Welcome!

The Pathways to Liberation project was started in 2008 by Jacob Gotwals, Jack Lehman, and Jim and Jori Manske.  View our self-assessment matrix, read more about our project, or read our latest blog postings below.

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Avoiding Fundamentalism in Spiritual Practice

When we're in community with others who are enthusiastic about a particular approach to life, it's possible to fall into a kind of fundamentalism in which we limit ourselves to viewing life through the lens of that approach. I experienced this myself when I was learning Nonviolent Communication (NVC). In this article, I describe my experience of fundamentalism, I explore how fundamentalism can follow from the stories we hold about our spiritual practices, and I suggest how we can translate these stories so we can maintain our open-mindedness, awareness, and flexibility as we participate in spiritual community. (read more)
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Observing, Interpreting, and Experiencing in Conflict Resolution and Personal Growth

Making observations, interpreting, and experiencing are three ways of approaching experience. Let's see how they relate to conflict resolution, personal growth, and spiritual growth. (read more)
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Jim’s take on Presence

Presence For me, if there is one skill underlying all of the others presented in these pathways to liberation, it is presence.  Without presence, we can not deliberately engage the other skills because we lack real-time awareness; similarly, the practice of the other skills support the cultivation of presence.  Presence is the foundational skill of maintaining moment by moment awareness of our unique personal human experience.   With insufficient presence, our “aliveness” falters and suffering (read more)
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More About Jacob

Please see my website for more info.

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More About Jack

I was born ’47 in an Italian neighborhood, which was turning into a black one, within view of the Statue of Liberty.  My Dad was a mortar gunner in Patton’s 4th Armored Division. His experiences in combat and of course his own childhood prior to it, made violence a major theme in my childhood.  Fighting was glorified, anger and violence were modeled, and dogmatic theology was promulgated. At the age of 16 looking for a way out of my home environment as well as some answers to “what’s (read more)
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More About Jim

I arrived on Terra in the middle of the 20th Century, living my early years in the "deep South" (Smyrna, GA). I enjoyed a life of middle class privilege, taking for granted that all of my needs would be met.  The railroad tracks that cleaved my neighborhood from the African-American children who went to separate and unequal schools subtly scarred my consciousness in ways I continue to discover.  Life in Smyrna was “protected”, and I feel mourning about what I missed by not being exposed to (read more)
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More About Jori

There are a variety of points of view from which to write an account of the uniqueness of one’s life. I am sharing some events and values here that appear to be significantly transformational to me. If you are interested... (read more)
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