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Neurodharma:

How to Train the Brain toward Mindfulness

A Teleseminar Session with Rick Hanson, PhD and Ruth Buczynski, PhD

The National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine

nicabm

www.nicabm.com

Neurodharma: How to Train the Brain toward Mindfulness

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Neurodharma: How to Train the Brain toward Mindfulness

Contents

The Neuroscience

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The Benefits of Mindfulness on the Brain

 

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How Mindfulness Makes a Difference in Your Skills as a Practitioner

 

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How Cultivating Equanimity Can Enhance the Treatment of Trauma

 

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How Mindfulness Can Overcome Evolution’s Paranoid Trance

 

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The Two Wings of Psychological Growth and Contemplative

 

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TalkBack with Ronald Siegel, PsyD and Elisha Goldstein, PhD

 

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A complete transcript of a Teleseminar Session featuring Rick Hanson, PhD and conducted by Ruth Buczynski, PhD of NICABM

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Neurodharma: How to Train the Brain toward Mindfulness

with Rick Hanson, PhD and Ruth Buczynski, PhD

Dr. Buczynski: Hello everyone. I’d like to get started, and first I just want to welcome you to this brand new series on how mindfulness rewires the brain. I’m Dr. Ruth Buczynski, a licensed psychologist in the state of Connecticut and President of the National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine. And I’m so glad that you’re here.

You are here along with thousands of other practitioners from all over the world tonight. We have people calling in from just about every time zone. I just want to welcome everyone - particularly those of you who are listening at inconvenient times. It’s important to bring our practitioner community together, so thank you for making the effort to be a part of this program.

We also represent a wide range of professions. We are physicians, nurses and psychologists, social workers, marriage and family counselors and mental health counselors. We are nurse practitioners, physician assistants, physical therapists, occupational therapists and dietitians. We’re chiropractors, body workers, massage therapists, energy practitioners, stress management consultants and coaches. And some of the folks on the call tonight, you may not be any of the professions I just listed - you might be a lay person and I just want you to know, we’re glad you’re here as well, you’re very welcome to be a part of this call.

Now, we’re trying something very new at the end of the series tonight and every night as a part of this series. It is our TalkBack segment. We put out a survey a few weeks ago, and so many of you gave us great questions and they were specifically oriented on how you can use mindfulness in your clinical practice. And that’s why we developed this specific segment. So be sure to stay until the very end when I will be joined by Dr. Ron Siegel and Dr. Elisha Goldstein. They are both psychologists and seasoned, long time meditators, and they’ll be talking about the specific applications to what Rick is going to talk about tonight.

My guest is Dr. Rick Hanson. He is a favorite of many of us. He is also a psychologist and we know him from the past as the author of the “Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom”. But I am happy to report that he has just released a new book, “Just One Thing: Developing a Buddha Brain One Simple Practice at a Time”. And so Rick, welcome to the call.

So, let’s jump right in. I’d like to start by asking you what might seem like a strange question, but over half the people on this call tonight are psychotherapists. Probably about 60% are psychotherapists, and maybe about 40% are physicians and nurses outside psychiatry… But for the psychotherapists, why do you think they need to understand the neurological basis of mindfulness? What’s in it for them to do that?

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The Neuroscience of Mindfulness

Dr. Hanson: It’s a great question. It’s funny I actually wrote an essay recently called The Brain: So What? You are right; the brain is really big these days. So many conferences in the psychotherapy world are about to bring, or are bringing in neuroscience, and it’s really exciting.

On the other hand, I think a fair amount of old wine is in new bottles there, as well as some significant pitfalls. Maybe what I can do is just say what the four main benefits are for clinicians, particularly mental health professionals, in bringing neuroscience into their world and then I’ll mention some pitfalls as well. I should add that these are the pitfalls that I stumbled into myself.

The number one benefit is that when you neurologize, if you will, psychology, if you embed the mind in the brain, which really means embedding it more broadly in the nervous system and other bodily systems all together, and then embed it even further into nature, both here and now, in terms of the ecosystem and all the rest of the ways in which we are an animal species among other plant and animal species, then it’s also embedding the mind in evolutionary time, in terms of how the brain evolved over time.

So, when you do that, you create the fundamental organizing framework that crosses all disciplines. I think that sometimes the world of therapy is like the Tower of Babel with all these different traditions and approaches that use different languages, have different truth claims and all the rest of that.

But if you ground it in the brain, at the end of the day, it has to make sense in terms of the brain. The brain constrains what’s possible and also opens up doors of possibility there. So, it creates the organizing framework.

“How can I help (clients) use their mind alone to change what’s happening in their brain in a more positive direction?”

As an individual therapist, it also gives you a way to think about your client. A lot of the time we are not thinking about the brain, and that’s perfectly fine. But from time to time, it’s important to really think about what’s happening in the brain right now sitting across from me and what the factors are in the brain right here that are creating difficulties for this person, and how I can help them use their mind alone to the power of self-directed neuroplasticity and use their mind alone to change what’s happening in their brain in a more positive direction. I think that’s a good organizing framework.

“If I can talk about the brain more concretely, I’m more likely to get them to listen or to take ”

it in

The second benefit is motivating. It motivates clients to think that this is physical. I’ll stick my neck out here and say that in my little corner of the world, in my own practice, talking about the brain, making it physical, making it concrete, making mental activity, making the mumbo-jumbo of psychology physical, embodied and so forth, it’s good for everybody. But in my own populations that I work with, it’s particularly persuasive to men and teenagers. So I find that if I can talk about the brain with them, I’m more likely to get them to listen, or to take it in, or to actually do good practices in the hundred and sixty-seven hours of the week when they’re not in my office, let’s say, for their own good.

Also, I think, frankly, it’s motivating to us as therapists. Freud called this “the impossible profession,” and his tongue was only partly in cheek when he said that, because there’s some seriousness about it. It’s hard

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work. I think it’s a noble – even heroic – undertaking to work with people and work with their suffering, right there in the trenches. It can help motivate us as therapists and reduce burnout to appreciate the fact that what we are doing is actually leading to lasting changes in their brain.

“It’s a noble – even heroic – undertaking to work with people and work with their suffering ”

Then more broadly, I think, frankly, policy makers and insurance

carriers are going to be more willing to pay for services that actually produce physical changes in the tissues of the body, in an ultimate sense. So, motivating is another benefit.

The third benefit is that when you bring the brain into account, when you put it center stage, out of the 10,000 tools in the therapist’s warehouse, it highlights the ones that really, really matter. In terms of the third benefit, it doesn’t necessarily invent new tools, but it shows what really matters. For example, there’s the emphasis lately through neuroscience on non-verbal processes, on the importance of working with the body. I think it’s been something that’s really come in, in large part, through neuroscience.

It’s not that working with the body, taking the body into account is new, because Reich was working with that, Jung was working with that 60-80 years ago. Bioenergetics was working with that 40-50 years ago.

“We now understand the importance of taking the body into account neuroscience actually suggests innovative new methods.”

But we now understand the importance of taking the body into account, some of the original, even early tools in psychology, like Jung’s work with imagery or dealing with the very deep layers of the psyche in terms of archetypes, archetypal images and so forth. We are really coming to appreciate why they are so important.

Another one is dealing with implicit memory, particularly when you are working with trauma or pain. It’s so important to get at the felt registration of lived experience that’s not memory for explicit events, but rather the residues in the bones. So that’s the third benefit – highlighting what matters the most.

Then the fourth benefit is just beginning to show promise, and that’s where neuroscience actually suggests innovative new methods. Neurofeedback is an example of that. It’s developing as methodology and getting increasingly rigorous, scientifically based and effective. Another method that has been really informed by neuroscience is somatic experiencing, including Peter Levine’s work. There are other methods as well, that are just emerging, having to deal with helping, in effect, erase or reduce fear learning, or trauma learning.

So I think those are the four benefits that come from bringing the brain into the clinician’s office.

The pitfalls, on the other hand, are real. I think we have to be careful about oversimplifying. For example, there’s a lot more to empathy than mirror neurons. We have to be careful about over- localizing function, like “The amygdala made me do it.”

When we oversimplify, we also have to be careful about using “neuro” words that don’t add any information value. When you say, “I got mad,” or “My amygdala fired up,” I’m not sure we’ve

“We have to be careful about oversimplifying using “neuro” words that don’t add any information value

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“We have to be careful about using brain science to claim authority, taking familiar concepts and relabeling them.”

added any value to, “My amygdala fired up.” Just saying that alone doesn’t add any particular information.

Also, I think we have to be careful about using brain science to claim authority. In America, the secular religion is science. So as soon as you can get scientific or you sound medical, you put that white coat on. We have to be a little careful about that. One of the examples of that is taking familiar concepts, relabeling them in a neurologized way and then acting as if you’ve discovered something new.

I know sometimes I find that – especially if I’m tired or I’ve had a long day working with clients, and I just want to get them to do something helpful for themselves – sometimes I reach for that neurologized word or brain claim. The truth is I’m doing it just to claim authority. So I think we have to be careful about that.

So that may be an excessively long answer here - I hope not - but that’s something to think about, the pros and the cons of bringing brain science into psychotherapy.

Dr. Buczynski:: That’s great. That’s a good foundation for getting us started, and hopefully we are going to simplify and yet do justice to these concepts. I agree that you can oversimplify, neurologize things, sound smart and not really make it anything that people can use. I’m hoping today that everyone, as they are leaving our session, is leaving with ideas of what they can do differently with their patients tomorrow.

With that said, let’s jump back into looking now specifically at how mindfulness affects the brain.

The Benefits of Mindfulness on the Brain

Dr. Hanson: Actually, if people have an interest in that short essay I wrote, they can go to my website www.BuddhasBrain.com and then just search for The Brain: So What? That will pull up the essay I wrote in The Wise Brain Bulletin, which is a non-profit institute I founded…

Well, if you are doing mindfulness practices in general and then meditation in particular, how does it change the brain? We can look at some of the high points.

It changes the brain momentarily in terms of the brain states and it also changes the brain in enduring ways overtime in terms of traits. So why don’t we just talk about those.

If a person is momentarily mindful, typically they are activating the anterior, which means the frontal cingulate cortex part of the brain. It’s a part of the brain that’s cortex. It’s not subcortical. It’s in the center of the brain. There are two of them, because the brain is symmetrically bilateral. So there’s one on each side, although the convention is to talk about them as “the,” in the singular voice, the anterior cingulate cortex.

“Mindfulness practices in general and then meditation in particular changes the brain momentarily in terms of the brain states and changes the brain in enduring ways in terms of traits.”

Anyway, that’s the part of the brain that does the executive control of attention. So, if the person is deliberately paying attention, that’s what we are doing when we are mindful.

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“Mindfulness

is

a

deliberate use of

attention

deliberately lighting up the anterior cingulate cortex.”

we

are

That goes to Jon Kabat-Zinn’s definition of mindfulness. For example, it is a deliberate use of attention in a particular kind of way. When we are deliberately attentive, we are lighting up the anterior cingulate cortex.

That part of the brain is also very important for other functions as well, such as integrating thinking and feeling, which is a very important aspect, of course, of doing therapy. This gets at one of the benefits of thinking about the brain, because you realize that you can, in effect, do reverse engineering.

For example, if you want to help a client be able to bring clarity of thought into their feelings when they are upset, or alternately, if you want to help a client bring warm-heartedness and wisdom of emotions into

in

let’s say, for a person who is way too much in his/her head – then it’s great to build up neural structure

the anterior cingulate cortex.

“The mental activity of mindfulness builds neural structure in the anterior cingulate cortex.”

way to build that neural structure in the anterior cingulate cortex

is

deliberately mindful, they are not necessarily integrating thinking and feeling, they are still building up neural tissues, because in the famous saying from the work of psychologist Donald Hebb, “Neurons that fire together wire together.”

A

for a person to be deliberately mindful. Even though they are

So, if you are using a part of the brain through mental activity that activates that part of the brain – namely,

if you, through mental activity of mindfulness, are stimulating the anterior cingulate cortex, then you are

going to be building up neural tissues there. So, this has a dual purpose. It can also help a person, as in the

example I’m giving here, integrate thinking and feeling. So that’s very cool.

“When most people are doing mindfulness practices in a formal way, they are often tuning into their own body.”

Additionally, Richard Davidson found this in the studies that he did that people who are routinely mindful get increased activation in the left prefrontal cortex compared to the right prefrontal cortex, which is associated with more positive emotions.

That makes sense, because the left prefrontal cortex puts the brakes on the amygdale. In effect, it puts the brakes on negative affect. So if you stimulate the brakes on the negative affect, you are going to get more positive emotion.

So those are two things that I think are present in the brain when a person is mindful.

Then, of course, there’s a question of what they are mindful of. When most people are doing mindfulness practices in a formal way, they are often tuning into their own body. When you do that, you are activating the insula – again, there are two of them, but they are usually spoken of in a singular – which is the part of the brain inside the temporal lobes on either side of the brain.

The insula does interoception. It tracks the internal state of the body, like the sensations of cool air going in and warm air going out, or the movements of the joints, or the deeper layers of gut feelings. It’s very

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“The insula does interoception. It gives the person that ”

feeling of being

involved in self-awareness. It’s where a lot of information comes together that gives the person that feeling of being, what it’s like to be me right here and now.

So when the person is mindful of the breath, or mindful of body sensations, or just tuning in to gut feelings, or bringing the deeper layers of gut feelings into spacious awareness, they are activating the insula. Those are examples of state benefits.

Now, trait changes in the actual brain also track these state changes, because neurons that fire together wire together. For example, there’s a wonderful study by Sara Lazar. She showed that people, who have long- term mindfulness practices, in terms of meditation, which is the epitome of really focused mindfulness,

actually had thicker cortical tissues, in both the executive regions of the prefrontal cortex that are involved

in controlling attention, which integrate with the anterior cingulate cortex, as well as in the insula.

In other words, the bottom line was that by activating mindfulness practices routinely, getting those neurons to fire together so they wire together, they literally did wire

together in ways that were measurable in brain scans, in both the parts of the brain that deal with the control of attention, as well as the part of the brain – the insula – that is very involved in self-awareness, particularly self-awareness

of the deeper layers of the psyche, mainly body sensations

and emotions.

“People, who have long- term mindfulness practices actually had thicker

cortical tissues, in both the executive regions of the

prefrontal cortex as in the insula.”

as

well

Interestingly, I should add as another example of this dual purpose idea, the insula is also very involved

in empathy for the emotions of other people. So by tuning in to your own body sensations and your own

gut feelings in a regular way, you build up physically, you thicken the cortical tissues that are involved in both self-awareness and in empathy for other people.

A third benefit of long-term practice – and this is particularly the case for real long-term practice of

mindfulness and particularly meditation – is that it is a trait, a stable trait. Even when a person is not specifically meditating or doing mindfulness practice, they have more gamma wave activity in the brain. Gamma waves are the signs of large coalitions, large assemblies of neurons, firing together very fast. The gamma wave range is 30 to 80 firings per second.

“By tuning in to your own body sensations and your own gut feelings in a regular way, you physically thicken the cortical tissues that are involved in both self-awareness and in empathy for other people.”

If you think about it, when you have a lot of gamma wave activity, you are getting a lot of integration across major sulci of the brain. So if a person is dropping increasingly into that gamma wave state, they’re experiencing more of the unification of awareness, more of the integration of the brain.

Plus, they are promoting learning. Because neurons that fire together wire together, they have to fire together within a few milliseconds, within a few thousands of a second.

If neurons are firing 5 times a second, there are a lot of ways that they can mismatch, not connect with each other. But,

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on the other hand, if neurons are firing 30, 50, even 80 times a second, they are more likely to be firing together and therefore beginning to wire together. That wiring together, of course, is learning.

“If we want to help our clients learn, we want to promote the executive control of attention ”

So, if we want to help our clients learn – which is what we want to do in therapy, we want the insights, the hard won lessons, the realizations and breakthroughs stick to their ribs – if we want that to happen, in terms of the neurology of that happening, we want to promote the executive control of attention, we want to

promote a growing capacity to tune into themselves, and we also want to promote gamma wave activity that creates integration and learning. All three of those are promoted through mindfulness practices, including the building up of the material structures that promote them.

How Mindfulness Makes a Difference in Your Skills as a Practitioner

Dr. Buczynski: Thank you. That was a very thorough, very great overview. Let’s focus a little bit on psychotherapists, or really let’s broaden that to any practitioner. Let’s say it’s a nurse on a surgical ward, or a physical therapist, or a physician who’s an oncologist, or a surgeon. How might mindfulness make a difference in their skill, their ability to do their job?

“Learning is the wiring together of neurons.”

Dr. Hanson: That’s a great question.

Before I forget, I should just say that some of these MRI pictures that I’m describing about different parts of the brain activating in a state way and also getting thicker in a trait way are on my website.

I offer the material there very freely. I have slide sets from a number of talks and workshops that I’ve given that show these pictures. People can download them as PDFs and distribute them freely. I’m fine with all that.

So anyway, if they want to see some of these, just go to the slide sets on my website and you’ll see where the insula is literally getting thicker. That is very neat. I get off on that. My kids know I’m a nerd. I wear my nerd badge proudly!

I think Ronald Siegel and others have written very beautifully about how mindfulness is helpful to the

medical or mental healthcare practitioner. One of the things is that it gives us a way to hold the suffering that we work with on a daily basis in a bigger space of awareness.

There’s a traditional metaphor that’s really neat here. If you take a big spoonful of salt and pour it into a cup of water, stir it and then drink it, it will taste awful. But if you take that same amount of salt – same amount of suffering, let’s say – and you pour it into a clean bucket of water and stir it around, let alone pour it into a clean mountain pond and stir it around and then drink from that, you’ll hardly taste the salt at all.

“Mindfulness

gives

us a way to hold the suffering that we work with on a daily basis in a bigger space of awareness.”

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“The sky itself – awareness itself – is never stained or tainted or harmed by whatever passes through it.”

It’s the same amount of salt, it’s the same amount of suffering, but it’s held in a much bigger space. So when we ourselves, as practitioners, as clinicians, engage in what’s happening mindfully, we are holding it in a much bigger space.

To use a different analogy, it’s a little bit like a dark cloud in a vast sky. Yes, there are dark clouds; they come and they go. But the sky itself is vast and boundless; it has no edges. The sky itself – awareness itself – is never stained or tainted or harmed by whatever passes through it.

It’s a little bit like a TV screen. There may be beautiful pictures on that TV screen or awful pictures on that TV screen. But the TV screen itself is never harmed by what passes through it. So I think that’s one major benefit of mindfulness for the practitioner.

The second benefit is that when you are mindful, you are going to see more. You are going to pick up more details. You are going to read facial expressions more subtly. You are going to hear tone of voice. You are going to put two and two together in a new kind of way.

Also, we are not just mindful of the other; we are mindful of ourselves in this kind of self-object, object-relation, dualistic – not in a bad sense dualistic, but in a paired kind of way. We are tuning into our own counter-transference as well as seeing what’s happening out there. When we open up mindfully to information, data coming from inside ourselves, it also can help us to be a better healthcare practitioner.

“When you are mindful, you are going to see

more

pick

up more

details

read

facial

expressions and

tone of voice

and two together in a new kind of way.”

hear

two

put

I think there’s a lot of literature on the benefits of mindfulness for practitioners, growing trainings in that regard and research studies on it. I just think it’s very exciting.

We live in a really exciting time in this regard, because I think mindfulness has made such a huge difference in mental health and physical health fields. I know physicians now – I have friends who are training people at places like Harvard Medical School – and a fair amount of what they are doing is they are bringing in mindfulness practices even at that highest level.

How Cultivating Equanimity Can Enhance the Treatment of Trauma

Dr. Buczynski: Let’s now focus a little bit on the treatment of trauma and how cultivating equanimity can enhance the treatment of trauma.

Dr. Hanson: Well, let’s clarify a few things here before diving in. There’s a lot of research and practice with regard to treating trauma, and there’s no way to summarize all that. I won’t even attempt to.

Secondly, with regard to equanimity, it’s a funny word. It almost sounds boring. In Buddhism, which is training that I’m most familiar with, in addition to Western psychology, equanimity actually has a very important, almost technical meaning. That’s the way in which I’m going to use it here if I could.

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I want to make a distinction between calm and equanimity. If we are calm, we are not having any reactions. If we are equanomous, we are not reacting to our reactions. In other words, if you think of it going to the metta level, we are able to be with the reactions emerging in the mind without getting affected by them.

“If we are equanomous, we are not reacting to ”

our reactions

An analogy for me about that is to think about mudrooms that they have in New England and maybe other parts of the country. If you come in from the outside, there’s this initial entry way, where you drop your muddy boots, your dripping overcoat, the skis, the snow shovel and your dog toys – you drop it all there. Then when you go into the house proper, into the living room, you don’t carry that stuff with you. It’s in the house, right?

“Painful reactions are in awareness, but they don’t cross over the threshold into the core of the person’s being.”

So, by analogy, these painful reactions are in awareness, but they don’t cross over the threshold. There’s a kind of shock absorber there, and they don’t cross over the threshold and get into the core of the person’s being. So that’s what I mean here when I talk about equanimity.

In other words, painful memories are arising, or painful emotions are there, or there are thoughts or view points or beliefs in the mind that are horrible, like worthlessness or despair, and yet with equanimity, those can be held in a great deal of distance.

So then the question becomes: how to help a person to actually do that. This gets very interesting in terms of the brain, because to some extent the brain did not evolve to be equanomous. In effect, the brain evolved to be traumatized.

If you think about very harsh and often lethal conditions in which our ancestors evolved over millions of years, in those environments being able to learn once and learn intensely (from a painful experience that one somehow escaped from) was a great way to pass on gene copies.

It was a great way to help our ancestors survive. I think that’s a useful perspective when we think about trauma to really appreciate the degree to which the brain is hardwired, in effect, to be traumatized. So we’ve got our work cut out.

the “

brain did

not evolve to be equanomous;

the brain evolved to be traumatized.”

So, to have a brain that’s equanomous, to have a brain that is having these painful thoughts, or emotions, or body sensations, and yet is not reacting to them – in words of the Buddha, “they are not invading the mind and remaining” – that’s unusual. That’s not typical brain behavior. So how do we get the brain to do that?

“How in the world do you help the brain be equanomous?”

To that end, I’ve actually written a chapter on that in my book, because it’s so interesting. How in the world do you help the brain be equanomous? The key is mindfulness. So I’m going to name a few keys here.

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One key is mindfulness. Mindfulness is the capacity to step back from, and observe, and be present with the painful mental content – a body sensation of being choked, or a thought of worthlessness, or despair about the future.

To be able to be mindfully aware of that without getting sucked into it – that’s absolutely square one, absolutely central. If you can’t do that, you can’t hold things in equanimity. They’ve invaded your living room; they are not in the mudroom anymore.

“One key is mindfulness to step back from, and observe, and be present with the painful mental content.”

The second thing is overtime to down-regulate the amygdala. It’s interesting that in the limbic system in general, the amygdala is the alarm bell of the brain and is primed – unfortunately – to react to negative information because that’s what typically had the most impact on survival.

“We want to down- regulate the amygdala and then, to create equanimity, we need to calm the amygdala’s reactive system.”

For example, if you don’t get a carrot today, you probably have a chance to get a carrot tomorrow. But if you failed to avoid a stick today – whap! – no more carrots forever. About two thirds of the cells in the amygdala are designed to track unpleasant experiences, because that’s where the really important stuff is in terms of survival. Anyway, my point here is that the second way to create equanimity is to calm that amygdala reactive system.

One of the great ways to do it is through the mindfulness practice of noting. There’s been actually a series of studies and an interesting

recent study showed that simply labeling mental contents and doing no more than that – not trying to have insight into them, not trying to do any kind of cognitive therapy technique of altering wrong thoughts, just simply labeling what’s there – like fear, sorrow, back in Vietnam, the awful uncle, despair, anger, rage, pain…

Just labeling, activates prefrontal cortex and strengthens it (because neurons that fire together wire together) and down-regulates the amygdale…That happens with just verbal noting. That’s cool and so very powerful.

“Just simply labeling what’s there activates prefrontal cortex and strengthens it, and down-regulates the amygdala ”

There are other practices as well. I think, in general, training the body to tip into a parasympathetic pattern of activation is also very important. To say something that’s probably familiar to most people on the call is that…the body-mind and brain basically has the autonomic nervous system as part of the peripheral nervous system that regulates moment-to-moment responses to changing conditions.

That autonomic nervous system has two major wings to it. It’s the sympathetic nervous system, which is the fight-or-flight stress response system, and then the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the “rest and digest” system that’s restorative, regenerative and replenishing.

Anyone who’s been traumatized has had massive amounts of sympathetic nervous system activation with its associated endocrine system hormonal cascades of stress hormones like cortisol, norepinephrine,

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adrenaline and so forth, and is probably in a state of fairly chronic sympathetic/stress hormone activation. To balance that, it’s very powerful to activate an ongoing inclination toward parasympathetic activation.

There are multiple ways to help a person increasingly ground in parasympathetic activation. Herbert Benson and others have talked about the relaxation response in ways to increasingly train it in the body-mind.

“There are multiple ways to help a person increasingly ground in parasympathetic activation.”

Also, for example, the simple things, like long exhalations, will light up the parasympathetic nervous system, because it handles

exhaling while the sympathetic nervous system handles inhaling. For example, when we inhale, the heart rate speeds up a little. That’s sympathetic activation. When we exhale, the heart rate goes down a little bit. That’s parasympathetic activation.

Another way to activate the parasympathetic nervous system is relaxing the tongue. I love these little quick methods that are also private; no one needs to know you are doing them.

Since the “rest and digest” system has its nerve fibers innervating or going into the mouth because that’s the beginning of digesting, if you relax your tongue, that’s a nice “secret” way to get some parasympathetic activation.

So, those are all ways to down-regulate the overly activated and overly sensitized amygdala, alarm bell, limbic system response.

“A very important part of trauma treatment is to build up resources around the trauma.”

Then, we’ll finish here by naming the third method for helping the brain to be equanomous, and that’s mainly usable with people with trauma experience. I should add that none of these go at the trauma directly. I think that a very important part of trauma treatment is to build up resources around the trauma. Hippocrates said a long time ago, “First of all, do no harm.”

I think it’s important to be quite careful about approaching trauma, because frankly those memories are like a black hole. They can often just suck people in. If there’s nothing that’s gained by revisiting a painful memory, you are just doing another lap in hell. Every time you lap around that track – neurons that fire together wire together – you are deepening the grooves, one little bit each time. So I think that speaks to the importance of it.

If you are going to go at that trauma, go in there really prepared by building up resources around it through some of the methods that I’m naming.

Then the last one about the equanimity is the method that has to be used a little bit carefully, but it’s to appreciate the sense that other people are with you and they care about you. We are deeply social animals. There’s a major area of science that’s under the general umbrella heading of social brain theories. That includes the idea that broadly defined love has really driven the evolution of the brain over the last 80 million years or so, especially over the last 5 million

be “

quite careful

about approaching trauma, because frankly those memories are like a black hole.”

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14

“It’s through relationship skills that our ancient ancestors attained what is called ‘reproductive advantage’ ”

years or so of hominid, then early human, and then modern human evolution.

It’s through the power of relationships that our ancient ancestors, going all the way back to primates and even further back to the first mammals, raised their young and formed pair bonds to raise their young. It’s through relationship skills, social skills that our ancient ancestors attained what is called “reproductive advantage.” I love that phrase; it’s a funny phrase. But they attained reproductive advantage which is the fundamental engine of biological evolution.

So, the experience of being cared about, cared for, is so important. These experiences include, in mild ways, people that are friendly to you at the deli, or people you work with that are kind to you or invite you back, or animal companions, pets, for example, or memories of people who gave them the sense of being cared about, or spiritual beings, angels, guardian angels, fairy godmothers, the divine itself, to the extent that that’s meaningful for a person.

Those are all ways to feel cared about and that is a very important and powerful way that’s deeply rooted in evolutionary neuropsychology to activate resource systems inside the brain, and therefore, the mind can help a person be more equanomous and bear the trauma reactivation without being overwhelmed by it.

How Mindfulness Can Overcome Evolution’s Paranoid Trance

Dr. Buczynski: Now, you’ve touched on this already, but let’s bring in here evolution’s paranoid trance, if you will.

Dr. Hanson: Yes, I call it paper tiger paranoia.

Dr. Buczynski: Yes. Evolutionarily speaking, that is going on for everyone. But let’s think about a person who is a trauma survivor. They have an extra layer of that. I want to back up then and give you a chance to explain what we even mean when we say evolution’s paranoid trance.

“The mind can help a person be more equanomous and bear the trauma reactivation without being overwhelmed by it.”

Dr. Hanson: Right. I think where we’re heading here, as clinicians, is to really appreciate the power of being resourceful or being nimble, and using different methods in a targeted way that are aimed at the underlying neural substrate.

“A very powerful way to build up those prefrontal systems, is through mindfulness practices and verbal noting.”

Here’s an example, and this is one I gave previously about three different ways to build up the neural substrate of equanimity. If you are trying to get more prefrontal activation and more action going on there that’s separated and differentiated from the limbic system, a very powerful way to build up those prefrontal systems, including the anterior cingulate cortex, is through mindfulness practices and verbal noting.

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Also, for example, if you are trying to down-regulate the amygdala system and the alarm bell system it’s involved with, if you want to build up the neural substrate of parasympathetic activation, that’s a great way to do that.

“If you miss a carrot today, you probably have a chance to get one tomorrow, but if you fail to avoid a stick, then there are no more carrots forever.”

If you want to build up the neural substrate of these very comforting, soothing attachment circuits, that are deeply woven into the fabric of our being – they have to do with relationship skills and the power of love over evolution to keep our grandbabies alive – then you are going to call to mind and encourage clients to call to mind the sense of being cared about.

But those are just examples of this larger point I’m making, which I’ll pursue further with this idea of the paranoid trance

and paper tiger paranoia and all that. We can be very nimble and effective in new kinds of ways with the insights of neuroscience.

So, with regard to paper tiger paranoia, there’s been a lot of research that’s been done on what’s called the negativity bias. You can go to Wikipedia and look up the negativity bias. It’ll take you to different papers on it. If you put that into my own website, you’ll pull up a lot of different resources about that, including major scientific papers on the subject.

It’s the idea that carrots and sticks are important. We’ve got to get rewards, we’ve got to get food, we’ve got to get mates, we’ve got to get shelter – those are the carrots in evolution. Then, there are the subtler carrots these days, Maslow’s hierarchy, such as feelings of self-worth.

“We can be very nimble and effective in new kinds of ways with the insights of neuroscience.”

On the other hand, we also have to avoid the sticks. We have to avoid predators; we have to avoid aggression in our primate band; we have to avoid natural hazards; we have to avoid pain.

Well, those are important. But as I said a little while ago, if you miss

a

carrot today, you probably have a chance to get one tomorrow, but

if

you fail to avoid a stick, then there are no more carrots forever.

There are many examples of the ways in which the brain has bias toward scanning for negative information, focusing on it when it’s present, ignoring the good news wrapped around it, and then storing that negative experience very deeply in just one trial learning.

For example, humans and other animals learn much more quickly from pain than we do from pleasure. If you teach a rat to not go down a particular tunnel, you only have to shock it once when it goes down that tunnel. But to train it to go down another tunnel, that has cheese, let’s say, you’ve got to send it down that tunnel a few times at least before it really remembers that that’s where the cheese is.

Lastly, in terms of the negativity bias, we are very easily triggered around negative memory, particularly negative implicit memory, not memory so much for recollections of particular events, but rather memory for the experience of

“We are very easily triggered around negative memory, particularly negative implicit memory.”

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living, deep down, below the waterline, which also includes implicit memory, such as expectations, response biases, and things like that.

“For the average couple, negative interactions are five times as powerful as positive interactions.”

So, that’s the negativity bias. There are lots of examples of it in the clinical world. For example, John Gottman’s findings that on the average it takes about five positive interactions in a couple to make up for a single negative one. Negative interactions are five times as powerful, on the average and for the average couple, as the positive interactions.

Another example is Seligman’s findings that it’s really easy to train dogs, and by extension, humans, in helplessness. It only takes a handful of trials to train a dog into a sense of futility and depression. But it takes many, dozens and dozens, sometimes over a hundred trials to re-train that dog that it can do something about its fate.

We are vulnerable to the negativity bias and as a result we develop this kind of paranoid trance. If you think about it, there are two kinds of mistakes a person can make in life. They can either think there is a tiger in the bushes when there really isn’t one, or they can think there is no tiger in the bushes, but there actually is one about to pounce.

Mother Nature wants us to make that first mistake a thousand times over to avoid making that second mistake even once. If we make that second mistake once – wham! It’s a lethal consequence and we don’t pass on our genes.

As a result, people routinely overestimate threats, underestimate opportunities and underestimate resources for dealing with threats and dealing with opportunities. That’s the paranoid trance. That happens at the level of individuals, it happens in couples, it happens in groups, and frankly, as we see throughout the world today, it happens in terms of international relations.

“Within the paranoid trance, people routinely overestimate threats and underestimate opportunities ”

So what can we do about it? How do we wake up from paper tiger paranoia? I think really appreciating the power of anxiety and the power of threat reactivity is very useful for a clinician.

“Really appreciating the power of anxiety and the power of threat reactivity is very useful for a clinician.”

It also helps to educate and to motivate our clients, and that goes back to some of the benefits of the brain, bringing brain science into clinical practice. It really helps to educate our clients or our patients in the power of this negativity bias and the power of threat reactivity, so they can appreciate the ways in which they are routinely overestimating the threats around them and they are underestimating their opportunities and their resources. So that’s point one in terms of a practical step.

Just seeing this threat reactivity and educating ourselves and the people we work with about it is itself very, very powerful. Then you can go to work correcting it by really helping people see through or challenge their beliefs about the threats, the bad news that’s around them, and also helping people see more clearly

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and feel emotionally in their body more deeply the opportunities and the resources that are around them as well. For me, those are two very powerful paths for people.

I’d say the last one – and I’ve personally taken it on – is in a traditional phrase “give no one cause to fear you.” In other words, I’ve come to appreciate more and more how vulnerable we are to feeling afraid, how hard it is to walk across the living room, let alone a busy street or a mall, without feeling a single molecule of anxiety, subtle anxiety in particular.

When we really appreciate how hard that might be, then when we approach others – our colleagues, our friends and family, and certainly our clients or patients – we are going to be more mindful of avoiding unnecessary ways of stimulating anxiety in them.

We are going to be more mindful of doing little appropriate things, not walking on egg shells, not being a doormat, but doing little appropriate things to help others to feel safer around us.

“When we really appreciate how hard it is for clients to feel safe, we’re going to be more mindful of avoiding unnecessary ways of stimulating anxiety in them.”

“If a person is not really grounded in the sense of relative safety, it’s really hard for them to be mindful ”

It’s in doing little things with our clients and patients that we help them get into feelings of relative safety. If a person is not really grounded in the sense of relative safety, it’s really hard for them to be mindful, because they are vigilant.

If they’re not feeling safe, they’re going to be putting tons of resources into scanning the world in this jumpy, skittery, paranoid way, which interrupts and disrupts their capacity to bring attention inward and tune into themselves in a mindful kind of way.

The Two Wings of Psychological Growth and Contemplative Practice

Dr. Buczynski: Rick, you’ve written about two wings of psychological growth and contemplative practice.

Dr. Hanson: We are going into some deep stuff here. This is great!

Dr. Buczynski: Yes. Well, I thought it was pretty critical and could be useful to our listeners, to the practitioners on the call. Can we touch on that some?

Dr. Hanson: Sure, absolutely. So I think the two wings are being with the contents of mind and working with the contents of mind. Both are really, really important.

My concern to some extent is that with all the focus on mindfulness that’s come in both through the spiritual traditions, particularly Buddhism in the last 20 years or so, as well as the wave of focus on mindfulness-based methods in psychotherapy and some of the non-dual teachings that some people might be familiar with which are embedded in things like acceptance and commitment therapy, as well as in other teachings…

“The two wings are being with the contents of mind and working with the contents of mind.”

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And as result of all that, we are really focusing on one of the two wings, which is to say being with what’s there or being mindful of what’s there, and underestimating and turning our backs on a lot of collective wisdom in the field of psychotherapy or, more broadly, in thousands of years of practices for both mental or spiritual development that deals with actually working actively with the contents of mind.

“You give painful feelings room to breathe and they change overtime, or a person gets comfortable distance from them and that’s enough.”

And sometimes it works. Let’s say, for example, a painful feeling arises. It’s a feeling of sadness, or loss, or feeling of abandonment in a current relationship where your partner has ended it and those feelings of abandonment in the here and now have been amplified and turbo charged by older feelings of abandonment, let’s say, related to a difficult childhood experiences. So there you are with those feelings; they are there. Those are contents of mind.

It’s really important to be with them, to hold them in a very large space of mindfulness. Sometimes that alone is enough.

Sometimes that alone allows those painful feelings to shift and move. You give them room to breathe and they change overtime, or a person gets a comfortable distance from them and that’s enough. And these feelings don’t come up again, or they don’t come up so intensely or so often. That’s great.

But on the other hand, it doesn’t always work that way. Very often these feelings come up and they just sit there, like an unwelcomed guest that’s just sitting on the living room couch and they’re not going to leave. What do you do?

That’s where working with them really comes in. To me, working with the contents of mind is subdivided further, divided further into two main phases of letting go and letting in. In other words, practices that release and work with releasing difficult contents of mind.

“Working with the contents of mind is subdivided further into letting go and letting in.”

For example, there are relaxation techniques or cognitive techniques that dispute negativistic thoughts, or there are emotional methods that release painful contents of mind through venting or through other practices, or we can use insight that sees into them and realizes that it was then and this is now, and a person doesn’t need to be so upset… Those are practices around releasing.

Then there are also very important practices around replacing, not just letting go of what’s painful or dysfunctional, but also taking in, taking in the good, in other words. It’s so important to build up an internal resource state by replacing negative material with positive material.

“It’s so important to build up an internal resource state by replacing negative material with positive material.”

So, for me, that is a way to think about and move from the two wings of psychological growth and healing to think of three phases. First phase is to be with what’s there. The second phase, at just that right moment, is to start letting go or releasing what’s there. Then, in the third phase, we replace what’s there. I think of these three phases in six words – let be, let go, let in. All of them are really important.

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People tend to have strength in one area or another. I was great at letting go for a long time. Then, when I came into the mindfulness world, I really began to appreciate more the power and the importance of letting be.

On the other hand, some people get stuck in letting be and they don’t take up arms against their oppressors, which live mainly inside their own mind. It’s important to get active inside the mind, to engage wise effort inside the mind, not just wise mindfulness inside the mind, and go to work. Also, that includes, of course, replacing, or letting in, or taking in the good to build the positive resource state.

“Three phases in six words – let be, let go, let in. All of them are really important to build the positive resource state.”

Dr. Buczynski: I’m sorry we are out of time already. It seems like we just started. I have taken tons of notes here tonight, and I’m sure many of the other people on the call have as well.

Rick, thank you so much! Your book is powerful. Your work is getting better and better. Thank you so much for all that you do!

Dr. Hanson: I really appreciate that! I would just say I want to stay in kinship with everyone on this call. To me, the really important thing is to keep remembering that what we do makes a difference and to really let it sink in viscerally. Knowledge about how what we are doing with people’s minds is actually sinking into real change in their brains, and that’s inspiring and really, really hopeful. So I’m very happy about that.

I really appreciate you, Ruth, for this call. It’s a great call. You are really great at what you do, and I just have a growing appreciation for NICABM as a wonderful organization.

Dr. Buczynski: Thank you Rick!

TalkBack with Ronald Siegel, PsyD and Elisha Goldstein, PhD

Dr. Buczynski: Okay, as I said at the very beginning, we’re starting a brand new segment tonight, this

is our TalkBack segment and we’re going to be focusing specifically on clinical applications. I’ve invited

two of my colleagues Dr. Ron Siegel and Dr. Elisha Goldstein to join me. They are licensed psychologists

as well as long time meditators. We’ll be focusing tonight and every night on applications to what we’ve heard in clinical practice.

So, getting started – hello to you both – Ron and Elisha. As we get started, we’ve all been listening to Rick Hanson’s call, and one of the things I want us to focus on is something he said in the very beginning of his call – namely, “How can I help patients use their mind alone to change what’s happening in their brain in

a more positive direction?”

I guess the reason I want to start with that is I think that many practitioners probably have the same question. So let me pose it to you now: How would you go about providing a practical approach to answer this question?

Dr. Goldstein: You know, what I would say is, this touches on two of the fundamental pillars of mindfulness

– which are learning how to pay attention to our intention. So it is about attention and intention.

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What we are doing in helping patients use their minds to change what is happening in the brain in a more positive direction is helping them to get in touch with what are they intending to pay attention to here.

“Two of the fundamental pillars of mindfulness are learning how to pay attention to out intention.”

So when we are being aware of what is happening in the present moment, we can actively choose to focus our attention on what we are intending to focus our attention on – but that comes first with a sense of awareness. So we are allowing ourselves to first get a sense of what are we wanting to be aware of, and how do we pose a more kind attention, a more compassionate attention… maybe we are wanting to pay attention on a sense of forgiveness, so we are more kind of priming our minds toward what is good in life.

Ron, what do you have to say about that?

Dr. Siegel: Yes, I think that is very much to the point. And, you know, it turns out what we are learning about neuroplasticity is that any activity that we do more of with the mind develops the part of the

brain that corresponds to that. For example, if we were to develop more strength in our biceps by lifting weights, our biceps would become bigger and stronger, and the same thing happens with brain regions. So any activity that we engage in, we are likely to strengthen

the capacity to engage in that activity.

“If we were to develop more strength in our biceps by lifting weights, our biceps would become stronger, and the same thing happens with brain regions.”

So much of this involves deliberately intending to focus the mind in directions that are helpful for sanity – and that includes things like being present, things like practicing letting go, practicing attention to gratitude, practicing attention to moving toward that which is difficult rather than moving away from or defending against difficult experience – basically all the different components of mindfulness practice do change the brain in that way.

“All the different components of mindfulness practice do change the brain.”

Dr. Buczynski: One of the things that Rick talked about is how our brains are biased towards negative thinking, and we see that all the time, whether we are psychotherapists or whether we are folks at the more medical end of the spectrum.

What people bring to us is generally some kind of a complaint - some kind of complaint that is negative. How can we approach helping them with this bias towards negativity? Are there specific exercises that the practitioners on the call could use to help their patients rewire the negative brain?

Dr. Siegel: I think the critical piece involves actually psycho-education, and that means helping people to understand that evolutionarily, our minds evolved to focus on negative experiences rather than positive experiences; the idea that the mind is like Teflon for good events and like Velcro for bad events – because that had enormous survival value.

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Those of our ancestors who focused on the good stuff and forgot about the bad stuff, they weren’t actually our ancestors. They died before having children. So we got the genes of the ones who focused on the bad stuff.

Just knowing that is enormously helpful to our clients or patients because then they can begin to identify this process and begin – very much in the CBT tradition – to simply self-monitor, to simply watch how often the mind defaults to a kind of negative bias. And just seeing that, whether it’s through CBT practice or mindfulness practice, helps to loosen its grip.

Dr. Buczynski:

And, Ron, would be asking a patient to self-

monitor?

Dr. Siegel: Yes, well the way it would play out, in my experience clinically, is to first notice the negative bias as it is showing up in the session, and then to contextualize it. Let the person see that this negative bias is actually an automatic, instinctual, and natural human reaction – but one that makes us miserable – and then invite them to start noticing that during the rest of their day.

“Let the person see that this negative bias is actually an automatic, instinctual, and natural human reaction - but one that makes us miserable.”

Dr. Goldstein: Let me just add a little piece to this because what Ron is saying is absolutely correct on how to help people take a step back and impersonalize these negative thoughts, and see them for what they are – just thoughts. They’re just thoughts, not facts…they’re these mental events that seem to filter in and out of our brains, our minds.

And one of the ways I think, that is really helpful in kind of creating that space from these thoughts and getting some freedom over them – and Ron mentioned the MBCT, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, that Zindel Segal was a part of creating – and one of the things that he did which I thought was great and I have since taken into my practice and run in my groups is created this thing called the “Top Ten Hit List” which is really about, again, externalizing whatever my top ten automatic negative thoughts are that come up.

When we externalize our negative thoughts, we get some distance from them, and all of a sudden, we get some perspective from them.

“When we externalize our negative thoughts, we get some distance and perspective from them.”

But what is so important in this is that it adds a level of playfulness to it. So not only are we getting some space and some perspective from them, but now we are starting to not take it so seriously. We stop identifying with it so much, which makes it easier to get that distance and that perspective.

Dr. Buczynski: So, Elisha, teach us how you would introduce that to a patient – the concept of the Top Ten Hit list.

Dr. Goldstein: Well, the first thing I would do is give them a sheet that looks at a whole list of automatic negative thoughts such as, “I’m never going to be good in this world. What’s the point? No one cares about me….” You know, all the various thoughts that go through our minds, particularly when we are

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depressed – and when we are not even depressed - when we are just kind of headed toward that automatic negativity bias. (By doing this) they get some sense of reference of what these are like.

A lot of people go through that list. I will have them check it off – the ones they identify with – and a lot

of people might say, “Well, God, there are a lot of things that aren’t even on this list that go through my head that are automatic negative thoughts.”

And so from that, I have them create their own list, which is their Top Ten Hit list. Then I have them take that list and put it somewhere that they can kind of see it – whether it’s at work or at home, so that when

a thought comes up they can kind of reference it to this Top Ten Hit list. So it starts to kind of pair it with

a sense of playfulness.

So all of a sudden… and the idea here is that eventually, when these thoughts come up, they will stop, again, taking them so seriously because they start to pair it with a more playful nature, as well as something they see as not just them. This is just a thought.

Dr. Buczynski: We used to do something very similar in Gestalt which worked especially good in a group, but it didn’t have to be done in a group setting, where we asked the person if there was something that

they were trying to

let’s say some behavior or thought that was getting in their way – we asked them to

brag about how good they were at it. You know, “I can find somebody is critical of me even when they’re

giving a compliment…” and so we would just ask them to go around the room and just brag to each person another way that they’re an expert at, or that they’re especially good at something.

That might get out something that is not the same as your Top Ten, but another variation on it.

Dr. Goldstein: Yes, basically what you are doing here is you are providing a sense of aikido – you are blending with the energy of the thought that is already going, which is an excellent way to go about it and redirect it.

Dr. Buczynski: Okay, we only have time to look at one more thing… So I think what I would like to talk about is Rick’s whole issue of trying to motivate clients. And I am going to guess that many, many people

– probably almost everyone on this call – has at least one or more patients that they have a problem

motivating…that they can’t get to try out meditation or to try out mindfulness. So can you tell us some of the things that have worked for you?

Dr. Siegel: Now, you know, I think one critical issue is getting a sense of where the client or patient is coming from personally and culturally in relation to such matters.

As I teach about mindfulness practice in different parts of the country, there are many areas in which folks have very negative associations to meditation.

Sometimes this comes because they are involved in a religious tradition that sees it as pagan or in some way incompatible with their tradition. Sometimes it comes from folks who are more secular and scientifically-minded, and think of it basically as a “hippie” kind of pursuit.

“So much has to do with understanding a person’s thoughts, feelings and associations to the whole matter, and then looking for ways to present the practices that are consistent with where the person is coming from.”

So much has to do with understanding a person’s thoughts, feelings and associations to the whole

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matter, initially – and then looking for ways to present the practices that are consistent with where the person is coming from, so that they could be presented within the religious tradition that a person is involved in or they could be presented in very scientific terms for the people who are more skeptical.

“It’s difficult to deliberately spend time being with our thoughts and feelings, and people need support.”

And then the trick is often finding social support for it - finding some way that the person can practice not just on their own, not just trying to squeeze it into a “To Do” list, but can join a group, join a class, find somebody else to do it with… find some kind of social support because it is difficult. It’s difficult to deliberately spend time being with our thoughts and feelings, and people need support.

Dr. Buczynski: How about you, Elisha, really quickly?

Dr. Goldstein: Oh, I would just piggyback on that – I think those are excellent points. And at times – I don’t know how you feel about this, Ron – but at times you don’t even need to call it “mindfulness.” I mean, that is, again, just a word. We don’t need to be so attached to it.

What’s most important is the actual practice of starting to help people get in touch with the direct experience of what is actually here, and helping them set aside their judgments so they can take some fresh eyes onto this moment.

We all have so many different reactions towards our feelings, the difficulties that are there which are instinctual, to kind of step away from what is difficult or painful. But also we don’t see all the wonderful things in life because we don’t see them with fresh eyes.

“What’s most important is the actual practice of starting to help people get in touch with the direct experience.”

So taking off that label (of meditation or mindfulness) sometimes can be helpful in allowing whatever that stigma that they have, those past perceptions and histories with it, just to let it alone and see if they can kind of contact the practice – and let their experience be their teacher rather than their judgments that are there.

Dr. Siegel: Yes, very often I would not call it “meditation” actually. You know, in the early days when certain people were studying it they simply called it “Attentional Control Training” – that kind of thing.

Dr. Buczynski: Or you could call it “Here and Now Practice” or “The Fresh Eyes Exercise.”

Dr. Siegel: Exactly.

Dr. Goldstein: Sure!

Dr. Buczynski: Okay, I’m sorry we’re out of time. Everyone on the call, I’ll be sending you an email shortly and I’ll be including some links. The first will be a set of links to Rick’s new books. His new book, Just One Thing: Developing a Buddha Brain One Simple Practice at a Time, as well as Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom.

I think you’re going to want to check these out, I think they could be useful - not just for you - but you may consider them to be a title that you might recommend to your patients.

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Next week, we have Dr. Ron Siegel again. He will be talking with me on the neurobiology of mindfulness. We’ll spend a whole session getting into that. You’re not going to want to miss this, this is going to be a powerful session. At the end we’ll continue with our TalkBack segment and focus even more on clinical application.

Everyone, good night and thanks for being a part of our first call.

Take good care now.

References:

Benson, H., & Proctor, W. (2010). Relaxation Revolution: Enhancing Your Personal Health Through the Science and Genetics of Mind Body Healing. New York, NY: Scribner; 1 edition.

Gottman, J.M., & Silver, N. (2000). The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship Expert. New York, NY: Three Rivers Press; 1 edition.

Seligman, M.E.P. (2006). Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life. New York, NY:

Vintage.

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About The Speaker:

Train the Brain toward Mindfulness 25 About The Speaker: Rick Hanson, Ph.D., is a neuropsychologist, author,

Rick Hanson, Ph.D., is a neuropsychologist, author, and teacher as well as founder of the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom. He teaches at meditation centers in Europe, Australia, and North America. His work has been featured on the BBC and in Consumer Reports Health, U.S. News and World Report, and other major magazines.

Rick is currently a trustee of Saybrook University. He also served on the board of Spirit Rock Meditation Center for nine years, and was President of the Board of FamilyWorks, a community agency. He is trained in several meditation traditions and leads a weekly meditation gathering in San Rafael, CA.

Books by Featured Speaker: Rick Hanson, PhD

Just One Thing: Developing A Buddha Brain One Simple Practice at a Time

Developing A Buddha Brain One Simple Practice at a Time Click HERE to Purchase Now! Buddha’s

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Buddha’s Brain:

The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love and Wisdom

The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love and Wisdom Click HERE to Purchase Now! Mother Nurture Click

Click HERE to Purchase Now!

Mother Nurture

Love and Wisdom Click HERE to Purchase Now! Mother Nurture Click HERE to Purchase Now! Find

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Find out more about this and related programs at:

www.nicabm.com