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Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

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Wiring the Brain for Better Relationships

Posted: 09/21/2012 4:50 pm

If you've followed my work, you've probably heard me talk about or read something I've written that has talked about the skillful application of doing things that prime our minds in the direction of mindfulness, health and well-being. In fact, priming the mind is the third step of the "5 Step Cheat Sheet" in The Now Effect.

It's a way of influencing your subconscious mind toward what I like to call healthy reactivity. Most of the time our brains are making hundreds of decisions for us from moment to moment, and we're never going to be conscious of those snap judgments -- they happen too rapidly. However, just like our brains have memorized the procedures of walking, talking and eating, so too can we have the brain memorize procedures toward mindfulness, health and well-being.

Here's one thing you can do right now to prime your mind toward greater compassion, which is directly connected to healing ourselves and making the world a better place to live. Writing, even for a short while, is a procedure that can be practiced and repeated and influences our subconscious minds. Writing about kindness and compassion can help our brains tilt toward being more automatically kind and compassionate toward ourselves and others, improving our relationships and healing wounds from the past. Charles Francis and Mary Sovran founded the Mindfulness Meditation Institute and have developed a writing meditation that you can do for any amount of time to positively influence the brain.

Here is something they have created that you can begin today in as little as five minutes a day or more. Francis and Sovran have given me permission to include the details of the meditation below. The idea is to look over the lovingkindness practice below and write it down. You don't have to finish it, just do it for whatever time you allot. Whatever judgments arise in your mind right now, just set that aside and allow your experience to be your teacher.

The Short Practice:


Yourself

May I be healthy and strong. May I be safe and protected. May I be peaceful and free from mental, emotional, and physical suffering. May I be happy and joyful. May I be patient and understanding. May I be loving, kind, and gentle in my ways. May I be courageous in dealing with difficulties, and always meet with success. May I be diligent and committed to my spiritual practice, and to helping others along their path. May my True Nature shine through, and onto all beings I encounter.

Everyone in your house

May every person and living being in my house be healthy and strong. May they be safe and protected. May they be peaceful and free from mental, emotional, and physical suffering. May they be happy and joyful. May they be patient and understanding. May they be loving, kind, and gentle in their ways. May they be courageous in dealing with difficulties, and always meet with success. May they be diligent and committed to their spiritual practice, and to helping others along their path. May their True Nature shine through, and onto all beings they encounter.

Your neighborhood

May every person and living being in my neighborhood be healthy and strong. May they be safe and protected. May they be peaceful and free from mental, emotional, and physical suffering. May they be happy and joyful. May they be patient and understanding. May they be loving, kind, and gentle in their ways. May they be courageous in dealing with difficulties, and always meet with success. May they be diligent and committed to their spiritual practice, and to helping others along their path. May their True Nature shine through, and onto all beings they encounter.

Your city

May every person and living being in my city be healthy and strong. May they be safe and protected. May they be peaceful and free from mental, emotional, and physical suffering. May they be happy and joyful. May they be patient and understanding. May they be loving, kind, and gentle in their ways. May they be courageous in dealing with difficulties, and always meet with success. May they be diligent and committed to their spiritual practice, and to helping others along their path. May their True Nature shine through, and onto all beings they encounter.

Your country

May every person and living being in my country be healthy and strong. May they be safe and protected. May they be peaceful and free from mental, emotional, and physical suffering. May they be happy and joyful. May they be patient and understanding. May they be loving, kind, and gentle in their ways. May they be courageous in dealing with difficulties, and always meet with success. May they be diligent and committed to their spiritual practice, and to helping others along their path. May their True Nature shine through, and onto all beings they encounter.

The whole planet

May every person and living being on earth be healthy and strong. May they be safe and protected. May they be peaceful and free from mental, emotional, and physical suffering. May they be happy and joyful. May they be patient and understanding. May they be loving, kind, and gentle in their ways. May they be courageous in dealing with difficulties, and always meet with success. May they be diligent and committed to their spiritual practice, and to helping others along their path. May their True Nature shine through, and onto all beings they encounter.

The entire universe on all planes of existence

May every person and living being in the entire universe on all planes of existence be healthy and strong. May they be safe and protected. May they be peaceful and free from mental, emotional, and physical suffering. May they be happy and joyful. May they be patient and understanding. May they be loving, kind, and gentle in their ways. May they be courageous in dealing with difficulties, and always meet with success. May they be diligent and committed to their spiritual practice, and to helping others along their path. May their True Nature shine through, and onto all beings they encounter.

As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.

Adapted from Mindfulness and Psychotherapy

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