Compassion mediation “involves techniques to cultivate compassion, or deep, genuine sympathy for those stricken by misfortune, together with an earnest wish to ease this suffering” (Hofmann, 2011). See also Loving-kindness meditation below.
Dispositional mindfulness, the tendency to be more mindful in daily life.
Focused attention is a “form of meditation that involves the practice of sustaining the attentional focus on a chosen object, such as the sensation of ones breathing, and to return to the object as soon as mind wandering is detected. Importantly, the meditation object only serves as a neutral anchor or reference point which is not contemplated or evaluated during the process” (Malinowski, 2013).
Kirtan Kriya (pron. Keertun Kreea) “is a type of meditation from the Kundalini yoga tradition, which has been practiced for thousands of years. This meditation is sometimes called a singing exercise, as it involves singing the sounds, Saa Taa Naa Maa along with repetitive finger movements, or mudras. This non-religious practice can be adapted to several lengths, but practicing it for just 12 minutes a day has been shown to reduce stress levels and increase activity in areas of the brain that are central to memory” (Alzheimer’s Research & Prevention Foundation).
Loving-kindness meditation (LKM, a.k.a. metta meditation) is a type of mindfulness-based meditation that “emphasizes caring and connection with others. LKM incorporates nonjudgmental awareness of the present moment, which enhances attention, presence, acceptance, and self-regulation; it also entails directing caring feelings toward oneself and then others and emphasizes both self-care and interconnectedness” (Leppma, 2012).
Mindfulness. 1. Mindfulness, as used in ancient texts, is an English translation of the Pali word sati, which signifies awareness, attention, and remembering (Thera, 2005). 2. “The first component involves the self-regulation of attention so that it is maintained on immediate experience, thereby allowing for increased recognition of mental events in the present moment. The second component involves adopting a particular orientation towards one’s experiences in the present moment, an orientation that is characterized by curiosity, openness, and acceptance” (Bishop et al., 2004).
MBI – Mindfulness-based interventions. Modern meditation practices are often cultivated in a secular medical environment through structured training programs known as MBIs. MBIs in this area include mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and other modifications or variations on these that incorporate mindfulness training. (Carlson, 2012). Full text.
Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is designed to help people who suffer repeated bouts of depression and chronic unhappiness. It combines the ideas of cognitive therapy with meditative practices and attitudes based on the cultivation of mindfulness. The heart of this work lies in becoming acquainted with the modes of mind that often characterize mood disorders while simultaneously learning to develop a new relationship to them. Read more.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) was developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn and colleagues at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Read more.
Mindfulness meditation. “What we currently term mindfulness in the area of contemplative science, and the corresponding techniques of its cultivation, stem from Eastern introspective psychological practices, specifically Buddhist psychology, which made reference to the concept over 2,500 years ago. Mindfulness is a term stemming from the Pali language, whereby Sati is combined with Sampajana, and this term is translated to mean awareness, circumspection, discernment, and retention” (Black, n.d.).
Mind wandering is defined as an attentional shift from the task at hand to internally generated thoughts. “Unlike other animals, human beings spend a lot of time thinking about what is not going on around them, contemplating events that happened in the past, might happen in the future, or will never happen at all. Indeed, ‘stimulus-independent thought’ or ‘mind wandering’ appears to be the brain’s default mode of operation” (Killingsworth & Gilbert, 2010).
One-pointed meditation. The main technique of this Tibetan practice is “to focus on a small object and maintain the focused attention without surrendering to concurrent stimuli, monitoring one’s mental activity in such a fashion that sleepiness, agitation, dullness or inner chatter are all avoided” (Brefczynski-Lewis et al., 2007).
Open monitoring. “Building on attentional stability and clarity achieved with focused attention meditation, the aim here is to maintain an open, curious non-discriminating awareness of all arising sensations and mental events” (Malinowski, 2013). “During open monitoring, thoughts, feelings and sensations occur and are observed, but the practitioner does not react to or engage with them. For example, during a session of open monitoring the practitioner may spontaneously recall an argument he had with a friend the night before. Rather than being ‘pulled into’ the memory and its attendant emotions, the practitioner observes the memory as it passes by but remains focused on the moment” (Kok et al, 2013).
Types of meditation practice. Concentrative, generative, receptive, and reflective. Read more.
Black, D.S. (n.d.). A brief definition of mindfulness. Retrieved Feb 20, 2013 from http://www.mindfulexperience.org/resources/brief_definition.pdf<
Bishop, S. B., Lau, M., Shapiro, S., Carlson, L., Anderson, N. D., Carmody, J., et al. (2004). Mindfulness: A proposed operational definition. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 11, 232. Full text.
Brefczynski-Lewis J.A., et al. (2007). Neural correlates of attentional expertise in long-term meditation practitioners, PNAS, 104(27), p. 11483.
Carlson, L. E. (2012). Mindfulness-based interventions for physical conditions: a narrative review evaluating levels of evidence. ISRN psychiatry, 2012. Full text.
Hofmann, S.G., et al. (2011). Loving-Kindness and Compassion Meditation: Potential for Psychological Interventions. Clinical Psychology Review, 31 (7), 1126–1132. Full text.
Killingsworth, M. A., & Gilbert, D. T. (2010). A wandering mind is an unhappy mind. Science, 330(6006), 932. Full text.
Kok, B. E., Waugh, C. E., & Fredrickson, B. L. (2013). Meditation and health: The search for mechanisms of action. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 7(1), 27-39. Full text.
Leppma, M. (2012). Loving-Kindness Meditation and Counseling. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 34(3), 197. Full text.
Malinowski. P. (2013). Neural mechanisms of attentional control in mindfulness meditation. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 7(8). Full text.
Thera, N. (2005). The heart of buddhist meditation: Satipaṭṭhāna: A handbook of mental training based on the Buddha’s way of mindfulness, with an anthology of relevant texts translated from the Pali and Sanskrit. Buddhist Publication Society. 9-11.