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Linda Graham, MFT Compassion – for Self and Others Spirit Rock Meditation Center December 13, 2014.

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Presentation on theme: "Linda Graham, MFT Compassion – for Self and Others Spirit Rock Meditation Center December 13, 2014."— Presentation transcript:

1 Linda Graham, MFT Compassion – for Self and Others Spirit Rock Meditation Center December 13, 2014

2 Compassion Being touched, moved by experience of pain and suffering Flow of kindness, tenderness, care and concern toward experiencer of pain and suffering Wise action to alleviate pain and suffering Compassion is a verb. – Thich Nhat Hanh

3 Compassion Practice Mindfulness Awareness of what’s happening (and our reaction to what’s happening) Self-Compassion Acceptance of what’s happening (and our reaction to what’s happening) Compassion – Common Humanity Wise effort in response to what’s happening (and our reactions to what’s happening)

4 Compassion Research and Study Center for Investigating Healthy Minds (U. Wisconsin) Center for Mindful Self-Compassion (U.C. San Diego) Kristin Neff: Christopher Germer: Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE - Stanford) Greater Good Science Center (U.C. Berkeley)

5 My Journey One cannot live with sighted eyes and feeling heart and not know the miseries which afflict the world. - Lorraine Hansberry Psychology All the world is full of suffering; it is also full of overcoming. - Helen Keller Vipassana May I meet this moment fully; may I meet it as a friend. - Sylvia Boorstein Neuroscience Mindful Self-Compassion We practice self-compassion not to feel better but because we feel bad. – Kristin Neff Teaching-training

6 Mindful Self-Compassion Shifts Brain Functioning In the present moment – restores equanimity Over time – creates new patterns of behavior Becomes way of being – natural, effortless

7 Affectionate Breathing Sit comfortably; breathe slowly and gently. Incline your awareness toward your breathing with tenderness and curiosity Let the body breathe itself; notice the natural nourishing and soothing of the body Feel the whole body breathe Allow the body to be gently rocked by the breath Savor the stillness and peace in the body

8 Hand Gestures Squeeze fists tightly Self-criticism Open palms, hands turned upward Acceptance and equanimity Extend palms forward Common humanity One palm on top of the other resting on heart center Self-kindness; self-compassion

9 Shit Happens – Shift Happens Uh oh; a careless mistake Cascade of criticism begins Catch the moment; shift the perspective Not the only one to make a mistake today; not the only mistake I’ll make today Shit happens – shift happens, too Shift is possible in every moment, in any moment at all

10 Between a stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. The last of human freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances. - Viktor Frankl, Austrian psychiatrist, survivor of Auschwitz

11 Mindfulness and Self-Compassion Pause, become present (awareness) Notice and name experience (loving awareness) Self-compassion “Ouch, this is hard! This is painful. And I care. May I be kind to myself in this moment.” Step back from experience and reflect Can now tolerate looking at experience as it is Catch the moment; make a choice Shift to wise view, wise action

12 Mindfulness and Compassion Activate Caregiving System Mindfulness Focuses awareness on experience May I accept this moment, exactly as it is Self-Compassion Focuses kindness on experiencer May I accept myself exactly as I am in this moment Activates caregiving system Shift from reactivity and contraction to openness, engagement

13 Caregiving System Activates oxytocin, hormone of safety and trust Down-regulates stress hormone cortisol Returns nervous system to calm, equilibrium Creates left shift; brain more open to, engaged with experience; larger perspective Common humanity – social engagement

14 Self-Compassion Break Notice moment of suffering Ouch! This hurts! This is painful. Soothing touch (hand on heart, cheek, hug) Kindness toward experiencer May I be kind to myself in this moment May I accept this moment exactly as it is May I accept myself in this moment exactly as I am May I give myself all the compassion I need to respond to this moment wisely

15 Soles of the Feet Stand up; feel soles of feet on the floor Rock back and forth, rock side to side Make little circles with your knees Walk slowly; notice changes in sensations Offer gratitude to your feet that support your entire body, all day long

16 The brain is shaped by experience. And because we have a choice about what experiences we want to use to shape our brain, we have a responsibility to choose the experiences that will shape the brain toward the wise and the wholesome. - Richard J. Davidson, PhD Center for Investigating Healthy Minds

17 Mechanisms of Brain Change Conditioning New Conditioning Re-Conditioning De-Conditioning

18 Whatever the practitioner frequently thinks and ponders upon, that will become the inclination of the mind. - Buddha

19 Conditioning Experience causes neurons to fire Repeated experiences, repeated neural firings Neurons that fire together wire together Strengthen synaptic connections Connections stabilize into neural pathways Conditioning is neutral, wires positive and negative

20 Evolutionary legacy Genetic templates Family of origin conditioning Norms-expectations of culture-society Who we are and how we cope….…is not our fault. Given neuroplasticity And choices of self-directed neuroplasticity Who we are and how we cope……is our responsibility - Paul Gilbert, The Compassionate Mind

21 The Buddhist teachings are fabulous at simply working with what’s happening as your path of awakening, rather than treating your life experiences as some kind of deviation from what is supposed to be happening. The more difficulties you have, in fact, the greater opportunity there is to let them transform you. The difficult things provoke all your irritations and bring your habitual patterns to the surface. And that becomes the moment of truth. You have the choice to launch into the lousy habitual patterns you already have, or to stay with the rawness and discomfort of the situation and let it transform you, on the spot. - Pema Chodron

22 New Conditioning Choose new experiences Gratitude practice, listening skills, focusing attention, self-compassion, self-acceptance Create new learning, new memory Encode new wiring Install new pattern of response

23 Loving Kindness with Self-Compassion Sit comfortably, focus on gentle breathing, in and out Feel breath in entire body; let your body breathe you Breathe into areas of physical stress, discomfort Notice difficult emotions; incline awareness toward contraction or discomfort Self-compassion phrases: “May I be….” Your own phrases of kindness, tenderness, care Rest in stillness and peace in body

24 Re-conditioning Memory de-consolidation – re-consolidation “Light up” neural networks Juxtapose old negative with new positive Neurons fall apart, rewire New rewires old

25 Soften-Soothe-Allow Sit comfortably; notice sensations in the body Recall moderately difficult situation; visualize this Identify strongest emotion; name and validate emotion Locate where you feel emotion in your body Soften into that locatioin Soothe yourself: May I hold this experience in loving awareness Allow experience to be as it is Soften-soothe-allow

26 Modes of Processing Focused Tasks and details Self-referential New conditioning and re-conditioning De-focused Mental play space Default network De-conditioning

27 De-Conditioning Imagination Guided visualizations Guided meditations Reverie, daydreams Brain “plays,” makes own associations and links, connect dots in new ways Aha’s, epiphanies, revelations

28 Compassionate Friend Sit comfortably; hand on heart for loving awareness Imagine safe place Imagine warm, compassionate figure – Compassionate Friend Sit-walk-talk with compassionate friend Discuss difficulties; listen for exactly what you need to hear from compassionate friend Receive object of remembrance from friend Reflect-savor intuitive wisdom

29 Kindness is more important than wisdom, And the recognition of that is the beginning of wisdom. - Theodore Rubin

30 Negativity Bias -Positive Emotions Brain hard-wired to notice and remember negative and intense more than positive and subtle; how we survive as individuals and as a species Leads to tendency to avoid experience Positive emotions activate “left shift,” brain is more open to approaching experience, learning, and action

31 Positive Emotions GratitudeAweGenerosity CompassionDelight Serenity Love Curiosity Kindness Joy Trust

32 Positive Emotions - Benefits Less stress, anxiety, depression, loneliness More friendships, social support, collaboration Shift in perspectives, more optimism More creativity, productivity Better health, better sleep Live on average 7-9 years longer Resilience is direct outcome

33 Benefits of Self-Compassion Increased motivation; efforts to learn and grow Less fear of failure; greater likelihood to try again Taking responsibility for mistakes; apologies and forgiveness More resilience in coping with life stressors Less depression, anxiety, stress, avoidance Healthier relationships; more support and, less control and/or aggression Increased social connectedness, life satisfaction, and happiness

34 Seeing Ourselves as Others See Us Imagine sitting across from someone who loves you unconditionally Imagine switching places with them; see yourself as they see you; feel why they love you and delight in you; take in the good Imagine being yourself again; taking in the love and affection coming to you; savor and absorb.

35 Circle of Support Call to mind people who have been supportive of you; who have “had your back” Currently, in the past, in imagination Imagine them gathered around you, or behind you, lending you their faith in you, and their strengths in coping Imagine your circle of support present with you as you face difficult people or situations

36 Take in the Good Notice: in the moment or in memory Locate felt sense in the body Absorb: savor seconds,

37 Positivity Portfolio Ask 10 friends to send cards or s expressing appreciation of you Assemble phrases on piece of paper Tape to bathroom mirror or computer monitor, carry in wallet or purse Read phrases 3 times a day for 30 days Savor and appreciate

38 The Guest House - Rumi This being human is a guest-house. Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, Some momentary awareness come As an unexpected visitor. Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honorably.

39 He may be clearing you out for some new delight. The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in. Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond. - Rumi

40 Welcome Them All Wiser Self welcomes to the “party” characters that embody positive and negative parts of the self with curiosity and acceptance of the message or gift of each part and honors each part of the “inner committee”

41 Reconditioning Anchor in present moment awareness Resource with acceptance and goodness Start with small negative memory “Light up the networks” Evoke positive memory that contradicts or disconfirms Simultaneous dual awareness (or toggle) Refresh and strengthen positive Let go of negative Rest in, savor positive Reflect on shifts in perspective

42 Wished for Outcome Evoke memory of what did happen Imagine new behaviors, new players, new resolution Hold new outcome in awareness, strengthening and refreshing Juxtapose new resolution with old event Notice shift in perspective of experience, of self

43 Linda Graham, MFT Compassion – for Self and Others Spirit Rock Meditation Center December 13, 2014

44 Compassion for Others Mindfulness of experience It is what it is Self-compassion I accept myself, exactly as I am Common humanity Just like me We cannot live for ourselves alone. Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads, and along these sympathetic fibers, our actions run as causes and return to us as results. - Herman Melville

45 If we could read the secret history of our enemies we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

46 Then it was as if I suddenly saw the secret beauty of their hearts, the depths of their hearts where neither sin nor desire nor self-knowledge can reach, the core of their reality, the person that each one is in the eyes of the Divine. If only they could all see themselves as they really are. If only we could see each other that way all the time. There would be no more war, no more hatred, no more cruelty, no more greed….I suppose the big problem would be that we would fall down and worship each others. - Thomas Merton

47 Action on Behalf of Common Humanity Altruism – Generosity – Service Caregiving Forgiveness Moral Compass

48 Altruism – Generosity - Service In every community, there is work to be done. In every nation, there are wounds to heal. In every heart, there is the power to do it. - Marianne Williamson

49 Common Humanity - Videos Christmas Truce, 1914 [Sainsbury advert] https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedd ed&v=NWF2JBb1bvM Barefoot College Giving to Those Who Give to the Homeless generous-people/ Coming to the Aid/Comfort of Someone Who Is Depressed someone-whos-sad/

50 You don’t need to do everything. Do what calls your heart; effective action comes from love. It is unstoppable, and it is enough. - Joanna Macy.

51 Brahma Viharas Loving Kindness Compassion Sympathetic Joy Equanimity

52 Caregiving Breathing in, “nourishing, nourishing” Breathing out, “soothing, soothing” In imagination, “nourishing for me, nourishing for you, soothing for me, soothing for you” “One for me, one for you” Practice breathing “one for me, one for you” when in conversation with someone

53 Caregiving with Equanimity Everyone is on his or her own life journey. I am not the cause of this person’s suffering, nor is it entirely within my power to make it go away, even if I wish I could. Moments like this are difficult to bear, Yet I may still try to help if I can.

54 Forgiveness - I For the many ways that I have hurt and harmed myself, that I have betrayed or abandoned myself, out of fear, pain, and confusion, through action or inaction, in thought, word or deed, knowingly or unknowingly… I extend a full and heartfelt forgiveness. I forgive myself. I forgive myself.

55 Forgiveness - II For the ways that I have hurt and harmed you, have betrayed or abandoned you, caused you suffering, knowingly or unknowingly, out of my pain, fear, anger, and confusion… I ask for your forgiveness, I ask for your forgiveness.

56 Forgiveness - III For the many ways that others have hurt, wounded, or harmed me, out of fear, pain, confusion, and anger… I have carried this pain in my heart long enough. To the extent that I am ready, I offer you forgiveness. To those who have caused me harm, I offer my forgiveness, I forgive you.

57 Forgiveness is not an occasional act; It is a permanent attitude. -Martin Luther King, Jr.

58 Moral Compass Core values; guiding principles Intention Practice Perseverance Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it. - The Talmud

59 Finding the Silver Lining Regrettable Moment – Teachable Moment What’s Right with this Wrong? What’s the Lesson? What’s the Cue to Act Differently? Find the Gift in the Mistake

60 Coherent Narrative This is what happened. This is what I did. This has been the cost. This is what I learned. This is what I would do differently going forward.

61 Linda Graham, MFT Compassion – for Self and Others Spirit Rock Meditation Center December 13, 2014


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