Pathwork Steps
2017 Study Guides

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The Superstition of Pessimism

PL 236

Video Review of Last Month's Topic

Tutorials and Self-Study Suggestions

Study Guide Outline
Samples from the 4 weekly notices

Film and Reading Suggestions

Daily Review

 Free Weekly Teleconferences
Wednesdays and Saturdays 7pm US EST
During December: Adding Sundays 9am US EST

Transition to Positive Intentionality PL 198

Video Intro -- January Topic    mins

In a PBS Documentary, Secrets of the Dead: King Richard III producers located a history reenactment fan with exactly the same spine scoliosis as Richard III. His actual experience of being able to lead a charge in medieval armor on a wooden saddle was radically different from what historians and scientists had theorized. 
The Pathwork version:  The act of loving is profoundly different than ideas and fears about love. The bliss of "pleasure supreme" described in PL 198 can only be known through the personal experience of aligning with our positive intentionality.

Tutorials and Self Study Suggestions

Private Groups have not attracted interest and will no longer be offered.
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Sunday meetings will continue as long as there is enough interest.
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Highlights from The Superstition of Pessimism PL 236

Week 1:  Superstition: Trickery of the Mind
Week 2:  Connections between Wishful Thinking and Negativity
Week 3:  Developing the Courage to Believe in the Good
Week 4:  Overcoming Negativity

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Week 1: Superstition: Trickery of the Mind
There is what I may call a superstition of pessimism.  When you reach a certain level of awareness, you will come across an attitude that says, "If I believe in the positive, I will be disappointed, and by my very belief in it, I may chase it away.  So I may just as well not believe in it.  It may be smarter on my part to believe that nothing good can happen to me, that I cannot ever change, that I cannot ever grow out of my obstructions." This kind of thinking happens within you.  Somehow, my dearest friends, you know, if you choose to know it, that there is a kind of deliberate game, a play, a playfulness ‑‑ but such a destructive one ‑‑ which is, if you truly examine it, nothing but a superstitious attitude.

The power of [such superstitions] needs to be made conscious.  It can apply to many things in your life.  When you have an illness, it may apply to the healing.  When you find yourself alone and unloved, you may "playfully," "safely" (as you believe) express the belief "it will always be that way." When you lack funds or a fulfilling profession, you say into yourself, "I had better believe it must be that way, so maybe then it can come to me unexpectedly." It is as though you hoped for some idealized parental figure to assuage your doubts, to come forth and tell you, "No, no, my child, it is not that bad.  It is all going to be wonderful."
PL 236
Week 2: Connections between Wishful Thinking and Negativity
Let us be very clear about the difference between wishful thinking and the realism and courage of positive belief.  There is one very distinct, clear, simple, and important factor that will simplify matters for you in order to distinguish between these two so utterly different and yet seemingly similar attitudes. 
Wishful thinking is spinning dreams of fulfillment without any price having to be paid: without any change of personality, of attitude, of approach, of thinking, of feeling, of acting, of being. 

You spin the dream that this or that desirable fulfillment will come your way, magically and gratuitously.  But there is no investment of yourself into life, into the process of creation, into contributing to the evolutionary process by the commitment to your own purification process.  It is all a passive dreaming in which you hope against hope that something will happen to you that is desirable and that does not require of you to remove the very block that prevents this desirable event or state.
PL 236

Summaries of the study guide portions for weeks 3 & 4 continue below.
Exercise: Notice how many 'wishful thoughts' you feel think, or express over the next 24 hours. Sometimes, it is easier to notice wishful thinking in others before we are able to see our own -- such observations can be 'practice sessions' to develop skills.

Or, notice how often you hold one of more of these Eleven Irrational Beliefs:

Film and Reading Suggestions

The Stories We Tell Ourselves NY Times
by Todd May Chairs Religious Philosophy Le Moyne College:
Most of us live in echo chambers that reflect the righteousness of our lives back to us. We are reinforced to think of ourselves as embodying the right values, as living in ways that are at least justified, if not superior. Reflecting on the stories we tell about ourselves might reveal to us other aspects of who we are and what we value, aspects that would complicate the simple picture provided by our echo chamber.

2017 May Be the Best Year Ever Nicholas Kristof
There’s a broad consensus that the world is falling apart, with every headline reminding us that life is getting worse.
Except that it isn’t.
In fact, by some important metrics, 2016 was the best year in the history of humanity. And 2017 will probably be better still.  Polls show that about 9 out of 10 Americans believe that global poverty has worsened or stayed the same. But in fact, the correct answer is C. Every day, an average of about a quarter-million people worldwide graduate from extreme poverty, according to World Bank figures.

We're Probably Imagining Aliens Wrong 5 mins
A great metaphor for why it's so hard to understand another person's point of view!
"Humans have always had the impulse to cast alien life in our image," says British science writer Philip Ball. "It’s a tendency that goes back centuries, and has only been propagated by modern science fiction. In this video by Adam D'Arpino for Aeon, Bell argues that this tendency could actually be limiting us in the search for aliens. “When we start speculating about what advanced extraterrestrials are like, we’re really just talking about ourselves,” he says. “Such failures of imagination can become a straightjacket for our thinking.

A 3,500 Year Old Grave 'Changes the Stories We Have Told'
Smithsonian Online, with extensive interactive visuals
This has been the scholarly consensus: The Mycenaeans, now thought to have sacked Knossos at around the time they built their mainland palaces and established their language and administrative system on Crete, were the true ancestors of Europe. The griffin warrior’s grave at Pylos offers a radical new perspective on the relationship between the two societies and thus on Europe’s cultural origins.

4.1 Miles  21 mins
A coast guard captain on a small Greek island is suddenly charged with saving thousands of refugees from drowning at sea.

What If We Just Don't Want to Know the Truth?
"As this graph shows, the public tends to assume the worst on a number of issues. Americans on average think that upward of 15 percent of immigrants are in jail; in truth, it’s less than 2 percent. Americans also believe that more than a third of immigrants can’t speak English; the real number is less than 10 percent."
Quoted from a Washington Post article that links to Motivated Reasoning by the NY TImes and How Our Brains Fool Us in Mother Jones. 

 The Life and Death of a Cult 16 mins
Distinguishing Cults from Spiritual Disciplines
Early in my Pathwork studies, my mom watched a TV movie that may have been based upon The Church of the Path, a religion founded in Texas by one of Eva's earliest students. The walls surrounding the church property in Austin are topped with barbed wire, and ex-members are hostile to Pathwork. Key elements of most cults are mentioned 4mins30sec into this documentary: pledging allegiance to one leader, physical separation of community members, and "a high degree of control, manipulation, coercion, exploitation and abuse."   

Boots for a Stranger
A tiny glimpse of the wonders and insanity of living in New York City from Metropolitan Diary in the NY Times.  Notice where you thought this story was going.

The Amazing Hour 4 mins
A short film from The Atlantic about the value of spending the last hour of the day contemplating your life while off the internet.  Such articles and shorts may be superficial -- yet could this still be an "everyman" version of Daily Review PL 28?

How a Hermit Shaped the Science of Climate Change
Think 1 person can't make a difference? 

How Sherlock Changed the World
A 2-episode documentary on PBS on how the novels of Arthur Conan Doyle were used as technical manuals in developing forensic science 120 years later.  PBS YouTube or your local PBS Station.
My attitude towards Pathwork is that it's the missing owners manual that we have all complained we needed. 60 years after the Guide began the venture, it may still be ahead of its time; easily mocked, counter-intuitive to the ways things have been explained for centuries, and un-provable using current technology. 
(Einstein's 1905 Special Theory of Relativity (2-min animation) wasn't formally 'proved' until 1919 and had no practical application before 1945)

Yes -- It's Your Parents' Fault
This article describes distortions in our biological, emotional, and even intellectual.'reflexes' based upon early childhood development.
Illustrating one of the differences between psychology and spirituality: Pathwork asks us to consider a different 'baseline'. That is, looking at who we have become (vs. how we got here) based upon a longer timeline that includes pre-incarnatory decision-making. See PL 34 and 216 lectures and study guides.
Using this Pathwork perspective, reconsider your negative childhood experiences and consider how they may have opened your heart, spurred your intellect, or strengthened your resolve to seek change.

Nightfall by Isaac Asimov 1941 (2 sources offered)
Asimov considered his first published story his greatest work: Decades later, he tried to 'clean it up' but found that the rawness of his original style was an integral part of the theme: how our distortions and prejudices interpret unconscious "knowing". Audio version available.

Week 3: Developing the Courage to Believe in the Good
Some Elements of Courage
To be able to experience a pain, a disappointment, a frustration ‑‑ the willingness to experience this and learn from it and use it as a threshold.

To risk all that and not to always stand back and have the safety of a little back door open so that one never ventures forth completely into a new situation.

To love, because the loved one may not always respond according to one's desires and self‑will. 

To give, because the petty heart still believes, steeped in the old superstition of negativity, that when you give you will lose and no one will give you anything. To risk finding out that it may not be that way. 

To risk finding out that perhaps in the beginning of trying out these new attitudes, it may appear that way. 

To not be discouraged.
PL 236
Exercise: In what part of your body do you feel courage?
Every cell and every pore vibrates and resonates every divine attitude that you can possibly follow through and allow to express itself through your mind, through your will, through your soul, and so through your entire body.
PL 236
Week 4: Overcoming Negativity
A prayer that "the God in you expresses”
          As once before, I ask you to listen to your inner God and hear the words that resonate within you.  As I say the words, pick up the echo within.  This will help you to attune your listening inner ear to the voice of God, filling you with messages such as these:
I am working through you.
I am in all your thoughts,
if you hear Me.
I am in all you see,
if you wish to see Me in all things around you.
I am in all the words you speak,
if you wish Me to express through you.

I am in all your actions,
if that be your commitment.
And as I am and as I manifest through you, you rediscover life in new terms. 

You will see that life is a glorious oneness in which there is nothing to fear. 
What need you fear if you discover Me? 
What need you fear if you identify with Me? 
Know that you are Me.  As such you can never die. 
Give that which is you now, in your thinking, in your being,
in your perceptions to Me. 
As you give yourself to Me, so must you be eternal."
          Listen for a minute into yourselves while I stay with you.
You are richly blessed, my beloved friends.
PL 236
Overcoming Negativity
In order to reestablish the person you once were, before you became involved with negative creating ‑‑ long before this earth life ‑‑ in order to re-experience yourself as that which you essentially and ultimately are, that which you have always been and that which you will always be, you have to test and consider the possibility of positive creating
You will then see that it is really so much more natural and easy.  It is an organic process, while the negative creating, the destructive attitudes are artificial and contrived even though you are now so used to them that they seem the more natural.  The positive is effortless. 
PL 176

Daily Review PL 28

"This daily review can be conducted any time of the day, most suitable to you. When you ponder over an accumulation of days, in which ou took notice of your reactions, you will undoubtedly find a recurrent pattern." 
Constructive Attitudes in Self Confrontation PRS5

Exercise: Keep a record of incidents that disturb you. Focusing upon subtleties may help us from becoming distracted by exaggerating or over-dramatizing a situation. Notice feelings of discomfort, where your suspect you may be uninformed, ignorant, unprepared, or unaware.
Each week, see if you can relate with the sub-topics or suggested exercises.

All you need is a ½ page of lined paper per day.  Create 4 columns. At some point during each day, jot down brief notes about each incident (limit:10 per day). Eventually, this can become a thought process. The Guide refers to Daily Review as ‘spiritual hygiene’.

1. Two to three words to identify each incident (no details)
2. What feelings or emotional reactions came up
3. The judgments or conclusions you came to at the time

At the end of each week, read through your entries and complete the last column:

4. What do you notice today that you did not notice at the time? Are there patterns?

5. Using your preferred form of meditation (sitting, walking, or while doing 'mindless' chores) reflect upon your early childhood experiences. 

The Guide refers to Daily Review as ‘spiritual hygiene’.

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