To fully reveal our inner light is to make it all the way home. The light of Christ will meet us there.

To fully reveal our inner light is to make it all the way home. The light of Christ will meet us there.


Dancing with a Christic path

Years ago, when my two boys were very little, we visited some friends one Christmas and exchanged gifts. Upon being handed his gift, their four-year old looked at me and asked, “Why did you use dreidel paper?”

“What’s a dreidel?” I replied. As far as I knew, I’d wrapped Daniel’s gift using Christmas paper with little spinning toys on it. Come to find out, a dreidel is a four-sided top bearing four Hebrew letters. These letters form an acronym for a Hebrew saying which translates to “a great miracle happened there,” referring to the miracle upon which Hanukkah is centered. For someone raised Lutheran in Northern Wisconsin where Jewish people were few and far between, this mistake was understandable—and also pretty funny.

Even more funny, fifteen years later I would wind up studying Kabbalah for four years. But interestingly, not once did we talk about things like Seder, Rosh Hashanah or dreidels. Kabbalah is a form of Jewish mysticism that one can study without touching into mainstream Judaism.

Following a mystical path

During my four years of studying Kabbalah, we learned about things like the Hebrew alphabet from which all of creation arose. Or as it says in the Bible, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” We danced with the energy in the mother letters and father letters. Really incredible stuff! When our class graduated, the leader gave us each a silver necklace with a Hebrew letter on it. My letter is lamed, meaning “teacher.”

We also spent a lot of time sitting with the ten divine qualities embodied in the Tree of Life. As an example, a person might be struggling with something in life that relates to an imbalance of Gevurah and Chesed:

    • Chesed is “Kindness”: Loving grace of free giving/love of God/inspiring vision

    • Gevurah is “Severity”: Strength/discipline/judgment/withholding/awe of God

In pairing these qualities, we can think of a river and bank. The water needs to flow and move and let go, but it can only do so if there is a bank to hold it. The bank, on the other hand, needs to be firm and still, creating an open space for the river to exist. If we have too much or too little of either quality, problems will arise in our life. A healing would involve sitting with a person while resonating with the already healed state of these two sefirot, helping the person bring them back into balance with each other.

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” –Rumi

In a similar way, there is a mystical form of Islam called Sufism. This mystery school emphasizes the inward search for God, focusing on meditation while shunning materialism. A whirling dervish may show their love for the divine through their spinning Sufi dance, and we may know some of their wisdom through the wise words of the famous Sufi poet, Rumi: “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” Or this one: “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” I may not know much about the Islamic faith, but I know I love that.

Finding a Christic mystical path

It’s a bit harder to find a mystical path that dovetails with Christianity. We might point to the Franciscan Friars, but their ways align very closely with those of the Catholic Church. Beyond degree of devotion, it’s hard to tell them apart. A better candidate might be the path of Phoenesse, which is built on the profound teachings given to humanity by the Pathwork Guide. This fits better from the perspective that both Pathwork and Phoenesse are Christic paths that don’t resemble Christianity at all.

One can, in fact, whirl their way through decades of deep spiritual healing work by following these teachings and not once bump into anything that looks or sounds like Christianity. In my own twenty-plus years of involvement in the Pathwork community, I’d say the whole topic of Christ was danced around so beautifully, it was barely even mentioned.

Snipping out the teachings about Christ was really quite easy to do. After all, of the 250 Pathwork lectures, only a very small handful focus on the topic of who Christ is, who Jesus was, and why we should care. In short, in walking this Christic path, a person has the option to just do what Rumi suggested and seek out all the barriers in ourselves we’ve built against love, and that will be enough.

What we’ll leave on the cutting room floor, though, is an understanding of how we came to be this way. I don’t mean, “How did I come to be separated from other people and my own self?” for that we will uncover during the course of our self-discovery work. I mean, “How did I end up here? Why do we have to deal with duality? What caused evil to come into existence?”

These are huge questions, and we can’t get to the bottom of them without bringing up the teachings about the Fall and the Plan of Salvation. And in order to understand those two important concepts, we have to talk about Christ. But this version of the story varies enough from Christian Sunday school that everything now falls into place. The origin and plight of all humanity now make far more sense to me.

Christic, not Christian

1700 years ago, when Christian church leaders played fast and loose with the truth about reincarnation, they were defining what would and would not be in the Bible. And they really did us all a disservice. To be fair, distortions have wound their way into all the world’s major religions, and yet the Pathwork Guide says they all still contain enough truth to serve our personal development.

That said, at this point, people have been leaving organized religions in large numbers and churches have been closing their doors left, right and center. Why? Because people are no longer buying what they’re selling. The stories don’t add up. Our minds want real answers and not empty threats of going to Hell for all of eternity.

It’s logical to assume that if Christianity is off base, there must be something wrong with Christ. After all, Christ is at the heart of the Christian faith. Yet by looking more deeply, we can start to understand that Christ isn’t the one who’s gone sideways, Christianity is. The problem, as is so often the case, lies with us humans and our feet of clay.

It’s important to recognize that there are valuable, true and important teachings in Christianity. But what’s missing is the deeper reason for Christ’s incarnation as Jesus. Christ came to open a door so we—all of us—could return to spheres of light, rather than continuing to remain in the dark spheres of Hell from which we are all rising.

In order for us to gravitate toward the light, we must make choices that remove our inner obstacles. For these are what block us from creating loving connections. These are the walls that are tearing us apart and which need to come down. The way home can never involve putting up more walls and creating more division.

Yet this form of destructiveness is what so many of today’s evangelicals support. Our current sad surroundings in the US are the fairly predictable tragedy that lies at the end of a 1700-year dance with untruth.

Does this make Christianity all wrong? Of course not. Sacred truths can certainly be found in church. But the wheat must be sifted from the chaff and too often, that’s not being done. Similarly, Pathwork leaders weren’t all wrong when they sidestepped the Guide’s teachings about Christ. A lot of authentic, transformative work has been done over the last 50 years.

But anytime we cover up and deny a truth, we smother a flame. When that truth is a light the size of Christ, darkness develops. So it’s not surprising that, just as with declining church congregations, many once-thriving Pathwork communities in the US are now all but dead.

Revealing more and more light

Earth may be our temporary home, but heaven is our true home. And Jesus was famous for trying to tell us that—really and truly—heaven is within. So it is by doing our personal healing work that we are finding our true selves. We are clearing away what’s blocking our inner light. This is what opens a pathway for more of our own light to shine out into the world. But it takes more than a single lifetime to complete this journey.

To fully reveal our inner light, then, is to make it all the way home. The light of Christ will meet us there.

–Jill Loree

The Pathwork Guide on self-development

“A group like yours contributes more than vast masses of people who preach doctrines, who force away the emotions, who feel they must be good, while their true state of being is removed from such goodness.

“A group of only five people, who face reality as it happens to be now, contributes more to the entire world—not only to your Earth sphere, but to all spheres—than the best intended teachings and ideals that reach merely the surface intellect.”

– Pathwork Guide Lecture #105 Humanity’s Relationship to God in Various Stages of Development

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