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What Is Compassion Meditation?

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  • Written By: A. Leverkuhn
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 31 October 2016
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Compassion meditation is a specific kind of meditative discipline focused on combining the conventional benefits of the activity, with ideas about how the individual relates to others. Some proponents of this kind of meditation argue that including a compassionate element can enhance meditation, and increase a person’s overall wellness, while benefiting his or her community. This newer sort of meditation is a general category of meditative activity that is promoted by a mix of gurus and others familiar with the meditative arts.

One of the ideas behind compassion meditation is the premise that compassion is a “skill” that can be learned by humans. Prior to new research, people most often considered compassion to be an innate personality trait, something influenced by genetics and other factors. Now, scientists are saying that compassion can be acquired through some activities like compassion meditation.

Some MRI studies have shown that areas of the brain controlling compassion and other traits respond to repetitive activities that center the individual on these traits. This forms the basis for a lot of thought about compassion meditation and similar activities. Generally, individuals who are doing compassion meditation try to “channel” compassion and, with repeated efforts, might be able to truly change the ways that they think and live.

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Those who want to practice this sort of meditation often start by a common process of “centering,” or eliminating distractions. This involves closing the eyes or otherwise blocking out visual distractions, as well as using controlled breathing. A correct environment is necessary for centering; experts suggest a space that is quiet, devoid of strong smells or extreme temperatures, and otherwise sufficient for controlling the focus of the mind.

In this type of meditation, individuals often start out visualizing a person who they have a fondness for. This sets the stage for what will be a general “output” of compassionate thought. In the course of a meditation session, the person will cycle through directing compassion toward various people, groups or areas of the world.

Compassion meditation has received a lot of attention from holistic wellness experts and “mind/body” therapists who offer services to today’s market. The idea has also been prominent on popular daytime television shows and other venues. More people are thinking about how these sorts of directed emotional activities can change their lives, whether it’s in relation to the physical body, their mindset, or both.

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