dacher keltner: you know i wanted to sort of move into the deep background of your engagement in the contemplative world and the science that led to 10% happier. you know people often think that when they sit to meditate and realize, “oh my god i’m just so all over the place”. it’s hugely important because when you start to see how crazy you are the craziness doesn’t own you as much and so that was very clear to me because i was doing it in the right context. that is a really radical and empowering notion and so i see that as the common denominator of everything i’m doing. and i get people making fun of me, you know when i’m, you know, being a jerk which i definitely still have the capacity to do. it’s a little cartoonish but it really works to just not be so hostile to my own hostility and and to see it before i do something that you know ruins the next 48 hours of my marriage or whatever.
and then the next one is supposed to be a neutral person somebody you see but often overlook. and once you cut through some of the personal history that i may have with this difficult person, you can, through the this this practice which i often refer to as valentine’s day with a knife to your throat, which you know it’s a treacly annoying practice but it is effective, and there’s science to show that it is effective. but one is folks who are unaware of all the you know all of the aforementioned aspirational figures who were doing it who just think it’s b.s.. this is i think a smaller and smaller group all the time but it’s still a pretty big group, if you look at the whole culture. the point in meditation is not to clear the mind, it’s to focus the mind for nanoseconds at a time off and on your breath or something like that, and then when you get distracted start again, and again, and again. so it’s really impressive to show that just as a brief practice of loving kindness with ordinary people like you and me who aren’t jetting off to the himalayas or taking large chunks of time off from work has these benefits over the course of eight weeks, really lead to really important changes. read more dacher keltner is a professor of psychology at university of california, berkeley, and the faculty director of the greater good science center.
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