While there are a number of studies that suggest that meditation is a very healing tool, in honor of the season’s peace and good will,” this post focuses on one particular type-compassion meditation. Practiced by the Dali Lama, Tibetan monks, college students and many others, this type of meditation has been shown to change the brain, resulting in reduced stress and depression.
I have tried a number of different meditation techniques, but this one I find not only easy to do, I’ve learned a lot through doing it. Focusing on family, friends as well as those I find difficult brought me a new understanding of myself as well as those in my thoughts.
The steps laid out in Compassion 101 by Penelope Green are easy to follow. The one suggestion I’d recommend to Green’s basic steps is the phrase you say while contemplating someone.
As a friend of mine says, “hold them in the light.” As you offer phrases of compassion to them, you can repeat the same type of phrases, such as “May you be free of pain and sorrow.” “May you be well and happy.” This activity took on new meaning if I personalized it for each person. For a good friend that has been through a lot of hardship, my wish for them is peace, love, well-being, happiness and financial security. I wish for them to be free of pain, loneliness and anxiety.
As you shift your attention inward and offer the same phrases of compassion to yourself, such as “May I be free of pain, loneliness and anxiety,” this takes on a whole new meaning. You not only begin to bond with someone, you begin to understand them in a new way.
To learn more, go to the following sites:
Is Compassion Meditation the Key to Better Caregiving? by Matthieu Ricard
Loving-Kindness Meditation from The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society
Rick Hanson: Author of Buddha’s Brain: The Practical neurosciene of happiness, love and wisdom.