Friday, April 30, 2010

Paradigms Power Perceptions

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The Paradigm We Believe Influences Our Emotions and Behavior

"Paradigms power perceptions and perceptions power emotions. Most emotions are responses to perception - what you think is true about a given situation. If your perception is false, then your emotional response is false too. So check your perceptions, and beyond that check the truthfulness of your paradigms - what you believe.

"...The more you live in truth, the more your emotions will help you see clearly." - The Shack, Page 197

Paradigms Create Perceptions
The paradigm (way of viewing reality or set of beliefs) we live under can dramatically shape the way we see the world. Paradigms create perceptions, ideologies, and dominant stories that we live by. The perceptions ideologies and stories support the paradigm and keep it in place.

If the paradigm is disconnected from the truth then all that follows will be disconnected from the truth.

Paradigm of Moralistic Judgments
One example of a paradigm is the paradigm of moralistic judgments. The idea that it is okay to make moralistic judgments of others. Jesus said, "Do not judge" yet because of this paradigm so many do. This is probably why Jesus shows us another way.

Whenever we use moralistic judgments, diagnosis and evaluations we play a very dangerous game. The game we are playing is the who's right game. There is a winner and a loser. It is also a game that consists of using power-over others to try to make them do things. This game leads to disappointment, frustration, enemy images and violence. This is a good example of how a faulty paradigm leads to experiencing unpleasant emotions.

An Example of a Different Paradigm
One way to work through the fog and have more clarity is to avoid making evaluations (moralistic judgments)and instead make observations (state facts). Philosopher J. Krishnamurti states that "observing without evaluating is the highest form of human intelligence." By observing facts we eliminate the possibility of misreading a situation.

Please and Thank You
Another thing we can do is focus on needs. Marshall Rosenberg states that needs can been defined as the "resources life requires to sustain life." He goes on to say that everything anyone is ever trying to say boils down to "please" and "thank you." For instance, when someone raises their voice and tells someone they are lazy what they may be really trying to say is "please do more around the house." The need is help or cooperation. When we can see the need and not the judgment we can be compassionate instead of angry. Here is a perfect example of how a different paradigm can totally change our way of living.

If we focus on our needs and the needs of others when we encounter difficult situations (and not the story that is in our mind) we can live in reality. The story in our mind creates enemy images from our moralistic judgments, but focusing on needs produces a compassionate heart that sees what is behind the surface. Needs always serve life and when we can see them instead of the enemy images we can see people as beautiful.

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