Pathwork Steps
November 2014 

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In this issue:

Duality Through Illusion
PRS 25 PL  118&143

Short Films on Duality

Learning via Personal Experience
Feeling, seeing, hearing Duality in our daily lives

The Power of Attitude

What if Age is Nothing but a Mind-Set?
How bias alone may keep us old or sick

Daily Review
Developing awareness of dualistic thinking patterns

The Power of the Word PL233

One Word That Should Never Follow 'I Love You'


Quick Online Lecture Word Search!

Free Weekly Teleconferences

Duality Through Illusion

PRS 25  PL143

     All duality is a result of fear ‑‑ man's primary fear being the unknown. PRS25

     This simple act of wanting the truth requires several factors, the most important of which is the willingness to relinquish what one holds on to -- whether this be a belief, a conviction, a fear, a cherished way of being.  When I say relinquish, I merely mean questioning it and being willing to see that there is something else beyond this outlook and that conviction.
     â€œThe moment an individual is more bent on the truth than on proving his right, he contacts the divine principle of transcendent, unified truth.  If the desire to be in truth is genuine, the inspiration must come forth.” PL143 

     Lack of awareness and understanding breed duality.  Duality causes opposites.  Opposites bring suffering, pain, problems, conflict, confusion.  The original confusion of ignoring the one‑ness between God and man had to create further confusion.  It can hardly create clarity, truth, peace.
     Duality is experienced in many aspects.  It embraces the large issues of life, as well as seemingly lesser ones.  The great opposites are:  life and death; good and bad; right and wrong; happiness and unhappiness; love and selfishness; light and darkness; truth and falsehood; pleasure and pain; peace and fear.  Out of these essential aspects of living, which are split into opposites, man has fashioned the concept of God and the Devil.  Two opposing people, or forces, are experienced, each symbolizing one half of the duality.
     In mankind's immaturity, it has attempted to solve, or rather avoid, this struggle by dogma.  Depth of understanding, attained through truthful self‑confrontation and discrimination, eliminates the split of a truth.  It comprehends that two opposites can both be right and desirable, each in its own circumstances.  It avoids rigid judgment and the exclusiveness of  either  this,  or  that, both being incomplete and dissatisfactory. Man is confronted by this difficulty and frustration, by the puzzle of a seemingly insoluble struggle as long as he is tempted by laziness and dependency on others.  These reasons induce him to learn right conduct by heart, like a book of rules one memorizes.
     The better he is able to assume self‑responsibility, the more concern he will have for and receive from others.  The more he gives up the little self‑will, putting it aside for the more superior will of his real self to manifest, the more independence and strength he must have.  He has thus transcended the duality, finding that hitherto contradictory principles not only cease to contradict one another, but complement and strengthen one another. PRS25

     Certainty knows it can have, it does not need to grab.  Before the universal wealth becomes accessible, man must first learn to utilize and trust his own resources. When he can be in serenity and equilibrium, even if he momentarily does not receive what he wants, he will begin trusting his ability to live constructively through whatever comes.  In this flexible, relaxed, secure mental attitude, self‑trust is established.  Fear vanishes, hence deprivation ceases.  The duality has been transcended.
     Duality always means that one alternative appears to be desirable, constructive, agreeable, while the other is feared.  When the fear is gone through, it is discovered that this arbitrary mark was erroneous and that nothing needs to be feared. PRS25

     How does this apply to the fear of death? Since the fear of death is man's fundamental fear, his fundamental duality, out of which all other conflicts and fears arise, how can he transcend this great unknown factor?  The only way man can transcend the illusory character of any duality, is going through it.  Regarding death, this does not necessarily mean that man has to have experienced it before he discovers its illusion. What he has to do, though, is squarely meet his fear of death, and face it in honesty.
     It must be emphasized once more, in this connection, the more unknown material man faces in his own psyche, thus making it known, the less can he live in any fear ‑‑ whether it be fear of death, fear of his emotions, fear of others, fear of failure, or whatever it may be.  When he is able to experience the truth of unity of all life, therefore of life being a continuum, he will also deeply know that "pleasure supreme" is the ultimate goal for each created being.  It is the potential and natural state of each created being.  He will experience the fact that being is "pleasure supreme."   This realization exists the very instant that fear of non‑pleasure has been faced and gone through.  Duality results in conflict between pleasure, on the one hand, and other constructive attitudes, attributes and approaches, seemingly denying pleasure, on the other.  PRS25

Download  full study guide from 
or the 2014 teleconference page at

The Path to the Real Self © The Pathwork Foundation 1999
Guide Lecture quotes © The Pathwork Foundation 1999
Full text all lectures may be downloaded from


Short Films on Duality

Verbatim, a 7 minute film shown at the 2014 Sundance Festival, illustrates how words can be used to avoid communication:  (or try this link: )

Learning via Personal Experience
Feeling, Seeing, and Hearing Duality in Our Daily Lives

Understanding the Unitive Plane can feel like trying to grasp the concept of infinity.  At some point, my human mind can't help but imagine a boundary of some sort, an 'end' even if it is very, very far away.

Duality can be understood as an opposite of infinity -- an excess of boundaries.

In Jonathan Swift's famous novel, the miniature Lilliputians capture Gulliver the giant using thousands of tiny ropes.  Similarly, Dualistic thought patterns ensnare our minds and hearts. By obsessing . Instead of perceiving the full spectrum of alternatives, Dualistic thinking restricts our choices black or white (as in the 1997 film Pleasantville!), good or bad by obsessively focusing upon avoiding death..  good or bad, life or death.

The ultimate duality for mankind is Life / Death. We are hard-wired to survive biologically, because second chances in an afterlife (if there are any) still mean the end of our physical existence. Death in any form is intuitively avoided, at almost any cost.  

At the other extreme, anything that represents Life is embraced, clung to, even sacrificed for -- which can create confusion! For example, in the story of Romeo and Juliet the two lovers see living apart as a form of death. Dying in each others arms affirms their love, ends their suffering, and so becomes a form of life.

We may appear to transcend our fear of Death when we sacrifice our lives for those of our children, our countrymen, or even our dreams. This exchange is possible  when we shift our definition of life from personal survival to that of a greater cause. (PL85 and 85 explore the instincts of self-preservation and procreation, in distortion and in conflict with each other.)

How can we recognize death in all its forms?  Death is intuitively avoided in any form. Notice what is being avoided, at any or all cost. 

This month, I invite you to explore how much fear there may be in your daily life. Instructions below describe a quick, brief way to explore the concept of duality, our fears about death and dying on multiple planes of existence, and how these fears keep us from expanding our minds and hearts into the Unitive Plane of truth.  
Try it out!


The Power of Attitude

In his bestselling 1946 book, Man's Search for Meaning, which he wrote in nine days about his experiences in the concentration camps, Victor Frankl concluded that the difference between those who had lived and those who had died came down to one thing: Meaning, an insight he came to early in life. 

As he saw in the camps, those who found meaning even in the most horrendous circumstances were far more resilient to suffering than those who did not. "Everything can be taken from a man but one thing," Frankl wrote in Man's Search for Meaning, "the last of the human freedoms -- to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way." by 


What if Age Is Nothing but a Mind-Set?

By Bruce Grierson NY TImes OCT. 22, 2014

To Langer, the longest-serving professor of psychology at Harvard.  this was evidence that the biomedical model of the day — that the mind and the body are on separate tracks — was wrongheaded. The belief was that “the only way to get sick is through the introduction of a pathogen, and the only way to get well is to get rid of it,” she said, when we met at her office in Cambridge in December. She came to think that what people needed to heal themselves was a psychological “prime” — something that triggered the body to take curative measures all by itself.

By the 1970s, Langer had become convinced that not only are most people led astray by their biases, but they are also spectacularly inattentive to what’s going on around them. “They’re just not there,” as she puts it. When you’re not there, Langer reasoned, you’re very likely to end up where you’re led. She set up a number of studies to show how people’s thinking and behavior can easily be manipulated with subtle primes.

In one, she and her colleagues found that office workers were far more likely to comply with a ridiculous interdepartmental memo if it looked like other official memos. In another, created with her Yale mentor, Robert Abelson, they asked behavioral and traditional therapists to watch a video of a person being interviewed, who was labeled either “patient” or “job applicant,” and then evaluate the person. The behavioral therapists regarded the interviewee as well adjusted regardless of whether they were told the person was a patient or an applicant. But the traditional therapists found the interviewee labeled “patient” significantly more disturbed. Even trained observers “were mindlessly led by the label,” Langer says.

If people could learn to be mindful and always perceive the choices available to them, Langer says, they would fulfill their potential and improve their health. Langer’s technique of achieving a state of mindfulness is different from the one often utilized in Eastern “mindfulness meditation” — nonjudgmental awareness of the thoughts and feelings drifting through your mind — that is everywhere today. Her emphasis is on noticing moment-to-moment changes around you, from the differences in the face of your spouse across the breakfast table to the variability of your asthma symptoms. When we are “actively making new distinctions, rather than relying on habitual” categorizations, we’re alive; and when we’re alive, we can improve. Indeed, “well-being and enhanced performance” were Langer’s goals from the beginning of her career.                                  Full article at 


Daily Review:
Developing awareness of dualistic thinking patterns

     Keep a daily review for a week (PL28) on dualistic words, situations, and attitudes that you encounter in your everyday life. Notice any absolute words or statements, such as should, must, have to; right/wrong, good/bad. Also notice body language, such as when people tense up / close down to avoid saying any form of ‘yes’, or keep pushing an idea because they can’t take ‘no’ for an answer.
     Notice the little things that you care about, and exaggerate what you might be avoiding.  Notice what you retract from or avoid, and exaggerate what it is that you might be looking for instead.
-- Assume that what you want represents Life, even if it may seem destructive to others. 
    -- Life may represent right, immediate gratification, pleasure, order, control
    -- Manifests as knowing, happy, rich, approval, ‘on time’, full tummy, nice house
-- Assume that anything you want to avoid is death
    -- Death; wrong, never, unpleasure, helplessness
    -- Manifests as not knowing, unhappy, poor, shame/disgrace, late, hungry, ugly house
Create 4 columns on a piece of lined paper, and fill in up to 10 lines a day with:
      1. The word or phrase you used, meant to use, heard, or understood was intended
      2. What situation or outcome needed to be avoided at all costs
      3. What situation or outcome needed to be protected or promoted at all costs
Keep the entries brief (2-5 words in each column), just enough to remind you of the incident and your impressions.
     4. At the end of the week, fill in the 4th column for all the entries with ‘life’ or ‘death’ based upon whether the incident was focusing upon death (avoidance) or staying alive (protecting or promoting life-affirming behaviors)
This purpose of this exercise is to develop or increase your awareness of how and where dualistic thinking may occur in your daily life. This is not about anyone being right or wrong! If you notice more than 10 incidents a day, narrow your observations to a specific environment (home, school, work, recurring social events) or a specific group of people (family, co-workers, customers).

The study guide for this month includes 3 other variations on using Daily Review to create awareness of our daily lives. Download from or the 2014 teleconference page at



The Power of the Word:

PL233 suggests that we listen to ourselves and others with care. When a word is used repetitively, I have learned to look it up and see whether it is being 'loaded' with a charge that skews its meaning in order to buttress a forcing current -- or reveal a misunderstanding. This month's definitions from The American Heritage Dictionary Online.

Sometimes, dictionaries can be frustrating.
Duality = The quality or character of being twofold; dichotomy.  Doesn't help much...
Unitive =  Serving to unite; tending to promote unity.  Doesn't do much for this topic either...

But when I went to Fear, I got:
a. A very unpleasant or disturbing feeling caused by the presence or imminence of danger: Our fears intensified as the storm approached.
b. A state or condition marked by this feeling: living in constant fear of attack; saved as much as he could for fear of losing his job.
2. A feeling of disquiet or apprehension: a fear of looking foolish.
3. A reason for dread or apprehension: Being alone is my greatest fear.

Sometimes, in dealing with spiritual concepts, we have to 'make do' with the consequences of a pattern of thinking, rather than the pattern itself. The spiritual question here might be, is the amount of fear in our lives realistic, or do we prefer being scared to facing the unknown?



One Word that Should Never Follow 'I Love You'

By CARA PAIUK   April 4, 2014 The New York Times

I don’t remember the exact day, or the exact reason, or even the exact words, but I know it started with “I love you, but ...”

It could have been “I love you, but you’re driving me crazy” or any of the following: “I love you, but you’re not listening to me”; “I love you, but stop leaving dirty dishes in the sink”; or “I love you, but I need some alone time.” I’ve begun many a sentence with those four words, and never paused for a moment to think about what they mean. What are we actually conveying when we begin a sentence like that?

What my husband heard wasn’t the first part of the sentence, but the second, every time. What he heard was “I love you if ...” and “I would love you, if only you would ...” He didn’t like it, he said so, and I’m glad he did.

He was right. I was throwing “I love you” in to soften the blow, but let’s be honest, when you say it like that, the purpose of the statement is to communicate everything except “I love you.” The “but” slices the top of the sentence off and the “I love you” gets discarded like a strawberry’s calyx. “I love you,” usually the most beautiful and powerful triad of words in the world, becomes inauthentic and trivial — cheap. A throwaway line.

My husband asked if I could replace the word “but” with the word “and.” I stopped and repeated the sentence I had just said to him with the revision, and the light bulb inside my head nearly blinded me with epiphany. “I love you AND you are driving me crazy.”

Suddenly, his driving me crazy was no longer an exception to my loving him. It was part and parcel of the package. I could love him and be driven crazy by him simultaneously! A little conjunction transduction made all the difference.

It took me a while to make the change in my delivery permanent, but it was worth the effort. It has made a significant difference in my communication with my husband, and now, my kids. Above all else, I want my family to know that I love them regardless of circumstances, even if they are driving me crazy.


Future Topics

December :Man's Relationship to Time PRS 28 PL 112
Constructive Attitudes Towards Confrontation PRS 5 PL 80


Quick Online Lecture Word Search!

In Google search: copy and paste the following sentence into the search box:

    "your phrase"    

Replace the words -- your phrase -- with the word or phrase you are searching for; remember to include the quotes!


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During 2014 we are studying one chapter from The Path to the Real Self each month, looking at it from different angles by including individual Pathwork lectures that help to illustrate the concepts.

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