PATHWORK: Happiness and the ‘Desire’ for Unhappiness

March 11, 2018 | By More

by Mary Gordon

What is happiness?  How do we find it?  What should we do to make ourselves happy?  What is it in life that brings happiness?

Our popular culture abounds with these questions.  The internet, books, talk TV are full of descriptions, discussions, suggestions, examples and even may offer ‘the key’ to happiness.  We long for happiness in our lives.  Yet it is fleeting at best, or just plain elusive.

Pathwork Lecture #58: The Desire for Happiness and the Desire for Unhappiness describes how our childhood concept of what happiness is becomes lodged in our unconscious.  In that form – that lives in every one of us – it is the basic condition that underlies our beliefs, our defenses, our confusion.  Our distorted concept of happiness takes us down the road of finding wrong solutions in our search.  We look either to our surrounding world – relationships, work, material circumstances, or we focus on ourselves – our appearance, our behaviour, our success, as the source of happiness.  We end up critiquing our circumstances or critiquing ourselves in order to make the changes that will, we hope, welcome happiness into our lives.

We may even decide that happiness is just not attainable. As a result, we may try to alleviate the resulting pain and hopelessness by – still out of awareness – telling ourselves to enjoy the unhappiness.  This is a pseudo solution that of course leads to more unhappiness.

Since these inner dynamics are mostly unconscious, the first step that can begin to shift our frustration is to delve into our misconceptions about happiness and bring them into awareness.

This is the topic for the next Pathwork Open Lecture on Wednesday, March 21, 2018 at Saint Paul University, 233 Main Street, 7 to 9 pm.  Using discussion of Pathwork Lecture #58 aided by a practical exercise, we will begin the process of inquiring into our black and white concept of happiness and unhappiness.

All are welcome.  There is a suggested donation of $15 for nonmembers; $5 for members.  Follow the signs to the room.

For more information, contact Jean: or 613-829-1254

Pathwork lectures are available for free download at

Category: Articles, Self Development

Comments are closed.