What is a Paradigm?

What is a Paradigm?

A  paradigm is the thinking that serves as a pattern or model. A set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality for the community that shares them, especially in an intellectual discipline.These assumptions are often not consciously held and so we tend not to challenge them.

How can we challenge what we are not aware of?

If we construct our view of reality through our paradigms, then it follows that if we can change our paradigms, we change our reality.

The following true story is a classic tale of a paradigm (reality) changing experience by a naval officer, Frank Koch, which appeared in an issue of Proceedings, the magazine of the United States Naval Institute (1)

Two battleships assigned to the training squadron had been at sea on manoeuvres in heavy weather for several days. Koch was serving on the lead battleship and was standing watch on the bridge as night fell. He recounts his experience.
The visibility was extremely poor with patchy fog, so the captain remained on the bridge keeping an eye on our navigation activities. Shortly after dark, the lookout on the wing of the bridge reported, ‘Light bearing on the starboard bow!’
The captain called out, ‘is it steady or moving astern?’
The lookout replied, ‘steady captain’, which meant that we were on a collision course with that source of light.
The captain then called to the signalman, ‘Signal that ship: We are on a collision course … advise you change course 20 degrees.’
Back came the signal from the other ship. ‘Advisable for you to change course 20 degrees’. The captain barked, ‘Send, I am a captain … change course 20 degrees immediately.’
‘I am a seaman second class,’ came the reply. ‘You had better change course 20 degrees’.
By this time, the captain was furious. He spat out, ‘Send, I am a battleship! Change course 20 degrees.’
Back came the signal from the flashing light …’I am a lighthouse’.
We changed course.

Because paradigms are based in what we hold to be true, they dictate what we hold to be possible.

In other words, they reflect our beliefs. Our beliefs can also be shaped by others who might cling to their paradigms even in the face of reason, and so limit our understanding of ‘reality’.

For example. For centuries mankind’s understanding of astronomy was based in what is known as Ptolemaic astronomy which portrayed a cosmos with the earth stationary at its centre and the stars, sun, and planets rotating around it. Then along came Copernicus in 1543 who strongly argued that far from being immobile, the earth and the other planets moved around the sun.

This was such an affront to the generally held paradigm that when Galileo began to promote this idea the Inquisition forced him to recant or be convicted of heresy.

Paradigms reflect our beliefs, and no-one likes having their beliefs challenged, not least the establishment …

We construct belief systems based on an incomplete view of the world then surround those cherished systems with high walls to guard against the intrusion of new evidence.

In a complex world, forming theories to guide and orient oneself is essential to narrow down the overwhelming task of decision making. But we face a problem in the fortification we erect around those systems. Dogmas are created, elevated to truths and defended, sometimes to the death as superior to new insights into reality. (Erdmann and Stover, 1993:60)

Guest Blogger, Dr Brian Gordon

*Regular mindful meditation increases awareness, helping to give insight to imbedded paradigms. AL


The Intactness Within

The Intactness Within

 How strange life can be,
It’s not always as it seems,
What seems so right 
What seems so wrong.

Go out, go out they say,
But pause just a little,
Before you go,
Maybe first there are things to know.

What we seek, it looks for us,
Hoping too, that in our search, we stop
It’s only ourselves we seek,
No more and yet no less.

It’s in the eyes this presence bright
Who would seek to subdue that light?
In oneself or others too,
That colour, it’s God’s own hue.


This little poem came together with a life of its own having met an old friend on a walk, a friend I hadn’t seen in a long time but knew had been unwell over recent years with a neurological condition.

His speech and walking were quite badly impaired but what struck me most were his eyes first and then the look on his face.

You see, he was all there, but more so than I had ever seen, more intent, stronger, more alive.

The thing is, he doesn’t have a neurological condition, his body does. The inner life of him is intact and even strengthened.

We cant always choose what happens to us, but we can choose who we are in dealing with it.

Guest Blogger Tim, UK


See our well-being meditations  to enhance insight. AL

My Way

My Way

I often wonder why I love science fiction and science fantasy so much.

My friends read all the latest books that win prizes and are much vaulted. I do try and read them but too many of them are dry, depressing, and boring.

‘What about space?’ I think, ‘what about dragons?’

I am in an ordinary life, it is pretty mundane in the main, with pockets of excitement, warm family times, and outings with friends. But these books allow my spirit to soar, ideas to develop, lift me to see the impossible for our lives today. It gives me both hope for the future and a taste of the possible other worlds, which generates optimism in me and makes the move towards growth and openness in myself.

What can beat the satisfaction of a good read? Whatever the genre? Some would say its escapism, but for me I think it’s both a coping mechanism to the stresses of everyday life and a soaring of the imagination that adds a richness to oneself. A reminder that we are not alone in the universe, that anything is possible.

If we dismiss the imagination we are in danger of dismissing possibility, and closing off so much. Imagination opens us to new things, to growth, development and  improvement.

We all  have our ways into this. Meditation is another way of mine, offering peace, knowledge and gentle motivation in the sitting and dwelling, as well as bounteous undertsandings, insights and knowings.

Add all this to my favourite genre of books and I am ready to fly!

Being open to books, to meditation, to difference, helps me be more tolerant, able to see the bigger picture of life, believe in God and see the wonder of the universe.

What is your way?

Chris UK,  Guest Blogger

Access relaxations, visulalisations and meditations


Lost your Career Path?

Lost your Career Path?

It isn’t a failure if you decide after many years that your career isn’t for you. People change and their priorities with them. So, it’s normal to find yourself with over ten years of experience in a field that isn’t for you anymore.

According to Indeed, 49% of employees have done a dramatic career change at some point. You aren’t alone. Here are some signs that will help you decide if your career isn’t for you.

You Hate Talking About Your Career

One of the first signs that your career isn’t for you is that you hate talking about it. Every time you meet with friends and family the first thing people ask is: How are you doing? Or, How is work going?

When you don’t like what you do you start dreading those moments when people ask you those questions. This uncomfortable feeling comes from the fact that you probably feel like your career doesn’t represent who you are. It doesn’t align with what you want or your personality and you probably feel like an impostor.

Sometimes we do this unconsciously and it’s hard to identify it as a sign that we are on the wrong path. Pay attention to your reactions to the questions mentioned before and try to determine how you feel when people ask them.

It Doesn’t Align With Your Values

Another sign is that your career doesn’t align with your values. The hard part about this is that you have to have a clear picture of who you are as a person and what is important to you. If you don’t know what your values are, you won’t know if your career fits them. Take some time to think about it. Maybe your values are honesty, humility, and passion, and what you want most in life is to help others.

Then, you can choose a career where your everyday work has an impact on other people’s lives, such as a doctor, lawyer, or even machine learning engineer to a lesser degree. Our values are generally what defines how we live our lives, so the point is to have a career that doesn’t go against them.

It’s Not Your Passion

Your work not being your passion isn’t a sign by itself. Very few people around the world work in what their passion is. But this coupled with all the other signs is just another reason why you should make a change. You should at least be passionate about the impact your work has.

Guest Blogger Artur Meyster, Career Karma

(Clarity Contemplation in Meditations)

The Notebook

The Notebook

I have a beautiful notebook. The picture on its cover is of the sunset, yellows, oranges and gold’s.

Its a few years old now, it is still pristine. I look at it often but do not write in it, in case the words I write are not good enough somehow for its perfect blank pages.

What if I mess it up? Cross out? My handwriting may not be neat enough? Write something that does not fit with this perfection?

Then one day, quietly musing as I stare at the crisp white pages, I wondered if I live my life like this – and realise  in part, I do.

I cannot paint, so better not try as I will be rubbish.
I cannot write and there is no one who would like to read it anyway.
I cannot meditate and I would not be able to still my mind in any case.
I cannot swim as I do not look like a model in my swimming costume.
I cannot join a walking group as I walk too slowly and people will judge me.

And on and on, the more I think the more I see how I restrict myself and how it is actually stopping my life.

But I can change I think to myself, as I pick up a pen and decide to write a ‘can do and will do’ list in my clean notebook.

There are things I can do, and will do, simply by having a go I write…

Then my perfect attempt of neat handwriting starts to fade as my list gets longer, I cross out and change words, use a numbering system then decide on bullet points.

Its a bit messy but real, like my life.

Let’s try a story I think, no I think I will start by writing about my notebook, then the story, then oh, buy some paints. I will add that to my other list and just squeeze it in, more mess, oh well.

I see that life is messy, change happens.

So, I don’t have to be perfect, it’s okay not to be, nothing always goes to plan, we are only human after all.

Guest Blogger – Chris

AL Feel better about your self, see our Well-Being meditations

Finding Balance, a Reflection

Finding Balance, a Reflection

One of the most important principles in establishing a sense of wellbeing is trying to find the right balance; whether it be in the physical, mental, emotional or spiritual realms of our lives.

We see this perhaps most powerfully in the rhythm of the breath.

From our first ‘in’ breath after birth, to our final ‘out’ breath at death, the ebb and flow of our breath literally gives us life and is ever seeking the right balance. Try holding your in breath for a minute and you will soon feel the urge to rebalance with the out breath, or vice versa.

This principle can come alive in many other aspects of our lives and an imbalance can often be felt as a cause of disharmony. For example, if we have too much order in our lives, (the way we dress, work, behaviour patterns etc) we can start to develop too much rigidity and then find ourselves lacking creativity. On the other hand, being too much ‘into’ being creative can often lead to a literal, and sense of, chaos. So, most of us need to try to find a balance between the two to help put things in perspective.

Asking yourself some simple questions about your life balance is a good start …
  • Do I spend too much time and effort in or at work, taking on responsibility for extra things and for others, or am I developing some lazy habits by allowing too much relaxation or surrender?
  • Do I spend enough time connecting with nature or am I always surrounded with 21st century culture? Are there times when there is too much to ‘do’ rather than just to ‘be’?
  • Do I spend time ‘helping others’ because I think that is the ‘right thing to do’, but sometimes find that I have neglected to listen to my own needs?
  • Am I compassionately wise and wisely compassionate, or am I becoming too hard, or too soft; in the same way, do I try and see someone else’s point of view or am I a bit judgemental so unbalanced with understanding?
  • How am I in work and personal relations? Too much of a talker to listen, or too much of a listener to ever get to say what I would like to?
  • Do I put more time and effort into my work than I do into my domestic and family affairs?
  • Do I read self-improvement or religious books? Am I ‘filling up’ on theory or do I make time to ‘empty’ each day, through meditation, a gentle tai chi or yoga class, or a hobby like singing?
  • Do I hold my scientific/spiritual/religious beliefs so strongly that I leave too little room for the flexibility for my own intuitive insight to lead me?

With all these questions perhaps the most important one is ‘what can I do about that?’

For our lives to flourish we need to be a mixture, tinkering here and there, adding this or that ingredient to find the right balance. We need to allow the upshoot of fairness, or peace, or a moment of stillness or a stimulation to move and evolve in whatever situation we are finding ourselves in.

Small practical exercises can also help – simple ones like taking a little time each day and balance on your tiptoes, or just sway slowly from side to side to feel the return to the balance point, or perhaps try walking with awareness of how the body retains the balance as it goes. If its safe close your eyes and walk backwards very slowl, your body is equipped to teach you about balance, so why not give it a go?

Guest Blog by Amanda Brown, Yoga Practitioner and Teacher UK