Connecting with Compassion

(This is long, I know. Hope you don’t mind.)

Now that we know our brains are plastic, it’s almost as if we have no excuse for not engaging in the practices that lead to greater well-being for ourselves and, importantly, actually can contribute to growing a calmer, more sane, more caring world. We have the provable means to affect our consciousness, to shift our brains in the direction of more compassion and kindness, to cultivate our capacities for more inclusivity and considered responses. And as we do this inner work, we change the air (the narrative) around us. We infuse the culture with a healthier attitude.

While that might seem too optimistic a statement, as it turns out, there is research happening in the social sciences to help us understand these natural tendencies of our human experience to “other” as well as research exploring alternatives that activate different circuitry in our brains to make connecting responses more possible. This past fall I completed an 8 week course in Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT)** that exposed participants to some of this research and I wanted to mention a couple interesting things that came up for me as I was taking this class.

One of the first steps in cultivating compassion depends on cultivating recognition of the basic sameness of self and others. We were offered a simple way to practice a version of this that has helped open me to those for whom I have negative feelings or reactions. For a brief sampling of this:
you might take a moment now—-
inhaling deeply, relaxing a bit —-
and bringing to mind someone with whom you have a mildly negative relationship, someone you just don’t much like. Imagine them as clearly as you can in your mind’s eye. Maybe it’s a relative on your partner’s side or a neighbor or a co-worker who is hard to get along with. As you hold this person in your mind, silently, slowly, say these phrases to yourself:
Just as I do, this person wants to be happy.
Just as I do, this person wants to healthy and free from suffering.
Just as I do, this person wants his or her loved ones to be safe and well.

Again……
Just as I do, this person wants to be happy.
Just as I do, this person wants to healthy and free from suffering.
Just as I do, this person wants his or her loved ones to be safe and well.

Underneath whatever else is on the surface of this person whom you’ve just imagined–whether different political views, different ways of mowing the grass, different ideas about how to treat people there is behind or underneath that surface, the same human needs and wants as you have–to be happy, healthy, to be seen, to be heard, to matter. I have found that spending time with that reflection, saying those phrases with sincerity (that’s important)–has begun to shift my feelings; I have softened towards, let go of some negativity towards–at least one disliked person in my life. This is a simple practice for calming a divide, a separation.

One of the ingredients in this kind of reflection is the cognitive skill of imagination. We don’t often use the word imagination in the context of mindfulness, but in the CCT program, we learned that one of the focuses of social science research is “Imagined Contact.” Imagined Contact is a strategy for promoting tolerance and positive relationships among different, not necessarily friendly groups of people. A review of 70 studies of this strategy showed that imagining a positive interaction with what was labeled an “outgroup member” reduced prejudice and encouraged positive intergroup behavior. One such study involved British subjects–and their ‘outgroup’ members?–the French! But what seems to be especially promising to me about this research is that the imagined contact effect was stronger for children than for adults, supporting the proposition that imagined contact is a potentially key component of educational strategies aiming to promote positive social change.

So–using our imagination to activate positive associations with those who are not within our typical circles of inclusion has potential for reducing the automatic biases that our protective brains can stimulate. Sounds simple doesn’t it? And this is exactly the basis for loving kindness meditations that have proven to predispose research subjects to acts of compassion. This is also at the heart of Tonglen meditations during which the meditator is instructed to breathe in the suffering of others and breathe out peace and wishes for the relief of that suffering. These practices not only soften and expand the heart but also employ the mind to direct its energy in beneficial directions.

So we have practices available: recognizing our similarity to others, imagining positive contact as well as loving kindness and compassion meditations–all of which counter those mental habits related to separation and disconnection.

And one last comment seems to fit here:

John Lewis, veteran civil rights worker and congressman from Georgia, speaks of the power of this kind of imagination in another way. While envisioning a different, beloved human community, he asked himself “what if the beloved community were already a reality” and he simply had to embody it until everyone else could see? He says that “you have to have this sense of faith that what you’re moving toward is already done. It’s already happened…And you live as if you’re already there, that you’re already in that community, part of that sense of one family, one house. If you visualize it, if you can have faith that it’s there, for you it is already there.”***

“Culture changes when a small group of people find a better way to live and other people begin to copy them.” David Brooks, NYTimes, 2/18/19

**CCT was developed at Stanford’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education

***from Becoming Wise, Krista Tippet

Insight Timer; Head Space; Calm: apps with loving kindness and compassion guided meditations

3 thoughts on “Connecting with Compassion”

  1. Thank you, Kay, for this reflection that is both hopeful and so practical. I’m touched by the quote from John Lewis as well. All of what you shared is so important for us to hear right now.

  2. Thank you also, Kay. Very timely, concrete way to deal with polarization in our country these days. David Brooks’ quote reminds us that what we do in our small spot in the world can have a far broader impact. Molly

  3. Beautiful Kay! Thank you especially for the tool for cultivating an awareness that underneath all the “stuff,” we all have the same hopes and dreams. I would love to see world leaders using this each day! I can hope, can’t I?!

  4. Jena is the name folks use to get in touch with her and she completely digs that identify. Interviewing is where my main income will arrive from but the promotion under no circumstances will occur. The issue he adores most is to base bounce and now he is making an endeavor to earn cash with it. Indiana is in which we’ve been dwelling for years.

  5. This problem(s) can truly turn out to be all encompassing and can affect your life in many methods. The very best factor to avoid becoming moneyless is to not wager all your money at as soon as.

  6. Знаете ли вы?
    Владелец вернул похищенную картину Пикассо почтой, не найдя покупателей.
    Консервативные художественные критики обрушились на портрет девушки, называя её гермафродитом, дочерью Каина и проституткой.
    Андрогинный псевдоним не спас автора от расшифровки.
    Искусствоведы спорили, смирилась ли со скорой смертью неизлечимо больная женщина на картине русского художника, а она прожила ещё 37 лет.
    Молнию можно не только увидеть, но и съесть.

    http://arbeca.net

  7. I’m impressed, I have to admit. Seldom do I come across a blog that’s both educative and engaging, and let me tell you, you’ve hit the nail on the head. The problem is something that too few men and women are speaking intelligently about. Now i’m very happy I came across this in my hunt for something regarding this.

  8. I believe that avoiding ready-made foods would be the first step to lose weight. They could taste beneficial, but refined foods have very little nutritional value, making you eat more to have enough vitality to get through the day. When you are constantly consuming these foods, transitioning to whole grain products and other complex carbohydrates will let you have more vitality while feeding on less. Good blog post.

  9. Warning: Vernon Hills, IL and Libertyville, IL and surrounding 50 miles radius area is in active war zone ! Towns are held hostage by UK agents, Russian spies, Indian spies, Mexican spies, Chinese spies, and other Hispanic spies

  10. I cherished as much as you will obtain performed right here. The cartoon is attractive, your authored material stylish. however, you command get got an impatience over that you would like be delivering the following. ill indubitably come further in the past again as precisely the similar just about very often inside of case you shield this increase.

  11. Unquestionably believe that which you stated. Your favorite reason seemed to be on the internet the simplest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I definitely get irked while people think about worries that they just do not know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and also defined out the whole thing without having side effect , people can take a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thanks

  12. I like the valuable information you provide in your articles. I’ll bookmark your blog and check again here regularly. I am quite certain I’ll learn plenty of new stuff right here! Good luck for the next!

  13. Hmm it appears like your website ate my first comment (it was super long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I wrote and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I too am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to everything. Do you have any recommendations for novice blog writers? I’d really appreciate it.

  14. Great post. I used to be checking constantly this weblog and I am inspired! Very useful info specially the closing section 🙂 I handle such info a lot. I used to be looking for this certain information for a very long time. Thank you and good luck.

  15. Terrific post but ,however I was wanting to know if you could write a litte more on this subject? I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit more. Bless you. Many thanks!

  16. After examine a number of of the weblog posts on your website now, and I actually like your approach of blogging. I bookmarked it to my bookmark web site list and will probably be checking back soon. Pls take a look at my website as properly and let me know what you think.

  17. Needed to compose you that little word to finally give many thanks as before with your splendid tactics you’ve contributed on this website. It has been quite seriously open-handed of you to make unreservedly what a few individuals could have distributed for an e-book in making some bucks on their own, mostly considering the fact that you might have tried it if you decided. These ideas in addition acted as the fantastic way to be sure that most people have a similar zeal like my own to figure out lots more when it comes to this issue. I am certain there are several more pleasant situations in the future for individuals who start reading your blog.

  18. Pretty section of content. I just stumbled upon your site and in accession capital to assert that I get in fact enjoyed account your blog posts. Any way I will be subscribing to your feeds and even I achievement you access consistently fast.

  19. Hey just wanted to give you a brief heads up and let you know a few of the images aren’t loading correctly. I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different web browsers and both show the same outcome.

  20. In January form year, small stsvme mow down ill. It’s okay, just a peaceable cialis generic, which passed in five days. But the temperature abruptly returned beside the conclude of the month: the thermometer showed 30. The boy was urgently hospitalized with fever and convulsions. A scattering hours later, three-year-old Yegor stopped breathing – he fell into a coma. With the help of a ventilator and a tracheostomy, the doctors resumed the work of the lungs, but oxygen starvation struck the brain. The kid has confounded the whole shebang that he managed to learn in three years. The diagnosis is posthypoxic encyphalopathy.

  21. I precisely wished to appreciate you yet again. I’m not certain what I would have tried in the absence of the advice provided by you directly on my industry. It was before an absolute horrifying concern for me personally, however , considering a specialized strategy you processed that forced me to jump with joy. I will be happy for your work as well as sincerely hope you recognize what a powerful job that you are getting into training some other people by way of a site. I am sure you have never met any of us.

  22. The following time I learn a weblog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as much as this one. I mean, I do know it was my choice to read, however I really thought youd have one thing attention-grabbing to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you could possibly fix in case you werent too busy searching for attention.

  23. Definitely believe that that you said. Your favourite reason seemed to be at the web the simplest factor to take note of. I say to you, I certainly get irked even as people consider issues that they just do not recognize about. You managed to hit the nail upon the highest and also defined out the entire thing with no need side effect , other people can take a signal. Will probably be again to get more. Thank you

  24. Thanks a lot for providing individuals with an extremely remarkable opportunity to read in detail from this blog. It’s usually very ideal and full of fun for me personally and my office friends to visit the blog at a minimum 3 times in a week to find out the fresh things you have. Not to mention, I’m always satisfied with the remarkable solutions served by you. Selected 3 facts on this page are ultimately the simplest we’ve had.

  25. It’s appropriate time to make some plans for the future and it’s time to be happy. I have read this post and if I could I desire to suggest you some interesting things or advice. Perhaps you can write next articles referring to this article. I want to read even more things about it!

  26. Hey there would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re working with? I’m looking to start my own blog in the near future but I’m having a hard time selecting between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your layout seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something unique. P.S My apologies for being off-topic but I had to ask!

  27. The health of human populations depends on the health of the soil at the root level.
    When jointly taken sildenafil once 100 mg and saquinavir 1200 mg a day 3 times a day, HIV protease inhibitor and isoferment CYP3A4 , against the background of reaching a constant concentration of saquinavir in the blood C max sildenafil increased by 140, a AUC increased by 210.
    Take the blue pill half an hour before sex and go to victory.

  28. It’s a pity you don’t have a donate button! I’d certainly donate to this superb blog! I guess for now i’ll settle for bookmarking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to new updates and will share this site with my Facebook group. Talk soon!

  29. Our doctor thought that Dad was it is possible that even better than Mom in this situation. Stricter, more insistent, resolve not mournfulness once again when you demand to perform adverse cialis generic. Spring, I wanted to around my missus a break.
    I all in a little in excess of a month in the exhaustive take care of part and two and a half months in the bone marrow move unit. There I became a giver in compensation my son. I’m ready I was accomplished to stop him. I was the single humankind in both departments, but my parents were already there. That is, a handcuff in the ward with a lady is no longer a rarity.

  30. Hello would you mind letting me know which web host you’re working with? I’ve loaded your blog in 3 different web browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot faster then most. Can you suggest a good web hosting provider at a fair price? Thank you, I appreciate it!

  31. Can I just say such a relief to seek out somebody that truly knows what theyre referring to on the net. You definitely have learned to bring an issue to light and work out it critical. More and more people must look at this and understand this side from the story. I cant believe youre no more popular since you certainly provide the gift.

  32. The most common side effects of tadalafil are.
    published here generic viagra 20mg.
    When your doctor prescribes a new medication, be sure to discuss all your prescription medications and over-the-counter drugs, including dietary supplements, vitamins, botanicals, minerals, and herbals, as well as foods you eat.

  33. But hetook can levothyroxin cause erectile dysfunction good care to turn his eyes another way; and, as he wore the South African how to improve male performance which drug can affect erectile dysfunction helmetof invisibility, the Gorgons knew not in what direction to follow him;nor did he fail to make the best use of the winged slippers, by Topical Increase Your Stamina In Bed wolfberry male enhancement soaringupward a perpendicular mile or so.
    Why Barnard Castle should be on your travel hit list post-lockdown, please.
    , diabetes, vascular disease.

  34. In fact, Agatston says, because Viagra keeps the blood vessels from becoming sticky and helps blood flow through them smoothly, not just in the penis but throughout the body, in the future, many of us women included may end up taking some small amount of Viagra daily, the way we take baby aspirin, which has the same nonsticking effect on blood itself.
    And while we all know guys take Viagra to get an erection, you might not know what the drug really does to your tackle or how long the effects can last.
    The preparation Brave Commander includes various components of animal and plant origin, which have long been used in traditional Chinese medicine, and with great success used by Tibetan folk healers from ancient times to the present.

  35. Naizzy-Cola Vanilla.
    195 mg, lactose monohydrate dry spray 35.
    Listening to pieces such as Not Married Anymore, Borderline and The War On Me, we both felt that the project had more than a hint of the spirit of no-man and it became obvious that this was a no-man co-production rather than a Bowness Wilson one.

  36. nipz7 wave hey, i saw your profile on the new skype app.
    Recurring or prolonged erectile dysfunction can be an indication of a more severe condition that may require treatment.
    If you choose Hims, make sure you are honest and accurate in answering their online questions so that the doctor can rule out potential drug interactions or other issues that might make Sildenafil not the right medicine for you.

  37. tachycardia, palpitations, hypotension2, hypertension.
    No matter how much it has been reduced.
    if you aren t finding any improvement using Viagra, you should visit your GP who can advise you on what to do next.

  38. For a long time, pharmaceuticals could not offer an effective remedy for those suffering from erectile dysfunction.
    In the Viagra Otc Alternative Incredible Male Supplement That Is Guaranteed To Rock Your World.
    Even if the warts clear up, you must complete your course as this will reduce Stronger More Intense Orgasms; Harder, Longer-Lasting Erections, Powerful Effects Viagra Otc Alternative Medical News Today the risk of future infections.

  39. Hallo, hallo, hallo. erledigt eine ausgezeichnete Arbeit. Ich werde mit Sicherheit darauf abfahren und meiner Meinung nach persönlich und individuell darauf abfahren. empfehlen Sie meinen Freunden. Ich bin… Ich bin… sicher sie werden von dieser Website profitieren.

  40. Relevant Privacy Policy and helpful Customer Support will assist you with all the questions and leave your personal data safe and secure.
    Pharmacokinetics of sildenafil after single oral doses in healthy male subjects absolute bioavailability, food effects and dose proportionality.
    More serious side effects include.

  41. It failed in treating angina, but during drug trials many volunteers reported an unusual side effect – lots of erections.
    Then, he asked for my best advice.
    And Pfizer had just the odd couple for the job Rooney Nelson and Dr.

  42. The decrease in potency is caused by stress, heavy physical work, conflicts in the family and diseases like insomnia, among many others.
    But she did not dupe them to pratt.
    Are there natural over the counter Viagra alternatives.

  43. That means that a man in his 70s would have a 70 percent chance of having a problem, at least once in a while.
    At this point, female Viagra was manufactured alongside male Viagra and it is sold in online drug stores and pharmacies in most parts of the world.
    Its elimination half-life makes 18,5 22,2 h both in persons with normal, and with impaired kidneys function.

  44. This condition, known as priapism, is a risk associated with all of these ED drugs.
    Yes, I confess, tried this herbal Viennaea, and it was just that it is a type of natural product.
    Неоспоримые преимущества Boss Royal Viagra.

  45. I together with my friends came reading the nice information and facts on your website and all of the sudden I got a terrible suspicion I had not expressed respect to the web blog owner for those strategies. Those young men became absolutely happy to study all of them and have now simply been tapping into these things. Appreciate your being simply accommodating as well as for going for some amazing resources millions of individuals are really desperate to know about. My personal honest regret for not expressing gratitude to earlier.

  46. What motivated the U.
    These techniques will reveal how much DXM was likely in a user s system and will determine whether the drug was used consistently and or abused over an extended term.
    Female Viagra Experiment.

  47. It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d definitely donate to this superb blog! I guess for now i’ll settle for bookmarking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to new updates and will talk about this site with my Facebook group. Talk soon!

  48. I beloved up to you’ll obtain carried out right here. The comic strip is attractive, your authored subject matter stylish. nonetheless, you command get got an edginess over that you want be turning in the following. sick no doubt come further in the past once more as precisely the same nearly very steadily inside of case you protect this hike.

  49. Pingback: Viagra 50mg uk