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.
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The Path Within
Break Through Harmful Programming and Doctrine to Experience Happiness and Harmony in Your Reality
By Anthony Santen
Balboa PressCopyright © 2015 Anthony Santen
All rights reserved.
What Came First?
Let's begin this journey inward with an age old riddle: which came first - the chicken or the egg? Hidden in this simple question is a profound metaphor that provides clues to understanding our existence.
Path Within Foundations starts with this conundrum because I believe that exploring this seemingly unanswerable question may provide a doorway to connect with this material through experiential mental participation.
So, to examine the question of the chicken and the egg; if one must precede the other, then what started the cycle? This question highlights a fundamental thought pattern that we may all need to re-examine. That is, the idea that everything is causal: the belief that everything is caused by something else. While every action has a reaction, not everything happens for a reason. Many things are caused, some things are created and other things can simply be attributed to magic, which we'll discuss in depth later in the book.
With the awareness that not everything has a cause in mind, the answer to this riddle is that one was not created before the other. Over time, they co-created each other. At no time was there suddenly a chicken or egg. They evolved together, as they needed each other to continue the evolution of the species.
This understanding is the first step on our path and we will apply it to understanding ourselves. If the chicken and egg evolved concurrently, what about the brain and the mind? The brain is the physical flesh and blood organ in our heads, which processes our perceptions of the world and interacts with our bodies. The mind is our non-physical reality of thoughts, identity, intellect, imagination, perceptions and all that we understand as our selves. At any given time we harbor many a thought and we accommodate these thoughts and processes with our relatively large brains. But did we always have such large brains? Did we always have so many thoughts and processes to accommodate? Just like the chicken and the egg, over the course of human evolution, our minds and brains also co-created each other. In fact, mind patterns, self-talk and repeated behaviours have been shown to physically alter our neural networks. And the brain as a self-regulating, self-modifying organ continues to evolve in co-creativity with the mind; to have an influence over the way we think, how we remember and the ways we behave. Our moods, our illusions and the reality around us persistently interact with us, influencing the physical makeup of our neural networks, which in turn assist our minds to perceive, learn, etc.
If a Tree
To more deeply explore our super power of self-observation, I would like to invite you into one more question you may have heard before, but that has often been poorly examined:
"If a tree falls in the forest and there's no one there to hear it, does it still make a sound?"
Please observe yourself thinking about the solution to this interesting question without looking at the answer below just yet. Some might argue that a physical object that normally creates a sound when it falls still makes that sound on impact with the ground. Others might argue that our ears create the experience by converting air-pressure and the impact of vibration on our ear drums into what we call "sound," and without our ears there is nothing to make the sound in the first place. Even others have spent hours convincing me that reality is created by the perceiver and if there is no one in the forest, then the forest does not exist. This would mean that without the observer the tree does not exist, either and non-existing trees don't make perceivable sounds.
Clearly, opinions differ when you approach this question as something that can only be answered with a "Yes" or "No." But there is simply no yes or no conclusion to this riddle and these various viewpoints obscure a deeper philosophical challenge:
"If there's no one to hear the tree fall, does it matter?"
Maybe it matters that a tree fell. Not only is the tree no longer standing and growing, but its demise could have an impact on the entire ecosystem of the forest, etc. But to concentrate on the actual question – if there is no observer, is there a reason for the sound? The sound in this riddle was created for the observer and removing the observer removes the reason for the question, regardless of the existence of the sound.
There are many lessons in this little riddle, some of which give us insight into deeper truths. It especially highlights how we tend to project meaning onto otherwise simple experiences.CHAPTER 2
The Hippocampus – The Stage of Life
When a human's mission is to evolve and grow, then surely we can only grow when we are in reality? Initially this may seem true, but upon further examination it becomes clear that learning through the use of our virtual reality is faster, more efficient and less messy. But growing through an imaginary world only provides us with imaginary results. Our only hope of creating real results comes through learning from and growing through real world situations. Yet our super power is meta-cognition, it gives us the opportunity to learn and grow at an accelerated pace by using our imagination. The answer to our evolution seems to be a collaboration of the two worlds; reality and imagination.
In order to understand how we learn, we need to take a fresh look at how we perceive and construct reality. The mechanics of perception are a clue to the complex ways by which we obtain and process information from the outside world. How we obtain and process information from our internal and external environments determines how we experience and understand our reality.
Let's examine these mechanics of perception briefly: we have sensors for light, sound, touch and the other senses and we process the inputs from these sensors into cohesive images in our imaginations. Then we observe and further process these images in our amazing brains and comprehend them in our amazing minds. While this explanation is true in essence, reality is actually much more complex than this simplified version would suggest.
Our eyes, for instance, do not see complete images. They see light intensity and colours and our stereoscopic vision (two eyes in the front of our heads) allows us to perceive depth and distance. While this is a masterpiece of nature, what we see is much more than what our eyes perceive. Only after the visual cortex of the brain processes the information taken in by the eyes do we "see" shapes. Then our brains further process those shapes into images. Look at any thing and you'll be convinced you are looking at the entire object, even though you can only see part of it. In actuality, we only imagine a world filled with complete, three-dimensional objects.
For instance, look at your hand. You can see the front or the back of your hand, but never both sides at the same time. Yet you perceive the hand as a whole object. How does this work, if we can only see part of the picture?
The Stage of Life
The hippocampus is a repository of processed images, thoughts, concepts and other fragments of reality. We hold a model of the world and ourselves within this world, as representations on a stage in our minds. Upon this stage of life the world is three-dimensional. It is perfectly fine to receive mostly two-dimensional, stereoscopic, partial information from the world around us, because the mind simply combines the information it already knows with the information that is being observed to create a complete scene upon this stage. And because the mind is the filter through which we experience reality, our entire world is this stage.
If you look at your hand, you don't perceive a flat partial image; you believe you are looking at all of your hand - including the parts that are hidden from view. You might even unconsciously turn your hand over to reacquaint yourself with the other side, without realizing you were not actually seeing that side until you turned your hand. The image in your mind and the image that you see are distinctly different! You see only part of your hand, yet your mind creates an experience of seeing your entire hand when you look at it.
The mechanics of this are completely transparent to us, but unless you think about it you could easily believe that you are looking at a whole hand - even though that is impossible.
Blanks and the Closed Box
So, how are you filling in the blanks of your knowledge?
Your brain is housed in the skull; a closed box. It relies completely on the information it has gathered about the world through sensory input from a diverse set of tools including the eyes, ears, nose, etc. But this information is only used indirectly. The brain employs an ingenious mechanism of assembling the various partial inputs into a coherent picture using a temporary memory store. The temporary memory store is called the hippocampus and it functions as the scratch pad of the mind.
Instead of perceiving reality directly, our brains assemble the characters, images and thoughts by temporarily storing these partial inputs in the hippocampus as if they were placed on a staging area of the brain. This stage functions as a multi-media platform that represents our perception of reality, resembling perhaps a holographic projection of the world around us. We use this space to "create" a representation of the world around us, yet this cached version of what we observed and assembled is but a staged copy of our reality, augmented with "what we already know" about the impressions we have gathered: partial information is therefore enough to create the total complexity of this staged image. We simply fill in the gaps where our observation was lacking.
This hippocampal space actually exists in your brain. In fact, we all observe reality via this mechanism.
We may only observe only around 20% of actual reality, but that is enough to create a functional model of reality. The other 80% of this perceived reality is composed of assumptions, educated guesses, related thoughts, constructs and outright hallucinations. We use this information to play out reality in a way that matches what we know and can therefore, more easily comprehend. And then, we use it to start predicting the future! Actually, right away and with only partial information, we start predicting many futures!
Safe or Danger?
Our limbic brain understands that "same is safe" and "different is dangerous"–and errs on the side of caution and fear. And it seems as if we interpret the information we observe, much of it from sources outside of reality, as biased towards possible harm. This is an ancient protective mechanism that serves to ensure our survival.
Much of the information we process is imagined, deducted, or constructed. If we interpret each initial construct as negative and then deduct our next thoughts based on this negative outcome, we're bound to spiral into only one direction; negative thought. No wonder many of us battle such negative and even threatening thought patterns! No wonder we can have such negative views of the world! When we focus only on survival and disallow any possible stagnation or regress in our lives, then we remain focused on fear and possible threat. This means that we augment our observations of the world with mental projection that perpetuates this fearful perspective, keeping us in a highly alert state that robs us of our energy reserves.
Did you know that we have a huge influence on how threatening we perceive the world around us to be, by how we interpret and augment the reality we observe?
All we must do to alleviate most of our experience of feeling consistently under threat is to:
1. Understand that 80% of the observation is internally constructed and influenced by our thoughts, habits, beliefs and behaviours.
2. Observe the information with clear perception and make a conscious effort to separate the assumptions, hallucinations, lies and augmentations from our true awareness of the present moment.
3. Shift the focus from negative influences to positive influences for the augmentation, or filter through which we view reality (the assumptions, educated guesses and related thoughts we add to our observations of reality), to encourage your perception of the observed experience to be viewed in terms of possibility, rather than threat or detriment.
Interestingly, how we react to our experiences is based on the way we habitually filter reality. Our filters even begin to influence the outcome of the very reality we're experiencing. As our experiences and our reactions to these experiences are interactive with the experiences themselves, we are able to direct our outcomes and better influence the paths of our futures just by looking at the possibilities of a situation, rather than focusing only on its problems.
It is the hippocampus that is used to assemble our predictions, intuitions and the information we gather through temporarily living in and observing this "virtual reality," and to create a "staged experience." We can co-create a more positive experience of each moment by mindfully shifting our focus, using tools such as guided imagery, meditation, positive affirmations and hypnosis. These tools can be useful in adjusting our perceptions and therefore can indirectly influence the outcomes of our experiences by instilling suggestive direction for the filters we use while completing our "staged experience."
I would like to take a moment to examine the aspect of our super power, the part that makes our intuition and prediction possible, the "engine" of our super power: construction. This engine is what fabricates, deducts and predicts, using memories, guesses, beliefs and assumption as mortar between the bricks upon which we build our foundations of reality. Construction is the way for our brains to connect the dots between what we already hold to be true and complete our images of reality. In the simplest form, construction is imagination or assumption. When we have some knowledge but do not have the full information, we simply make up the rest!
The process of construction is even more complicated than it might at first appear. Once we fabricate a construction, we use the constructed "conclusion" as the foundation for new thought. We create new assumptions, new deductions, new perceived truths based on constructed conclusions – and so on. Noticing this process as it happens is not as easy as it might seem. Most of the embedded reality we rely on for comparison and evaluation is based on either construction or dogma: our perception of life based on beliefs we have either previously constructed ourselves or adopted from others' constructed beliefs, assumptions and teachings.
Our brains' prediction systems are so well evolved that most of our awareness is filtered through these constructions. Our mind produces "what if" scenarios at lightning speed and new possible deductions, opportunities and fears are created from what seems to be otherwise reasonably ordinary circumstances. Our lives have become rich in construction and poor in reality. We live in a dangerously virtual world, made up primarily of imagination, dreams, pre-programmed belief systems, externally imposed values and rigid morality.
We seem so obsessed with understanding everything that we fill in the very reality we observe with illusion and construction. We might better understand this obsession with knowing, labeling and judging if we explore the feeling of discomfort that arises when we have incomplete information. We fear the unknown because it might be dangerous and quickly fabricate the missing information in order to make sense of our world and feel secure in thinking that we now understand the circumstances in which we find ourselves. This illusion of understanding allows us to be better prepared for the possible dangers of the unknown and even help assist in the creation of opportunities that would give us advantage over others.
The information we construct in an attempt to quench our fear of not-knowing is comprised of various fabrications with both benign and harmful possible outcomes. At some level we know we are living in an illusion that may not completely match reality and so we look at our constructions with discernment and suspicion. This makes us err on the side of caution in the construction process and primarily construct the negative outcomes first, often leaving no room for positive ones.
Construction can be a wonderful way of complementing an incomplete reality so that we can have some semblance of comfort, but the answers we fabricate usually prove to be a poor and hurried substitute for the often slower and more genuine answer that result from curiosity. We're not usually in immediate danger and might better benefit from taking the time to create more beneficial meanings by remaining open to possibilities within our realities. When we maintain a positive attitude when presented with a new observation and stay curious when parts of the puzzle are still missing, it is easier to create these beneficial meanings and even more positive outcomes. Remaining positive and inquisitive contributes directly to our ability to experience calmness, happiness, resourcefulness and peacefulness.
Excerpted from The Path Within by Anthony Santen. Copyright © 2015 Anthony Santen. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 – What is The Path Within Program About?, 1,
Chapter 2 – Book Structure, 11,
Chapter 3 – Purpose / Mission, 16,
Chapter 4 – Shaping the Journey of Life, 26,
Chapter 5 – Are You Ready for The Path Within?, 29,
Chapter 6 – The Path Within Is NOT for You If, 31,
PART 1: PATH WITHIN FOUNDATIONS, 33,
Chapter 1 – What Came First?, 35,
Chapter 2 – The Hippocampus – The Stage of Life, 38,
Chapter 3 – You and "The Problem", 47,
Chapter 4 – Competing with God, 51,
Chapter 5 – What Isn't to What Is, 53,
Chapter 6 – Fear Is Healthy, 56,
Chapter 7 – Why Do We Fear?, 58,
Chapter 8 – Axiom of Fear, 62,
Chapter 9 – Guilt, Shame and Blame: Moving Beyond Laziness, 65,
Chapter 10 – Simple Truth, 70,
Chapter 11 – How We Store Memories, 74,
Chapter 12 – Mind/Brain Healing Response Cycles, 78,
Chapter 13 – Anger – A Feeling?, 84,
Chapter 14 – Anger Escalation in Relationship, 88,
Chapter 15 – Anxiety, 91,
Chapter 16 – Depression, Grieving and Sadness, 100,
Chapter 17 – The Amazing Brain, 106,
Chapter 18 – Sleep and Depression, 110,
Chapter 19 – Strategies for Effective Depression, 118,
PART 2: PATH WITHIN SESSIONS, 125,
FIRST THRESHOLD – UNDERSTAND, 129,
Chapter 1 – Accepting Responsibility, 131,
Chapter 2 – The Truth about Happiness, 138,
Chapter 3 – The Origin of Happiness, 143,
Chapter 4 – The Basic Rules of Happiness, 145,
Chapter 5 – Defining Happiness, 147,
Chapter 6 – The Happiness Experience, 149,
Chapter 7 – Finding Bliss, 156,
Chapter 8 – Laws of Self Preservation, 159,
Chapter 9 – Assumptive Life, 184,
Chapter 10 – Negative Thinking, 192,
Chapter 11 – Effective Self-Talk, 196,
SECOND THRESHOLD – EMBODY, 203,
Chapter 12 – Focus – Where Your Focus Goes, Your Life Goes, 205,
Chapter 13 – Giving It 110%, 209,
Chapter 14 – The Hierarchy of Motivation, 213,
Chapter 15 – Strategy: Making Anything Better, 223,
Chapter 16 – Strategy: Forgetting How, 229,
Chapter 17 – Strategy: Forgetting Why, 230,
Chapter 18 – The Three Skills: Connecting to Self, 231,
Chapter 19 – Action before Choice, 239,
Chapter 20 – Re-choice is Progress, 240,
Chapter 21 – The Power and Reward of Vulnerability, 241,
THIRD THRESHOLD – RELATE, 243,
Chapter 22 – Lean into the Direction of Resistance, 245,
Chapter 23 – The Power of Resistance, 250,
Chapter 24 – Strategy: Becoming Sovereign, 255,
Chapter 25 – Strategy: Changing Behaviours, 257,
Chapter 26 – Human Needs Psychology, 260,
Chapter 27 – Forgiveness: An Act of Power, 265,
Chapter 28 – Bestowing Trust, 268,
Chapter 29 – Deserving Reward, 270,
Chapter 30 – Circle of Potential, 272,
Chapter 31 – Being Yourself, 275,
Chapter 32 – Identities and Belief Systems, 279,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite The Path Within: Break Through Harmful Programming and Doctrine To Experience Happiness and Harmony In Your Reality is a non-fiction, self-help book written by Anthony Santen. The author is a counselor and holistic health practitioner who has developed The Path Within System, based on his studies and his work with patients over the last twenty years. In this book, he introduces the reader to that program and explains the ways that one can approach and work through the concepts and exercises that are contained therein. Santen offers alternative ways of looking at depression and illness, and shares his skepticism of the prevailing pharmacological approach to treating illness. Towards the end of the book, Santen includes links for guided meditation, a bibliography and a complete index. I wasn't really sure what Anthony Santen's self-help book, The Path Within: Break Through Harmful Programming and Doctrine To Experience Happiness and Harmony In Your Reality, would have to offer, but I quickly became intrigued when I sat down and began reading. The Path Within offers the careful reader an opportunity to free him/herself of artificial constructs and societal controls and to begin living as an authentic and empowered individual. Santen's text is well-written, carefully organized and beautifully presented. The exercises he offers helped me to more fully comprehend and make sense of each chapter. As I continued through the book, I realized that the mere act of reading was resulting in changes in how I regard myself and the world. I'm looking forward to spending a lot more time considering and re-reading The Path Within and listening to the audio files Santen includes. The Path Within: Break Through Harmful Programming and Doctrine To Experience Happiness and Harmony In Your Reality is most highly recommended.