When we reveal ourselves honestly, we are performing an act of humility. And becoming humble is very healing.

I’d like to share a secret with you. When I am sitting across from someone as their Helper, and the Worker is telling me their story, I don’t really care how the story ends. Because I am not listening to hear their story. I am listening to hear where they are stuck. For that’s where we’ll find an untruth. Then we head in the direction of the obstruction and the work proceeds from there. If the Worker goes all the way through with transforming this piece, the story will now have a different ending anyway.

Sure, there are times when a person needs to talk and just have someone listen to them. It can be very healing to feel seen and heard, especially when we have a history of feeling ignored or neglected. But there’s usually more value in getting help with unwinding our difficulty. And we can only do that by getting to the true root of our problems.

The importance of aligning with spiritual laws

To unravel our problems, we must come to see where and how we are not in truth. For when we align with an untruth, we are not in alignment with divine laws. And it is only by living our lives in alignment with God’s divine laws that we will find happiness. In the end, God’s desire is for us all to find happiness.

If we don’t believe this is true, a good place to start may be to look at our God Image. This is our mistaken beliefs about God based on our impressions of our parents. Doing this work can help us see how we are currently using our free will in a way that goes against God’s will and God’s divine laws. In short, we’re somehow not in truth and we don’t yet know that. But such untruth is what’s underneath feeling unhappy.

This is why it is so important to talk openly about ourselves with qualified people who can help us. We need to share our stories to find out what’s underneath them. What’s the truth? What am I not aware of? In our own Higher Self, we already know the answers to these questions. But the truth is currently hidden from us by our own layers of darkness.

As long as we continue to keep things buried inside us, we’ll remain blind. For everything will appear out of proportion to us. We’ll tend to exaggerate one thing and underestimate something else. But someone detached from our situation may be able to see things in the right light.

The Law of Brotherhood and Sisterhood

There is a spiritual law at work when we open up to someone else, whether that person is a friend, a family loved one, a therapist, coach or a spiritual counselor. It’s called the Law of Brotherhood and Sisterhood, and it kicks in the moment we are willing to reveal ourselves honestly to someone. Because in that moment of letting ourselves become vulnerable, 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. For having our insides match our outsides is a relief our soul has been crying for, even if the other person doesn’t give us a single bit of advice.

Unhealthy shame causes us to hide, violating the Law of Brotherhood and Sisterhood.

When we act against divine laws, we are the ones who suffer for it. But when we are able to humbly reveal ourselves to someone else, we will suddenly feel better. This is the Law of Brotherhood and Sisterhood at work. In effect, what we are saying is, “Right now, I don’t want to try to appear any better than I actually am. I want to reveal myself. I’m not trying to get love and respect that I don’t think are due me because of the things I’m ashamed of.”

Of course, we’re wrong in thinking that we’re not due love and respect. For every living creature is due love and respect. But because we have a distorted view of things, we are harboring the wrong kind of shame. And this unhealthy shame causes us to hide, violating the Law of Brotherhood and Sisterhood. We wind up suffering with feelings of loneliness, and so we go on pretending. We side with the wrong kind of shame, which closes us up, instead of leaning into the right kind of shame, which motivates us to change.

Notice how even a quality like shame can be held in the right light and have a positive aspect to it. All our feelings, including anger, work this way. Felt and aired in the right way, they are God-given expressions. But acted out in the wrong way, they lead to more pain and suffering.

Turning to others for help

When we become ready to uncover our inner darkness and step into the light, we will be guided to find someone who can help us. And then we are the ones who have to do the talking. No one can do this for us. Yes, our self-created problems may back us so far into a corner that we’ll feel we must open-up to save ourselves. But still, it’s our choice to take this step.

We have the option to refuse to be helped—to refuse to change—and instead go deeper into our corner. We might even resent that we feel we’ve been pushed into a corner. But we can also choose to come out of our hiding place. We can open our eyes, as well as our mouths, and discover that this is what will liberate us.

How to help

The role of being a healer can come about through whatever modality trains a person to help others. The key ingredient is that the healer clears away enough of their own negativity that they can hear and follow guidance from their own Higher Self. For our work as healers is to help someone uncover their own inner truth. And we can’t help someone discover places in themselves that we’ve haven’t yet explored in ourselves.

The Higher Self is the home of our truth-teller.

As healers and Helpers, we are able to provide guidance to others because at the level of the Higher Self, we are all already connected. So when we’re listening to someone’s story, we’re tuning our inner listening ears to hear what sounds off. For when we are sitting in truth ourselves, we can learn to pick out truth from untruth in others. The Higher Self, after all, is the home of our truth-teller.

By listening within, a skilled healer or Helper—some kind of trained coach, counselor or therapist—can hear the guidance needed to help someone clear away their inner obstacles. That’s what’s blocking them from knowing their own truth. In fact, it’s actually a person’s Higher Self that hires someone else to help them see what they can’t currently see in themselves. The work of cleaning up our Lower Self, then, is always an act of our Higher Self.

Following the call to heal

The way out of the Lower Self is to give. We must come to see that it’s not true that we can fulfill our longing for love by only demanding love and not giving it. This boils down to wanting to cheat life. We want to get the goodies and not give fully. In our desire to get our way, we set limits, and we strategize; we calculate, and we only extend ourselves if we think it will get us love. And when that doesn’t work—and it can’t work—we become bitter.

Due to the way we’ve been approaching life, we may feel that life is constantly testing us. And in a way it is. For when we are going about things in the wrong way, life will show us that it’s time to try living another way.

It’s our choice whether we summon the courage to follow this call.

In many ways, we are like children; we don’t know what’s good for us. But if we are facing difficult hardships and we become willing to try a different route, God’s helpers—who are constantly around us—will guide and inspire us to situations where we’ll have the opportunity to receive help.

Now here’s the catch: We must use our own free will to decide whether we want to learn from them. Are we ready to open our eyes and see the deeper significance of what’s happening? Or do we want to ignore this call? And make no mistake, we are being called. It’s our choice whether we pay attention and summon the courage to follow this call.

Revealing ourselves releases our shame

The Pathwork Guide teaches that it is actually better to tell a lie to others than to keep blindly lying to ourselves. For when we tell a lie, we know we are lying. But when we blindly create disharmony in our lives without seeing our part, we are lying to ourselves, but we don’t know it. The way out is to uncover where the untruth resides inside us, just behind a blind spot.

Nestled in our stories, then, are our blind spots.

To deal with what we consciously know about and are hiding is comparatively easy. The deeper work—the more difficult work—is to unveil the unconscious currents that lie beneath them, in our blind spots. And we simply cannot do this level of work alone. We also can’t do it without the courage to bring into the open what we already are aware of. But most of us carry as much in our unconscious as we do in our conscious mind. And the unconscious material is a little more complicated to find.

The place to start is by becoming open enough to talk with someone else about everything we know about. Especially the things that disturb us. For we need to lift away the shame that is blocking our way. Without this step, we can’t reach the more hidden motives and emotions. And as long as we aren’t willing to dive into our own unconscious and see what we’re hiding, we can’t say we know ourselves very well.

Letting go of our stories

When I went through training to become a Pathwork Helper, I learned a tremendous amount about the human psyche and how to help people heal. One thing I never forgot is this: Don’t hold people to their history. For our work as healers and Helpers is to guide people through the process of self-discovery and self-transformation.

We do this by facilitating the process of deep healing, looking at every and any disharmony in life so we can unwind and enlighten whatever darkness it is holding. This is what allows a person to unfold and blossom in entirely new ways.

There is no way to avoid exploring our past, because it holds the keys to unlocking our struggles. Our history is our story of what happened—and keeps happening—to us. So we can use our stories to tell others about our past so they can help us heal.

But also notice our tendency to become overly attached to our stories. To use them to build cases against others. This is how the Lower Self works, creating wedges between us and others that always serve separation instead of connection.

As we do our healing work, we must work with our stories, and then also become willing to let go of our stories. We must allow ourselves to evolve. For our stories matter, and they also don’t matter. This is an example of what it looks like to live well in duality.

–Jill Loree

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