Pathwork Steps
2017 Study Guides

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Conflicts in Our World of Duality

PL 81

Video Review of Last Month's Topic

An On-Screen Way to Study a Lecture

Study Guide Highlights
Samples from weeks 1 & 2

Film and Reading Suggestions

Study Guide Highlights
Samples from weeks 3 & 4

Daily Review

 Free Weekly Teleconferences
Wednesdays and Saturdays 7pm US EST
Sundays 9am US EST

Aspects of the Divine Spark PL 203 

YoutTube Video Review - 13 mins

Self-Study Suggestions Part 2
An On-Screen Way to Unpack a Lecture
Some history of how the lectures came into written form, and a way to create a more personal relationship with the text.

The Vicious Circle of Any "Life vs. Death" Conflict

The essence of Duality is that we go into binary mode: Life or Death.

We instinctively reflex away from anything perceived as Death. Death means something that we value 'goes'.  Change is seen as a threat to our equilibrium, our perception of comfort: change = Death.

We fight for Life at any cost. Life is always preferred over Death, no matter how limiting or negative our Life  may be. In order to embrace change, we have to see it as Life-Affirming: change = Life.

Crisis accelerates our acceptance of change by realizing that our current situation cannot be sustained: status quo = Death.

The mind attempts to justify or rationalize decisions made by intuitive reflexes.  The mind perceives 'any level of understanding' as Life-Affirming. Surrendering to chaotic, "irrational" forces beyond its intellectual limitations is a form of  Death.

These are the concepts that led me to emphasize both an inner self-examination of what death means to us, and an outer exploration about how the fear of death distorts our collective thoughts and feelings.


Highlights from Conflicts in the World of Duality PL 81 

Week 1:  Fear of Death --> Duality
Week 2:  Fear of Death --> Illusion, Irrational Beliefs
Week 3:  Fear of Death --> Fear of Bliss
Week 4:  Fear of Death--> Clinging to Life

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Week 1:  Duality --> Fear of Death
On this path, you are going through various phases. Broadly speaking, the first level we investigated of your unconscious mind is the level in which you harbor wrong impressions and conclusions that were formed into rigid generalizations of different aspects of life, which we call images.  Some of these in themselves may be insignificant, yet they are important enough to distort your life in many ways.
Behind or below this more superficial level of your subconscious, we penetrated into a level wherein is waged a battle between opposites, the world of duality.  This creates in your life a tremendous confusion.  The confusion of duality exists in many respects.  It concerns the big issues as well as the seemingly lesser ones. 
The great opposites are life and death, happiness and unhappiness, love and selfishness, light and darkness.  Your confusion comes about because an attitude towards life, supposed to lead to the desired goal, often brings (at least in part) the undesired one.  It takes a great deal of self‑honesty and awareness to understand this phenomenon and detect the inner error of action and reaction on your part that is responsible for this confusing result.
PL 81
Week 2:  Fear of death --> Illusion, Irrational Beliefs
When I use the word "death," I do not mean merely physical death alone.  I mean all the negative aspects of life, everything that opposes your pleasure drive. 

It even means more than unhappiness.  It also means loss, change, the unknown.  The unknown may contain something better than the state you are in, but by the very fact that it is unknown, it becomes terrifying.  All that signifies death in little ways. 

There is no human being who does not die many deaths every day.
PL 81
Exercise 1:
 Complete the sentence “Death is…” over and over again, to uncover any unknown or unconscious reactions. belief systems, or struggles against death.
 Speak or write your responses 20 times without thinking or reflecting about them. If you do this verbally, write them down quickly, without editing, or record them and play them back after you complete the exercise 20x.
            Did any of your responses surprise you?

"Film and Reading Suggestions

The Peters Projection Changes the World as We Know It
West Wing: Big Block of Cheese Day segment on maps: 4 mins
"What IS that?"   "It's where you have been living this whole time."
Boston School District changes its maps - blows kids minds
Why all world maps are wrong   Vox 6 mins
Explore on your own! Drag and drop at

What We Can Learn About Love from Adam and Eve
From the PBS News Hour Bookshelf   6 mins
Right/wrong duality around the origin story of Mankind was added in over the centuries. In the original version(s) there was equality and commitment. 

Explaining Complex Concepts.  10 mins
A neuroscientist explains a new theory about brain-cell "connec-tones" to a 5 year old, teenager, college student, grad student, and bio-entrepreneur. - one after the other, so there's a sloped learning experience = something for everyone!

The Arrow of History Points Upward / Brookings Institute
(the difference between what we may feel is happening
and what is actually happening)
A 2013 survey... found that two-thirds of Americans and Britons believe destitution in the developing world has doubled in recent years. Actually, extreme poverty is less than half of what it was not so long ago.
The World Bank reports that the number of people mired in extreme poverty—defined as living on less than $1.90 per day—dropped from 37 percent in 1990 to less than 10 percent, the lowest fraction in history, in 2015.
Taking into account population growth, from 1990 to 2015, the share of humanity that does not live in deep poverty rose from 3.4 billion to 6.5 billion. In the current generation 3 billion people—most of them in developing nations—have joined the ranks of those who are not impoverished. 
...this is the world’s dynamic: relatively small economic concessions from the top Western nations coupled to substantial gains for huge numbers in other nations.
“The old Malthusian fears are disproven—the planet can produce enough calories and protein for 10 billion or even 20 billion people.” In fact, there is an unprecedented expansion of the middle class worldwide (Brookings Institute Report). 

My Racist Days  9 mins
Scott Shepherd is a former grand dragon of the Klu Klux Klan in Tennessee, but now refers to himself as a reformed racist. His reasons for joining the group stemmed from feelings of isolation. “I was just looking for a place to fit in, to fill a void within myself,” he says. “I could have very well have gotten involved with ISIS.” From the documentary Accidental Courtesy about a black musician who meets and befriend members of the KKK. Streaming on PBS / Independent Lens.

Series that ask significant questions about humanity:
The O.A. - An 8-episode story on NetFlix (2 min trailer here)
Manifesting the divine spark is a unique, individual process. Inner movement can be magnified and strengthened with the help of kindred spirits.
HBO's WestWorld asks - what does being human mean?
The current global popularity of alien/fantasy/war/hero storylines may represent an emerging spiritual consciousness that feels alien --like the future, who we are becoming is unknown and unknowable until the moment we arrive there.

How to Learn New Things
"My favorite example of what it means to be expert, are the Car Talk guys. Because it’s such a weird thing, people call them and they have a car problem, but the Car Talk guys can’t actually see the car. They’re thinking about their own Buicks, their own car problems, to help you solve your car problems.
You want to learn the systems, or the analogies, of the relationships between things in a certain field, and how they interact with each other. Then ultimately you gain that knowledge so that you can shift your own thinking, so when you see a new problem you’re better able to solve it."   Olga Khazan, interview in The Atlantic

Stump the Bookseller  NY Times
A blog that aims to “reconnect people to the books they love but can’t quite remember.” It traffics in an enchanting sort of anguish that almost seems to constitute its own category of memory — more pleasurable to hold in the mind than a forgotten song lyric or acquaintance’s name, but also more torturous, as no radio or party invitation will ever organically prompt its recollection. Stump the Bookseller, which has existed in various forms for more than two decades, claims to have a “nearly 50 percent success rate in finding these long-lost but treasured books.” Everyone’s mind is cluttered with images that are incidental, almost always partly lost, affecting in ways that are subtle, unpredictable and impossible to explain.

A Stunning Scale Model of the Solar System in the Desert -- 7 mins
A group of friends discovered there were no proportional models of the solar system with complete planetary orbits—most portray the planets and moons as too close together. So, they decided to build one. On a dry lakebed in Nevada, the group constructed a model by drawing circles in the desert around a 1.5 meter sun and a marble-sized Earth small enough to get lost in filmmaker Wylie Overstreet's pocket. The result is a stunning work of land art that allows viewers to see the full circle of the Earth with their own eyes.

A Doctor Discovers an Important Question to Ask
"After 30 years of practice, I know that I can’t possibly solve this man’s medical conundrum. Then I remember a visiting palliative-care physician’s words about caring for the fragile elderly: “We forget to ask patients what they want from their care. What are their goals?” I pause, then look this frail, dignified man in the eye. “What are your goals for your care?” I ask. “How can I help you?”

6 Steps to Turn Wishes into Reality NY Times
The problem with this process is that it’s too simple. It lacks all the theatrics and drama of the hero’s journey. And it works.
1. Pick one thing on my list.
2. Decide today to do one thing that will get me closer to making that one thing a reality and further away from regret.

Perfectly Normal: Autism Through a Lens  12 mins
An artful short documentary about a man with Asperger’s syndrome. At the halfway point, there is a rare filmic experience of the sensory overload of autism. “You think life has one circle, but no, there are circles which are added to extra circles that create chaos, and it looks like you’re drowning,” Jordan says. 

London Bridge is Down
The Plan for the Queen's Death / The Guardian
Having plans in place for the death of leading royals is a practice that makes some journalists uncomfortable. “There is one story which is deemed to be so much more important than others,” one former producer complained to me.  There will be an almighty psychological reckoning for the kingdom that she leaves behind. The Queen is Britain’s last living link with our former greatness – the nation’s id, its problematic self-regard – which is still defined by our victory in the second world war. One leading historian stressed that the farewell for this country’s longest-serving monarch will be magnificent. “Oh, she will get everything,” he said. “We were all told that the funeral of Churchill was the requiem for Britain as a great power. But actually it will really be over when she goes.”

Week 3:  Fear of Death --> Fear of Bliss
The original longing is for happiness supreme, but life on earth prohibits such fulfillment.  This prohibition creates the world of duality and therefore your conflict. 
This puts you into a vicious circle.  How to get out of it, how to find your way into the light of truth ‑‑ these are the significant questions.  In the first place, you have to understand, at least in part, what is responsible for man's having created a duality out of a single core. 
PL 81

Note: diagrams explaining the Vicious Circle PL 50 are included in the full study guide at There is also a 2014 study guide for PL 50.
Exercise 3:
Draw a Vicious Circle based upon your personal journey in wanting Bliss yet feeling that you have not experienced it fully.
Do you feel you deserve Bliss? If not, you may run away from it or negate it.
Have you held an image of what Bliss would look like (a “ready-made answer”) that may prevent you from recognizing creative, new forms of Bliss?
Week 4:  Fear of Death --> Clinging to Life

Mankind has tried to cope with this problem for as long as it has existed.  Unfortunately though, the way man tried was bound to failure. It is just as unsatisfactory as when you make unconscious attempts to solve a so‑called psychological problem in your life by short‑cuts, evasions, and being afraid to face the issue squarely. 
Instead, you superimpose readymade answers which may even be true as such, but they are not true for you because you have not arrived at them out of strength and courage that come only through facing the issue, but rather by avoiding it out of fear and weakness.  This is one way of trying to cope with the problem.  The majority of religious people, clinging to faith out of fear, is a prototype of those who would attempt this way.

Another attempt is negation.  It is the negation of the very thing one longs for most, in the terror of not ever getting it, and thus rushing right into what one fears most.  This self‑destructiveness can be found on all levels.  It works in your attitude towards less significant aspects of life, but it is basically your way of "coping" with the problem of death.  The prototype is the atheist, materialist. 
PL 81

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, when our distortions, misconceptions, and false beliefs first manifest.

6. Each week, draw a Vicious Circle that represents your personal struggle against death.

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

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