self-compassion and mindfulness

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self-compassion and mindfulness

Postby Nibbida » Thu Sep 23, 2010 11:59 pm

A new study came out comparing the relative contributions of self-compassion and mindfulness to emotional well-being (e.g. levels of anxiety, depression, etc.) As we would expect, both made significant contributions, but interestingly the self-compassion aspect had a stronger contribution.

Here's the abstract:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20832990

I hear a lot of teachers in the IMS circuit talking about using metta even during mindfulness sessions (i.e. not just during sessions where metta is the main focus) as a way to react to painful emotions. So this sounds like the same thing.
"Dispositions of the mind, like limbs of the body, acquire strength by exercise." --Thomas Jefferson

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Re: self-compassion and mindfulness

Postby Ben » Fri Sep 24, 2010 1:39 am

Hi Nibbida

Thanks for providing the link to the abstract. It looks interesting.
You might be interested to know that within my own tradition whenever an extraordinarily painful sankhara (emotion/mental event) arises during meditation, one is instructed to use the recollection of the qualities of the triple gem for one's protection.
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Re: self-compassion and mindfulness

Postby Individual » Fri Sep 24, 2010 3:38 am

Ben wrote:Hi Nibbida

Thanks for providing the link to the abstract. It looks interesting.
You might be interested to know that within my own tradition whenever an extraordinarily painful sankhara (emotion/mental event) arises during meditation, one is instructed to use the recollection of the qualities of the triple gem for one's protection.
kind regards

Ben

Why not simply regard the sankhara as notself and concentrate harder?
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Re: self-compassion and mindfulness

Postby Ben » Fri Sep 24, 2010 4:14 am

Individual wrote:
Ben wrote:Hi Nibbida

Thanks for providing the link to the abstract. It looks interesting.
You might be interested to know that within my own tradition whenever an extraordinarily painful sankhara (emotion/mental event) arises during meditation, one is instructed to use the recollection of the qualities of the triple gem for one's protection.
kind regards

Ben

Why not simply regard the sankhara as notself and concentrate harder?


Merely regarding sankharas as not-self is not the same as insight that is derived from penetrative practice. For some people during times of intense emotional upheval, they may have lost the balance of their minds temporarily and may find it difficult dissociating from the phenomenology of their experience so that they can observe it as objective phenomena. In which case, contemplating the qualities of the triple gem might be an appropriate measure to calm their mind before insight practice resumes. And the same goes for generating metta and karuna towards oneself. It has a calming effect.
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

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Re: self-compassion and mindfulness

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Sep 24, 2010 4:17 am

Individual wrote:
Ben wrote:Hi Nibbida

Thanks for providing the link to the abstract. It looks interesting.
You might be interested to know that within my own tradition whenever an extraordinarily painful sankhara (emotion/mental event) arises during meditation, one is instructed to use the recollection of the qualities of the triple gem for one's protection.
kind regards

Ben

Why not simply regard the sankhara as notself and concentrate harder?
You could do that, but there is something to be said for extending compassion towards oneself. Sometimes "trying harder" sets up struggle and conflict and negative emotions and expectations. Extending compassion to oneself can open up the practice quite nicely.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: self-compassion and mindfulness

Postby Shonin » Fri Sep 24, 2010 4:40 am

Interesting. And while I certainly think that Metta practice is very beneficial, it doesn't follow from self-compassion being a better indicator of mental health than mindfulness, that Metta practice is more beneficial than mindfulness meditation.

From personal experience of Zazen and Vipassana-derived mindfulness meditation, patience, acceptance and kindness towards oneself are very important and are much enhanced by practice. And it seems more true than the extent to which I am 'more mindful'. I don't have a very good understanding of how mindfulness is being measured, but for me, while there is a degree of awareness that effortlessly seeps into everyday life, and while I certainly have clearer sight of my own psychological 'stuff', mindfulness is something primarily activated at will and thus I don't necessarily 'notice a lot more stuff'. The difference in terms of acceptance and self-compassion is perhaps more marked.
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Re: self-compassion and mindfulness

Postby Ben » Fri Sep 24, 2010 6:31 am

Hi Shonin,

Shonin wrote:I don't have a very good understanding of how mindfulness is being measured...


I'll have a chat to my wife. There seems to be a number of new scales that have come out which attempt to measure mindfulness or its effects within a psychological framework. I'll ask her if she is aware of them and if she knows anything about them.
kind regards

Ben
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Re: self-compassion and mindfulness

Postby rowyourboat » Sat Sep 25, 2010 5:39 pm

Often in suttas like the vattupama sutta, the eradication of the majority of defilements at the anagamin stage is linked to metta cetovimutti. I think metta towards the self has a great role to play in disorders arising from negative core beliefs like 'I am unlovable' 'I am worthless' ie depression, and anxiety disorder.

with metta
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Re: self-compassion and mindfulness

Postby Viscid » Sat Sep 25, 2010 6:46 pm

Ben wrote:You might be interested to know that within my own tradition whenever an extraordinarily painful sankhara (emotion/mental event) arises during meditation, one is instructed to use the recollection of the qualities of the triple gem for one's protection.


Using the recollection of the triple gem to 'protect' oneself seems like deification: creating a perfect, external entity to contemplate upon (*cough* worship *cough*) which then, miraculously, takes away your pain.

:?
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Re: self-compassion and mindfulness

Postby Ben » Sat Sep 25, 2010 10:25 pm

Viscid wrote:
Ben wrote:You might be interested to know that within my own tradition whenever an extraordinarily painful sankhara (emotion/mental event) arises during meditation, one is instructed to use the recollection of the qualities of the triple gem for one's protection.


Using the recollection of the triple gem to 'protect' oneself seems like deification: creating a perfect, external entity to contemplate upon (*cough* worship *cough*) which then, miraculously, takes away your pain.

:?


Yes, I can understand why it would seem that way, but its not the case. The fact is, its the recollections of the qualities of the triple gem that is the protection. And how does it protect?
One is reminded of the wholesome qualities and one's mind is diverted from rolling or wallowing in self-created hells of various forms of mental torture. There is no deification, there is no propitiation to an invisible being to make things all better. The protection one receives is the protection one gives oneself.
kind regards

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


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Re: self-compassion and mindfulness

Postby Nibbida » Tue Sep 28, 2010 3:37 am

Mindfulness was measured with the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS), which seems more like a purely awareness aspect of mindfulness:
http://www.ppc.sas.upenn.edu/mindfulnessscale.pdf

Self-compassion was measured with the Self-Compassion Scale:
http://www.mindfulselfcompassion.org/ha ... nScale.pdf

It has several subscales:
Self-Kindness
Self-Judgment
Common Humanity
Isolation
Mindfulness
Over-identified

The self-judgment (e.g. "I’m disapproving and judgmental about my own flaws and inadequacies") and isolation (e.g. "When I think about my inadequacies, it tends to make me feel more separate and cut off from the rest of the world.") seem to be particularly important in predicting well-being.

Here's the full article for the masochistic: http://tinyurl.com/2dtmcro

This isn't to say that mindfulness isn't important or less important, I think. Just that self-compassion predicts the emotional aspects of well-being more strongly. Mindfulness may more strongly predict something like insight (don't even ask me how you might measure that!)
"Dispositions of the mind, like limbs of the body, acquire strength by exercise." --Thomas Jefferson

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