We become so imprisoned by our beliefs about who we think we need to be in order to feel love and acceptance, that we eventually let go of our dreams and spend most of our energy on working out how to survive.
What is Pathways to Mindfulness
Pathways to Mindfulness (PTM) is a process of self discovery and personal growth. The program helps you to discover what it takes to bridge the gap between who you are as a human being and who you are in your soul being. The program also helps you to identify:
• how your thoughts, feelings and actions are impacting on your life experience
• why you think, feel and react the way you do
• your most significant desire in life and the ways in which it is holding you back
• a strategy to shift from your current reality to one that is more serving
• a less exhaustive way of creating the life you want for yourself
Who Will Benefit from Pathways to Mindfulness?
Pathways to Mindfulness is for anyone who is experiencing:
• a general feeling of discontent or wanting more out of life
• compromised physical, mental or emotional wellbeing (depression or burnout for example)
• low self-esteem and confidence
• unhappiness in relationships
• lack of fulfilment or an absence of purpose
• lack of direction or feeling stuck
• at a cross-road in life and uncertain about how to move forward
• have done a lot of self development or spiritual work but struggle to be free of suffering
As adults we are unconsciously having our 'strings pulled' by a child version of ourselves.
Unaware of this scenario, we engage life through a story that emerged from our childhood. It is this story that holds us back. It's as if we are the puppet and our child-self is the puppeteer.
The Root Cause of Your Suffering and Setbacks in Life
As a child, your self-esteem was greatly influenced by the quality of the interactions you had with your parents or caregivers. If your parents were present, kind, understanding, and allowed you to express yourself freely (in a way that was safe for yourself and others), and they personally radiated self-love, self-acceptance, and placed importance on things like kindness, gratitude, and forgiveness, there is a good chance that you have quite a high sense of self-esteem.
Unfortunately for most us, our parents were not exposed to this sort of conscious parenting in their own childhood, and so they lacked the skills and ability to do it for us. Struggling with their own self-esteem issues, teamed with an outdated parenting paradigm that promotes the idea that ‘parents are the boss’, we have generation after generation of parents regularly expressing less than loving attitudes towards their children.
The flow on effect of unconscious parenting is that a child who is criticised, or constantly in trouble, or being told to be better, or ignored, or being bullied by the person who is their caregiver and protector in life, concludes things such as: ‘You are right, I am wrong’, ‘I am not good enough’, ‘I am not important’, ‘What I have to say doesn’t matter’, or ‘I don’t have a choice’. The child develops a belief that they are worth less.
If you were exposed to these thoughts enough times during the pivotal years while your brain was developing, then these beliefs will have been cemented into your subconscious. And now, as an adult, irrespective of the reality that is present in any instant, all you see and experience is distorted by the belief that you are worth less.
And so, as a child you developed coping strategies to get the love, attention, and acceptance you needed. You observed the things that seemed to matter most to your parents (their values), and then built a life trying to obtain those things so that you too would have value.
For the majority of the Western world, wealth, power, popularity, and success are the four core values that we strive for, and so for most of us, our sense of self-worth has become tied to these four values.
This it what causes your suffering. You turn up in your adult life carrying an outdated belief from your childhood. A belief that says you are not enough as you are, and that wealth, power, popularity, and success are the benchmarks that establish your worth.
A life of joy, peace and love will be elusive until you replace your subconscious desires for wealth, power, popularity, and success, with new values.
The belief of being worth less that you carry from your childhood informs your motivations, and why you think, feel, and act the way you do as an adult. You end up spending most of your life trying to avoid poverty (lacking wealth), victimhood (lacking power), lovelessness (lacking popularity), and failure (lacking success).
As life goes on and experiences of financial insecurity, being a victim, relationship struggles, and failure, eventually creep in, you ’spend’ your time and money on things that minimise your experience of suffering. You will either work harder and find more sophisticated ways of obtaining the benchmarks that prove your worth, avoid people and certain social situations to reduce the chance of feeling inferior, or you will find ways to numb the pain and suffering associated with feeling worth less. Whatever strategy you use, three things eventually get in the way.
Natural justice steps in and the poor lifestyle choices that have been sustained over a long period of time result in sickness or disease. As a result of ageing, the energy needed to sustain the drive to prove your worth runs out. Or, you find yourself at the mercy of poor fortune (sever weather, Covid, a recession), things that are out of your control, that undermines everything you have done to establish your worth up until this point.
Having your progress or pain killers stripped away compounds the belief of being worth less, which typically results in some form of compromised health and wellbeing. Symptoms tend to include burnout, depression, anxiety, lifestyle diseases, or at worst, suicide.
How you think, how you act, what you believe, what you expect, how you relate to others, and how you see yourself, is all determined by what you desire and value.
Three Behaviours That Keep You Trapped in Your Suffering
In the Buddhist approach to mindfulness they teach that three things keep you trapped in a mundane and often painful existence. Buddha called them the Three Poisons because of their ability to cause sickness and disease.
Ignorance is when you live life habitually, always doing what you have always done. Typically you are not aware of another way of doing things. No awareness means you are oblivious to the choices.
Avoidance is when you are aware of other ways of doing things, but what it takes to change requires too much effort or it's too difficult, so you resort to maintaining your old habits. You have awareness, which means you have a choice, but you forfeit that choice and continue to get the same outcomes.
Attachment is when you are aware of what you need to do to change, you want to change, so you use willpower to make the changes. This becomes unsustainable and eventually sees you reverting back to your old habits. You have awareness but your desire for change is motivated by fear of more pain and less about making a self-loving (nurturing) choice.
Buddha went on to say that "All evil things, and all evil destiny, are really rooted in greed, hate and ignorance; and of these three things ignorance is the chief root and the primary cause of all evil and misery in the world." This suggests that the opposite of ignorance must be the remedy, and the opposite of ignorance is awareness (gaining new knowledge and understanding).
The first four modules of Pathways to Mindfulness, are dedicated to just that - enhancing awareness. The fifth module is about how to be mindful of that new awareness in each moment.
Awareness is understanding. Mindfulness is using that understanding in a way that truely serves you.
Awareness and Mindfulness are the Remedy for Suffering
Awareness is about expanding your knowledge or understanding. In Pathway to Mindfulness this includes: becoming aware of how you currently experience life mentally, physically and emotionally, becoming aware of your story and the beliefs you hold about your worth, becoming aware of how you could experience life differently, and understanding the steps you would need to take to get there.
Mindfulness is remembering in each moment that you have a choice to be kinder to yourself, to others, and to the planet. Energy flows where focus goes. So, when you engage life mindfully with a focus on kindness and abundance, there is less time being consumed by fear and scarcity brought about by your story. Remembering that you have a choice to be kinder in each moment is what makes a significant contribution to improving the quality of your life experience.
Western Mindfulness Mentors use a five-step process for helping their clients identify their story and move beyond ignorance, avoidance and attachment.
These five steps are the foundation to all of the Pathways to Mindfulness programs. To help you remember the five steps we have created an acronym using the word CHASM. A chasm is the profound difference between two things, whether it be people, viewpoints or feelings. In this case it is the difference between your current life experience and one where inner-peace prevails.
To develop new behaviours you have to develop new neural pathways in the brain. The first step in achieving this is to recognise your Current Reality and how it does or does not serve. This is important because you can’t change what you can’t see. Module C has you identify aspects of your consciousness that you are less aware of, that lead to your suffering - depression, burnout, lifestyle diseases, unfulfilling employment, joyless relationships, etc.
Holding You Back
Aristotle once said “Give me a child until he is seven and I will show you the man.” There is a substantial amount of scientific literature that supports the notion that during the first 5-7 years of a child’s life they are exposed to the programming that will form the filters for how they engage life. In a gentle way, Module H has you identify the programming, filters, and beliefs that are Holding You Back. We refer to this as ‘your story’.
Once you have established your current reality and how your story brought you to that place, you will then explore what a kinder, Alternative Reality might look like. This is a state of consciousness where there is little or even no suffering. The minute you begin to imagine this alternative reality, you have already begun to lay down the foundation for creating a new neural pathway.
If you are going somewhere you have never been before, it is likely that you will use a map to guide you to your destination. This is what Module S is all about. You will build a strategic map for Shifting Realities from point A (your current reality) to point B (the alternative reality). Each time you review the strategy you strengthen the neural pathway that can lead you toward the kinder, loving alternative you selected as your destination.
Mindful Not Wilful
The Western Mindfulness approach to change requires you to be Mindful Not Wilful. Change your thoughts and your actions will follow. Shift your mindset and your reality will shift with it. In this module you will be given five tools, that if embraced, will help you to remember in each moment that you have a choice to be kinder towards yourself, others, and the planet. Inner-peace is sustainable when kindness is the thing you value most.
Pathways to Mindfulness has proven to be aligned with the latest research regarding neuroplasticity and neural pathway development.
The program has been packaged in an easy-to-follow, step-by-step experiential program. The process is simple, but the impact is dynamic.
Using C.H.A.S.M as the foundation for each session, participants gain an understanding of how to make the changes that will result in a better quality of life through enhancing their awareness, and living mindfully. When kindness becomes the thing you value most, your suffering - burnout, depression, challenging relationships etc, are replaced with a more consistent state of inner-peace, joy and fulfilment.
Pathways to Mindfulness Programs
The first two sessions of the process have been designed as a stand alone booklet so that you can trial the program before committing. This can be done on your own or with a mentor. It is essential that these two sessions are completed before moving on to CHASM or the Short Course.
Each version of the program is delivered in a high quality workbook with a complementary mindfulness journal.
Be free of the thing that is holding you back.
Live the life you've always imagined!
Our clients consistently report the following benefits:
Generally happier in all aspects of life.
Restored love and connection in relationships.
Able to communicate with more clarity and confidence.
More freedom to be themselves.
Less dependant on the approval of others.
Less demanding of themselves and others.
Take the time to really hear others.
Less consumed by negative thoughts.
Listen to themselves and their own needs more often.
Prioritise looking after their needs just as much as the needs of others.
Less emotionally reactive and can now respond thoughtfully.
Experience less frustration, anxiety and anger.
More motivated to engage in life.
More inclined to make values based decisions.
Consume less alcohol and drugs.
Have found fulfilment in their work or changed employment.
Improved financial circumstances.
More committed to health and fitness.
Improved health and wellbeing.
A deeper sense of self-esteem and self-worth.