Part two: “Altered Traits”: Different methods of meditating

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Seven years after his three-month retreat experiment ended, Cliff Saron tracked down the participants.

 

He found a surprise among those who, during and just after the retreat, were able to sustain attention to disturbing images of suffering—a psychophysiological measure of acceptance, as opposed to the averted gaze and expression of disgust he found in others (and which typifies people in general).

 

Those who did not avert their eyes but took in that suffering were, seven years later, better able to remember those specific pictures.

 

In cognitive science, such memory betokens a brain that was able to resist an emotional hijack, and so, take in that tragic image more fully, remember it more effectively—and, presumably, act.

 

 

 

Unlike other benefits of meditation that emerge gradually—like a quicker recovery from stress—enhancing compassion comes more readily.

 

 

 

We suspect that cultivating compassion may take advantage of “biological preparedness,” a programmed readiness to learn a given skill, as seen, for instance, in the rapidity with which toddlers learn language.

 

Just as with speaking, the brain seems primed to learn to love.

 

“This seems largely due to the brain’s caretaking circuitry, which we share with all other mammals.

 

These are the networks that light up when we love our children, our friends—anyone who falls within our natural circle of caring.

 

These circuits, among others, grow stronger even with short periods of compassion training.
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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by chickenlittle2017 on April 3, 2018 at 2:10 pm

    DVT

  2. This is groundbreaking

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