Category Archives: mindfulness

Compassion as an innate human capacity

In the video below, Emma Seppala, Associate Director at the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University reviews some of the latest scientific research on compassion at the Empathy in Society Conference last October in London.

Among the major points she touches on are:

  • measuring the real life impact of compassion interventions on subsequent behaviour;
  • compassion as an evolutionary adaptive development;
  • the incompleteness of the economic model of agents informed by rational self-interest; and
  • applications of compassion development and interventions in the work place.
(Hat-tip: Dorothy Della Noce)

A Rant on Listening and Dealing with Emotions

Louis C.K.

Here’s a video clip of an appearance by Louis C.K. on Conan O’Brien‘s eponymous late night talk show. Apart from the content of the humour, there’s also helpful advice on how to listen and how to deal with difficult emotions. (Warning: Some may regard language offensive.)

H. H. The Dalai Lama awarded Templeton Prize 2012

The Templeton Prize 2012 has been awarded to His Holiness The Dalai Lama.  The prize has a monetary value of ₤1.1 million and, as such, is the largest monetary award given to one person.  It honours “a living person who has made exceptional contributions to affirming life’s spiritual dimension.”

For decades, Tenzin Gyatso, 76, the 14th Dalai Lama – a lineage believed by followers to be the reincarnation of an ancient Buddhist leader who epitomized compassion – has vigorously focused on the connections between the investigative traditions of science and Buddhism as a way to better understand and advance what both disciplines might offer the world.

Below is a four-minute video in which the Dalai Lama talks about two dimensions of the quality of compassion:

You can read more about the Templeton Prize and see more videos with the Dalai Lama posted on YouTube by clicking here and scrolling down to “Big Questions”.

Seeing sometimes really is believing

The McGurk Effect: “The visual information a person gets from seeing a person speak changes the way they hear the sound.”  The video below demonstrates this illusion with the sound  ‘ba’ that becomes heard as ‘fa’ when the movement of the lips is changed:

This phenomenon has implications for social interaction, including conflict interaction.

H.H. The Dalai Lama and Transformative Practice

A couple of weeks back, Dan Simon drew a comparison on his new transformative mediation blog between the thinking of Carl Rogers, the founder of humanistic psychology, and the premises and principles of transformative practice.

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama brings togeth...

His Holiness The Dalai Lama (Image via Wikipedia)

Now, this week, he looks to the words of His Holiness The Dalai Lama and finds another parallel with our practice’s objective of recognition or openness to the other.  This is of particular interest to me given my earlier post of February 7, Transformative Mediation Training and Spiritual Communities.  Dan quotes from the HHDL’s Facebook page:

“The first beneficiary of compassion is always oneself. When compassion, or warmheartedness, arises in us and our focus shifts away from our own narrow self-interest, it is as if we open an inner door. It reduces fear, boosts confidence and brings us inner strength. By reducing distrust, it opens us
to others and brings us a sense of connection to others, and sense of purpose and meaning in life.”

This is a perfect summation of what Baruch Bush, the co-author of the transformative framework, calls compassionate strength.  Briefly stated, the ‘transformative’ in transformative mediation is about supporting parties who wish to change their conflict interaction from negative to positive, or to one of compassionate strength, i.e., strength of self and openness to (or recognition of) the other.

Read Dan’s entire post here.

Transformative Mediation Training and Spiritual Communities

Winnie Backlund

I’m just back from taking part as a role play coach in the three-day “Basic  Mediation Training – The Transformative Approach to Mediation”.

The training was co-led by Winnie Backlund and Basia Solarz, and was held with hand-picked leaders of a spiritual community located in Halifax.

A strong affinity was found between some of the premises of transformative practice and the teachings in this community. My personal hope as a transformative practitioner is that this seed of interest will find fertile ground in which to grow, and that transformative practice will be found to be helpful.

Basia Solarz

Often affinities that are at first seen between the premises of transformative practice and other practices become open to question under closer examination.  See on this point Dan Simon’s blog post on the differences between non-violent communication and transformative mediation.