by Tessa Buckman
We’ve lost our sense of self, but fortunately, we don’t have to look far to find it.
In fact, according to Dr Warren Stanton, an authentic sense of self can be rediscovered in a surprisingly short amount of time (which is handy). So cancel those trips to distant lands, the quest for self-discovery begins now.
Dr Stanton is a qualified teacher and psychologist with a PhD in human thought processes; he is also the creator of a process designed to assist personal development, namely The Well-Being Process.
The technique itself slips through the fingers of definition, blending a range of practices with intense self-exploration and a dash of individuality. Even the label “The Well-Being Process” is tentatively placed.
“It’s about people coming to know themselves, which ultimately means it’s a difficult thing to define,” explains Dr Stanton. “Whereas many schools of thought involve routine and discipline, this process is the antithesis of that because it’s based on our natural instincts. If I package it, the mechanism is an applied meditation, although I could call it deep meditation or advanced mediation. It is probably aligned with the mindfulness approach based on awareness of our existence.”
A session with Dr Stanton is also strangely inexplicable. Sitting opposite him, you are invited to maintain eye contact whilst attempting to zone into your inner sense of self. Perhaps a little disconcerting at first, the awkwardness that accompanies an unwavering gaze doesn’t last long. In its place, a calm sensation seems to creep into the room.
Fortunately, the basic concept behind the process is less evasive. Our true nature is goodwill; according to Dr Stanton, once you tune into that goodwill, you will be immersed in a sense of harmony while social constructs (beliefs) that trigger fear and negativity will dissolve.
“The core sense of self contains everything people want in life; peace of mind, a sense of belonging, satisfaction and the feeling completeness, it’s all there as our birthright.”
Regrettably, our core sense of self has become entrenched in the muddy layers of convention. Beliefs and opinions we are taught from infancy cloud our true nature. The most notorious of these is control.
“Particularly in Western culture, we’ve been taught to use the intellect to control our lives,” says Dr Stanton “Our instincts are one of the things we decided to control. But other instincts, including our sense of self, were also lost through this control and replaced with a set of beliefs. We’ve lost our sense of self, which then causes people to feel alienated or shallow.”
It is ironic that we are so easily willing to forgo our instincts. Naturally, we absorb the information and behavioural patterns offered to us by our caregivers. We then go on to live our lives according to these taught beliefs rather than those we develop through experience and intuition. In other words, our individual sense of identity is created.
Dr Stanton explains: “We are taught to detach ourselves from our core self fairly early in life. When you’re a child, you haven’t got the capacity to challenge what is presented to you. Instinctively, it might not feel good, but it’s being presented to you by significant caregivers who you love, trust and depend upon and so we just soak up.”
The problem is locked in when people are unwilling to challenge the beliefs that have negative affects. In our creative capacity, we develop ways to get what we want. We are prepared to use intimidation, aggression, and even temper tantrums when necessary. However, what we think we want is warped by our taught beliefs.
“We have become willing to upset ourselves and others to achieve what we think we want. But if we listen to our instincts, what we really want is to feel good, happy and harmonious. Our natural experience of life is just that. It’s an amazing, incredible experience,” Dr Stanton explains.
The Well-Being Process is designed to rekindle an instinctive sense of self by teaching people to let go of control and the beliefs that promote negative behaviour. But before you abandon the rules and let the James Dean inside you run riot, Dr Stanton insists that our belief structures are not only indispensable, but absolutely essential.
“There is a difference between having beliefs and holding them. Everyone has beliefs; they are scripts that we use to interface with the world. Many of them are functional, for example, you believe if you turn a tap, water is going to come out.”
By denouncing your beliefs, you not only run the run the risk of dehydration, but you will also become alienated from a society that depends upon them. As an alternative, we need to begin looking at life as a duality.
It has long been acknowledged that we have two minds, namely the conscious and the subconscious. The conscious mind contains beliefs, the ego and for the majority of people, their identity. The other is based upon actual experience and is devoid of opinion.
“One is time-based, limited and fragmented, while the other is connected, unlimited and timeless. Your conscious mind is used to imagine things, interface with the world and is essentially there to serve us. So, if you identify the conscious mind as all there is, you have a very limited sense of who you are.”
The key is to find your true identity within the subconscious mind. Once learnt, The Well-Being Process will enable you to tune into the core sense of self and therefore your natural sense of goodwill to give you a little lift.
“If you are able to tune into the part of you that feels good, you will feel in charge. When you open your conscious mind to the sense of self, found in the subconscious, you feel the effect, be it uplifting, centring or that wave of peace of mind. It allows you to turn your life around, instead of thinking you’ve got to get happiness out of life, you begin with happiness, it is your birthright and so you take happiness into everything you do.”
Dr Warren Stanton is a principle life-guide, consultant and facilitator for positive change For more information, please contact him on 0412-049667 or firstname.lastname@example.org
“There is a difference between having beliefs and holding them.”
(Published with permission of the publisher of the “Living Now” Magazine.)