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

 

Grounding

Grounding

There is a lot of research to be found about the healing effects of nature, and we now know that those who live near green spaces live healthier and longer lives. So, no matter where you live, it makes sense to access that restorative natural power – and grounding is an easy way to do so.

For simplicity’s sake the term ‘grounding’ is being used here to reflect both ‘earthing’ (earthing to mean direct connection to the earth) as well as the wider understanding of other grounding methods that can be used.

As lightening discharging itself into the ground during an electrical storm rebalances the atmosphere, so grounding yourself to the electrons on the earth’s surface helps to rebalance your being.

It’s not surprising that research suggests grounding the human body has positive effects on our psychology and health, these benefits mostly relating to inflammation and the immune responses.* The problem is, our lifestyle and our footwear, often prevent us from this natural rebalancing, and keep us separated from the thing we need most, the earth.

This ‘disconnect’ we all suffer may have significant detrimental effects to our well-being so to help prevent that, we can practice grounding.

Grounding is an accepted therapeutic practice, and the most researched and effective method is simply to have direct skin contact with the surface of the earth.

This is as straightforward as it sounds, just place bare hands or bare feet on the ground for a while.

A favourite way of grounding is to walk barefoot on the grass. Reconnecting to the earth in this way is natural and relaxing and can be taken further by bringing in the senses and paying attention to the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and sensations as you walk.

In a slightly lesser but still highly effective way, any conscious activity that moves you from over activity and thinking to simply ‘being’ is helpful in rebalancing. Again, consciously, and mindfully adding in the senses is helpful. (see Resources for guided meditations on the senses).     

Mindful eating will bring your attention to the body and digesting food also has a slowing effect on the mind, leading to a calmer more grounded state; showering and allowing your attention to rest on the sensations of the water flowing on the body or physical exercise is also useful.

If you prefer a mental activity, try paying attention with your senses in a game – find and name 5 things by sight, sound, taste, touch, smell. You can also use memory games, recitations or mathematics as a disassociation and grounding activity from challenging thoughts.

As Anias Nin said ‘The dream was always running ahead of me. To catch up, to live for a moment in unison with it, that was the miracle.

AL

*Earthing: health implications of reconnecting the human body to the Earth’s surface electrons.

Chevalier G, Sinatra ST, Oschman JL, Sokal K, Sokal P

J Environ Public Health. 2012; 2012():291541

A Heart for Meditation

A Heart for Meditation

Living near to forested area of natural Australian Bush, risk assessment has long been an ally of my thinking in terms of fire. There are some risks that can be controlled like making sure boundaries are clear of debris, keeping gum tree branches from overhanging or being too near to the house, and not lighting up the barbie on fire risk days. Of course, there are also risks that can’t be controlled, like the nature of wood to burn or the nature of fire to spread, and pyromaniacs!

So what has risk assessment got to do with the heart?

Well, risk factors apply to anything and of all the risk factors we can consider in our life, cardiovascular disease is a risk salient to us all. The World Health Organisation stats to-date show cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death worldwide, with nearly 18 million lives lost each year.

Though it is early days in terms of research, several scientific studies and clinical trials have been undertaken in the use of mindfulness meditation and heart disease. In 2017 The Journal of the American Heart Association released a ‘Scientific Statement’ about it. It was entitled “Meditation and the Cardiovascular Risk Reduction” in relation to the use of meditation as an adjunct to guideline directed risk reduction. (1)

The Statement is referenced from no less than 69 scientific studies on the effectiveness of mindfulness meditation and heart health including cholesterol reduction, stress reduction, decreases in blood pressure, anxiety, depression and much more.

A particular area I find interesting is the use of mindfulness meditation increasing heart rate variability (HRV) – a measure of how quickly your heart can make changes between beats, with a high rate indicating a healthier heart.

Another study, released by the National Society of Medicine for the National Centre for Biotechnology Information, (2) found that mindfulness meditation decreased acute psychological stress and increased sleep quality.

Doubtful or not, taking up the practice of mindfulness meditation may help you mitigate some risks associated with cardiovascular disease.

There are many mindfulness meditations freely available on our resources page to help you do just that.

(1) https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/JAHA.117.002218
(2) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33332403/

For health and well-being meditations go to our Meditations page.

AL

Please Note: No content on this site should be used as a substitute for medical advice from your doctor.

are some risks that can be controlled like making sure boundaries are clear of debris, keeping gum tree branches from overhanging or being too near to the house, and not lighting up the barbie on fire risk days. Of course, there are also risks that can’t be controlled, like the nature of wood to burn or the nature of fire to spread, and pyromaniacs!
So, what has risk assessment for fire got to do with the heart?
Well, risk factors apply to anything and of all the risk factors we can consider in our life, cardiovascular disease is a risk salient to us all.
The World Health Organisation stats to-date show cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death worldwide, with nearly 18 million lives lost each year.
Though it is early days in terms of research, several scientific studies and clinical trials have been undertaken in the use of mindfulness meditation and heart disease. In 2017 The Journal of the American Heart Association released a ‘Scientific Statement’ about it. It was entitled “Meditation and the Cardiovascular Risk Reduction” in relation to the use of meditation as an adjunct to guideline directed risk reduction. (1)
The Statement is referenced from no less than 69 scientific studies on the effectiveness of mindfulness meditation and heart health including cholesterol reduction, stress reduction, decreases in blood pressure, anxiety, depression and much more.
A particular area I find interesting is the use of mindfulness meditation increasing heart rate variability (HRV) – a measure of how quickly your heart can make changes between beats, with a high rate indicating a healthier heart.
Another study, released by the National Society of Medicine for the National Centre for Biotechnology Information, (2) found that mindfulness meditation decreased acute psychological stress and increased sleep quality.
Doubtful or not, taking up the practice of mindfulness meditation may help you mitigate some risks associated with cardiovascular disease.
There are many mindfulness meditations freely available on our resources page to help you do just that.

(1) https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/JAHA.117.002218
(2) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33332403/

Please Note: No content on this site should be used as a substitute for medical advice from your doctor.