For episode 15 of the Real Love Podcast Series, Stephen Cope joins Sharon for a conversation around the science behind loving-kindness practice.
Stephen Cope, MSW, Scholar-in-Residence and Kripalu Ambassador, is the founder and former Director of the Kripalu Institute for Extraordinary Living. He is the author of several best-selling books, including Yoga and the Quest for the True Self; The Great Work of Your Life: A Guide for the Journey to Your True Calling; and his latest publication Soul Friends: The Transforming Power of Deep Human Connection. This podcast was recorded live at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in 2017.
The Real Love Podcast Series is a special series on the Metta Hour featuring a variety of conversations with some of the world’s finest thinkers and teachers exploring Sharon’s new book “Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection“. Real Love is a field guide for anyone seeking awakened living in the 21st century – regardless of age, race, gender, ethnicity or status. The book explores love is three different areas in life: love of oneself, love of an other, and love for all of life. Real Love is now available to order in hardcover, ebook and audiobook format.
The Science of Loving-Kindness (Opening) – Even though much of loving-kindness practice falls into the realm of subjective experience and faith, for many of us it helps to understand scientifically exactly what kind of effect the practice is having on us at a biological level. Stephen and Sharon discuss some of the science behind what is happening when we get quiet.
“One of the things we know is that regular practitioners of Metta significantly improve their perspective taking, that is their capacity to take the perspective of another, which is mediated through the temporoparietal junction and the insula. This is a very significant finding and it goes to exactly what Sharon has been teaching – about the capacity to make some space around your own rigidly held views.” – Stephen Cope
Discover More: Sharon delves deeper into the neuroscience of mindfulness practice with Dr. Dan Seigel on Ep. 64 of the Metta Hour Podcast.
Broaden and Build (15:40) – The two discuss the work of Barbra Fredrickson whose research shows that when we systematically practice entering different states of consciousness they become hardwired traits. Sharon reflects on how we can observe this happening as we cultivate a strong mindfulness practice.
Establishing A Daily Practice (29:45) – While daily practice is ideal, it can be a big commitment that many of us are unable to make early in the development of our practice. Sharon and Stephen discuss the research around daily mindfulness practice and the benefits that as little as nine minutes of daily practice have to offer. Sharon shares advice on how we can ease ourselves into a regular daily practice.
A Practice That Stays with You (46:10) – Stephen and Sharon talk about continued practice and ways we can take the wisdom learned through practice with us into our daily lives.
“There is something called the post-meditation experience where there is a moment, because you are so attuned and sensitized, when you see your reality with fresh eyes; just for a moment. I suggest we take advantage of this post-meditative experience to see with fresh eyes.” – Stephen Cope