The Path Within
The Path Within
Harmful Programming and Doctrine To Experience Happiness and Harmony In Your Reality
The Path Within is an invitation to observe and transform the only person who can access and influence your life and your future: you! Filled with sound philosophy and practical examples, this book is the culmination of many client sessions and years of exploring how the human mind learns and is able to relearn its foundation of reality. With deeper understanding of this process, we are able to heal ourselves and effectively collaborate with the world and the reality of our lives.
This book provides a step-by-step program to transform the deep-rooted thought processes that limit our potential for happiness. It shows us how to find and create our own personal answers that lead to more rewarding interactions with life, overcoming the root causes that lead to depression, anxiety, and anger.
The Path Within does not tell you how to live your life. Instead, it helps you to objectively observe and remaster your old programming, giving you the power to change your life for good. As you progress through the chapters and integrate the exercises into your life, you rebuild your relationship with the world as an authentic sovereign being.
Chapter 20 - Anxiety
Excerpt from the book: The Path Within
Anxiety is an uncomfortable, over-alert state, where we feel ready to fight or run from the next possible threat, even though we have no idea what might be causing the threat – or if there even is any real danger.
Anxiety is usually triggered by a vague fear of the unknown, or a feeling that we are not up to the task of facing the challenges before us. It can manifest as feeling apprehensive of particular people or situations, or as a general sense of unease. Feeling anxious interferes with our ability to fully participate in life, as we are always anticipating that something unpleasant or dangerous will happen. The lack of engagement, vague worrying and irrational apprehension are symptoms that often lead to the clinical diagnoses of Anxiety or Panic Disorder.
The symptoms of Anxiety and Panic Disorder are often treated with medication, usually chemical neuro-suppressants. Unfortunately, while pharmaceutical treatments such as β-blockers may provide temporary relief or prevent an individual from inflicting self-harm, the root causes of these problems are difficult to address in the context of conventional medicine. Not because doctors don’t care, but because most physicians and psychiatrists simply do not have the time or training to explore what is underneath the symptoms and trace those symptoms back to their root causes. Even if following conventional psychotherapy is able to uncover the root causes of anxiety, the solution to ending it usually is not medical. In most cases, ending Anxiety or Panic Disorder requires either learning to interact with triggering situations in healthy ways, or healing the disconnect between the patient’s assumptions, beliefs and expectations and his or her actual reality. This work is not something a doctor is able to do for a patient.
If you are currently taking prescription medication for anxiety, please understand that it is important to keep taking your medication for safety reasons. Many medications create dependency and have debilitating withdrawal symptoms that must be managed appropriately. It can be dangerous to alter a prescribed medication without fully understanding the possible effects of that change. Only ask your doctor to change your prescription after you have successfully addressed the root causes of your anxiety.
Many people are apprehensive about working through their fears to release anxiety because they are worried that this type of processing work will require facing the past. This is a common concern, exacerbated by traditional images of therapists in TV shows and movies, but a largely unwarranted one. The techniques I describe in this book are gentle, permanent and largely concerned with the present and do not ravage your memory or make you depend on drugs to keep you in an artificial good mood.
Finding the root causes of your anxiety requires deep self-awareness. You need to be able to look at yourself and understand what creates your anxious reactions in order to stop them. Self-awareness comes from being willing to pay attention to your feelings, thoughts and reactions without judgment or shame – simply observing yourself. One gentle way to boost your self-awareness is to specifically observe how you interact with the people and environments around you.
As you explore the root causes of your anxiety, it is also important to discover if you have any underlying depression. Depression often pushes people to contract what I call theirhorizon of awareness; what they are able to hold in their awareness at any given time. The result of contracting your horizon of awareness is that you are only able to see limited aspects of reality and a lot more is left to the unknown, fear and anxiety. Once a contraction occurs, anxiety is a next likely response. It is important to deal with the root causes of your underlying depression to permanently prevent the reoccurring nature of anxiety.
In addition, understanding how and why you react to circumstances gives you insight and mind skills, this is also known as “learning your triggers.” Cultivating self-awareness and learning what provokes you, or “what your triggers are” increases your ability to prevent anxiety reactions. Being able to trust that you will respond appropriately in any situation gives you the freedom to re-engage in life and your relationships and ultimately will help you live an empowered, passionate, purposeful and meaningful life.
Embracing the feeling of uncertainty can help us grow. When we have too much orderliness in our lives we tend to seek out adventure and even chaos, sometimes unconsciously. Overcoming uncertainty and learning to face the unknown helps us feel alive and challenged and makes us feel that our contributions matter to the world.
When our uncertainty is manageable we may still feel stress, but this is a type of stress that supports our growth. This “healthy stress” keeps us from feeling apathetic or bored. Even fear can be helpful sometimes, as it alerts us to valuable and potentially life-saving information about our internal and external environments. When our uncertainty becomes unmanageable, however, our bodies go into an anxiety response.
Anxiety is distinctly different from fear. While fear is triggered by sensing an actual threat, anxiety, on the other hand, is a reaction to our fear of POSSIBLE danger, not actual danger. When we feel threatened by something anonymous and intangible we are incapable of actually preparing for it, because we do not know what preparations to make. This sense of helplessness and frustration can squelch our ability to think creatively, solve problems, or function in any kind of rational way. Helplessness and irrational fear ensue and produce stressful discomfort and agitation in the body and confusion and tension in the mind.
The immediate antidote to anxiety is to focus on what is actually happening in the Here and Now. This refocuses your attention inside your horizon of awareness, which changes your body state in a quick and reliable way. Practicing the following exercise counteracts anxiety reactions and can also calm the underlying irrational fear reaction.
Freeing yourself from the whirlpool of anxiety starts by focusing inside your horizon of awareness. Your horizon of awareness contains only sensations, feelings and perceptions that are based on reality in the Here and Now. Focusing inside your horizon of awarenesshelps keep your attention centered on what is real and present rather than letting your mind stray to imagined possible dangers.
I use the following exercise very successfully with my clients. Its origins are very simple and logical. By having clearly defined the common elements of anxiety, I was able to design an exercise which helps us release our “mind identification” – the belief that what we think is our reality. This exercise has now been adopted by mental health professionals and emergency physicians and can be an effective alternative to avert anxiety for those who are unable or unwilling to reach for anti-anxiety drugs right away.
As with all tools, it only works if you use it. Practice this exercise frequently and it will be easier to return to reality if you find yourself slipping into anxiety.
Moving away from anxiety and fear.
- Start by taking yourself to an environment where you have fewer sensory inputs. That might mean going into a particular room, or simply closing your eyes for a few moments.
- Begin to breathe deeply and connect to your senses. Use all your physical senses to become aware of what is “real” in the Here and Now. With your eyes closed or open, see, smell, hear, experience the sensations inside your body, taste and touch.
Now note three sense perceptions, such as, “I see the book,” “I hear my breath,” or “I can still taste my breakfast”. Three things is all it takes. Please use three different senses for this exercise.
- Next bring three things to mind for which you are grateful– nothing complex, just simple things that spark your gratitude.
Now note these in your mind also, while still tracking the notes from step 2. State the gratitude positively. Instead of “I’m not hungry” say “I’m feeling satisfied.” Use readily available and simple things such as: “I’m grateful for being alive” or “I’m grateful for having a friend.” Anything will work for this exercise; it is the mindset that counts.
- Now, still keeping track of the three senses you noted and the three thoughts of gratitude, ask yourself this question: “IN THIS MOMENT, what is missing?”
Note: The answer that arises from inside yourself at the moment you ask this question will always be “nothing.” If you feel that something is missing, then you have allowed your mind to wander to a past or future time, or a place outside of your direct awareness. Refocusing on the Here and Now will be facilitated by the fact that your mind is already focusing on awareness and gratitude and paying very little attention to What Isn’t.
Practicing this exercise frequently will make it easier to return to the Here and Now at the times you need it most – when you are in an anxious state.
- When you are aware of the Here and Nowyou stop focusing on the gap between reality and your expectations of reality. If you are aware of What Is rather than What Isn’t you are open and receptive to life as it comes – not caught in your fears of what might happen or even your hopes of what you wish were happening. When you feel most connected to the present moment is when you are in a place of full acceptance.
- Also, awarenesstakes the place of thought. And since thought is what causes fear, practicing this exercise also helps to reduce the amount of fear we experience.
- All fearand worry is about the future. When your awareness is focused on the present you are incapable of thinking about the future. Your fear is not able to take hold of your thoughts when your awareness is rooted in the present moment.
- Anxietyis a reaction to the possibility of a threat that is outside your awareness. Being present with your primary senses of touch, smell, sight and hearing anchors you within your horizon of awareness.
- Your mind cannot keep track of more than four or five immediate and specific things at the same time. Therefore focusing your mind on six awarenesses at once requires all your concentration and reduces the ability to think about What Isn’t. This provides a pathway for you to return to peace in the present moment.
Something interesting that you might notice when using this exercise is that each moment is complete unto itself. The Universe creates and maintains harmony in every moment and every place. It is only outside of the Here and Now that imperfection can be constructed, but outside of Here and Now is only an illusion. We may not like the current harmony of life and may even wish for something outside the Here and Now. But only if we allow ourselves to feel and accept the harmony of the moment can we realise that it is a complete moment.
When concentrating on each item in the exercise, be aware of What Is and release What Isn’t. For example, “I’m grateful that I’m not sick” is focusing on What Isn’t. Instead, focus onWhat Is, such as “I am grateful I am healthy.” You get more of what you focus on and focusing on “not being sick” keeps you more connected to the sickness than health.
Chapter 36 - The Power and Reward of Vulnerability
Chapter 36 – The Power and Reward of Vulnerability
Excerpt from the book:The Path Within
As we grow up many of us learned that vulnerability is a form of weakness and that we must keep our guards up against others who might exploit us. While this fear-based advice may have been a well-meaning attempt to protect you, it may have made you too guarded. If you now have your guard up against everything, you are unable to interact with the world in a way that is emotionally rewarding to you. Raising your emotional guards won’t protect you but it will imprison you.
In addition to creating resistance against the world around you, raising your guard causes you to begin to fear what might be outside this wall of resistance and as you participate less with the outside world, you begin to construct fearful, suspicious assumptions about it. You begin to imagine that your fear comes from the external Universe and you conclude it to be harmful by nature. This is a perfect recipe for anxiety.
As we navigate our lives, we come to learn that when you push someone, they tend to push back. When you fight, there is vengeance. We incorrectly assume that the Universe is also capable of vengeance and might harm us when we become vulnerable. The Universe doesn’t actually work this way; when you stop fighting the reality of the Universe, it doesn’t retaliate. Instead it actually embraces you and collaborates with you.
Becoming vulnerable to the Universe is the ultimate sign of strength, not weakness. Interacting authentically and vulnerably is how we relate with the Universe in a way that lacks all pretense and is ultimately freeing and rewarding.
Making Decisions That Count
Part of Chapter 27 – Laws of Self-Preservation
Excerpt from the book: The Path Within
Do you find yourself wondering if you’re making the right choices in your life? How do you decide how to proceed without knowing which options are wasted efforts in the long run?Making decisions that count can be difficult when you don’t know what to focus on. There are so many options; it can be difficult to decide what choices will work out for you in the future. We don’t know the future, so the answer to this question isn’t black and white. But there’s a lot we can do to help us make choices which will support our future outcomes.
We often choose the easiest route forward; we choose easy over difficult. But making choices based on a low level of difficulty leads to boredom and lack of motivation when it comes to taking action and staying focused on our goals along the way. Choosing more complex routes to achieving our goals isn’t motivating either as our mind, given the choice, wants to pursue the most efficient route.
So how do you choose from the many possible routes you can take and not lose your motivation along the way? The answer is quite simple. Choose options that are either Interesting, Important or Fun. Choices based on interest, importance or the reward of joy remain engaging throughout. They keep you highly motivated, focused, challenged and participating regardless of how difficult the execution is.
A few years ago, I was assisting a university student to choose the courses he wanted to invest his time and energy in. He was frustrated that his previous year was marred in procrastination. He had difficulty finishing any task, however small and had no motivation to stay on track. His choices were made difficult by the fact that he wasn’t sure what career he was going to pursue and without a clear image of his future, he became reluctant in his choices. He started selecting courses that sounded easy to complete; some because he already knew the subject matter and others because his friends were taking these courses as well. He was already predicting another year of unrewarding work that he would find difficult to overcome without motivation to finish the course.
When I asked him to highlight the courses which were Important, Interesting or Fun in different coloured highlighters, he was surprised to find a clear overlap in course material. This little exercise helped him choose courses which kept his focus and motivation, even through tough times. As the year progressed, he remained motivated and in the following year he found a niche in the financial industry which had previously been obscure to him. He was able to connect with his personal reasons for wanting to finish the courses and became so focused on what he wanted it accelerated his progress.