A More Empathetic Brain: How Meditation Boosts Compassion
“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”-Dalai Lama
Can you imagine how much better the world would be if we all put ourselves in other people’s shoes more often? The truth is, greater compassion and empathy benefits everyone, especially you.
What are empathy and compassion?
Empathy is an understanding and feeling of another’s emotions as if they were your own – “feeling at one” with how another person feels. Compassion, a higher level emotion which requires wisdom, is empathy without being overwhelmed by the other person’s feelings. Empathy precedes compassion, but having both (especially compassion) can beneficially transform your life.
Before we tell you the secret to boosting your compassion/empathy, it is important to understand the benefits:
• You learn from other people’s experiences, as well as your own.
• Build better rapport, with more natural interest in other people.
• Strengthen your trust of others and their trust for you.
• Easier to make new friends, have better relationships.
• People are more forthcoming and open with you.
• Creates better collaboration and teamwork when solving problems.
• More natural respect for everyone.
• Every social interaction becomes an opportunity to learn and grow.
• Greater spiritual growth and a more fulfilling life.
• Deeper perspective into other people’s points of view.
• More understanding of yourself and others.
• Strengthen emotional intelligence.
• Boost overall happiness.
• More personal and professional success.
Why do so many people today lack empathy and compassion?
All of the busyness we see in the world today, internet, TV, computers, cell phones, while in some ways better connect us – have really taken us away from our innate empathic ability. A bombardment of stimulus can really desensitize the average person, disconnecting them from the source field uniting all of us.
What is the secret to boosting my empathy and compassion?
Meditation. Here are 4 reasons:
1. Meditation tends to evoke feelings of love, oneness, and understanding. One of the world’s greatest astronomers, Carl Sagan, was quoted as saying “We are all made of the same star stuff”. By recognizing the divine love and connection that we all share, it is often easier to just naturally have empathy for another being when you recognize that he is you and you are him.
2. Meditation activates the “compassion” area of the brain. Neuroscientific researchers from Mount Sinai Medical Center in NY have discovered that, when brain scanned during meditation, the “empathy” area of the brain (anterior insular cortex) lights up significantly. Highly compassionate Buddhist monks have long known this for thousands of years, confirmed by western science.
3. Meditation increases “self-awareness” and “other-self awareness”. By calming the nervous system and expanding your inner awareness, meditation makes you become more aware of your emotions, allowing you to take notice when you experience emotions that don’t necessarily belong to you.
4. Meditation strengthens your connection to the unified field. Perhaps the main reason most people lack empathy today is a disconnection from “source” energy, the scientifically proven quantum field connecting everything and everyone, including you (all points in time and space are connected). Meditation allows you easy access to your subconscious mind, where the quantum is waiting to be tapped into for a limitless number of benefits, including the boosting of empathy and compassion.