On Coming Out of the Vicious Circle

“For quite a long while at the beginning of the path, it seems as though you are going around in circles, always encountering the same scenery, apparently not moving from the spot you started from. This would be discouraging if you didn’t know that it is an illusion. Actually, you are moving on, and the circle is what I call “the spiral.”  This is an inevitable experience on the path.

All your faults, errors, ignorances, and their complexities create one big vicious circle in your soul. This circle consists of individual faults which affect and interact with one another and cause a chain reaction. To break this vicious circle, you have to understand thoroughly the individual faults that constitute your vicious circle. You have to concentrate on one after the other so as to find the link of cause and effect within your circle. The whole circle cannot possibly be understood completely from having made the round only once. When you complete the first round, you start again. Each time you start again, you gain a slightly profounder understanding of the various highlights and individual points in the circle until eventually you see the whole circle in your mind and understand the interdependence of all your negative qualities. Then you will cease to experience your faults as unconnected. Until you reach this perspective, you have to repeat the round often. At the beginning this seems to you like senseless repetition, lacking in progress. It is not!  Without going through this most important part on the path you cannot become free and reach the light. Thus the circle becomes a spiral leading upward very gradually.

Some of you may think you know your faults already. This will be so only to the extent you have been active on the path. You may know some of your faults, but others you have not yet discovered. As I have said before, there is a vast difference between knowing and knowing. To what depth do you know?  How much can you connect your faults with your good qualities?  And your faults with each other?  Can you really grasp and understand your fears, insecurities, and complexes from the point of view of your faults in relation to their deviation from the divine laws?  Until you reach such understanding, you must go around and around in your particular vicious circle.

By now you know that all faults come from pride, self-will, and fear. It is essential that you see and feel how each and every one of your faults derives from one or all of these three basic faults. Find the common denominator. This is not easy if you are to understand it emotionally. For that you have to go through the faults and their connections step by step, again and again; you have to follow the vicious circle through until you grasp it well enough so that you can break it at one point. Every time you conclude one round and start the next, you follow an upward-winding spiral. At the beginning the upward slant is so slight that you do not even notice it. But later on, you will clearly feel that every time you start anew, you have gained a profounder insight into your problems, and you will not be discouraged anymore by an apparent standstill.

At the very beginning you do not know or feel that there is such a vicious circle in you. You experience such confusion that you do not even know where to begin. Although you know some of your faults and all of your outer problems, you cannot as yet connect the one with the other. That is the most difficult part at the beginning. Everything within yourself is still disorganized. You do not know where to begin, what to hold on to. The moment you focus your attention on one complexity or problem, other things come up that apparently have no connection, and you become confused. Only self-discipline and perseverance will get you to the point when you finally can see the whole picture of the vicious circle, how one defect is caused by another in a chain reaction. When you get to the point of clarity, you are moving into a major phase. You must not get discouraged when at first the disorganization is so great that you do not know where or how to start. After a while everything will no longer be running like sand through your fingers. You will have something definite to hold on to, a clear picture of this cycle.

The vicious circle consists of a multiplicity of character defects which, at various points, will draw together and show you major problems that can be looked at and worked with. When you progress further, you will find one major point that is the key to your entire personality and to all your problems. You must find that key yourself, and you must do it through your own labor. To tell it to you would not do you any good.”

– Eva Pierrakos, Prayer, Pathwork Lecture #36

3 Great Discoveries [January 2019]

1. Eva Pierrakos – The Pathwork of Self-Transformation

A phenomenal book which describes a clear and practical way to understand our conditioned behaviors, our longings and needs and our wounding from a spiritual perspective. And so so much more.

“Under such headings as “The Idealized Self-Image”, “The Forces of Love, Eros and Sex”, “Real and False Needs”, and “The Spiritual Meaning of Crisis”, the Pathwork outlines the entire process of personal spiritual development. Unlike many over-idealized philosophies, the Pathwork confronts our devils as well as our angels, our all-too-human failings and petty ego concerns as well as our divine strengths. It shows us how to accept ourselves fully as we are now, and then to move beyond the negativity, or “lower self”, that blocks our personal and spiritual evolution. It offers a practical, rational and honest way to reach our deepest creative identity.”

Image result for eva pierrakos pathwork

2. Terrace House

Terrace House is a Japanese Netflix show where 6 strangers – 3 boys and 3 girls – are given a shared place to live in and two cars with no script of what to do. They are filmed every day and an episode is produced each week that the 6 strangers live there (ranging from 25 minutes to 45 minutes). The people living in Terrace House are between 18 and 30 something years old. When a boy leaves, he is replaced by another boy, when a girl leaves, she is replaced by another girl. In addition to this, there is commentary about the events of the week provided by the show hosts who analyze what is happening and note on the dynamics between the people living there.

I know this may appear trivial compared to #1, but I find it not only enjoyable but educational as well. I find it really interesting to see how the 6 people relate to each other, to understand their motivations for acting the way they do, and to see some beautiful displays of character. It is an excellent exercise in understanding psychology and for compassionately observing people’s conflicts and patterns of behavior. It’s wonderful to watch how they try to help each other and how they intervene when they feel one of the people living there is doing something wrong, usually not to blame them, but to help them overcome their limitations or shortcomings. Of course, there are situations where some conflicts cannot be easily reconciled and you can see how some people are falling into bad behaviors despite themselves.

This show offers a seriously great opportunity for the study of character. It’s like it becomes clear how the little things evolve into big developments. I love it and I seriously recommend it!

Image result for terrace house

3. The BlackPilled YouTube Channel

BlackPilled is a YouTube channel held by Devon Stack where he does social and political commentary through making analogies with movies. His videos have been a real highlight for me lately, I’ve been excited about getting YouTube notifications for them.

Usually in his videos he analyzes one particular well-known movie and he identifies the propaganda that is subtly placed in the narrative. He links his findings with the social and political developments in the world and he makes a connection between how the ideas that are symbolically represented in the movies influence the thinking patterns of society and help produce social changes that are intended and planned in advance.

Moreover, he makes parallels with mythical and mystical ideas as well, offering great insights on the intentions of the director/script writer. Great content, I recommend it!

As an example, see this analysis of the movie Pleasantville below. It’s rather long, but it’s worth it!