One of the things I’ve come to appreciate about mindfulness strategies is the way some core internal obstacles can be unraveled without necessarily needing to solve a related narrative puzzle.
n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own
- Friendliness Resistance Training
- "Loving-Kindness Meditation and Change," by Angela Wilson, Huffpost Healthy Living, Oct. 2, 2013
- "Sharon Salzberg & Robert Thurman: Embracing Our Enemies and Our Suffering," On Being, Oct. 31, 2013
“Again and again I’ve seen novice meditators begin to transform their lives—even if they were initially resistant or skeptical. As I’ve learned through my own experience, meditation helps us to find greater tranquility, connect to our feelings, find a sense of wholeness, strengthen our relationships, and face our fears. That’s what happened to me.
Because of meditation, I’ve undergone profound and subtle shifts in the way I think and how I see myself in the world. I’ve learned that I don’t have to be limited to who I thought I was when I was a child or what I thought I was capable of yesterday, or even an hour ago. My meditation practice has freed me from the old, conditioned definition of myself as someone unworthy of love. Despite my initial fantasies when I began meditating as a college student, I haven’t entered a steady state of glorious bliss. Meditation has made me happy, loving, and peaceful—but not every single moment of the day. I still have good times and bad, joy and sorrow. Now I can accept setbacks more easily, with less sense of disappointment and personal failure, because meditation has taught me how to cope with the profound truth that everything changes all the time.”
“We come to meditation to learn how not to act out the habitual tendencies we generally live by, those actions that create suffering for ourselves and others, and get us into so much trouble. Doing nothing does not mean going to sleep, but it does mean resting—resting the mind by being present to whatever is happening in the moment, without adding on the effort of attempting to control it. Doing nothing means unplugging from the compulsion to always keep ourselves busy, the habit of shielding ourselves from certain feelings, the tension of trying to manipulate our experience before we even fully acknowledge what that experience is.”
From “Compassion Meditation May Improve Physical and Emotional Responses to Psychological Stress,” Woodruff Health Sciences Center, Emory University (10.08.08):
Data from a new study suggests that individuals who engage in compassion meditation may benefit by reductions in inflammatory and behavioral responses to stress that have been linked to depression and a number of medical illnesses.
"While much attention has been paid to meditation practices that emphasize calming the mind, improving focused attention or developing mindfulness, less is known about meditation practices designed to specifically foster compassion," says Geshe Lobsang Tenzin Negi, PhD, who designed and taught the meditation program used in the study. Negi is senior lecturer in the Department of Religion, the co-director of Emory Collaborative for Contemplative Studies and president and spiritual director of Drepung Loseling Monastery, Inc.
This study focused on the effect of compassion meditation on inflammatory, neuroendocrine and behavioral responses to psychosocial stress, and evaluated the degree to which engagement in meditation practice influenced stress reactivity.
"Our findings suggest that meditation practices designed to foster compassion may impact physiological pathways that are modulated by stress and are relevant to disease," explains Charles L. Raison, MD, clinical director of the Mind-Body Program, Emory University's Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Emory School of Medicine, and a lead author on the study.
- Lojong: How to Awaken Your Heart by Pema Chödrön
- Training the Mind to Transform Adversity into Awakening by Traleg Kyabgon Rinpoche
- Opening the Heart by Sharon Salzberg