Basic Paradigms: Looking for Relief
Between a stimulus/thought and a response there is a critical space within which one can choose how to respond. How one responds to events and thoughts frees one up from non-productive knee-jerk types of reactions, so mindfulness skills improve one’s own internal health, mental states and relationships with others. The paradigm presented “Freedom from Mind-made Suffering℠” enables immediate awareness in that critical space by learning to assess, plan and execute an effective response to both external stimuli and internal thoughts. We define Levels of Awareness℠ that range from Level 1 where there is little awareness of this thought-to-reaction sequence, to Level 2 where the sensation produced by the thought can be observed and the reaction modified, to Level 3 where the power of mindful observation will intercept the thought and earliest sensation it is producing, within a second or two, to allow for a clear, purposeful action rather than reaction. The goal of the book is to learn the skills to improve Levels of Awareness℠ and effective responses. The mindfulness skills and the benefits they produce are applicable anywhere and are neither limited to nor based on any religious beliefs or culture, although a key to having a more peaceful mind is living a moral and physically healthy life. Recognizing that one can control intention and effort and can influence but not control outcomes, provides immediate benefits from working on the mindfulness skills.