Patterns of Closeness and Independence

Intimacy and autonomy are independent dimensions, and it is their combination that counts. The qualities in each category, imperfectly summarized by a single word, characterize both types of individuals and, more importantly, states of mind we all transit: Integrated – Comfortable and skillful with both closeness and agency; able both to carry others in her

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Intimacy and Autonomy Working Together

Intimacy and autonomy are channels for expressing your natural goodness. For example, being kind toward someone naturally involves both an affinity with that person and a certain autonomy for the kindness to be genuine. Besides its obvious rewards in everyday life, intimacy supports personal growth and spiritual practice through bringing you into relationship with things.

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The Dance of Intimacy and Autonomy

Love tends to join and hate to separate, but joining is not the same as love, and separation is not hatred. Sometimes the most loving thing a person can do is take a step back: that’s distance in the service of attachment. And it’s not loving to join in invasive or smothering ways. Most people

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Give Them What They Want

What’s up with these people? The Practice: Give them what they want. Why? Research shows that relationships are built from interactions, and interactions are built from moments. A critical moment in an interaction is when one person wants something from the other one. (“Wants” include wishes, needs, desires, hopes, and longings.) The want could be [Read more...]

Recognize Suffering in Others

Where Does It Hurt? The Practice: Recognize suffering in others. Why? We’re usually aware of our own suffering, which – broadly defined – includes the whole range of physical and mental discomfort, from mild headache or anxiety to the agony of bone cancer or the anguish of losing a child. (Certainly, there is more to [...] [Read more...]

Recognize Suffering in Others

Where Does It Hurt? The Practice: Recognize suffering in others. Why? We’re usually aware of our own suffering, which – broadly defined – includes the whole range of physical and mental discomfort, from mild headache or anxiety to the agony of bone cancer or the anguish of losing a child. (Certainly, there is more to [Read more...]

Transform Ill Will

Do you bear a grudge? The Practice: Transform Ill Will. Why? Goodwill and ill will are about intention: the will is for good or ill. These intentions are expressed through action and inaction, word and deed, and-especially-thoughts. How do you feel when you sense another person taking potshots at you in her mind? What does [...] [Read more...]

The Evolution of Compassion: From Gene to Meme

Session Highlights:

• An in-depth conversation with Dr. Dacher Keltner, professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley and author of Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life
• The ways we are sociable primates
• The universals of compassion across cultures [Read more...]

Cultivate Goodwill

Do people ever make you mad? The Practice: Cultivate goodwill. Why? As the most social and loving species on the planet, we have the wonderful ability and inclination to connect with others, be empathic, cooperate, care, and love. On the other hand, we also have the capacity and inclination to be fearfully aggressive toward any [...] [Read more...]

Cultivating a Forgiving Heart

Session Highlights:

• An in-depth conversation with Dr. Tara Brach, founder of the Insight Meditation Community of Washington and author of Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha
• Practices for strengthening and expressing compassion and kindness
• Dealing with hard issues in relationships [Read more...]


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