Posts Tagged ‘compassion’

Compassion and Kindness

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Rick Hanson:

“Very simply, compassion is wishing that beings not suffer, and kindness is wishing that they be happy.

As wishes, these are forms of desire.

Which raises an important question that we should address first:

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. . . . . . . Is desire okay?”

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Part 2: Combining Neuroscience with Meditation (Mindfulness) Practice

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Rick Hanson from “Neurodharma”

“Further, what is not compassionate and kind–such as hurt, resentment, or contempt–can loom large and persist in a persons mind

The Brain is designed to be shaped by our experiences–and especially those in childhood…...particularly if they were painful and involved other people.

The traces linger and can shadow your days.

These physical changes in your brain are not reversed just by watching your mind.

It takes deliberate practice to heal and to find new ways of being with others.

So let’s see how we can grow compassion and kindness for others–and ourselves.”

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My two cents: Our childhood abuse has built strong negative neural networks of suffering for us.

I have healed twice but have not changed my negative neural network.

My mind lacked kindness,approval and support as a child, it is prone to worry, doubt, anxiety and worthlessness.

I can only imagine how constant criticism from my father wired during childhood.

We need to alter our neural networks, well I do!

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May I be at Peace

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Living with your Heart Wide Open:

“May I open to great self-compassion.

May I open to deep reconciliation of my past with the wise understanding that all of my past has led me to this moment.

May I hold myself gently, with mercy, kindness, and levity.

May I accept my imperfections and see that I am imperfectly perfect just as I am.

May I be as healthy as I can be.

May I have ease in body and mind.

May I be at peace.”

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It’s a practice of being with yourself just as you are.

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From Living with your Heart Wide Open:

“All of us sometimes act unskillfully and make poor choices that hurt others, and we are all sometimes hurt by the actions of others.

Rather than pushing thoughts and feelings about these things away, and rather than trying to correct anything or anyone, simply be with the thoughts and feelings that come up for you with curiosity and awareness.

As you practice self-compassion meditation, the intention is to be open to all of your thoughts, emotions, and sensations, to let all the streams of perception flow through you unfettered.

It’s a practice of being with yourself just as you are.”

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My two cents: Learning to observe means using curiosity and awareness instead of judgment.

Tenzin Palmo, a nun in the Tibetan tradition wrote:

“There is the thought, and then there is the knowing of the thought. 

And the difference between being aware of the thought and just thinking is immense.”

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Compassion for our Inner Critic?

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“You can learn to witness unpleasant thoughts and emotions with self-compassion, and even come to feel a certain amount of compassion for the inner critic (which often helps calm this eternal source of self-criticism).”

Living with your Heart Wide Open

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My two cents: Have compassion for our inner critic, interesting!

I have been trying to murder my inner critic, at least cut his vocal cords.

Once again, surrendering to our fears is the correct path.

My human nature always wants to face, resist and fight off criticism, external or internal.

That has ended badly.

Now, I will adapt and build compassion for my inner critic.

New things are always awkward at first.

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The Many Paths to Self-Compassion from Living with your Heart Wide Open

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Investigating how you can cultivate self-compassion in your life involves an exploration of how you relate to your body, thoughts, and emotions, and also how you choose and maintain your relationships.

Considering how we can be more compassionate toward our bodies can help many of us see how very little compassion we have for ourselves and how hard we push ourselves physically.

You may find yourself answering yet another e-mail even though you’ve needed to use the bathroom for over an hour, or you may eat junk food from the nearest source just so you can get back to work sooner.

You may convince yourself that you don’t have time to exercise, or you may have a somewhat perverse sense of pride in how little sleep you get.

Paying attention to the many ways you mistreat your body can provide a great deal of insight into how you can begin practicing self-compassion right now—simply by reversing many of these habits. It’s the same with thoughts and emotions.

You can learn to witness unpleasant thoughts and emotions with self-compassion, and even come to feel a certain amount of compassion for the inner critic (which often helps calm this eternal source of self-criticism).

When you notice that you’re being hard on yourself for something like being late for an appointment, you can turn toward this self-criticism with a soft and kind acknowledgement, like “It’s only a mistake; I love you anyway.

If you notice that you’re ruminating on a feeling like guilt and saying things to yourself that are just making you feel more guilty, you can acknowledge this morbid indulgence; for example, you might say,

“This is just a guilt-fest” or “Will heaping on even more guilt really help me learn from this mistake?”

For most of us, learning to attend to our thoughts and emotions with this friendly kind of attention is a very different way of being in the world.

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In America all kids should have Opportunity

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In the so-called greatest country in the world, The United States, all children should have opportunity. My opinion.

Birth is the ultimate lottery of life.

If birth has dealt you abusive parents, maybe no parents, a dark skin tone or abstract poverty, suffering ensues.

In America, every kid should have opportunity.

Opportunity consists of security, shelter, food, support, equal schools and teachers.

Mindfulness (happiness) is not about accumulating wealth and isolating from the undesirables, it is about giving to others in need.

To see kids go hungry, to suffer in abject poverty and crime, tears at my soul now.

If we truly cared, protests would not be needed.

Our energy could be used to help our kids.

Thoughts?

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Building Self Compassion

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The Self Compassion Skills Workbook”:

1. “There is a specific circuit in your brain that scientists call the Care Circuit, which creates the experience of compassion, warmth, and love.

2. Self-compassion training strengthens your Care Circuit—like exercising a muscle.

3. With enough compassion training, your Care Circuit can literally grow in size so that the increase is visible on a brain scan.

4. The Care Circuit is one of the primary emotional circuits in the brain that creates happiness and well-being.

5. Activating the Care Circuit through self-compassion training reduces every form of emotional distress, including anxiety, depression, and anger.

6. Compassion training for 30 minutes a day for 14 days creates significant changes in the brain and leads to more prosocial and altruistic behavior.

7. Eight weeks of compassion training can make your temperament or personality significantly more positive.

8. Scientists have documented that Buddhist monks with intensive training in compassion have the strongest markers for happiness in their brains that have ever been recorded.”
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There is no limit to the amount of compassion (for yourself and others) that you can develop in your life if you are willing to practice.

Your body and your brain are designed to feel compassion, and the more you engage your Care Circuit, the stronger and bigger it becomes.

There is nothing stopping you from developing a radically new way of relating to yourself—with kindness and love.
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My two cents:  This is a roadmap made by Neuroscientists, pointing out the road less traveled, “The Happy Path”.

 

If you want to be happy, adopt a daily mindfulness/meditation practice.

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Part 2: narrative based and immediate based selfs

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Neurological research using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has shown that these two forms of self-awareness—narrative-based self and immediacy-based self—are located in two separate areas of the brain (Farb et al. 2007).

Using neuroimagery, which can detect which “self” people are operating from, this study compared novice meditators to people who had participated in an eight-week program in mindfulness meditation.

When participants shifted from a narrative focus to their immediate experience, fMRIs indicated that the experienced meditators had less activity in the region associated with the narrative-based self.

In other words, through the practice of mindfulness meditation we can disidentify from the self we’ve created with our stories and discover a new sense of self based in the present moment.

The narrative-based self lives in a continuum of past and future, and as such is the source of wanting, dissatisfaction, and judging—in short, suffering.

The immediacy-based self exists only in the here and now.

These two orientations in the world are fundamentally (and neurologically) different.

The immediacy-based self lives with the inescapable emotional pain of being human, yet it is also present for the breeze on your face or the birdsong that you cannot feel or hear when you’re preoccupied with thoughts and stories.

The narrative-based self can help you avoid much of the emotional pain that’s inevitable when living in the here and now, but you pay the price, as you must instead live with the suffering that self-limiting stories create.

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Meditating on Compassion

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Of course, Matthieu Ricard:

“A few years earlier, Davidson had studied the asymmetry between the right and left prefrontal cortexes of an elderly Tibetan monk who had meditated on compassion several hours a day throughout his life.

Davidson had noticed that the predominance of activity on the left was far higher in the monk than in the 175 “ordinary” people tested to that point.

This time again, the figures registered by the meditators were outside the distribution curve representing the results of tests on several hundred subjects.

The most astonishing was the spike of so-called gamma activity in the left middle frontal gyrus.

Davidson’s research had already shown and that fluctuations in its balance are generally modest.

But the data drawn from the experiments with the meditators were striking.

As they began meditating on compassion, an extraordinary increase of left prefrontal activity was registered.

Compassion, the very act of feeling concern for other people’s well-being, appears to be one of the positive emotions, like joy and enthusiasm.

This corroborates the research of psychologists showing that the most altruistic members of a population are also those who enjoy the highest sense of satisfaction in life.

Using fMRI, Lutz, Davidson, and their colleagues also found that the brain activity of the practitioners meditating on compassion was especially high in the left prefrontal cortex.

Activity in the left prefrontal cortex swamped activity in the right prefrontal (site of negative emotions and anxiety), something never before seen from purely mental activity.

Preliminary results obtained by Jonathan Cohen and Brent Field at Princeton University also suggest that trained meditators are able to sustain focused attention upon various tasks over a much longer period of time than untrained controls.”

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