the flow of divine energy. In inertia, the radiant matter hardens and thickens, being blocked and deadened…

“Inertia doesn’t take action in defense of good. Instead, laziness and inaction support selfishness and lack of engagement, keeping things stagnant and not growing; change is thwarted. Even if activity swings a bit wide in the opposite direction, it at least prevents us from being lulled into the ever-present temptation to stop.”

Gems, Chapter 9: Why Lazy is the Worst Way to Be

All essays in Get a Better Boat are available as podcasts.