Over the holidays, I did some research and updated my knowledge on Meditation and Mindfulness (M&M). I was amazed how much material had been presented over the last few years. The big advances were in Neuroplasticity and Mind Mapping. The findings are quite remarkable, but what impressed me the most, was the breath and scope of M&M. It is recently used effectively in education, medicine, psychiatry, psychology, leadership and employee training, sports and athletic performance, well-being; with senior citizens, special needs, anger management; drug alternative to: depression, anxiety, addiction, mental health, high blood pressure, ADHD, autism, and the list goes on.
I find it intriguing and wonder why M&M is not taught as a mandatory course in all schools, and not advocated and prescribed by GP’s.
Recently, much attention has been focused on: How the brain functions and physically grows after M&M. It is conclusive that it creates new and beneficial pathways. Of the four areas of the brain that M&M affects, neuroscientists have discovered that kindness and generosity adds further to its’ overall tendencies. The research indicates that we can train the mind and that good intentions can be imprinted into the brain. World-renowned neuroscientist, Dr. Richie Davidson writes, “We know, that individuals who suffer from depression, show activation in the brain circuitry from a positive outlook. Well-being is fundamentally no different than learning to play the cello.” Practise makes perfect.
Monthly, we post A Calendar of Kindness. Take a peek (click the link), it can only add more to your outlook on life. Make a copy for home, work or school.
Also, a Kindness and Generosity Meditation practice is worthy of consideration. Here is one you can use. If faithfully repeated (call it an ‘innercise for the brain’), along with our course, it can enhance our sense of well-being significantly. Make it your New Year’s resolution!
- Start by taking delight in your own goodness—calling to mind things you have done out of good-heartedness, and rejoicing in those memories to celebrate the potential for goodness, we all share.
- Silently recite the following phrases that reflect what we wish deeply for ourselves in an enduring way: May I live in safety; May I have mental happiness; May I have physical happiness; May I live with ease.
- Repeat the phrases with enough space and silence between, so they fall into a rhythm that is pleasing to you. Direct your attention to one phrase at a time.
- Each time you notice your attention has wandered, be kind to yourself and let go of the distraction. Come back to repeating without judging or disparaging yourself.
- After some time, visualize yourself in the centre of a circle composed of those who have been kind to you, or have inspired you because of their love. Perhaps you’ve met them. Or read about them: perhaps they live now, or have existed historically or even mythically. As you visualize yourself in the centre of the circle, experience yourself as the recipient of their love and attention. Keep gently repeating the phrase above.
- To close the session, let go of the visualization, and simply keep repeating the phrases for a few more minutes. Each time you do so, you are transforming your old, hurtful mindset/relationship of yourself, and are moving forward, sustained by the force of kindness.
I wonder what a society, steeped in kindness and generosity, would look like? Responses?