Radical Compassion



Listening to the Dalai Lama in Boston on May 1, 2009 at a conference on Meditation and Psychotherapy sponsored by Harvard Medical School’s continuing education branch, he clearly said that mental processes in mindfulness, meditation, and awareness are unique in comparison to other thoughts because of the “subtle energy” that occurs during them. Awareness of the sensations of the body is important.


What is psychotherapy?  It is a way of reaching out to the people in the world who suffer.


Mutual Empathy. It has taken one million years to change the brain from the most primitive to where we are now. It may take another million years to achieve mutual empathy. However, people now are able to function on all levels of being: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. This is the subject of healing – to integrate these layers of consciousness and move life energy through them in order to heal a person physically and mentally.


Give to get. Practice compassion in your activities. Practice compassion for happiness. The limits to compassion involve justice; you can have compassion for a perpetrator, but still want justice to take place. Even though you have compassion for the perpetrator, you do not want them to  commit a crime again. The second level of compassion. You are opposed to the acts commited, but you keep in mind their humanity.


Compassion and survivors of trauma. They are in danger of losing compassion toward the perceived perpetrator. Yet some have found prison is best place for the practice of compassion. How a person responds to prison and other hardships is dependent on the individual. Some survivors remain preoccupied with negativity. They have already suffered negative emotion. But their thinking and their feelings keep it going. Anger toward the perpetrator does not hurt the perpetrator; it only hurts the victim’s peace of mind. It is not the best way to get back. Better to let go of negative feelings toward the perpetrator, so they don’t keep hurting oneself.


One who abuses another blames the victim or the outside world. The victim, particularly if the victim is a child, internalizes the abuses blame and feels guilty about what was done to him or her. The abuser is often the victim of his or her own past.


For some people the act of meditating is not peaceful. The act of meditation can bring up demons, experiences of abuse and torture, bodies fighting each other, unseen enemies. The question is how to calm these people who become frightened and enter the more primitive portion of their brains, the animal brain. This is where compassion is helpful; it is especially helpful with trauma, when the energetic field has been fragmented.


The brain is capable of great plasticity. It can be re-patterned similarly to the body that we work with in core Energetics. The Dalai Lama says that psychology is science of the mind, but any science of the mind must include the body if change is going to occur.


People who experience desire are ok. But if the desire is grasping and grabbing, it becomes negative.


Interdependent nature of roles crucial. Behavior looks at mind, science and spirituality

Wise action and behavior, look at wholesome activity. Ask clients to make decisions about behavior based on the expected consequences of the behavior. Are the consequences wholesome? Also make decisions about your actions based on faith and/or wise mind. Be realistic, this will give you more confidence.


For human nature to become more gentle and compassionate, that is the goal, but it could take millions of years. Mothers’ milk is loving. Fear and aggression occurs and is needed in some cases to protect us. It should not dominate our lives. When life starts out that way, with fear and aggression leading the way, we need other behaviors to bring balance, new energy, mew pathways in the brain, a new biological pattern, good health and peace of mind together. People can become nonviolent or less violent. The Dalai Lama is optimistic that people will become more peaceful, that violent impulses will be stilled, that empathy is widening, as is self-control, global trade. The progress toward non-violence involves the nature of the body. Body awareness is what is meant by a calm mind, they are one and interchangeable.


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