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In many Indian life philosophies, ahimsa is inspired by the premise that all living beings all have the remnants of the vital life energy.
Compassion can be defined as a response to the suffering other sentient beings that motivates or inspires another to offer assistance or help. As people’s mindsets, economies, and governments change, practicing compassion in the world today is critically important in shaping a sustainable future for the next seven generations to come. If you see a person on the street who appears homeless, give money to the person and be non-attached to the idea of what the person will use the money for. Christopher Bueker is a mindfulness teacher, Yoga instructor, blogger, and public speaker; he teaches at various Yoga studio and centers in Cincinnati, Ohio. Nine master teachers, nine wisdom traditions, two 9-day residentials, one journey of the human spirit into the direct experience of living awake.
Tags: self-compassionCompassionbeating yourself up Strive for more, work even harder, aim to be the best! This suspicion was confirmed as I observed my fellow classmates progress through freshman year.
Kristin Neff, associate professor of human development at the University of Texas and pioneer of research on self-compassion, believes that our society’s emphasis on achievement and self-esteem lies at the heart of much unnecessary and even counterproductive suffering.
After observing the pitfalls of self-esteem, Neff went looking for an alternative, a way to set and achieve our goals without beating up ourselves—or anyone else—in the process.
Working hard, striving to meet one’s goals, and performing to the best of one’s potential are obviously tremendously useful skills in the areas of both professional and personal growth. It is, in a sense, taking on the attitude that one might have toward a friend who has failed at something.
Neff explains that self-compassion is not a way of avoiding goals or becoming self indulgent. When you are motivated by self-compassion, you see setbacks as the best learning opportunity.
Moreover, by preventing the defeating effects of self-criticism, self-compassion allows us to maintain peace of mind and thereby retain our energy. Though research into the physiology of self-compassion versus self-criticism is still pending, Neff hypothesizes a simple model. We all know of people who seem to take care of everyone but themselves—and who berate themselves for not doing more.
Etelle Higonnet is another example of how learning self-compassion can empower even super-achievers. Says Higonnet, “I grew up with the idea that you should always criticize yourself, and that you should never be satisfied, but should always strive for better. If you received an A, why didn’t you get an A+? After surviving the car accident, Etelle began to feel a deep sense of gratitude for a life she now understood to be a gift. Carole Pertofsky, head of health promotion at Stanford University, is a passionate advocate of resiliency and well-being through self-compassion. Pertofsky also works with students who succumb to what’s called the “Stanford floating duck” syndrome: on the surface they look like they are calmly gliding along, but if you look underneath the water you’ll observe their legs pedaling away furiously, just to stay afloat. In my own research with veterans at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, I have found that self-compassion can be very helpful for returning soldiers. Neff tells a similar story of working with a group of young veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. WRITE YOURSELF A LETTER: Take the perspective of being a compassionate friend, so you can imagine that you are this other person. WRITE DOWN YOUR SELF-TALK: If you are self-criticizing because your jeans don’t fit or you said the wrong thing in a situation, write down the self-critical words that come to mind, and then ask if you would ever say these words to a friend. Today I’d like to suggest a method of self-compassion that I’ve been learning, that has worked wonders.
I will remember you in my prayers especially when I attend the 6pm mass at JM Lucas Infirmary,LST, Ateneo de Manila University. CAPTCHAThis question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions. Published in honor of the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, this book provides more than an institutional history. And as the Dalai Lama words convey, to experience true and lasting happiness in this world, we are to treat other living creatures the way we would like to be treated. Compassion moves people to offer physical, spiritual, or emotional help to the pain or struggle of other people or sentient beings. Repeat to yourself as many times as it takes and convince yourself that you are a truly compassionate person. Consider sharing other ways of making the world a better place through compassionate living. From an early age, we are taught to build our self-esteem by competing successfully, yet competition is a losing battle.
Yet research shows that when we lose, we tend to feel highly self-critical, adding to our misery.
However, Neff’s research suggests that replacing self-esteem with self-compassion may have far superior implications for our mental health and well-being.
Rather than berating him, judging him, and adding to his despair, we listen with empathy and understanding, encourage him to remember that mistakes are only normal, and validate his emotions without adding fuel to the fire. Instead, self-compassion is a great motivator because it involves the desire to alleviate suffering, to heal, to thrive, and to be happy.

Criticism, for example, usually consists of a grain of truth that pertains to us, and a grain of resentment or untruth that pertains to the critic’s perception. By remaining level-headed and understanding in the face of rejection, failure, or criticism, we develop an unshakable strength and ensure emotional stability independent of external circumstances. Harsh self-criticism activates the sympathetic nervous system (“fight or flight”) and elevates stress hormones such as cortisol in our bloodstream. Neff’s work confirms this observation: there is no correlation between the trait of self-compassion and feelings of compassion toward others. It is a practice that can help us all become less self-critical, and perhaps even achieve more and give more. The daughter of Harvard professors, Higonnet attended Yale Law School, and then continued in a blaze of successes, working at Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the United Nations. If you’re on the top soccer team, why are you not the number one scorer on the soccer team? Soon thereafter, she took an intensive week-long yogic breathing and philosophy workshop that shifted her perspective. Pertofsky sees many Stanford students who are passionate about service, but suffer from overexertion.
One man I’ll call Mike was highly self-critical and had developed extreme forbearance and self-discipline—attributes that earned him awards for courageous actions in combat. She taught them ways in which, in a challenging or anxiety-provoking situation, it is possible to evoke self-compassion through touch. SELF-KINDNESS: Self-compassion entails being warm and understanding toward ourselves when we suffer, fail, or feel inadequate, rather than ignoring our pain or flagellating ourselves with self-criticism. COMMON HUMANITY: Self-compassion involves recognizing that suffering and personal inadequacy is part of the shared human experience—something that we all go through, rather than its being something that happens to “me” alone. We become unhappier, more stressed, and then need to seek comfort in these things again … and the cycle continues. I know this because for a long time I always turned to all of the above for comfort when I was feeling stressed or bad about myself. Now treat this pain with compassion, like you would with a friend who is suffering, or your child who is in pain. Based in Cape Town , she likes high heels, traveling,fast cars, surfing and drinking wine (purely for research).
Meanwhile, most of us don’t stop to consider whether our goals are possible, or whether they would even bring us lasting happiness. But we now found ourselves as one smart student among many, no longer special and no longer standing out. Psychologists have discovered that most people believe they are above average and better than others on almost every trait (the better-than-average effect). With self-compassion, you value yourself not because you’ve judged yourself positively and others negatively, but because you’re intrinsically deserving of care and concern like everyone else.
In one study, for example, Neff found that when faced with a threatening situation (having to describe one’s weaknesses in a job interview), self-compassion was associated with lower anxiety, whereas self-esteem did not impact anxiety levels.
A parent who cares about her child will insist on the child’s eating vegetables and doing her homework, no matter how unpleasant these experiences are for the child. Because of the sting that accompanies criticisms, we either become defensive or beat ourselves up—and ultimately miss the useful lesson.
Neff explains that self-compassion provides a stable sense of self-worth that fluctuates much less over time, because it is not contingent on looking a certain way or competing successfully. When this sting has a hold on us, we cannot learn from or engage with the kernel of truth that may be there to serve us. She noticed that many people, women in particular, are far more compassionate and kinder to others than to themselves. One great example of self-compassion in action is Bonnie Thorne, who has been devoted to humanitarian work throughout her life, starting with caring for street children, disadvantaged youth, and prostitutes by successfully raising funds for service organizations.
However, when she was placed in foster care, she witnessed the unconditional compassion of foster parents who whole-heartedly raised her, as well as other foster children of diverse races and backgrounds. It was quitters never win, and winners never quit in all domains of life, from sports to academics.” As a college student, human rights violations outraged her. But at home, he could not reconcile his actions as a soldier with his values as a civilian, and he had come to think of himself as a terrible human being. From an observer’s perspective, they are simply crossing their arms, but there is a private intention of giving a self-hug.
Self-compassionate people recognize that being imperfect, failing, and experiencing life difficulties are inevitable, so they tend to be gentle with themselves when confronted with painful experiences. It also means recognizing that personal thoughts, feelings, and actions are impacted by “external” factors, such as parenting history, culture, and genetic and environmental conditions, as well as the behavior and expectations of others.
Self-compassion also requires taking a balanced approach to our negative emotions so that feelings are neither suppressed nor exaggerated. It’s perfectly OK to feel bad about yourself, to feel bad about your body, to feel frustrated with someone else. People will arrive from around the world for the annual Spiritual Directors International education events. Wang traces the enactment of the school's mission to provide medical education for New Mexicans and to help alleviate the severe shortage of medical care throughout the state. Sometimes referred to as non-violence, Ahimsa is one of the cardinal virtues associated with Jainism, Hinduism, and Buddhism.

Even if we were to win a gold medal at the Olympics, our status as reigning champion would only last a few years and would most likely be accompanied by anxiety about losing in the future. Mistakes and failure make us so insecure and anxious that we give up early when faced with future challenges.
Where self-esteem leaves us powerless and distraught, self-compassion is at the heart of empowerment, learning, and inner strength.
Similarly, taking it easy on yourself may be appropriate in some situations, but in times of over-indulgence and laziness, self-compassion involves toughening up and taking responsibility. With self-compassion, however, we view failure with greater calm and understand it as an opportunity from which growth can follow. In this way, it allows us to both experience well-being and contribute to society in meaningful ways. Self-compassion, on the other hand, may trigger the mammalian care-giving system and hormones of affiliation and love, such as oxytocin.
She gives the example of a pediatric oncology nurse who spent her life giving to others, yet was extremely hard on herself because she felt that she was not doing enough. Most recently, she is leading the funding agenda for the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Center for Investigating Healthy Minds mission to use rigorous scientific research to improve well-being in the community. Bonnie attributes their love and respect and the safe environment they created to her development into a more integrated, creative, and giving person. Her activist spirit was fueled with anger, and she threw herself into overdrive to combat human rights issues. That’s when I understood that life was not about winning, competing, or suffering through pain in order to win. Suffering from anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder, Mike could not sleep at night.
Thich Nhat Hahn calls the intricate web of reciprocal cause-and-effect in which we are all imbedded “interbeing.” Recognizing our essential interbeing allows us to be less judgmental about our personal failings. This equilibrated stance stems from the process of relating personal experiences to those of others who are also suffering, thus putting our own situation into a larger perspective.
Describe the pain to yourself in physical terms, in terms of quality, in terms of color or shape or motion.
We’re good at being kind to others when they’re having a difficult time, perhaps, but not always with ourselves. On my first day at Yale, one of the deans proclaimed, “You are not only the elite; you are the elite of the elite,” and I still remember the wave of nausea this comment evoked in me. When our self-esteem rests on the premise of successfully competing against others, we are always precariously teetering on the edge of losing. Down the road, this type of competitive self-esteem has been tied to larger societal problems such as loneliness, isolation, and even prejudice. Also known as the “cuddle hormone,” oxytocin is released in lactating mothers, during hugging and sex, and is associated with feelings of well-being, allowing us to hold the truth without attacking ourselves. Bonnie explains, “Self-compassion gives me permission to breathe my own humanity into each situation that arises and greets me, and to transmit that energy into kindness to others.” To know Bonnie is to see her take advantage of every opportunity and interaction to connect with others in friendship, warmth, and the intention to serve where she can. Through her foster parents’ acceptance and kindness, the self-critical voice within her began to quiet down. It opened up a whole way of seeing love and acceptance and balance and harmony as a big part of me, and that’s how I try to live my life now. After participating in a yoga, breathing, and meditation-based workshop as part of our study, Mike’s attitude changed. She describes how one of the toughest-looking veterans in the room said, “I don’t want to let go.” He felt such relief from this new attitude of self-nurturing. After all, how many people would consciously choose to have anger issues, addiction issues, debilitating social anxiety, eating disorders, and so on?
It also stems from the willingness to observe our negative thoughts and emotions with openness and clarity, so that they are held in mindful awareness.
Most of us found this experience hard to bear, and it left me wondering whether this maddening competitiveness is the reason why anxiety and depression are exceptionally rampant on Ivy League campuses. Social comparison and competition also foster disconnection by causing us to view others as obstacles to overcome in order to keep our position, mark our territory, and vanquish potential rivals.
He shared that though he remembers everything that happened, he understands that his past actions under orders do not represent who he is as a person now. Mindfulness is a nonjudgmental, receptive mind-state in which one observes thoughts and feelings as they are, without trying to suppress or deny them. While we strive to become infallible and to retain our position at the top, we cannot escape suffering.
Our energy runs scarce, and we feel as if we have no more to give.” This state has often been called “compassion fatigue,” and is common in service professions, such as those of social workers and humanitarian aid workers.
At the same time, mindfulness requires that we not be “over-identified” with thoughts and feelings, so that we are caught up and swept away by negative reactivity.

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Comments to «How to practice compassion meditation»

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