Compassion Meditation Research

Compassion meditation research is progressing today at a phenomenal rate.

One of the leading researchers in this field is Dr. Richie Davidson, founder of the discipline of affective neuroscience.

His involvement with the Dalai Lama and the Mind and Life Institute provide inspiration for fulfilling his life purpose.

Dr. Richie Davidson with The Dalai Lama

Dr. Richie Davidson with The Dalai Lama | dialogues.jpg from Mind & Life

I am totally excited that Dr. Davidson is coming to Stanford! He is going to present to CCARE: The Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education. I will be there with friends. Click here to register.

Compassion Meditation Research

Dr. Elisha Goldstein, a psychotherapist and author of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, reviewed Dr. Davidson’s 2009 work on compassion meditation research on his blog.

Dr. Daniel Goleman in his book, Destructive Emotions, described Davidson’s 2000 research.

He spoke about how a monk was brought over from Tibet and put through a variety of tests using fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) and sophisticated brain wave equipment in Dr. Davidson’s lab. He called the monk, Lama Ozer to protect his identity.

The tests included (if my memory serves my right) calm abiding, openness, mantra, imagery, and also loving-kindness meditation on compassion.

In every case of brain imaging, certain areas of the brain lit up with significant activity.

When he was exposed to the sound of human pain, the area of the brain for empathy and compassion lit up.

Dr. Goldstein reported on the 2009 compassion meditation research:

Compassion has been linked to activating areas of the brain that are involved with positive emotion, self-regulation and resiliency. There is a link between compassion and altruism, and altruism has been linked to feeling good in life. But maybe two to four weeks of training in compassion isn’t enough time.

Just think, wouldn’t our lives and the world be enhanced if there was a bit more compassion and altruism?

He offers the following video to get you started with loving kindness meditation.

 This video teaches you the basic practices of compassion meditation as taught in Dr. Goldstein’s book, The Now Effect: How a Mindful Moment Can Change the Rest of Your Life.
It is very similar to the loving kindness meditation practices that I teach on my blog and in 9 Minute Meditation.
Please share your thoughts, stories and questions about loving kindness, compassion and research. Your collaboration inspires others to share their wisdom as well.
A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook
Old Price: $24.95
Price: $13.78
The Now Effect: How a Mindful Moment Can Change the Rest of Your Life
Old Price: $23.00
Price: $8.39

I have not read either of these books, but I have seen raving reviews of MBSR Workbook. After watching the video, you may have a good idea about The Now Effect.

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