Cultivating Kindness

meditation-image-26Antoine Lutz and Richard Davidson conducted a study at the Waisman Center for Brain Imaging that found that compassionate meditation has the potential to cultivate spirituality through kindness and benevolence in individuals. The study involved 16 master meditators and 16 novices who were exposed to sounds of emotional distress, including a child crying. Researchers documented higher activity in the brain areas associated with benevolence among the experienced meditators, while the novices demonstrated much lower activity in those areas. Those trained in this form of meditation are able to extend the feelings of love and compassion that they have for family members towards strangers, cultivating their capacity for spiritual kindness towards all. Lutz and Davidson foresee the wide-reaching benefits of the study, proposing that compassionate meditation could possibly be used to combat depression.