Pathwork Steps
February 2015 

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In this issue:

A Taste of Primordial Fear

The Language of the Unconscious PRS 8 PL 124

Tool of the Month:

The Power of the Word PL 233

Daily Review

Listen to the Lectures
A free service from Gary Vohlbracht on iTunes

A parable about consequences.
When memories sink into the unconscious mind:
The Child in the Basement

Film Suggestion:
Slomo: Following an inner calling
Seeing the Invisible
What Happened to the the Milky Way?

Looking for the 'Perfect' Valentine

 Free Weekly Teleconferences
NEW Time and Date -- 7pm US EST SUNDAYS

Quick Online Lecture Word Search!



The Language of the Unconscious
Study Guide for PRS 8 and PL 124

  'You can't fix what you are not aware of'.
Week 1:  How the Unconscious Speaks
Week 2:  Cosmic Laws: Yes and No Currents
Week 3:  Tools and Techniques: The Power of the Word, Written Meditation
Week 4:  Activate your Yes by uncovering No currents
You may download the full month's study guide from 2015 teleconference page


A Taste of Primordial Fear

Underneath Buda Castle in Budapest, Hungary lies a complex series of caves and cellars called The Labyrinth. After being used for centuries as a military storehouse, it is now a tourist attraction. During the days, it is dimly lit to mimic ancient torches; at night, the electricity is turned off and you navigate the tunnels with flashlights.

I was a day visitor. At one point, I turned a corner and found myself looking into the most inscrutable, total blackness I have ever experienced. Perhaps because of the uneven earthen roughness of the masonry, this 'room' absorbed light rather than reflecting it. Behind me, I would see the outlines of the central walkway. Yet in front of me, there was no hint of structure of any kind -- no floor, no ceiling, no walls. Just -- nothing.

In the blackness of the Labyrinth, I became overwhelmed by an indescribable, primordial terror.  My legs refused requests to move forward, I was terrified to even extend my hand towards what might be a wall. I had to keep commanding myself to breathe. 

My first conscious adult experience of this level of fear --- total, irrational, gut-stopping terror -- was during a Core Energetics workshop a few years earlier, when I watched a participant expressing rage by physically slamming a tennis racket onto a foam cube. It took me weeks to figure out my reaction, which was based upon an unconscious belief that if I expressed my anger, my world would come apart. 

There is always a grain of truth in our false beliefs, a series of experiences that seem to prove our conclusions are justified and necessary. Yet these are the thought processes of young children, and are often similar to the superstitious beliefs of the middle ages. My belief that anger was dangerous was based upon my parents' reaction to my anger.  Because I loved them, I believed them. The false belief ('anger is bad for everyone') sank into my unconscious mind, and I deprived myself of an essential human emotion. When I witnessed rage expressed at the Core workshop, I went into a form of shock. A part of me believed that I was going to die. I couldn't understand why everyone else seemed so calm, when the world was about to end.

I have had several such experiences over the past decades, and now recognize the first symptom as an inability to take a breath: examples include watching a total eclipse, as the birds stopped singing and the sky glowed with unfamiliar colors; reaching at the summit of a rock climb, when I foolishly looked down and was overcome with vertigo; and most relevant to this month's topic, when previously unconscious material leaps into my awareness. Having worked through such experiences in the past, I am able to marshall my resources and 'recover' from the shock more easily each time.

The unconscious is, by definition, unknown to our Ego self.  Even if we manage not to dramatize or exaggerate our reactions when it emerges, we may experience moments of uncontrollable primordial fear as our belief system dissolves from under us.

Yet nanoseconds later, we may be able to reboot. In hindsight, there were always hints, clues, unread messages from ourselves that suddenly make sense. 

Fear is like the proverbial 'hoop of fire' in circus acts - or the candlestick that Jack jumped over in the nursery phyme. If you approach with exaggerated caution. you feel the heat very intensely. If you mishandle it, it will burn you. Yet once you realize how thin the danger area actually is, and how momentary the risk if you do not linger in it, you can learn to  leap through it.

Fire can be friend or foe, depending upon how we manage it.

Warm regards, Jan



Excerpts from the Study Guide for PRS 8 and PL 124

Quotes from PRS 8:

          Messages of the unconscious come forth through the major problems in life; through repetitive patterns; illness; any unfulfillment or lack.  Once it is understood that these occurrences  are  a message that something is off within the psyche, that a distortion and misconception must somewhere exist, the first step towards elimination of the problem is taken.  Yet they are not really hidden.  It is merely a question of learning to focus attention on them.

Messages or signs appear through::

-- dreams and day dream phantasies
-- projection
-- strong reaction to others and to general topics
-- compulsion
-- material derived from "bad moods"
-- from allowing emotions to romp freely from one "irrelevancy" to the next
         (also called free association)

          All these offer excellent clues for getting to know your hidden self. Even though dreams and day dreams have not yet been discussed, you might do well to ponder over them, in the meantime.  Write down your night dreams.  Perhaps through inspiration you may get certain ideas, clues, hunches, intuitive perception.  The realization that dreams express disturbances you do not quite face or completely wish to tackle, (even if you know the general problem in question) is helpful.  It may show you that your emotions are more intense than you thought.  You may be aware that you feel a specific way, but ignore to what extent you do so.  The dream can help you to become aware of these differences in degree ‑‑ which is very important.  Especially dreams which remain in your mind, that you do not forget, often have an important message. PRS 8

Cosmic Laws and Principles: The Yes and No Currents

          Whenever man is faced with two equally undesirable alternatives, not seeing any other way out, he is involved in the illusion of duality.  This duality is the split of concepts I mentioned.  We discussed before how often apparent contradictions in spiritual concepts are one whole when transcending the manifestation of untruth.  Hence, two opposing, apparently different, forces come into being when cosmic energy is falsely used.  These two forces maybe termed the life force and the death force.  This does not merely mean actual life and death, but it also means all the derivatives.  The former builds up, creates, is positive, expands into forever more and greater creative fulfillment.  The latter means decay, negative manifestation in every possible sense.  For our purpose, these forces may best be termed as the  Yes Current  and the  No Current.

         The yes current says yes to life, with all that life contains.  It affirms giving and receiving love. It goes with the cosmic movement, hence it does not shrink from change.  It means venture, adventure, risk; constructive ideas; growing, expansion.  It says yes to any form of truth, even if this truth, at the moment, derives from untruth and is therefore painful.  It finds the good in every situation and person, building up from there ‑‑ however, without closing one's eyes to the negative.  There is no illusion in it ‑‑ no need for illusion.

          The no current is the exact opposite.  It fears life and love, and therefore says no to them.  It fears happiness because of the involvement and risk.  It resists change because of its negative outlook ‑‑ hence change signifies undesirable results.  It finds solace and relief in destructive thoughts and ideas ‑‑ or even activity.  It resists growth.  It shies away from truth ‑‑ even truth that would bring relief.  It sees and finds the worst in even the best of situations.  It continuously denies.  The yes current breeds love and unity.  The no current hate and disunity.  This principle applies to the history of man, as well as his personal life.

It is quite easy to detect the yes and the no currents within yourself, if you pay attention to your reactions and feelings, observing them closely.

     Awareness of them, when the one and when the other is at work ‑‑ and later why ‑‑ is one of the most direct ways, one of the most easily accessible, to interpret the language of your unconscious. PRS 8


Tool of the Month:  The Power of the Word PL 233

          Language, in any shape or form, is a conglomeration of symbols.  What else is language?  When you say the word "table," it is a symbol for the object, not the object itself.  The same applies to the language of your personal unconscious mind.  It is just as possible to learn this language, as it is to learn any other language.  To know this language is infinitely more rewarding and more essential for your personal life than the knowledge of a dozen foreign languages, no matter how useful this may be.  Among the many things this path work accomplishes is  learning the language of your personal unconscious. PRS 8

What is the Word? 

The word in the creative agent.
The word is a blueprint.
The word is expression and creation.
The word in plan, knowledge, opinion.
The word is consciousness and energy.
The word is feeling, attitude, and intentionality.
The word is energizing force and design.
The word is the sun that creates the planets.
The word is a conglomerate of the above and more.


When you then write down your mood, your feelings, your reactions, you may be surprised and fascinated by what transpires. PRS 8


Suggested questions to help you uncover your NO current
From PRS 8

1. Which is the goal I want?   In what area of life am I dissatisfied?  What would I want to be different?
2. How much do I want to reach this goal?
3. To what extent is there something in me that does not want it?  That fears it?  That says no to it?  (Pinpoint in what way you feel it, where it manifests.)
4.  If this no current exists regarding the very thing I wish, it must also
     exist in the path work.  In what way does it manifest there?
5. In what areas in my daily life can I detect a similar no current?   Could it be that these other areas are, in a way, a substitute for the unfulfillment?  Where and how does a similar no current manifest there?

         These questions can hardly be answered in one stroke.  Observation over a period of time is necessary.  But, once the answers come, many missing links will fall into place.   The yes current must observe the no current.   Let this be your motto!    


Daily Review

Exercise: Keep a daily review (PL28) for one week focusing upon moments when you feel, sense, or think about something that makes no sense.  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 do I notice today about these moments (and their meaning) that I was unconscious of at the time? Notice any patterns.

5. Spend some time in meditation about how you feel about 'having' unconscious aspects within yourself. Are you afraid of what they will say, do, or reveal? How could you become more comfortable exploring such unconscious aspects?


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


A parable about consequences.
When memories sink into the unconscious mind
I am usually able to pull a few quotes out of an article that provide the flavor or message of it. "The Child in the Basement", a recent op-ed by David Brooks for The New York Times. was impossible to distill. Brooks is distilling a point from Ursula Le Guin's short story, "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas", so perhaps it is just impossible to double-distill it.

The parable of the Omelas describes the kinds of compromises we make in life, when we are unable to figure out morel alternatives. It is relevant to The Language of the Unconscious where, as children, we can't fully understand the consequences of our actions. Later, when we suspect that we may have acted badly, we may walk away from 'the child in the basement' -- increasing our guilt and shame.

Yet un-felt feelings and un-thought thoughts about being 'bad' don't go away: they sink into our unconscious and destroy our self-confidence. Sometimes the Language of the Unconscious is unpleasant to hear, because it calls us to look at work we don't want to do (see related article on 'Writing your way to Happiness' below). Yet we are not neither children nor helpless anymore. It may be time to remember, because we can do something for The Child in the Basement, and for ourselves -- because in spirit, we are all that child.

It's only 2 1/2 pages; click to read the full article:


Film Suggestions

Slomo: article and 17-minute video about surrendering to who you might be:

Seeing the Invisible; article and 6-minute puppet animation about how our view of the world was forever changed by the invention of the microscope in the late 1600's by a Dutch tradesman and scientist,  Antonie van Leeuwenhoek.

What Happened to the Milky Way?
For millions of people, the skies of our ancestors has become invisible:

Forbiddden Planet (1956)
A landmark sci-fi movie based on 'The Tempest';
a scientist's ignorance of his unconscious threatens everyone he loves. 
Ending segment 3 mins:

Read Online or Download
"Nightfall" by Issac Asimov 1941

A civilization's unconscious fears"If the stars were to appear but one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which they had seen." So goes the quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson that inspired editor John Campbell to pose it as a story idea to Isaac Asimov. The result was "Nightfall", acclaimed as the best short science fiction story of all time. Every thousand years, a world bathed by the perpetual light of six suns, experiences total darkness. Avoid the dreadful films (1988 and 2000). Original short story at: or


Looking for the 'Perfect' Valentine?

         â€œPeople think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then leave. A soul mates purpose is to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you have to transform your life, then introduce you to your spiritual master…”  â€•Elizabeth Gilbert  author 

          This Valentine's day, consider who might have acted as a 'true soul mate' to you this year. If a Valentine's day card isn't appropriate, why not a letter or email -- or a small, anonymous service or gift?


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