The teachings known as “the Pathwork Lectures” are possibly the best kept secret in personal and spiritual growth. They were channelled in the 1950s, 60s and 70s by a woman called Eva Pierrakos, and are attributed to an entity known only as the Guide. With amazing clarity and wisdom, they emphasise the need for honest self-examination on the path of self-realisation.
Eva Pierrakos was by all accounts a beautiful, intelligent, sensual and spirited woman.
Born in Vienna in 1915, she was the daughter of a well-known Austrian-Jewish novelist, Jacob Wassermann (1873-1934). In 1939, shortly before the Nazis entered Vienna, Eva (then Eva Broch) managed to leave Austria. For a while she lived in Switzerland, but later emigrated to the USA, settling in New York City.
The young Eva grew up among Vienna’s intellectual elite, with such figures as Herman Hesse, Thomas Mann and Rudolf Steiner popping round for dinner. She had no taste for the intellectual life, however, and much preferred physical pleasures such as dancing, skiing and sunbathing.
In her twenties, though, she suddenly discovered a gift for mediumship in the form of automatic writing. From that moment on she devoted herself to the development of her spiritual abilities.
Then one day while meditating, following advice received through her automatic writing, Eva entered a trance state from which her inner guidance manifested far more clearly. Thereafter she became a trance channel, one who mentally steps out of the way in order to allow a higher consciousness to speak directly.
Eva realised that spiritual channelling was her life task. By making a commitment to use her gift only for helping people, she eventually succeeded in becoming a channel for a highly developed spiritual consciousness that offered, through her, astonishing insights into the human condition and the spiritual path.
Eva always referred to the entity manifesting through her as “the Guide”. The Guide never identified itself, and pushed away inquiries of its identity.
In New York, the ballet benefactor Rebekah Harkness became Eva’s patron and set her up in a beautiful penthouse apartment on East 74th Street. There, in her living room, she would go into a trance and deliver channelled lectures or answer questions for all who came seeking, both in groups and in private consultations. She never advertised, trusting that those who came would be guided to come.
From 1957 to 1979, Eva and the Guide produced a series of 258 lectures. These offered profound concepts and tools to help us undertake the process of self-transformation. The lectures came to be known as the Pathwork Lectures or the Guide Lectures, and form the basis of the Pathwork approach.
In 1967 Eva met the psychiatrist John C. Pierrakos, and in 1971 they married. John was a Greek expatriate who, like her, had moved to the United States as World War II approached. He had been one of the founders of bioenergetics, a system of bodywork therapy based upon an understanding of how psychological energy blocks manifest in the body. Eva added some of the energy teachings to her own work and developed the Pathwork approach. In 1972 she opened the first Pathwork Center in the Catskill Mountains near Phonecia, New York. Eva’s husband went on to develop the Institute of Core Energetics.
Eva died in 1979. Since that time her work has been carried on by her students and here new Pathwork Centers have opened up not only in North America but also Europe, Africa, South America, and Australia.
There are many who seek a path to enlightenment or to God, but the Guide emphasises that the specific path we each take will be ours alone and cannot be laid out for us. There is no predefined programme which will turn you or me into an enlightened being. We each have to take responsibility for finding and following our own path.
In doing so, we become pathfinders.
Paradoxically, it is by recognising ourselves as “utterly and merely human” that we open up to the divine within, our Godself. Whatever prevents us from being joyous beings, full of energy and light, is in our own psyche. We have put it there, and only we can remove it.
This is why the path of spiritual evolution is really a path of self-discovery and self-purification. We find our own way, step by step, through our own personality towards ever greater spirituality.
According to the Guide, our everyday consciousness serves as a bridge between the highest and lowest parts of ourselves. We must turn our conscious attention to that which has become unconscious or hidden — our childish, self-centered and negative aspects. We must then turn our attention to our higher nature to help us heal and transform these lower aspects.
The Guide’s focus on confronting and transforming the darkness within distinguishes these teachings from many others. The Guide insists that the darkness within us cannot be glossed over, ignored, or suppressed. It has to be confronted, brought to light, and transformed.
I will be adding articles here based on specific topics in the Pathwork teachings.
The entire set of lectures is available in both plain text and PDF form at the Pathwork Foundation website.
Most people find that the lectures must be read slowly as they are so densely packed with insights and food for thought.
Many people (myself included) prefer a book in the hand to online reading. Fortunately, a number of books have been published which contain selections from the Guide’s lectures. These are highly recommended:
|The first published was Guide Lectures for Self-Transformation by Eva Pierrakos (1984).|
|The Pathwork of Self-Transformation by Eva Pierrakos (1990)|
|Fear No Evil: The Pathwork Method of Transforming the Lower Self by Eva Pierrakos and Donovan Thesenga (1993)|
|Creating Union: The Essence of Intimate Relationship by Eva Pierrakos and Judith Saly (2002)|
|Surrender to God Within: Pathwork at the Soul Level by Eva Pierrakos and Donovan Thesenga (1997)|
The Pathwork Foundation has an Internet site at www.pathwork.org.