The Pathwork teachings say that “every personality forms certain impressions due to environmental influences or to sudden, unexpected experiences. These impressions or attitudes usually take the form of conclusions in the mind of the person. Most of the time these conclusions are wrong. You see and experience something unfortunate, one of the unavoidable hardships of life, and you then make generalizations from them.” We call these wrong conclusions images. They cause a great deal of the hardship and lack of fulfillment that a person experience in life. One of the main practices of the Pathwork is to try to uncover these images and then, dissolve them.
The wrong conclusions that form an image are drawn from ignorance and half-knowledge and thus they cannot remain in the conscious mind. As the personality grows up, your intellectual knowledge contradicts your emotional “knowledge.” You therefore push down the emotional knowledge until it disappears from consciousness. The more emotional knowledge is hidden, the more potent the image becomes.
How can you be sure that such images exist in you? In the first place, your inability to
overcome certain faults, no matter how much you want to, indicates that an image exists. I have sometimes mentioned that people love some of their faults. How and why would they love them? For the simple reason that according to the image, certain faults seem necessary as a defense, a protective measure. This, of course, is unconscious reasoning. The conscious effort to overcome the fault remains fruitless because the roots of the image are unconscious and the whole inner reasoning process is hidden from the intellect. And it will remain so until the image is recognized.
Another indication of an image is the repetition of certain incidents in one’s life. An image always forms some sort of pattern, whether it is a behavior pattern in response to certain occasions, or events that seem to happen to you without your doing anything to invite them. In fact, consciously you may fervently wish for the very opposite of your image. But the conscious desire is the weaker of two impulses, since the unconscious is always stronger. The unconscious does not realize that its attitude prohibits the very wish you consciously express but cannot fulfill. The price for your unconscious pseudo-protection is the frustration of the legitimate desire. This is very important to understand, my friends; it is equally important to understand that people and events can be drawn to a person as if to a magnet on account of such inner images. This may be difficult for you to see, but it is so. The only remedy is to find out what your image is, on what basis it was formed, and what your wrong conclusions were.
Often you do not notice the repetitive pattern in your life, my friends. You pass over the obvious. You still keep assuming that certain occurrences are due to coincidence or that some arbitrary fate is testing you, or that other people are responsible for your repeated mishaps. You therefore pay much more attention to the slight variations of each incident than to the common denominator underlying them.
The practice: meditate on the repetition of unpleasant or unwelcome incidents in your life. This may be a clue to where you might find an image which has prevented you from growing and realizing your full potential. Exposing, recognizing, and coming to terms with the image will be a valuable key to growth and positive change.