A for Athlete



by Herbert Benson and William Proctor, 2003

The "Breakout Principle" incorporates all the benefits of the "Relaxation Response" but moves beyond its understanding and applications including cardiovascular and emotional well-being --- through the reduction and management of STRESS!


THE END. . . AND THE BEGINNING --- Realizing the promise of the breakout principle. The Breakout itself may be evoked by IMMERSION in your personal belief system, in acts of altruism, in a significant personal encounter, or in a mental state that is called "total abandon!" Also, a "Breakout" can lead to new experiences or states of mind --- including improved personal performance and the generation or creation of life-changing insights! (pxi-xii)

REFERENCES --- Basic references for all chapters (p289-304)

INDEX (p305-320) ABOUT THE AUTHORS (p321)

1) What is a "Breakout"? (p3-25)

2) Anatomy of the "TRIGGER" (p26-45)

The four-step "Breakout Process" clarifies the role of the "trigger:" (p28)

Stage One --- STRUGGLE --- preliminary stress, hard work

Stage Two --- RELEASE --- "Breakout Trigger"



3) The SPIRIT of "peak experience" (p46-68)

4) Mapping the creative mind (p69-86)

[1] The power of the "dynamic mind" (p70-74)

[2] How Robert won by breaking my "RULES" (p74-78)

[3] A brief journey along Robert's "mind-body highway" (p78-80)

[4] Breaking through Robert's "mind-body" bottleneck (p81-83)

[5] The "MYSTERY of the MIND" (p83-86)

IF an extra dimension or "other reality" beyond space-time does exist, and if we are making use of an "extra faculty" or ability that enables us to interact with such an extra-dimensional intellectual realm, THEN it is inevitable that at some point researchers will reach the human limits for understanding this phenomenon. In other words, what you perceive as the human "mind" -- including such distinctive human features as your self-consciousness, creativity, and spiritual capacities -- may reach into a reality that lies beyond the space-time continuum! However, because of the physical brain's own inherent limitations, the workings our mind may ultimately lie outside our capacity to measure, analyze or comprehend it completely. But our awesome capacity as human beings to reason and speculate about transcendent qualities and possibilities may in the future help us achieve a more satisfying explanation rather than arriving at an impenetrable intellectual wall!

It is possible to speculate that some part of the mind or "spirit" of human beings may be linked to a dimension beyond physical matter, DNA codes, cell structure, and other limitations of our human brains and bodies. But at least we now know and can all agree that the human mind is a "unified entity" or "unified consciousness" capable of highly developed cognitive strategies and integration processes.

The incredibly important point is that no matter what your mind may consist of, it can "work" for you in ways that you may never have adequately understood or even imagined! Why just rely on LUCK to experience a life-changing "Breakout" phenomenon? Why not LEARN to trigger (create) Breakouts and peak experiences at will --- whenever you CHOOSE to do it?

When you develop this SKILL, you will discover that you have also found the ultimate SELF-HELP principle that has the POWER to TRANSFORM (change) your entire life!

5) The ultimate "help principle" --- You do not have to be a scientist or a philosopher to take full advantage of the Breakout Principle! (p87-101)

Certainly the FACT that the established science of biology lies behind the "Breakout Principle" should give you confidence as you start to understand the program. Essentially for you, the Breakout is not about research or theory. It is fundamentally rooted in practical techniques and everyday activities that have the potential to change your life --- forever!

The Breakout Principle transcends other self-transformation claims, to the point that it constitutes a kind of "ultimate self-help principle" that can carry you to new significantly HIGHER LEVELS of performance and achievement!

The SIX PEAK EXPERIENCES described in Part Two of this book suggest the range of possibilities for achieving better performance. However, more detail is helpful at this stage about HOW the six basic "triggering mechanisms" operate deep in your biological (body) system.

The six basic "triggering mechanisms" (p88-89)

The 1st "triggering mechanism" -- practicing a repetitive mental or physical activity -- that breaks prior thought patterns! (p89)

Choose a meaningful word or short phrase that can be repeated silently on a single exhalation, or out breath. If possible the word or phrase should be solidly associated with your personal belief system (ethics). By combining repetition with your personal beliefs or ethical values, you will be enhancing the impact of the exercise by using the placebo effect. This combined "repetition-belief" exercise is what is meant by the "FAITH FACTOR." If you affirm a nonreligious belief system, you can select a line from your favorite poem or philosophical ideas. If you don't have a particular personal philosophy, any neutral or uplifting word or phrase will do, such as one, peace, or love!

Get in a comfortable sitting or lying position, close your eyes, breathe easily and regularly, and repeat your chosen word or phrase silently on the out breath for 10-20 minutes.

Since it is normal for your mind to wander, especially when you are just starting to use this exercise, the important thing is not to become nervous or frustrated that you are failing to have the desired results. Instead, just have patience and silently continue.

After the scheduled time period of 10-20 minutes have passed, open your eyes, sit or lie quietly for a few minutes, and allow everyday thoughts to enter your consciousness. It is at this stage of the exercise that you are most likely to experiences Breakout! Physiologically, your body is RELEASING extra amounts of NITRIC OXIDE, along with neurotransmitters which cause feelings of well-being and protection from distress. Also, your brain has undergone a general quieting, accompanied by heightened activity in the attention and executive-control centers.

The "repetitive activity" has broken the prior thought patterns of your conscious mental state. This is a precondition for the "release," or "backing off," or "letting go" experience that will typically precede a Breakout and peak experience. But even though you have broken those old thought patterns and have reduced your distress levels, the research, facts, and analysis you have performed previously are still "resting" there in the background of your consciousness, ready to be rearranged and reassembled into new, more creative configurations.

Essentially, Breakouts and peak experiences usually involve new ways of "looking" at old problems and "fact patterns,"

The purpose and power of the BREAKOUT EXERCISE is to find a way to "step outside" or "float above" the previous, dead-end trains of thought that habitually invaded your consciousness. That is precisely what this formal, repetitive Breakout Triggering mechanism or process is all about!

Alternatives to formal mental repetition (ritual) may include taking long walks, jogging, playing a musical instrument, or sewing. What is important is that the repetitive activity be non stressful and sufficiently regular and long-lasting to enable you to break those former, limiting thinking patterns!

(2) The 2nd "triggering mechanism" -- Immersion in some aspect of your personal belief system (p92-94)

(3) The 3rd "triggering mechanism" -- Surrender to an experience or sense of "total abandon" (p94-95)

(4) The 4th "triggering mechanism" -- Engaging (participating) in a significant absorbing personal encounter (p95-97)

(5) The 5th "triggering mechanism" -- Becoming deeply engaged in an altruistic activity (p97-98)

(6) The 6th "triggering mechanism" -- Filling your mind with a sensory impression (p98-100)

Can these "triggering mechanisms" work together? (p100-101)[]


6) The first peak --- Self-awareness (p105-124)

[1] The "first stop" --- self-awareness! (p106-108)

[2] A Beatle's journey toward self-awareness -- George Harrison who became "acutely self-aware" and "served as an anchor" for the Beatles band, leading them on a "spiritual quest toward Eastern philosophy" that influenced their music in the late 1960s (p108-109)

The experience of "self-awareness" itself can constitute a peak experience or it may become a first step toward other Breakouts, which can produce other, more specific creative "breakthroughs" and achievements! (p109)

To create any "Breakout" you must do or think something that has the power to break past emotional and thought patterns! Any of the six "triggering mechanisms" can work with a peak of self-awareness. The most common "triggering mechanism" is probably the second --- becoming deeply immersed in exploring your own personal belief system!

7) The second peak -- CREATIVITY (p125-146)

8) The third peak --- PRODUCTIVITY (p147-181)

9) The fourth peak --- ATHLETICISM (p182-209)

10) The fifth peak --- REJUVENATION (p210-232)

11) The sixth peak --- TRANSCENDENCE (p233-256)

12) The power of "intrinsic belief" (p257-282)