Sunday, January 12, 2014

Compassion and delight as a way to have a happy life

"Sprinkle Delight" collage by Lani, textures by FlyPaper.

 #28 - Sprinkle compassion and delight as much as possible.

"If you wish to make others happy, practice compassion.
If you wish to be happy, practice compassion."
Dalai Lama

Compassion (the feeling of caring for and wanting to help others who are suffering) seems to be a fairly simple way to create a happier life.  Although I have mentioned it in previous blog posts, this past week I came across a fascinating research project by Laura Pinger and Lisa Flook on teaching preschoolers compassion and mindfulness and the amazing results it had on eliminating "in-group/out-group" biases, or perhaps it was a broadening of the in-group to create a very inclusive environment.  I listened to a YouTube lecture with Matthieu Ricard and James Doty, MDMatthieu Ricard described this research eloquently, with slides, and he was most interested in the pre/post-test for the program which included placing stickers in envelopes with children's faces on the envelope.  At the beginning of the research the children placed the most sticker in the "in-group" members face (best friend).  The "out-group" faces (unpopular children) got very few stickers.  At the end of the study there was no difference between stickers given to the "in-group/out-group" envelopes.  Perhaps the idea of out-group had been diminished.

For a lovely, easy-read description of this research, here's a link.  If you are interested in free downloads for compassion  meditations and papers on the subject, do check out the work of  neuroscientist Dr. Richard J. Davidson, the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the Waisman Center, UW-Madison.  They are deeply involved in scientific research on healthy qualities of mind such as kindness, compassion, forgiveness and mindfulness.  Nice, eh?

More research of this kind is being conducted at The Greater Good Science Center at the University of Berkeley and at CCARE at Stanford.  Tons of research and videos.  You may be lost for days, but in a very good, compassionate and delightful way of course.

1 comment:

Luísa R de Carvalho said...

thank you for the information on research by Richard Mathieu
I went to the conference in Lisbon and he presented research with children and behavior donation. But I could not figure out who had done the research and the instruments used.
Your blog has been very useful for me and my work.
Thank you very much.