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Paired meditation deepens interpersonal connection: Tania Singer's wonderful ReSource project

Yesterday I was skimming through the JAMA Psychiatry journal and I got hijacked by Kok & Singer's recent article "Effects of contemplative dyads on engagement and perceived social connectedness over nine months of mental training: a randomized controlled trial".  The abstract reads - "Importance  Loneliness is a risk factor for depression and other illnesses and may be caused and reinforced by maladaptive social cognition. Secularized classical meditation training programs address social cognition, but practice typically occurs alone.

Birmingham BABCP conference: first day - decentering, compassion, insomnia, social anxiety, sp/sr & barbecue (3rd post)

This is a quick overview of the first full day of the annual BABCP summer conference in Birmingham.  I intend to return to some of the key learning points in later posts.  I've already written about the pre-conference workshop I went to on "Emotion regulation" in a couple of earlier posts. Apparently the conference itself offers 37 symposia, 5 panel discussions, 3 clinical roundtables, multiple poster sessions, 13 skills classes, numerous special interest group & branch meetings, and 18 keynote addresses - all over the course of two and a half days here on the University of Birmingham campus. The freely downloadable 101 page abstracts book gives a great sense of what's on offer.

Could increasing our compassion for others be even more "therapeutic" than increasing our self-compassion?

"It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life, that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself."  Ralph Waldo Emerson

"We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."   Viktor Frankl  

"To reach the other shore with each step of the crossing": a brief embodied cognition meditation exercise (3rd post)

                              (This blog post is downloadable as both a Word doc and a PDF file)

When I get to heaven they will not ask me, “Why were you not Moses?”  Instead they will ask “Why were you not Susya? Why did you not become what only you could come?”   Susya, a Hasidic rabbi

"Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy."  Thich Nhat Hanh

"To reach the other shore with each step of the crossing": linking this with embodied cognition (2nd post)

(This post & the previous one in the series are downloadable combined into a Word doc or a PDF file)

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes."   Proust

"Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground."    Rumi

"Wisdom, compassion, and courage are the three universally recognized moral qualities of men."   Confucius

"To reach the other shore with each step of the crossing": zazen, associative thinking & value-driven behaviour (1st post)

     (This post & the next in the series are downloadable combined into a Word doc or a PDF file)

"But the future is the future, the past is the past; now we should work on something new."    Shunryu Suzuki

In 1970 I started to learn meditation with the Cambridge Buddhist Society.  It was the year that Shunryu Suzuki's great book "Zen mind, beginner's mind" was published.  I was deeply intrigued.  So much of his writing was challenging:

Going back for a university reunion: emotional archaeology unearths a treasure trove of insights & new directions (6th post)

This is the sixth and final blog post about going back to my old university for a reunion dinner.  I wrote three posts last month and a further couple earlier this month.  In the first post of the series, I said: "I've never been back for any kind of reunion before ... not to school, not to university, not to medical college. Why not ... and why am I going back now?  I'm a medical doctor, but primarily I work as a psychotherapist ... as a specialist in stress, health & wellbeing.

Going back for a university reunion: self-esteem, hallucinogens, wonder & the transpersonal (4th post)

"Who will prefer the jingle of jade pendants if he once has heard stone growing in a cliff?"  Lao Tzu

"To stand and stare, to watch the rising sun, fills me with such calm happiness, I am sure I have
dwindled away too much time on inessentials." 
Diana Gault (when dying of cancer)

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