Taking in the good

Dr Rick Hanson


 NOTE: This transcript may have been automatically generated using software and, as such, may not be completely accurate.

So I’m Rick Hanson, and on behalf of the Global Compassion Coalition, I’m really glad you’re here. I want to really express my appreciation for you participating in this experiential practice. The world is obviously very troubled in many ways. It also has many beautiful and hopeful things happening as well, even at the most basic level of people being compassionate and kind with each other. And without the practice, without the sincere efforts, large and small of people like yourself, the world would be in a much worse place. So I really thank you. I thank you for participating and I thank you for your practice and I thank you for your support of this growing worldwide coalition for compassionate action.

My co-host here, Christine Claghorn, will be kind of managing the chat a bit if you have any technical questions along the way. This event is being recorded and we’ll be posting the recordings soon after. I’m not sure exactly when, but fairly soon. And in this practice here, I hope to explore with you a very fundamental matter of practice and healing and coping, which is growing and developing and learning along the way. So as a bit of a frame, I’m going to offer a bit of a frame with just to hopefully just enough brain science, I’m gonna offer a bit of a frame and then we’ll do an experiential practice and then we’ll open it up for some discussion about what you experienced and any questions or comments you might have pardon me, about my topic here. All right, so the context for me is summarized in this kind of metaphor you may be familiar with. I heard of it rooted in early Buddhism. You might have an awareness of this basic idea in other traditions or just in common sense. It’s this notion that the path of healing, the path of developing, the path of coping and functioning and contributing and enjoying in this life, it’s like a path with two tracks on which a two-wheeled vehicle, a cart, goes. One of those tracks and one of those wheels is about gradual development. It’s about the process over time of letting go of things, releasing old habits, even traumatic material from a person’s past, becoming more skillful and letting go of maybe reactive patterns, learning good lessons with other people. Fairly often something will happen with my wife, Jan, and I’ll realize, whoa, rut-ro, I should take a different path the next time, or, oh, lesson learned here. You know, we learn things. We learn things along the way. We also grow. We develop in happiness, one of the major factors resilience, immune system functioning, and long-term health, and actually longevity, simple happiness, basic positive mood over time. We acquire wisdom. We acquire traits like mindfulness, compassion, patience, self-control. We grow. We grow. So that’s one of the two tracks. That’s one of the two tracks, the developmental track. The other track is appreciating what is always already true. What is true already? What is true already about yourself, the deep nature of other people, the nature of reality, already true about your underlying goodness? What is already true if you’re inclined, perhaps, mysteriously beyond the obvious Big Bang universe. What is already true? And there are different words, there are different fingers pointing at that particular moon, to borrow a metaphor from Zen. Both are true and in this practice I’m gonna focus with you on the first of these, which also involves sometimes uncovering. There’s a developmental process of uncovering, uncovering what is always already true, including your own deep, good, pure nature, in it all, around it all, and underneath it all. There’s a developmental process even of uncovering, unhindering, releasing, living more and more from, trusting more and more in what is always already true. So the two tracks go together. I myself have been early in my life, I was, or adulthood, I was really tilted toward that first track of development. Increasingly, I’ve come to appreciate the vital importance of the second one. On the other hand, sometimes there are people who are really rested in that second track, they’re really engaged with that second wheel, and there’s some things that could be healed inside themselves.

There’s some things that are still burdensome or wounding for them, afflictions upon them, hindrances upon them, that could be released and worked through, as well as other beautiful things to cultivate. So how do we do the process of cultivation grounded in the body, the living body? Well, if we are to cultivate, if we are to develop greater resilience, greater compassion, greater sense of worth, greater underlying inner peace, greater skills with other people. If we are to develop in this way inside ordinary reality, that means necessarily that the brain has to change for the better. Now, the changes in the brain are nested in changes in the nervous system, which are nested in the body altogether, and certainly also developmental processes are served by things that happen around us. Absolutely to be sure. But the final pathway for durable internal change in how we function and how we feel, independent increasingly of our own circumstances, building up an unshakable unconditional core over time of resilient wellbeing, that fundamental process involves lasting changes of neural structure and function. I’m not being reductionistic here, I’m just pointing to an extremely important part of this process of developmental change. So how do we do that? How do we actually grow the good inside, the good that lasts? How do we actually do that? What’s interesting here is that it’s actually a simple two-step process that is summarized in the increasingly well-known saying from the work of the Canadian psychologist Donald Hebb in the previous century. Neurons that fire together can wire together. So we have these two aspects here. We have the firing, which is the neural basis of an experience we’re having at the time, and then we have the process of wiring. Both are necessary. We need to get the firing. We need to be experiencing whatever we wanna grow. We need to start there, but we can’t end there. Once that song, as it were, is playing on the inner iPod, we must turn on the recorder. We must record it as a lasting change of neural structure and function. Otherwise, the experience in the moment could be beneficial, could be wonderful. Great, good, better than nothing, fantastic. But does it leave a lasting trace behind? Without that lasting trace left behind, by definition, there was no lasting gain from the experience. There was no lasting healing, no lasting repair, no lasting improvement in wellbeing or capabilities and other things as well. So how do we do that? How do we help neurons to wire together? And the context here is that the functional fact is that probably the great majority of the beneficial experiences, such as mindfulness, compassion, inner peace, happiness, feeling loved, feeling loving, feeling good and worthy in and of yourself as you are, most of those experiences for most people wash through the brain like water through a sieve. And that’s the dirty little secret in clinical psychology, psychotherapy, coaching, human resources training, mindfulness training, character education, and many, many, many, many other things. The brain is not naturally very efficient at learning from beneficial experiences of the things we want to grow inside. It’s not very naturally efficient at turning beneficial states of being into beneficial traits hardwired into the nervous system. That’s partly because of the brain’s evolved negativity bias, which is very well established in science. You can Google the term, tons of research on it. The simple version is that our ancestors needed both to get carrots, carrots, food, mating opportunities, comfort, et cetera, and they also needed to avoid sticks, predators, aggression inside their band, in between bands, natural hazards, et cetera. Well, both are important, but if you fail to get a carrot today, you’ll probably have a chance at one tomorrow. Back in the Stone Age, or even farther back in Jurassic Park, you’ll probably get another chance tomorrow. But if you fail to avoid that stick today, that predator, that aggressive alpha in your primate band, no more carrots forever. So we have a brain that’s naturally biased to do five things routinely, to look for bad news out in the world and inside yourself. And as I go through this little checklist, you can observe your own mind, right? And you go, oh yeah, it does that. Looking for bad news, scanning, scanning for threat, looking for trouble, what’s missing, what’s wrong. Second, over focusing on that negative stimulus, that one tile in the mosaic of your experience is flashing red, burp, burp, burp, over-focus on it, right? We focus on bad news. We focus on what we did wrong, rather than the 98 things we did right. Then third, overreact to it. Biologically, we tend to react more to equally intense negative stimuli than to equally intense positive stimuli. We care more about loss than gain, typically. We learn faster from pain than from pleasure, unfortunately. And then we over-remember it. All that just goes right into memory stores. We remember negative information about other people more than positive information. That negative interaction has more impact and four, five, 10 positive interactions with that other person. And then fifth, through the activity of cortisol, our brain gets sensitized to the negative along the way. There are no equivalent hardwired, biologically evolved processes for learning from beneficial experiences. Even though learning from beneficial experiences of what we wanna grow inside is how to grow the good inside. In some we’ve got a brain, as you may have heard me say, that’s like Velcro for bad experiences, but Teflon for good ones. So what can we do? Now I wanna introduce the good news and move into a meditation with you. The good news is that with a little bit of mindful awareness with a little bit of mindful focus, we can actually remarkably help the experiences at the time of whatever we wanna grow, we can help those experiences leave lasting traces behind in the physical nervous system. There are at least eight major ways to do this that I’ve summarized in my writings and they’re freely available on my website, rickansen.net. There are multiple ways to do this that are grounded in evidence. You can also see a paper I wrote called “Learning to Learn from Positive Experiences,” written with other really wonderful colleagues that’s been published in an academic journal a year and a half or so ago, the Journal of Positive Psychology, “Learning to Learn from Positive Experiences,” which goes into all the detail, including the neurologically-based references for all this. But, the essence is simple. And we’ll be exploring it experientially, starting in just a few minutes. The essence is really simple. When you’re having an experience of whatever you’d like to grow inside, usually because it’s already happening, occasionally, as we’ll do here, deliberately encouraging it, inviting it, welcoming it, prompting yourself to have it, when you’re actually getting that good song playing, there’s several things that you can naturally do to really help it sink in. First, stay with it for a breath or longer. Keep those neurons firing together so they gradually wire together as well. Stay with it. It doesn’t mean getting attached to it or clinging to it. It’s more like making room for the experience, allowing yourself to receive it, valuing yourself and valuing the experience enough, treating you and it like they matter, ’cause they do. So it really sinks in. Stay with it. There’s a beautiful gift to yourself here around receptivity. And one of the things that this practice of taking in the good, as I call it, surfaces is the ways in which we don’t treat ourselves like we matter. We’re not a good friend to ourselves. We are a good friend to others, but very often we don’t really appreciate our need to receive into ourselves. So there’s a kind of tenderness in this that itself is a beautiful thing. Second major factor of neuroplastic change, of positive neuroplasticity, that’s a mouthful, is feeling it in your body, opening to it. Not just the idea that they like you, let’s say, or that you got something done, or that you’re navigating something really hard, and you’re doing the best you can and it’s normal to have it be bumpy and even make a mistake or two along the way. You have that idea, it’s a good idea, can you feel it in your body? Can you open to it more and more in the body? And if that’s difficult for you, then over time mindfulness of body sensations is a really helpful pathway to becoming more aware of embodied experience. And a third major factor of neuroplastic change is to highlight what feels good about it, what’s rewarding about it, maybe meaningful, like, oh, wow, given my history, my history, Rick Hanson, of being a really shy, dorky young kid going through school who felt like a total outsider and unseen and valuable and unlikable, et cetera. Wow, given that history, whatever your version of history is, why would it be relevant today to experience X? To experience that others include me or see me or want me, or maybe with regard to other issues, to experience that I’m more like a hammer than a nail. I’m actually, I actually have agency. I’m actually potent. I can actually get stuff done. I have a sense of efficacy, to use a fancy word. Why would that be relevant to me? That’s a sense of things being meaningful. So whether it’s meaningful or enjoyable, either way, focus on the experience, focus on what’s rewarding about the experience you’re trying to internalize, which will highlight activity or amplify activity of dopamine and norepinephrine in the memory-making machinery of your own brain. Any one of these three are good. Stay with it for a breath or longer, feel it in your body, appreciate what’s enjoyable or otherwise rewarding about it. Any one of them is good, the more the better. And there are others as well. You’ll find them on your own. I list them on my website and in my work, you can find that elsewhere. And now having appreciated your willingness to stay with this little presentation here, let’s do a practice. Okay, you ready for some meditation? I certainly am. So as with anything experiential and as with anything at all, take what’s valuable for yourself. See what’s useful for you, all right? And feel really free to adapt my suggestions to your purposes. There are many ways into beneficial states of being. Find your own. I’m gonna present from my own background, which is very limited and privileged in many ways. Find your own way in, okay? We’ll do this for about 18, 20 minutes here. And the focus will be what I have talked about in the little blurb for this practice here, the sense of strong heart, the sense of a calm and open presence, calm, open-hearted presence, that intersection of lovingness and personal strength, personal strength is a really, really, really important intersection. It’s fairly straightforward to be loving. It may not be easy, but it’s straightforward. Fairly straightforward to be determined, set boundaries, be firm, be clear-eyed, but the combination of the two, that’s not an easy thing. Okay, so that’s what we’re gonna focus on. I’ll offer various prompts to see if you can, to help you find your way in to that experience, and we’re gonna marinate in it, kind of marinate in it, so it really, really, really sinks in. Okay? So let’s try it as an experiment. So find a posture. It helps you to be comfortable and alert, perhaps with a quality of uprightness in it and support for yourself. Maybe settling into a chair or shifting your body. Settling in. And then with your eyes open or closed, see if you can let your awareness move through your body. And if for any reason, awareness of your body’s uncomfortable for you, you could focus on other things that you may have learned over time are good for you, like a word such as peace or an image, or just the sense of the whole room you’re in right now. Refer to the body and also to the sensations of breathing. So for a few moments, let your awareness move through your body, coming home to it. And then see if it’s okay to be able to see it. And then see if it’s okay to be aware of breathing, especially the internal sensations. Air flowing in and flowing out, letting your attention sink into the feeling of inhaling in your nose or mouth, and then the air cool coming in, flowing down through the airway, lifting and expanding your chest. And then each exhalation flowing out again. And then see if you can be aware of sensations as you breathe in the center of your chest as you breathe in the center of your chest, as you breathe in the center of your chest, as you breathe out the air. Keep bringing your attention home to sensations in the area of your heart as you breathe. You might have a sense of growing calming, staying present, letting go of everyday worries and concerns, Perhaps your body becoming more tranquil, your mind becoming more quiet. Amen. And as you settle in here, gently invite a sense of an open heart. Knowing that you can be calm and strong with an open heart, you can still see the world clearly with an open heart. There could be an almost physical sense of your heart opening as you are aware of sensations around your heart as you breathe. And with this, if you like, bringing to mind one or more beings that you care about, perhaps you feel compassion for them, or you like them or appreciate them, perhaps love them. Not getting complicated about it, just staying with the feeling of caring. Warm heartedness. And see if you can find a sense of lovingness or simple friendliness or goodwill, simply goodwill. And take this as your object of meditation. Breathing in a caring heart, breathing out a caring heart, not forcing anything, more inviting, opening to, welcoming. Coming home in whatever ways you can to a simple sense of good-heartedness. Wishing well. Channel. You can get a sense of this warm-heartedness spreading throughout your body, perhaps like a warmth or something soothing. You can be aware of some of the ways that this is a rewarding experience. It feels good to have a caring and open heart. You can take refuge in being lived by love, a current flowing through you, lifting you, healing you, carrying you along. Thank you. If your mind wanders, bring it back. Becoming absorbed in the sense of your own kindness, your own basic decency that includes mistakes sometimes, other reactions, that’s normal. And meanwhile, deeply in you, His kindness and compassion. And then be aware as well of a kind of peaceful strength, mingling, blending with this warm-heartedness. You might deliberately sit up a little straighter or open your chest a little, not in any aggressive way. What’s it like to feel strong and stable with a loving heart, the two together? This might be a new experience or not. Let yourself become increasingly absorbed in the combination of peaceful strength and a loving heart. See if you can make room in yourself. Give yourself permission to bring these two together, or strength, and broadly stated, love. Or you might explore the feeling of self-respect combined with friendliness, or the combination of compassion while knowing that so much of what happens is beyond your control. Perhaps the combination of lovingness and seeing clearly. You might have a sense as we finish here of receiving into yourself this blending of caring and peaceful strength. And in our last minute, you might like to rest in the meditation while also opening your eyes, beginning to move while maintaining that combination of calm, clear-eyed, open-heartedness. Open life from calm strength and a good heart. Thank you. It’s helpful to continue to protect and appreciate whatever you’ve cultivated, which will also help it continue to sink in neurologically. I’m happy to address questions or comments that may come in through the sidebar. I’d like to mention two things before we go much farther though. The first is that if you’d like to explore this territory further, we’ve developed at the Compassion Coalition a wonderful program called the Heart of Compassion. The teachings in it have been donated by five world-class teachers, Tara Brach, Thupten Jinpa, Kristin Neff, Gabor Mate, and Rhonda McGee. And I had the chance to interview all of them. Their recordings are then integrated into a program. The Heart of Compassion is a program. It’s in five parts. We’ll be starting the first week of May, on May 1st, actually, and you can hop on board at any time. And I’ll be doing three live question and answer sessions to try to address questions that people may have myself. And all of this is framed as a fundraiser for the Global Compassion Coalition, which is a nonprofit and relies immensely on the generosity as nonprofits do and have done throughout history. We rely immensely on the generosity of all kinds, including financial generosity of others. So I really encourage you to check out the Heart of Compassion program, which Klage has put into the sidebar here. You can find it also on the Global Compassion Coalition website. And I’m also very happy to appreciate in advance any donations you can offer. And Klage will put the donation link also into the chat sidebar here. We’re very appreciative of many, many forms of generosity that have nothing to do with money, nothing at all to do with money. And in the modern world, to keep the lights on and to be able to have people who can really build an historic coalition for the greater good, which is what we’re aiming at here, we can really use your help, including from people who are potentially major donors and I’d be really quite happy to speak with you individually about that. So that’s the heart of compassion, and we’d love donations a bit here. And then for the rest of it, let me take a look at the comments coming into the chat. I appreciate that. I’d like to say as a general comment, there are many kinds of meditation. I’ve been meditating off and on, mainly on for the last 35 years, since 1974. And some meditations are extremely simple. They really go right into that second track, that second wheel of the wagon of awakening, where you just sort of drop into open awareness and increasingly just resting in the underlying ground of all. Beautiful practice. And there’s a place for deliberately cultivating and getting in touch with different sorts of states of being as the first step of actually internalizing those experiences and in building up them as traits inside yourself. We did that second kind, but that’s not the only way to meditate. And whenever you do that second kind of meditation where you’re trying to invite certain things, sometimes they just don’t come. It’s like trying to light a fire with wet wood. It’s not your fault. It’s just not yet there. And it’s often a clue that if there’s something pretty wholesome and fundamental, like getting in touch with an open heart and being increasingly able at will to rest in that place of goodwill for others, even if they’re being challenging for you. That’s where the rubber really meets the road. If you have difficulties, I did certainly for quite a while, in resting in that place, It just means, okay, you need to practice more. That’s all. And look for those opportunities to find those experiences and help them sink in. All right, so let me take a peek at comments here. By the way, if you’d like to talk with me individually and have a question that’s kind of clear and of general interest and are willing for others to see you here and be in the recording of the session, You might wanna, you can raise your hand. You can go down to the little stuff at the bottom of the screen where there’s some, there’s a reactions button, smiley face with a plus sign. And if you click, go down to it, you can raise your hand and you’ll move to the firmness for your screen as I see you have IDA, great. I’ll be with you in just a moment. Okay, so let me take a look. Yeah, I love the comments that are coming in. Lots of self-awareness. I see what you said there, Karina. Books that have transformed my meditative practice, there’ve been a lot of them along the way. I can share a couple that have really had a big effect. Three, really, and these are, well, more than three. They’re pretty deep books, I’ll be quick. “Trusting the Gold” by Tara Brach. Very, very deep about that first wheel, that first track, or second track, rather, of the card of practice, “True Nature” already, “Trusting the Gold.” Second, “One Blade of Grass” by Henry Schucman, about, you know, non-dual, radical experiences of self-transcendence and his own journey there, particularly the last third of that book, where he really writes from his realization. “One Blade of Grass” by Henry Schucman. And then, third, a very deep book, so I’m going to the deep end of the pool here, from Stephen Snyder. Stephen Snyder, I think it’s called “Trust in Awakening,” “Trust in Awakening,” which is his modern update of a teaching from the Third Zen patriarch. These are all in kind of a loosely Buddhist frame, but they’re very accessible, and you can take them on their own merits and decide for yourself what’s useful. Okay, great. And if I may, my own book, “Neuro Dharma,” It includes the material about how to deliberately use positive neuroplasticity to change your brain and thus your life for the better. And it takes people through these seven fundamental practices of awakening all the way out, up toward the highest reaches of human potential, drawing on the great teachings of saints and sages throughout history in an integrated form that’s grounded in our growing understanding of how the brain operates and neuroscience and the living body, my book, “NeuroDharma.” Okay, so Ida, and I’m gonna make room for Ingeborg. I don’t know if I’ll be able to get to anybody else. Ida, I’m gonna ask you to unmute. I’m asking you to unmute. Great, excellent. Hi, Ida, thank you. Ida: Hello, thank you so much for this. So you’re training us to build new neuropathways.

Rick: Yes. And our old neuro pathways, our past adaptive ways of functioning are like ruts that the tires keep going into. Ida: So how can we speed up the new ruts? Rick: Yeah, very good question. Extremely good. Think of that as weeds and flowers and soil, okay?The garden of the mind. We can grow flowers. Over time, we can pull weeds. Gradually, a lot of practices in self-help, mental health, clinical psychology, coaching, even the spiritual traditions, are about gradually pulling weeds, gradually withdrawing fertilizer from them. That’s the first thing. Stop feeding the weeds, which takes deliberate effort, especially if the weeds keep sucking you back in. But over time, there’s gradually a tipping point. And particularly in the Heart of Compassion program, there are several sections there on self-compassion from Kristin Neff and Gabor Mate talking about trauma and also Rhonda McGee talking about compassion related to injustice past and present. That’s about pulling weeds, okay? Meanwhile, incredibly important, very often the forgotten stepchild and the territory of self-help, mental health, healing and all the rest of that is to grow the good, is to grow flowers, including flowers that are matched to weeds. This gets into, you could look at my material on hardwiring happiness and other things. Let’s suppose that the weed or rut, as you put it, are feelings of inadequacy or anxiety about something. Either way. Well, feelings of anxiety are well-matched by flowers, pardon me, anxiety, that have to do with calming the body, a sense of strength, feeling supported by others, and recognizing that in the present, you’re usually basically all right right now, ’cause anxiety’s about the future. And also making sure that you’re not overestimating threats and underestimating resources. Those are very specific, well-known, research-based, I went through the list quickly, sorry, of major flowers for the weed of anxiety, okay? So pulling weeds, growing flowers, and you can also use flowers to pull weeds. Ah-ha. In my HEAL structure, which is the fundamental framework in which I summarize a lot of material that others have pointed out as true, I did not invent these methods, but I’ve organized them in a comprehensive way myself, the HEAL framework starts out with H-E-A-L, have a beneficial experience, like an experience of a flower, like home strength or loving strength, the two together. Have that experience and then ENA, enrich it and absorb it. That will grow the flower. Optionally, but very usefully, if you can do it, link, Alfred, link that particular experience to the weed you’re wanting to soothe or maybe the weed is an empty place inside where you did not get enough of what you really needed, which is more the case for me. We can be very affected by the absence of the good, even more than by the presence of the bad. And there’s a lot of new research on the incredible importance of positive emotional experiences, especially in early childhood, and then throughout the lifespan, not just the absence of adverse experiences, right? And so linking, you’re aware of the positive in your mind being big, you really have a strong, big stance, let’s say, of open-hearted strength. Off to the side is some anxiety, you keep that weed small so it doesn’t suck you in. You want the flower to pull the weed, you don’t want the weed to dislodge the flower. And if you stay with that for a breath or two or three, naturally neurological processes begin to occur in which the flower starts associating with the weed, easing the weed, going underneath it to satisfying the underlying unmet needs, the underlying lungs of your heart, and over time, whoop, clears it out. That process of linking, I did not invent. You find it in all kinds of settings, even simply mindful awareness, spacious mindful awareness of a weed is linking because spacious awareness itself is untroubled. Ida: Whoa. Compatible planting. Rick: Yeah, and then last, here’s the proverb. I’m gonna finish to make room for Ingeborg. There’s a saying, “Bad farmers grow weeds, “good farmers grow crops, great farmers grow soil.” Since the brain can become easily sensitized to the negative, it’s really important to allow our painful experiences as they are. We don’t resist them, but we can step back from them in spacious awareness, particularly also with compassion for ourselves and kindness for ourselves.And that itself stops feeding the weed, stops sensitizing your brain to the negative. Good, very important. And over time, if people engage in an ongoing practice, there’s not much research for this, but there’s some good suggestions that it’s true. People over time engage in a practice that’s authentic, in which they deal with the bad, they deal with it. No spiritual bypass, no overlooking, we deal with the stuff out in the world and inside ourselves while also second, turning to what is good meanwhile, what is also true. The flowers that are still blooming, the people who are still helping, the goodness and kindness and intentions that are still in you, your efforts to learn and be sincere and make efforts along the way with a good heart. That’s also true. And then third, take in the good along the way. As you repeatedly do that, usually less than five minutes a day, a breath here, a couple minutes there, maybe a little journaling, maybe a deliberate few minutes of meditation before bed, maybe a moment at a meal, maybe a time of prayer. As you do this as a practice, to turn to the good and receive it into yourself and to be humble enough to appreciate our dependence on all kinds of good to receive into ourselves. As you do that gradually, plausibly, I think you’re gonna sensitize your brain to the better. And I think you’re gonna change the soil in your own brain, literally, so that over time you develop, among many other neural circuits, I’ll finish on this point, this is a title of a research paper, you can look it up. Over time, possibly, people can really develop more of a joyful amygdala. That’s the title of the paper, the joyful amygdala. Check it out. Ida: Okay, good. Thank you so much. Rick: All right, Ingeborg asking you to unmute. I will end pretty close to on time. I’ll probably go a couple of minutes over. I hope that’s okay with you. So Ingeborg. – Thank you. Ingeborg: And you may have already answered part of my question. So with this meditation, we focused on the heart and I was able, or I am able to really focus there feel the energy and go through the heart. For me, there is a gap with feeling and with the heart. Like for instance, when there is an experience in in real life, I may feel that experience two or three days later, I’m talking about a negative experience. But on the spot, my body is registering. It’s, you know, through stomach ache or whatever. And so my question is, is there is there a meditation to narrow that gap, to be aware at the time that it is, my body is saying, “Hey, something’s wrong here.” Rick: Well, if I follow you, you’re saying that like an event will occur, understandably, you know? Something will happen and there will be kind of a delayed reaction to it. I’ll call it a negative thing, you know, understandably. Some, you know, you get bad news, you hear something about a friend, someone is mean to you or hurtful, a disappointment occurs, okay, it happened for real. And then a day or two or three later, then you start to really feel it. That’s what you’re saying? You’re trying to get more in real time in the present with the understandable quote unquote negative reactions to stressful, painful events? Is that it? Ingeborg: Yeah. – Probably many people would be glad for the delay, but that’s one piece of it. But there are ways in which the mind and the brain are protective and sometimes particularly if there is, we’re getting triggered about really, really big things, that there’s a kind of lag that it gives us time to catch up with what happened in general. But specifically, what I hear is that What might just serve you in general is a process of a friend of mine called waking down, not just waking up. Samuel Bonder coined that term, waking down, where you just get more and more in touch with your body. And one of the things I’ll share with you from brain science that’s been really useful for me is to, you know, there’s like 10,000 tools in the psychosocial warehouse. They’re all great. Science has invented very few new methods. The question is which one of the 10,000 tools could be really helpful, right? One of the 10,000 tools really involves what’s called interoception where you really focus on the internal sensations in your body that are neutral to positive, like the general sensations of breathing. Breathing is very reassuring. It flows in and so you’re feeling the internal sensations of it moving through the airway, the internal sensations of the joints, your chest rising and falling, your shoulders rising and falling, your hips even moving subtly as your torso rocks up and down. Interoception engages a part of the brain called the insula, two of them on the inside of the the temporal lobes, and the insula is very foundational for self-awareness. You’re asking in a sense for greater real-time self-awareness of, I hope, both positive and negative. We started with the negative, and I’m really going after the positive Engemorg with you as well, okay. Interoception, practicing it deliberately. So if you meditate, focusing on the internal sensations of breathing, if you’re comfortable with that, rather than the external sensations at the upper lip or a more diffuse just knowing that you’re breathing. Really get into the internal. And as you do that over time, your self-awareness in real time will really grow. And you’ll also be wonderfully protected because here’s another little neurological trick. When the insulin gets more active, it acts like a circuit breaker for the so-called default mode network toward the midline and back of your brain, which I call the ruminator. It’s where we go when we’re ruminating, or it’s what’s active. And it’s saturated typically with self-referential processing, taking things really, really personally in negative ways. So when we practice interoception in a sense of being the body as a whole, we’re a person as a whole. We’re a person process, body-mind as a current that has its own coherence over time in the vast river of reality. We are a person process occurring while taking life less personally, with less sense of self, of possessiveness, and personalization of things, right? And narcissism and identification with this and that. So tuning in, I’ll finish here, internal sensations and if you want, woo hoo, bring in the bonus of a sense of warm-heartedness, the emotion along with sensation. Wow, that’s a wonderful double for you. It’s a great antidote to anxiety because feeling reassured in the present that we’re still ongoing, we’re still breathing is really reassuring. An ongoing sense of your own stability, this is really useful to do if you’re in a conflict with other you know, and they seem really intense, tune into your internal sensations that will help you be grounded and bringing in the heart is also a primal signal of safety because in our hunter-gatherer bands being included, we’re big scared monkeys, being included and feeling connected, flowing out and flowing in, flowing out no matter what they do and also flowing in as much as possible from others, that too is a primal signal of safety and calms anxiety. So just right there. Awareness of the internal sensations of breathing along with warmheartedness. It’s like three, at least big, wonderful benefits. And then over time, it becomes a trait. We’re moved from states to traits. That’s the learning process. And then positive traits foster positive states in a wonderful upward spiral, which then makes us even more capable of dealing with the crud in life. The more we’re facing the crud in life, the more the world is letting us down and kicking us hard, the more important it is to grow the good inside ourselves. Okay, great Ingleberg, have fun. (laughs) Check it out, take it for a ride. Okay, so anyway, just finishing here, maybe we can all just take a moment to take a peek at some of the others here as I’m doing right now, whether you see the faces of me and others, or you just see the names, or you see their pictures, it’s not live, we can know that we’ve been practicing here together for our own sakes, and also for the sake of everybody else with whom we share this precious planet. Thank you. And thank you, Klage. Thank you, Christine Klaghorn for being here and supporting this. Okay, great. So I’ll count us down and we’ll end the meeting. If you wanna save the chat, by the way, now’s the time to do it. You go down to the little message window at the very bottom on the chat sidebar. You’ll see next to a smiley face, horizontal dots dot dot dot, click those dots, that’ll give you an option to save the chat which includes the various links and it also includes the books I suggested and you can only save the chat from the point you joined the meeting but then you save the chat it goes somewhere on your computer on my Mac it goes into the documents folder. Okay, all right, well wishing you the best and warm strength, or however you put it, calm lovingness, grounded, openheartedness, equanimity and compassion, all the above. Take good care. It’s a wrap. Thank you very much and bye-bye.

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