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Developing compassion

By on November 19, 2014
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If you read neuroscience research you are probably familiar with the interest that the Dalai Lama takes in neuroscience. Under his guidance, many high level monks with decades of meditation experience have been subjects of brain scans to see how various types of meditation affect the brain.

One type of meditation that has been found to have significant benefits for the brain is so-called ‘compassion meditation’, in which the meditator feels compassion for various types of people, each being more challenging than the one before. So you might feel compassion for a loved one (easy), or a child or animal (again, easy), or a stranger (more challenging), or an enemy (difficult!).

Such research is interesting, but more important this applies to us? After all, we are not necessarily expert meditators.

Recent research shows that compassion meditation can benefit everyone. Researchers asked subjects to experience a guided compassion meditation for 30 minutes a day for 2 weeks. As a result, the subjects showed changes in behavior (more altruistic), feelings (more compassionate) and brain responses to images of suffering.

And the best news is that you too can participate in the study. The results and benefits are laid out in the article below by one of the researchers Helen Weng. The article includes links to a free download of the guided meditation used in the research. Enjoy!

Are there ways to train emotional muscles such as compassion? Compassion meditation is an ancient contemplative practice to strengthen feelings of compassion towards different kinds of people. The feeling of compassion itself is the emotional response of caring and wanting to help when encountering a persons suffering. See more..

Picture courtesy of Stockimages and

The CafeHypno Editorial Team, Sarah Carson, Jess Marion and Shawn Carson

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