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The Morality of Meditation: David DeSteno

The Morality of Meditation: David DeSteno | Psicología Positiva, Felicidad y Bienestar. Positive Psychology,Happiness & Wellbeing | Scoop.it

MEDITATION is fast becoming a fashionable tool for improving your mind. With mounting scientific evidence that the practice can enhance creativity, memory and scores on standardized intelligence tests, interest in its practical benefits is growing. A number of “mindfulness” training programs, like that developed by the engineerChade-Meng Tan at Google, and conferences like Wisdom 2.0 for business and tech leaders, promise attendees insight into how meditation can be used to augment individual performance, leadership and productivity.

 

This is all well and good, but if you stop to think about it, there’s a bit of a disconnect between the (perfectly commendable) pursuit of these benefits and the purpose for which meditation was originally intended. Gaining competitive advantage on exams and increasing creativity in business weren’t of the utmost concern to Buddha and other early meditation teachers. As Buddha himself said, “I teach one thing and one only: that is, suffering and the end of suffering.” For Buddha, as for many modern spiritual leaders, the goal of meditation was as simple as that. The heightened control of the mind that meditation offers was supposed to help its practitioners see the world in a new and more compassionate way, allowing them to break free from the categorizations (us/them, self/other) that commonly divide people from one another.

 

But does meditation work as promised? Is its originally intended effect — the reduction of suffering — empirically demonstrable?

 

To put the question to the test, my lab, led in this work by the psychologist Paul Condon, joined with the neuroscientist Gaëlle Desbordes and the Buddhist lama Willa Miller to conduct an experiment whose publication is forthcoming in the journal Psychological Science. We recruited 39 people from the Boston area who were willing to take part in an eight-week course on meditation (and who had never taken any such course before). We then randomly assigned 20 of them to take part in weekly meditation classes, which also required them to practice at home using guided recordings. The remaining 19 were told that they had been placed on a waiting list for a future course.

 

After the eight-week period of instruction, we invited the participants to the lab for an experiment that purported to examine their memory, attention and related cognitive abilities. But as you might anticipate, what actually interested us was whether those who had been meditating would exhibit greater compassion in the face of suffering. To find out, we staged a situation designed to test the participants’ behavior before they were aware that the experiment had begun.

 

WHEN a participant entered the waiting area for our lab, he (or she) found three chairs, two of which were already occupied. Naturally, he sat in the remaining chair. As he waited, a fourth person, using crutches and wearing a boot for a broken foot, entered the room and audibly sighed in pain as she leaned uncomfortably against a wall. The other two people in the room — who, like the woman on crutches, secretly worked for us — ignored the woman, thus confronting the participant with a moral quandary. Would he act compassionately, giving up his chair for her, or selfishly ignore her plight?

 

The results were striking. Although only 16 percent of the nonmeditators gave up their seats — an admittedly disheartening fact — the proportion rose to 50 percent among those who had meditated. This increase is impressive not solely because it occurred after only eight weeks of meditation, but also because it did so within the context of a situation known to inhibit considerate behavior: witnessing others ignoring a person in distress — what psychologists call the bystander effect — reduces the odds that any single individual will help. Nonetheless, the meditation increased the compassionate response threefold.

 

Although we don’t yet know why meditation has this effect, one of two explanations seems likely. The first rests on meditation’s documented ability to enhance attention, which might in turn increase the odds of noticing someone in pain (as opposed to being lost in one’s own thoughts).

 

My favored explanation, though, derives from a different aspect of meditation: its ability to foster a view that all beings are interconnected. The psychologist Piercarlo Valdesolo and I have found that any marker of affiliation between two people, even something as subtle as tapping their hands together in synchrony, causes them to feel more compassion for each other when distressed. The increased compassion of meditators, then, might stem directly from meditation’s ability to dissolve the artificial social distinctions — ethnicity, religion, ideology and the like — that divide us.

 

Supporting this view, recent findings by the neuroscientists Helen Weng, Richard Davidson and colleagues confirm that even relatively brief training in meditative techniques can alter neural functioning in brain areas associated with empathic understanding of others’ distress — areas whose responsiveness is also modulated by a person’s degree of felt associations with others.

 

So take heart. The next time you meditate, know that you’re not just benefiting yourself, you’re also benefiting your neighbors, community members and as-yet-unknown strangers by increasing the odds that you’ll feel their pain when the time comes, and act to lessen it as well.

 


Via Jim Manske, Jone Johnson Lewis
Margarita Tarragona's insight:

Nueva evidencia de que la meditación nos ayuda a ser más compasivos.

#bienestar

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Miklos Szilagyi's curator insight, July 7, 2013 11:56 AM

Actually, I like this very much...

Adrian Ivakhiv's curator insight, July 7, 2013 4:22 PM

The result -- that meditators are more likely to show empathy to a stranger -- is not surprising, but the proportion (three times as likely) is. The research base for this conclusion keeps growing...

Psicología Positiva, Felicidad y Bienestar. Positive Psychology,Happiness & Wellbeing
Investigaciones y ensayos sobre la psicología de la felicidad y el bienestar.
Research and essays about the psychology of happiness and wellbeing.
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Medicating Women’s Feelings

Medicating Women’s Feelings | Psicología Positiva, Felicidad y Bienestar. Positive Psychology,Happiness & Wellbeing | Scoop.it
Emotion should be seen as a sign of health, not disease.
Margarita Tarragona's insight:

La emotividad de las mujeres no debe ser vista como un síntoma que hay que medicar.

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Eduardo Jáuregui: "El humor en el trabajo es una cosa muy seria"

Eduardo Jáuregui: "El humor en el trabajo es una cosa muy seria" | Psicología Positiva, Felicidad y Bienestar. Positive Psychology,Happiness & Wellbeing | Scoop.it
Entrevistamos a Eduardo Jáuregui durante el IV Congreso Internacional de AECOP-EMCC España, que se celebró en Madrid los días 19 y 20 de febrero de 2015. Eduardo Jáuregui es Profesor de Psicología ...
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I'm too busy! How can we get out of this busy-ness trap? - video

I'm too busy! How can we get out of this busy-ness trap? - video | Psicología Positiva, Felicidad y Bienestar. Positive Psychology,Happiness & Wellbeing | Scoop.it
You're probably thinking you're too busy to watch a short video about being too busy …
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¿Siempre ocupado? Cómo salir de la trampa

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Preventing Suicide With A 'Contagion Of Strength'

Preventing Suicide With A 'Contagion Of Strength' | Psicología Positiva, Felicidad y Bienestar. Positive Psychology,Happiness & Wellbeing | Scoop.it
A suicide prevention program trains middle and high school students as peer mentors — shaping school culture and behavior around pillars of support.
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Prevención del suicidio entre los adolescentes a través del "contagio de fortalezas"

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Gratitude Is the New Willpower

Gratitude Is the New Willpower | Psicología Positiva, Felicidad y Bienestar. Positive Psychology,Happiness & Wellbeing | Scoop.it
New findings suggest that feeling grateful fosters long-term thinking.
Margarita Tarragona's insight:

La gratitud, más que la fuerza de voluntad, nos ayuda a tomar buenas decisiones financieras

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Resilience: How to train a tougher mind

Resilience: How to train a tougher mind | Psicología Positiva, Felicidad y Bienestar. Positive Psychology,Happiness & Wellbeing | Scoop.it
Can you learn to be mentally tougher? Emma Young investigates the science of mindfulness and other techniques promising to foster resilience.

Via jon inge
Margarita Tarragona's insight:

¿Cómo se puede cultivar la resiliencia? 


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40 Scientifically Proven Ways To Be Happier

40 Scientifically Proven Ways To Be Happier | Psicología Positiva, Felicidad y Bienestar. Positive Psychology,Happiness & Wellbeing | Scoop.it
40 Scientifically Proven Ways To Be Happier: Often 'a bit' happier is all it takes to feel significantly better, these tips will help you to get closer.

Via Sandeep Gautam
Margarita Tarragona's insight:

40 tips, basados en investigaciones, para cultivar la felicidad

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Sandeep Gautam's curator insight, February 23, 2:58 AM

a good compilation of happiness boosting tips there!

Marcus Clarke's comment, February 23, 5:02 AM
Thanks Sandeep :)
Martina Testa Psicologa Clinica e Psicoterapeuta's curator insight, February 24, 2:34 AM

40 modI per essere felici...o meglio...un po' più felici...perché l'ostacolo maggiore al nostro benessere e' la costante ricerca della felicita' a tutti i costi. I miei preferiti sono l'11 e il 21, e i vostri?

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How To Find Happiness In Today’s Hectic World

How To Find Happiness In Today’s Hectic World | Psicología Positiva, Felicidad y Bienestar. Positive Psychology,Happiness & Wellbeing | Scoop.it
Swarthmore professor Barry Schwartz explains how to find happiness by living a simpler life in today's busy world.
Margarita Tarragona's insight:

La "paradoja de la elección". Según Barry Schwartz, tener muchas opciones nos puede hacer sentir menos felices

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Don’t Try to Break a Bad Habit — Start a New, Better One Instead

Don’t Try to Break a Bad Habit — Start a New, Better One Instead | Psicología Positiva, Felicidad y Bienestar. Positive Psychology,Happiness & Wellbeing | Scoop.it
Framing your thoughts positively might be a better way to change your behavior.

Via Luis Valdes
Margarita Tarragona's insight:

Funciona mejor agregar un hábito positivo que tratar de dejar uno molesto.

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Mexico Lindo y Querido

Mexico Lindo y Querido | Psicología Positiva, Felicidad y Bienestar. Positive Psychology,Happiness & Wellbeing | Scoop.it
Playing For Change is a movement created to inspire and connect the world through music. The idea for this project came from a common belief that music has the power to break down boundaries and overcome distances between people.
Margarita Tarragona's insight:

Solo porque me puso contenta…México Lindo y Querido

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We Are Built To Be Kind - YouTube

Subscribe for more videos like this! http://testu.be/1Ii5cm2 Greed is good. War is inevitable. Whether in political theory or popular culture, human nature i...
Margarita Tarragona's insight:

¿Por qué hemos evolucionado para ser amables y empáticos?

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The 31 Benefits of Gratitude You Didn’t Know About: How Gratitude Can Change Your Life

The 31 Benefits of Gratitude You Didn’t Know About: How Gratitude Can Change Your Life | Psicología Positiva, Felicidad y Bienestar. Positive Psychology,Happiness & Wellbeing | Scoop.it
Do you want more from your life?

More happiness? Better health? Deeper relationships? Increased productivity?

What if I told you that just one thing can help you in all of those areas?
An Attit
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31 beneficios de la gratitud

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Is The Secret To A Happy Marriage In Your DNA? - YouTube

Are some people genetically predisposed to stay happily married? Researchers at UC Berkeley have found a major clue in our DNA. Robert Levenson and his team ...
Margarita Tarragona's insight:

¿puede haber una base genética para la felicidad matrimonial?

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Todd Kashdan: "Cada vez se tienen más en cuenta las emociones en las organizaciones"

Todd Kashdan: "Cada vez se tienen más en cuenta las emociones en las organizaciones" | Psicología Positiva, Felicidad y Bienestar. Positive Psychology,Happiness & Wellbeing | Scoop.it
Entrevistamos a Todd Kashdan durante el IV Congreso Internacional de AECOP-EMCC España, que se celebró en Madrid los días 19 y 20 de febrero de 2015. Desde que se doctoró en 2004 en Psicología Clín...
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Las profesiones más felices en el entorno laboral

Las profesiones más felices en el entorno laboral | Psicología Positiva, Felicidad y Bienestar. Positive Psychology,Happiness & Wellbeing | Scoop.it
La Encuesta Anual de Adecco sobre Profesiones Felices destaca que entre los profesionales que se consideran con un mayor grado de felicidad dentro de su ámbito laboral son los deportistas (98,9%), ...
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Según una encuesta hecha en España, los profesionistas más felices en su trabajo son….

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What Millennials Should Know about Perfectionism - Noba Blog | Noba

What Millennials Should Know about Perfectionism - Noba Blog | Noba | Psicología Positiva, Felicidad y Bienestar. Positive Psychology,Happiness & Wellbeing | Scoop.it
By Dr. Robert Biswas-Diener
@biswasdiener

Every generation is known for something. People who lived through World War II—the so-called “Greatest Generation” is famous for being tough and hard working. Their children, the “baby boomers,” are k...
Margarita Tarragona's insight:

No hay que esperar hacer las cosas perfectamente, pero sí aspirar a la excelencia. Pros y contras del perfeccionismo

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biare2015_02.pdf

Margarita Tarragona's insight:

Nuevo reporte del INEGI sobre el bienestar subjetivo de los mexicanos. Éste describe la felicidad y el bienestar de la gente que vive en ciudades mexicanas, de fines del 2103 a febrero de 2015. Muy interesante. Las relaciones cercanas siguen siendo lo que más contribuye al bienestar subjetivo de la gente en nuestro país

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The Amazing Effect of Granting a Wish to Seriously Ill Children

The Amazing Effect of Granting a Wish to Seriously Ill Children | Psicología Positiva, Felicidad y Bienestar. Positive Psychology,Happiness & Wellbeing | Scoop.it
The Amazing Effect of Granting a Wish to Seriously Ill Children: Charities such as the Make-A-Wish foundation work tirelessly to provide magical gifts and experiences to children who are living with life-threatening and often terminal conditions.

Via Sandeep Gautam
Margarita Tarragona's insight:

Investigación de mi querida amiga Covadonga Cháves, sobre los efectos positivos de otorgar un deseo a los niños con enfermedades graves

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Sandeep Gautam's curator insight, February 23, 2:07 AM

Wish that all such children's wishes could be fulfilled:-)

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From Negative Attitude to Gratitude - Forbes

From Negative Attitude to Gratitude - Forbes | Psicología Positiva, Felicidad y Bienestar. Positive Psychology,Happiness & Wellbeing | Scoop.it
How can we build on our strengths and take advantage of the power of positive psychology if negative outcomes keep bringing us down? The great majority of the portfolio managers I work with have little more than a 50% hit rate on their trades.

Via Kasia Hein-Peters
Margarita Tarragona's insight:

¿Cómo ser optimistas en un trabajo en el que es inevitable perder frecuentemente?

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ThinkGive: Inspiring Young People to Choose Kindness

ThinkGive: Inspiring Young People to Choose Kindness | Psicología Positiva, Felicidad y Bienestar. Positive Psychology,Happiness & Wellbeing | Scoop.it
Margarita Tarragona's insight:

Un programa para promover la generosidad en el salón de clases.

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The Positive Psychology of Sustainability – David Cooperrider

The Positive Psychology of Sustainability – David Cooperrider | Psicología Positiva, Felicidad y Bienestar. Positive Psychology,Happiness & Wellbeing | Scoop.it

Via Kasia Hein-Peters
Margarita Tarragona's insight:

David Cooperider habla de la psicología positiva de la sustentabilidad

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Kasia Hein-Peters's curator insight, February 19, 1:43 AM

About the role of Appreciative Inquiry (AI)

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Live Happy Video

Live Happy Video | Psicología Positiva, Felicidad y Bienestar. Positive Psychology,Happiness & Wellbeing | Scoop.it
Are you the one? Find out here

Via Sandeep Gautam
Margarita Tarragona's insight:

Bonito video sobre la felicidad de la revista Live Happy

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Sandeep Gautam's curator insight, February 19, 3:05 AM

Rippling happiness by becoming a happiness ambassador:-)

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Oliver Sacks on Learning He Has Terminal Cancer

Oliver Sacks on Learning He Has Terminal Cancer | Psicología Positiva, Felicidad y Bienestar. Positive Psychology,Happiness & Wellbeing | Scoop.it
I am now face to face with dying. But I am not finished with living.
Margarita Tarragona's insight:

Admiro mucho a Oliver Sacks, me impactó y conmovió este escrito sobre cómo está enfrentando una enfermedad terminal

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How To Intentionally Design A Happier Life

How To Intentionally Design A Happier Life | Psicología Positiva, Felicidad y Bienestar. Positive Psychology,Happiness & Wellbeing | Scoop.it
Paul Dolan, a leading happiness scholar, offers strategies for identifying what really makes you happy and doing more of those things.

Via Sandeep Gautam
Margarita Tarragona's insight:

¿Te has hecho una "auditoría de felicidad"? ¿qué disfrutas y te ayuda a estar bien cada día?

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Sandeep Gautam's curator insight, February 17, 1:55 PM

find what you really like and then go do it!

Gerardo Velasco's curator insight, February 18, 11:24 PM

añada su visión ...

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Festival of Ideas 2013 - Growing Brains: Capacity, Intelligence and Resilience - YouTube

Professor Lea Waters discusses the need for positive psychology in schools
Margarita Tarragona's insight:

Lea Waters habla sobre la educación positiva

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