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Paired meditation deepens interpersonal connection: how to go about it

Yesterday I wrote the blog post "Paired meditation deepens interpersonal connection: Tania Singer's wonderful ReSource project" which introduced & overviewed the recent, very impressive ReSource Project.  I also discussed the associated JAMA Psychiatry research paper "Effects of contemplative dyads on engagement and perceived social connectedness over nine months of mental training: a randomized controlled trial" with its abstract including the comments "Secularized classical meditation training programs address social cognition, but practice typically occurs alone.

Paired meditation deepens interpersonal connection: Tania Singer's wonderful ReSource project

Yesterday I was skimming through the JAMA Psychiatry journal and I got hijacked by Kok & Singer's recent article "Effects of contemplative dyads on engagement and perceived social connectedness over nine months of mental training: a randomized controlled trial".  The abstract reads - "Importance  Loneliness is a risk factor for depression and other illnesses and may be caused and reinforced by maladaptive social cognition. Secularized classical meditation training programs address social cognition, but practice typically occurs alone.

Friendship: science, art & gratitude

(this post is downloadable as both a Word doc & as a PDF file.) 

About every three months I meet up with one of my oldest and dearest friends and we spend twenty four hours or so together checking in on how our lives are going and what our plans are - this "work" links to the post "Building willpower: the eight pillars".  Our friendship goes back nearly 30 years and we've been doing these check-in's for a decade or so.  We know each other pretty well!  I'm just back from one of these times and it leads me to think a bit about friendship.

Who can you trust ... and do they have to be boring?

May's edition of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology contains three articles on trust that got me thinking a bit.  It's been said that the qualities that attract you to a potential partner (or friend) may well end up being the very issues that become most problematic in the relationship.  So, for example, one's partner's ability to be spontaneous, emotional, let their hair down & have a great time may later become a real issue over their drinking, extra-marital affairs, and irresponsibility with money.  Or from the other end of the personality spectrum, their reliability and conscientiousness may become a real strain because they later seem over-cautious and kill-joys.  Anyway here's three additional contributions to this debate:

Meeting at relational depth: links to attachment

Yesterday I wrote a post "Meeting at relational depth: what intrigued me most".  I described how, in this one day workshop, I paired up with someone I'd never met before and acted as client in a 20 minute role-played counselling session.  Every minute we independently estimated how deeply we felt connected (on a 0-10 scale).  When we looked at our estimates at the end of the session, they almost exactly matched.  I felt as connected to my "counsellor" as she did to me, even though she had said only a few words.  What's going on?

Opening up group, session 4

The brains of human beings seem built to process stories better than other forms of input ...  

- Thomas B Newman, professor of epidemiology and biostatistics

I wrote last week about the third session of this "Opening up" group.  Yesterday evening was the fourth session.  The "cooking pot" of the group (a metaphor I used at the end of the post about our first group session) is getting stronger.  Group members seem to be feeling more trusting, more ready to share deeply.  And this produces a "virtuous circle" of taking more interpersonal risks, developing more care for each other, so feeling safer to be vulnerable, and then still more understanding and kindness.  Being part of this gives me hope for us as human beings.  We're surely capable of so much cruelty & ignorance, but we're also so capable of sensi

Opening up group, session 3

“ You can earn a living from what you get, but you can only get a life from what you give.  ” - Andy Ripley

We had the third session of this "Opening up" group last night.  I wrote last week about the second session.  There are seven of us in this group - six other participants and myself.  My impression over many years of group work done in different time chunks (evenings, single days, weekends, residentials lasting several days) and in different group sizes (approximately four to forty participants) is that the larger the time chunk, the larger the group size that it's realistic to work with.  I'm talking here about interactive interpersonal groups.  Obviously if one is teaching skills to a structured group (especially if one limits sharing by group members), one can work effectively with much bigger numbers than this.  There are also psychodynamic interpersonal groups that "work" with over a hundred participants. 

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