Pathwork Steps
2016 Study Guides

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October 2016:

 Self Confidence:

It's True Origin

and What Prohibits It

PL 77

Video Review of Last Month's Topic

Study Guide Outline
Samples from the 4 weekly notices

Film and Reading Suggestions

Daily Review

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Overcoming Negativity

Video Introduction / Review of September Topic on PL 176:  7mins

“A man who is unconscious of himself acts in a blind, instinctive way and is in addition fooled by all the illusions that arise when he sees everything that he is not conscious of in himself coming to meet him from outside as projections upon his neighbors,”

Carl Jung, 1945 essay “The Philosophical Tree"

Connecting 'Commitment, Cause and Effect' PL 196 to 'Self Confidence'

Willful negativity (cause) results in evil (effect). When well-intentioned people stop asking questions about right and wrong, evil goes unchecked. PL 77 suggests that lack of self-confidence may be the effect of not listening to our inner knowing. Asking questions is Step 3 in the Guide's suggestions on Overcoming Negativity.

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"If a group of human beings, even only a very small group, get together in the sincere and honest desire to serve God and His great plan, do you know what form we see in the spirit world by this wish which does not merely remain a wish but is also put into execution? We see a very beautiful temple being built in the world of spirit."     PL 15

Self-Confidence: It's True Origin and What Prohibits It

Week 1:   What is selfconfidence?
Week 2:   What causes conflicts and deviations?  
Week 3:   Forcing Currents
Week 4:   How We Collude with Self Doubt

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Week 1  What is self‑confidence?

When your real being, your real self, your intuitive nature manifests, there is no uncertainty in you, no doubts as to your right reaction or action, and no wavering.  Your instant and spontaneous reaction is of such a nature that you know deep down, through and through, "This is right, this is so."  That has happened to all of you at least occasionally. 
to free you from superimposed layers so that your real self can take the reins and govern your life.
You know your real self.  It is not far away.  You have nothing to fear from it. Your real feelings come from your real self which is right close by, right underneath this tense, compulsive emotional behavior pattern of yours.  Once you stop believing, as you unconsciously believe now, that this compulsive drive, whatever its direction, is a necessity for you and therefore stop using these currents and use instead your real feelings, then your intuitive nature is bound to emerge.   
Self-knowledge, a true and realistic self-evaluation, is the only thing that can bring forth the maximum ability, creativity and healthy strength.
With such honest self-appraisal, proper decisions must finally result, and lead to ability, creativity and healthy strength.

PL 77

I suggest a specific little exercise you might find quite helpful. 

Put down in writing everything that you dislike about yourself.  Have it down in black and white.  Look at those traits when they are written down. 

Then feel into yourself and ask: "Do I really believe that this is all there is to me?  Do I really believe that I must be these traits all my life?  Do I believe I have the possibility to love?  Do I hold forces locked up in me that contain all the good imaginable?" 

By raising these questions seriously, you will get an answer on a deeply feeling level, a level where the answer is more than a theoretical concept.  You will experience a new power in you that you do not need to fear, and a new gentleness and softness that does not need hostility or other defenses. 

Then you will know how much there is in you to love and respect.

Self Esteem PL 174

Week 2:   What causes conflicts and deviations?  
Broadly speaking, it is your desire to be happy, or to be loved.  In order to be happy, to be loved is a necessary requirement and therefore constitutes a major part of your compulsive drives.  Then there exist the subdivisions, such as the desire to be approved and admired.  This may take the place of your desire to be loved.
But there is also a second aspect.  The child in you imagines that you can only be happy if your will is done.

This misconception creates a tight, tense current ‑‑ the one I called the forcing current.
PL 77
You can reverse that process only by becoming aware and then removing that element [forcing current or pseudo-solution] which you used in their stead.
The real feelings are calm.  They do not mind being patient.  When they express themselves, there will be no doubt, no wavering.  Since they are one with the stream of life, they will carry you in the right direction, and you will have no doubt about it if you are but willing and patient enough to trust them.
Once you reach that state, you will experience certain feelings which are almost impossible to convey in words.  You simply have to experience them.  All I can say is that the relief of a burden you have unnecessarily carried will be so tremendous that your joy and liberation will be a strongly felt reality.
PL 77

Film and Reading Suggestions
Stories about how self-confidence can lead us astray

I'm Not From Here 25 mins
A short film on aging and memory. Diseases such as Alzheimer's allow us to re-imagine life as we want it to be -- or, to obsess upon our perceptions, freed from pesky reality checks or feedback! The Guide describes senility as a form of second childhood, that releases us from adult responsibilities and allows us to immerse ourselves into emotional process or life review for a while before we pass over. Senility can also delay or soften bad news, until we are better able to cope with it - as in Do You Know Who Died?

A Suicidologist Fights for Barriers
What if your last emotion upon taking your own life is... regret?
We can never know for certain until we are taking our last breath, and then it could be too late to reverse a decision. A Suicidologist fights for barriers to give people more time, and more options, before they make an irreversible decision.

The Many Sad Fates of Mr. Toledano 25 mins
An hypochondriac artist & photographer investigates how he might die by living those lives and having them photographed. His wife is not thrilled.
 Start at the 21 minute mark for a shorter version, a summary about what he gained from this experiment.

Blood at the Root; a Tale of Racial Cleansing Close to Home
Patrick Phillips explores the larger historical forces and phobias that set the stage for mass expulsions of blacks from Forsyth County, including the downward mobility of whites in the antebellum South; the irrational panic over black male sexuality; and the paranoia over the possibility of a black uprising to avenge slavery -- which allowed whites to see themselves as victims, rather than aggressors. This last anxiety suggests that white people’s fear of African-Americans was, and may well be, a fear of their own conscience and sins.

How Caring for a Dying Husband Made Life Worth Living
Tracey Grant  on The PBS Newshour 3 mins
An experience of embracing what is and living in the Now..

The Unholy Pleasure:
My life-long recovery from snobbbery

Mark Oppenheimer, Slate Magazine ©2011
My snobbery began in third grade. That was when I ceased writing my name as "Mark" in the upper-right corners of my papers and instead began writing "Mark the Great." I remember precisely why I donned this new epithet: It was because my teacher that year, a young novice named Lisa, hated me.
So in this toxic and topsy-turvy environment, where my gifts were liabilities, my survival strategy was to valorize my skills—to become snobbish about them. Lisa was determined to show me I was nothing, so I decided that I was everything, and that the ability she hated most in me was the one I could be proudest of. I became Mark the Great! And I fear that it was then, in third and fourth grade, that I began to see less articulate classmates as inferior.
The tragedy of the snob…is that he needs to think he is grand just to think he is worthwhile. Wherever snobbery can be found, it is evidence of insecurity, even emotional poverty.

The Useless Machine
I wonder whether this is what it might mean for a technology to be truly intelligent: to receive an order and to respond by politely but firmly declining to follow it. The plain contradiction here, of course, is that in refusing to do what it’s told, the machine is stoically following its explicit commands. In this sense, the Useless Machine is like a battery-operated koan: a playfully profound riddle on the relationship between humans and technology, and on the nature of intelligence.

I'm a 78-year-old racist — trying to change. 
Mel Novit, Chicago Tribune Commentary
To this day, despite years of education and positive experiences with African-Americans, I acknowledge that I still combat ridiculous notions about blacks. I am embarrassed that I still struggle between emotional and rational thinking. And I am angry that I grew up unable to fully connect with a segment of our society.
This has been my loss.
I am aware of the flaws in my thought processes and I deal with them.

What do you want to be when you grow up?
Instead, consider asking ‘In what way do I wish the world were different? What problem can I help solve?’ This puts the focus on how you can serve other people, and may help you access your Real Self. Move toward what interests you, rather than images or ideals that may not be in truth for you.
A companion piece, 6 Tips for Making it Small in Hollywood:
"Sometimes people say, “One thing you have to offer in your work is yourself.” I disagree. I think it’s the only thing."

Ok... perhaps for laughs...
I found this 11 min video about a religious cult that makes science fiction movies interesting, especially in the context of this month's topic. Part of the movement's appeal is the self-confidence of its leader. Consider... what if everything said in the film is true? Yet so wildly distorted by how the leader has interpreted their divine inspiration that it becomes a comedy.

Too specific? Are you more receptive to a generic, acceptable formula, such as this Generic Candidate Ad 3 mins. But eliminating every aspect of our beliefs that might repel 'someone', who do we become?

Week 3:   Forcing Currents
After some constructive work and valid insights have been attained, you are bound to become aware of this compulsive current, and feel it distinctly, almost as a separate foreign substance within yourself.  You will then understand that all your wrong conclusions and images are a product of this basic current, which I have also called the forcing current. 
This forcing current, in turn, is based on a fundamental misunderstanding about life.
These inner strivings are directed towards finding the fulfillment, on the one hand.  On the other hand, you are in constant fear of not succeeding, and unconsciously, you labor to find the means to hide the "failure" from yourself. 
Thus a current is set up, flowing in two directions.  One calls for your pushing ahead, trying to force life, people, circumstances to succumb to your will; to conquer the reality in which everything cannot go according to your desire. 
The other direction of this current is that your fear of not getting what you want ‑‑ or even the conviction that you never will ‑‑ causes you to adopt other means which are so defeatist and negative that again you sabotage that which you ordinarily could have.
The underlying core as well as the various means by which you try to combat a nonexistent factor (either always getting what you want or never getting it) are unreal.  All the impulses and drives you employ are equally unreal, imaginary, and therefore utterly ineffective and damaging.  They are the superimposed layers which cover your real self.
Is it surprising then that you lack self‑confidence?  Your innermost self knows perfectly well that on the level you function, you cannot trust yourself. If you cannot trust yourself, you cannot trust life, the world, or God.
PL 77

Week 4:   How We Collude with Self Doubt

Self-will is the will of the little self, the little ego.  Self-will strives to get what it wants, regardless of the consequences, regardless of harm that may be done to others and therefore ultimately also to the self.  Only, the little ego is too blind to understand this.  And self-will in its blind and immature state is equally too blind to realize that what is desired against spiritual law must bring hardship and imprisonment to the self. 
Test your feelings, translate them into clear and concise words so as to realize "Here I have a desire coming from my little ego, from my self‑will, that does not correspond with the other part of my nature that is equally as real as this heretofore hidden part."  

Pride, Self Will, and Fear PL 30

How Advertising Works
1. Emotional responses: most of the decisions we make in daily life are Unconscious.

2. Targeted insecurities: most of us are horribly insecure AND unaware of it. We are uncertain of our Images, averse to Loss, and our responses tend to be fight/flight.

3. Instinct: our evolution favors obtaining things based on set criteria. We want shiny things and fast gratification!

4. Planning: advertising wants to engage all of the above, change the baseline of our thinking (On sale! = retail price was set deliberately high so that we fall for a ‘bargain’).  We cooperate by overestimating our ability to resist.

Summary of charts from

Shifting Baselines

in a more philosophical vein, we should consider the shifting baselines in our own lives, examining how and where have we lowered our standards to the point that we accept things that once would have been unacceptable. Our environment has clearly suffered from our increasing comfort with shifting baselines. I suspect our lives have suffered in other ways as well.    

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.
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.

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. This month, focus upon any ‘grain of truth’ in your lack of self-confidence. 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) consider what the ‘Grain of Truth’ might be within any lack of self-confidence. What forcing currents are you able to notice?

The Guide refers to Daily Review PL 28 as ‘spiritual hygiene’.

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