A little more on compassion
As my attention has been on compassion recently I remembered that Rick Hanson’s book Resilient (2018) discusses compassion since it is linked to well-being and resilience. In his book AWARE, 2018, Dan Siegel also mentions that ‘… focused attention, open awareness, and the training of compassion, or what we are calling kind intention are three of the core ingredients of how we create well-being and happiness in our lives’. Skimming through the chapters of Resilient I chose a few short extracts relevant to compassion to accompany my drawing today.
‘My own path of well-being began with compassion, as it does for most people. Compassion for yourself is fundamental, since if you don’t care how you feel and want to dosomething about it, it’s hard to make an effort to become happier and more resilient. Compassion is both soft and muscular. For example, studies show that when people feel compassion, motor planning areas in the brain begin preparing for action. Compassion is a psychological resource, an inner strength…….’
‘Compassion for yourself is where you startwhen things are tough, not where you stop. Research by Kristin Neff and others has shown that self-compassion makes a person more resilient, more able to bounce back. It lowers self-criticism and builds up self-worth, helping you to be more ambitious and successful, not complacent and lazy. In compassion for your own pain is a sense of common humanity: we all suffer, we all face disease and death, we all lose others we love. Everyone is fragile…’
‘The key to growing any psychological resource, including compassion, is to have repeated experiences of it that get turned into lasting changes in neural structure or function. It’s like recording a song on an old-fashioned tape recorder: as the song plays— as you experience the resource— you can help it leave a physical trace behind in your nervous system…….’
‘……the neocortex, which started expanding with the first primates about 50 million years ago; it has tripled in volume since early hominids began manufacturing tools 2.5 million years ago. The neocortex has enabled humans to be the most social species on the planet. It is the neural basis of empathy, language, cooperative planning, and compassion— sophisticated ways to meet our needs for connection….’