Pathwork Steps
January 2015 

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In this issue:

Constructive Attitudes in Self-Confrontation PRS 5

Private Process Groups 2015

Daily Review Exercise PL 28

Co-Operation, Communication, Union PL 80

Film Suggestion:

Everybody's Fine 2009

How Sharing, Listening, and 
Showing Vulnerability Can Shift Beliefs

Listen to the Lectures

A free service from Gary Volbracht on iTunes

Highlights from the Full Study Guide
on Difficult Conversations and Collusion

New WGDR Radio Interview with Jan
Duality, Emotional Reactions, and Images

Quick Online Lecture Word Search!

 Free Weekly Teleconferences
3pm US EDT Saturdays
= 7am AU EST Sundays 

Endings and Beginnings:
Cycles of Expansion and Contraction

Best wishes for a full and joyous New Year!

Jan Rigsby

Constructive Attitudes in Self-Confrontation
Study Guide for Online Meetings on PRS 5 and PL 80

     Loving confrontation can be a difficult skill to develop. Bringing up uncomfortable topics or challenging existing practices can feel like trying to 'pet a tiger' if we are not aware of our intentions or how they might be perceived. A loving attitude can transcend the duality of you/ me, right/wrong.
Week 1: Overview and Daily Review
Week 2: Co-operation, Communication, Union PL 80
Week 3: Recognizing inner Resistance; Collusion
Week 4: Constructive Steps: Managing Difficult Conversations

You may download the full month's study guide from (2015 teleconference page) or


Constructive Attitudes in Self-Confrontation

Study Guide for Online Meetings on PRS 5 and PL 80

Pathwork is a spiritual discipline, not a therapy. It is an inner commitment to self-transformation and self- purification, and a belief in a unitive state where our inner work becomes available to others, accelerating the Plan of Salvation through ever-deepening and cleansing our positive intent.

Disagreements, arguments, fights, wars, and even bloodshed between ourselves and other human beings is a result of bringing forward our negativity for the purpose of transformation.

This lecture is not just another system or technique about how to handle confrontation. The Guide is very emphatic about the reality of human nature and the purpose of our having manifested on this particular earth plane.

From this perspective, confrontation is simply one of many exercises that we can use to see more deeply into our inner motivations and demonstrate what plane of growth we have achieved.

The lecture focuses upon self-confrontation, looking deeply into the motivations of the only person we can ever truly know – ourselves.

Dictionary definition of confrontation is “To come face to face with, especially with defiance or hostility”

Three aspects of human nature emphasized in PRS5:

-- Willingness to see both negative and positive realities builds self-confidence (PL 77) ‘the inner permission to be happy’

-- Scrupulous Honesty in of the greatest value in the process of self-transformation “Training oneself to scrupulously prevent such hiding will prove of immeasurable benefit.” PRS5

-- Attitude is what determines how things affect you. The word ‘attitude’ appears almost 1900 times throughout the lectures. It is the only thing that you have absolute control over, and that no one else- human or spirit – can affect without your permission.

 â€œThe more constructive, realistic and reasonable your attitude to your negative emotions is, the less damage they will do. This proves that it is not so much these emotions themselves that are damaging, but your fearful, guilty, untruthful, exaggerating attitude about them! They have to be let out of your system. Covering them up is emotional toxic poison and ruins your psychic blood stream. This can only be done by taking stock and finding their origins... To follow through, it is very helpful to make up your mind , every day anew, impressing yourself with this constructive attitude. Be prepared that there is resistance to face unpleasantness, determine to get the better of it, to become aware of it -- and it will not prevent you from following through.” PRS5

Identifying three stages in our personal work:

-- Recognizing resistance: “By a feeling of anxiety when certain questions or points are raised; by impatience, boredom, lack of concentration; the consistent desire to do something else, often less important; by tiredness the moment the work is approached, by consistently forgetting.” PRS5

-- Investing time: “However, a certain amount of quantitative time is necessary, so we might say, as an average, and at the beginning of this path work, about twenty minutes to half an hour a day should be excellent. No one need be too rigid about it.” PRS5 This time might include reading and studying the lectures, discussion with others, or simply 20 minutes of meditation.

-- Daily Review: “one of the most important tools for this work. This daily review can be conducted any time of the day, most suitable to you. Just consistently register your reactions in a notebook -- every day, again and again. When you ponder over an accumulation of days, in which you took notice of your reactions, you will undoubtedly find a recurrent pattern.” PRS5


Private Process Groups - 2015

Private process groups operate similarly to the free weekly meetings. In 2014, two groups met fortnightly on Saturdays and Sundays.  Meeting notes are sent to all members even if they are absent., Email addresses are shared so that we may correspond between meetings.  2015 times  (US EST) and dates offered are:
Biweekly, 1st and 3rd weekend  only: 7pm :Fridays, 7pm Saturdays
Weekly or biweekly: 4pm Fridays, noon or 1pm Saturdays; 10 or 11am Sundays. 

Verify the conversion to your time zone at

We will begin once a minimum of 4 members agree upon time, date and frequency. Fees due before we start or by arrangement, payable via Paypal or check:  USD $130 for 6 meetings.  Please email Jan  or reply to this notice with the times / dates you are interested in attending.


Cooperation, Communication, Union
Excerpts from PL 80
Full text of this plus all other lectures may be downloaded from

The highest, the most desirable state in the whole plan of evolution is union.  Union on this earth plane does not exist.  There are some who have a vague idea of union.  In isolated moments, they sense there is something like it.  But then this moment passes, and they no longer sense, or feel, the significance of the state of being which is union.  Since union is, it is outside the law of cause and effect.  Therefore there is no point in my discussing it.  You could not possibly comprehend, and I could not find appropriate words in the human language to convey it.
But I will discuss two preliminary stages that finally lead to union.  These two stages do exist on your plane of existence and consciousness.  These states are, at the lowest level, cooperation and, at a higher level, communication.  Without cooperation and communication, no living creature can exist. Food, drink, shelter, all that you need for your physical survival depend on cooperation and communication.

Understanding this will also show you that man's mental, emotional, spiritual subsistence must be just as dependent on cooperation and communication as is his physical subsistence. Cooperation is simply a more superficial form of communication.
If man is overeager, overanxious, if his desire for communication is an exaggerated craving, these soul forces will automatically become harsh, pointed, and rigid.  Their movement will be sudden, and their impact too strong.  Then they will have a corresponding effect on the other person's soul center, out of which he in turn responds, often quite unconsciously.  The whole universe is based on balance.  Whenever balance is upset, the universal forces work towards reestablishing it. This is often a painful process wherein the effect in the other human soul must be a withdrawing.  The corresponding inner forces restrict and seem to reject the overeager attempt.

Overeagerness is a distortion of reality in the sense that the urgency of your need is not according to truth.  It is imaginary.  As this word implies, it comes out of your images, conflicts, and distortions. In this unconscious frame of mind, you believe you must have love, affection, attention. It is a one‑sided, childish demand in which your life seems to be at stake.  This causes such a strong inner motion that the balancing forces cause the other person to withdraw from this exaggerated motion.  In the person who has his own inner unsolved conflicts and problems, the motivation for such withdrawal will be unconscious and negative.  In the relatively healthy person, the response will be similar, but out of motives that are positive and conscious.

Just try to visualize this strong forward surging motion with all the impact of the forcing current, and you will fully understand the inevitable response.

Only when you grow, realize, and become aware of the wrong reactions ‑‑ due to wrong impressions ‑‑ can you gradually set out to change this state.  PL80


Film Suggestion:  Everybody's Fine (2009)

 Literature, theatre, and film dramatize underlying truths of human nature that are often overlooked in daily life, such as the  consequences of avoiding confrontations. Robert De Niro's character also demonstrates how difficult  it can be to uncover the truth when one has no experience in self-confrontation.

One of the most difficult aspects of Pathwork is that the process of dismantling defenses often activates them, so that we perceive feedback as an attack on ourselves or a threat to ideals and values that we cherish. Experiencing the pain that our distortions, false beliefs, and misconceptions cause can activate our positive intent to grow and transform. 

These short clips may be enough to illustrate this month's topic:


Daily Review

Exercise: Keep a daily review (PL28) for one week focusing upon moments when you felt stressed about confrontations.  All you need is a ½ page of lined paper per day.  Create 4 columns. At some point, jot down each day these brief notes about each incident (limit:10 per day).

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

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

4. What was I afraid of? What was at stake? Notice any patterns.

5. Spend some time in meditation about what you observe about yourself. Notice any discrepancies between realistic, probable consequences and fantasies that are unlikely to occur..  Notice if you tend to exaggerate or over-dramatize a loss. Honestly walk through the steps that you would take to address the issue if you 'lost' the confrontation.


How Sharing, Listening, and 
Showing Vulnerability Can Shift Beliefs

How Same-Sex Marriage Effort Found a Way Around Polarization -- Excerpted from a NY Times article by Lynn Vavreck  Dec. 18 2014

Conventional wisdom is that we’re polarized. Observers of American politics – from reporters to academics – argue that Americans on the left and the right are so entrenched in their beliefs that attempts at persuasion are nearly pointless.

But a study in Science this month demonstrates exactly the opposite. The study showed that listening to sincere appeals from a person on one side of an issue can change the opinions of people on the other side — even on an issue as personal as same-sex marriage. What’s more, the shifts in opinion can last and spread. Polarized or not, durable persuasion is possible.

The conclusion? Sharing, listening and showing vulnerability can change beliefs about public policy.

The unusual persuasive appeal was the brainchild of Dave Fleischer, head of the Vote for Equality team. Mr. Fleischer produced a script that not only involved people in discussions about their own marriages or the marriage of their friends, but also included the unexpectedly powerful moment of having a gay stranger come out to people on their front porch. The Fleischer interactions are serious conversations about intricate topics.

Mr. Fleischer, Mr. LaCour, and Mr. Green have managed to demonstrate through research that connecting with another human being by sharing, listening, and showing vulnerabilities can lead to compromise. As we head in to the new year, with an increasingly divided government, they’ve also given politicians something to think about.

Read the full article at around-polarization.html?smid=nytcore-iphone-share&smprod=nytcore- iphone&abt=0002&abg=1


Listen to the Lectures

Gary Volbracht created audio versions of all 258 Pathwork Lectures.  They are available on iTumes at no charge. You just have to download them one at a time!
Gary will also create DVDs or CDs for you on request / pay what you can. See


Highlights from the Full Study Guide:

Difficult Conversations
By Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, Sheila Heen

Each difficult conversation is really 3 conversations:

 The ‘What Happened? Conversation
     What happened, what 'should' have happened, why did it happen?
     Assumptions about truth, the intention of the other.
     The blame frame.

The Feelings Conversation
     Humans without feelings are like opera without music.
     Talking about feelings is a skill that can be learned.
     Don't treat feelings as gospel.

The Identity Conversation
     Keeping your balance.
     Develop techniques to keep your balance.
     Moving towarrds a learning conversation.
     Changing out stance = involving the other.
The Stages of Commitment (Additonal Materials No.6) are used by Pathwork communities as a means for individuals to publicly declare their level of commitment as a member of a Pathwork community and to the greater community of spirit. There are several questions at each stage. The final question for Stage 2 can feel very challenging:

“QUESTION 5. Are you willing to foreswear all kinds of collusion, active as well as passive by commission or omission; against peers or authority figures? Are you willing to muster the courage to confront the other person if the collusion comes from them and, propose to go together to the third person who may possibly be maligned or gossiped about, to question with an open mind what the truth is? This means giving up a momentary gratification and relief, a negative pleasure, and this would be your sacrifice for God, for the larger cause of which you have become a part.” AD6

Examples from sports, discrimination, domestic violence, online gambling, circumventing outdated laws, politics and business.

What examples can you think of?


Listen to A Radio Interview with Jan on
Duality, Emotional Reactions, and Images

An interview on WGDR Vermont.  Downoad or Listen:

Also available at


2015 Free Online Meetings


NEW TIME: Saturdays 3pm US EDT

Converts to Sundays 7am AU EST
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Meet online! We use teleconferencing software. Simply click on the access link sent in the weekly self-study guide. You may also call in via landline, mobile, or VOIP line. 

If you wish to participate in the weekly meeting, the only requirement is to read the weekly study guide segment before the meeting. You may pass (skip your turn) at any time for any reason. 

Audit a meeting! Feel free to listen in. There is no charge or obligation. 
Unable to attend? Use the study guide on your own!  Allow the weekly reminders to encourage you to read a few pages a week. Use the worksheets, watch the films, download additional lectures from
To receive weekly meeting access links and study guide sections, click on the link at the bottom of this email and tick the ''Pathwork Steps Weekly Meeting Notices' in your MailChimp group preferences.You may unsubscribe from the weekly notices at any time.

Endings and Beginnings:
Cycles of Contraction and Expansion:

"a meeting of two movements within the soul,
simultaneously digesting and assimilating the former period
and preparing the following one
." PL 235

         The current teleconference format began 2 years ago. Each week, we had the opportunity to hear how others experience the Pathwrok concepts in their personal lives.  We could share our own feelings and observations. We explored using the tools and techniques of the lectures.

           The cumulative effect of making a weekly commitment to self-development quickly became apparent to those who became 'regulars'. Feelings long repressed began to surface. We discerned patterns in disharmonies that had seemed to be random or chaotic. Those who attended occasionally could stay connected through the weekly notes (handwritten reminders of the discussions).

          There can be a communal energy in just reading the weekly study guides. Pauline from Nowra, Australia has never attended a meeting, yet wrote "I always read and take in all the information. I read the whole of the Pathwork lectures.  While I was on holiday with my family and walking my dog on the beach, I had the most wonderful feeling of bliss that lasted for four days. I felt I was so connected to everything. I was so surprised by this experience.  It  felt as though I had been given an amazing gift from god. Since then, I have been meditating, doing the daily review, and feel I am more grounded in my work, more awake, than I have ever been."

          Members called in from Japan and Sri Lanka, Mexico, and the UK. We worked year round because the Australiana were in the dark of winter during summer vacations in the US, and are just starting their annual summer holidays as NYC prepares for snow.

         Just as the breath alternates between inhaling and exhaling, periods of spiritual expansion are naturally followed by some form of contraction. The weekly group membership expands and contracts as well. Changes in starting time and frequency may allow new members to join us in 2015, while others may decide to take a break.

          "Contraction in its positive form has a beautiful, beautiful meaning.  It is an in‑gathering of all the forces.  What has occurred in the expanded state is being gathered back into the self.  It is being digested, assimilated.  It means reaching into the depths of your infinite divine reality in order to bring out the treasures of the deepest aspects of the self.  Expanding means letting this flow out into the world, but in order to do so, positive contraction must occur first.  Expansion means gathering the riches of divine creation in the inner universe and then bringing them into the outer universe.  Contraction means gathering the riches of the outer universe and then bringing them into the inner."     PL 235, The Anatomy of Contraction
Best wishes for all your aspirations in the coming year.


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