Mindfulness, Meditation and Compassion.
Mindfulness can be simply defined as moment-to-moment awareness. Living mindfully allows us to be more spontaneous and creative and compassionate. It has been said that Mindfulness asks: “What is occurring in this moment?” Compassion practices ask: What is needed in this moment?” Mindfulness training sharpens our ability to perceive and our capacity to allow what is happening to happen. It helps us grow our spontaneity and be more skillful in our responses.
Exciting results have emerged from studies involving mindfulness and compassion. They show that these practices can actually change the way we receive, process and respond to new and old information Mindfulness meditation has been reported to produce positive effects on psychological well-being extending beyond the time the individual is formally meditating.
I have expanded my approach to psychotherapy through a continuing practice of meditation and study of Buddhist Psychology. I have studied “Innate Compassion and Wisdom Practices” with John Makransky, professor of Buddhism and Comparative Religions at Boston College. I am also a student of Tsoknyi Rinpoche, a meditation master in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Presently in a two year teacher training program with Bill and Susan Morgan.
The practice of meditation helps us to settle and grow the foundation of an internal holding environment. We learn to attend and bring awareness to all felt experience. We are growing our capacity to be with difficult emotions in am grounded and skillful way. My experience convinces me that meditation enhances conventional therapeutic approaches. While Buddhist principles embody both compassion and mindfulness, meditation enhances psychotherapy by helping the mind and body to relax deeply as we learn to ground and feel for stability within ourselves. Here we can begin to make contact with something more than our “narratives” – the stories we tell ourselves over and over. We can begin to sense the innate experience of our mind/heart as it was before we draped it with armor. This is a practice!
Some of the meditation we might work with include:
1. Mindfulness of body, breath and mind
2. Loving Kindness practice
3. Compassion for self and others
Compassion is a concept receiving a great deal of attention these days. I cannot even talk about mindfulness outside of the context of compassion. Mindfulness fosters an accepting stance towards living. By itself, this is compassion. Compassion has much to do with the way we respond to distress, whether the distress is felt by another or by ourselves. It shows itself in the desire to alleviate the distress.
This is, however, only re-discovered truth.
“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” — Dalai-Lama
Short video of Jaye talking about the sense of space created when we meditate.