Science of Compassion

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Everytime I facilitate a Compassion Cultivation Training© class, I learn more and deepen my practice of compassion. It’s an incredible, ever-renewing and endless resource for me – a source of strength, purpose and calm.

Here are a few of my favorite Science of Compassion resources for you to explore:

  • Video of Emiliana Simon-Thomas describing the brain structures involved in compassion.
  • Randomized controlled trial of CCT and enhancing compassion, 2012 full paper
  • CCT study on mindfulness, affect and emotion regulation published in 2013, full paper.
  • Study on CCT and mind wandering published 2015, full paper.
  • Videos of past conferences, presentations and events at Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE).
  • Peer reviewed CCARE articles.
  • The Wellspring Institute’s library of key scientific papers on brain science, relationships, well-being, and more.

Happy researching!

-Aly

Enhance your life with compassion

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Compassion is an awareness of others’ suffering coupled with a willingness to take action to relieve the suffering.

Actively practicing compassion can boost your courage to be present and resourceful in the face of life’s challenges.

Compassion can calm your nervous system and strengthen your capacity for meaningful relationships, connections and intimacy with others. It can enhance your well-being and happiness by reducing stress, anxiety, loneliness and empathy fatigue.

Compassion can also connect you with your values and purpose to increase your clarity and focus.

Compassion is perhaps the most powerful and effective tool you can use to care for yourself and others. As His Holiness the Dalai Lama famously said, “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”

And yes, compassion can be cultivated and enhanced! There are specific exercises you can do to build your compassion muscle. Like a great workout, it feels amazing.

From Greater Good: Five ways to make mindfulness more… manly!

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“…contemporary research in neuroplasticity, by scientists like Richard Davidson at the University of Wisconsin, Madison’s Center for Investigating Healthy Minds, finds that even short-term compassion meditation training (30 minutes a day for eight weeks) alters the brain activity in regions associated with positive emotional skills like empathy. That is true for both men and women.”

More here

New York Times article "The Morality of Meditation"

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“Gaining competitive advantage on exams and increasing creativity in business weren’t of the utmost concern to Buddha and other early meditation teachers. As Buddha himself said, “I teach one thing and one only: that is, suffering and the end of suffering.” For Buddha, as for many modern spiritual leaders, the goal of meditation was as simple as that. The heightened control of the mind that meditation offers was supposed to help its practitioners see the world in a new and more compassionate way, allowing them to break free from the categorizations (us/them, self/other) that commonly divide people from one another.

But does meditation work as promised? Is its originally intended effect — the reduction of suffering — empirically demonstrable?”

Read here!

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