Yesterday I went to a workshop presented by Dr. Daniel Siegel. Dan is one of the most brilliant people I have ever met. I was awed by his ability to absorb information from so many diverse fields and then synthesize and make sense of all the material. And he does it all with humility and a wonderful sense of humor! The consilience field, or "whole elephant view", brings together knowledge from all fields and allows for a deeper understanding of reality. I look forward to learning more as Dan further develops his Mindsight concepts.
One of the things that really impressed me is how well DBT fits into Dan's findings on mental health. Based on more scientific material than I could possibly describe here, Dan & his colleagues conclude that mental health emerges from integration, the linkage of differentiated elements of a system. Integration can make permanent changes in our brains and can thus impact our mental as well as our physical health. Of course, dialectics is all about integration; giving validity to all aspects of our selves and finding a middle ground. Being aware of dialectical thinking can lead to less rigidity and less chaos and thus further integration and mental health.
One method of furthering your own integration is practicing Mindfulness Meditation every day. Mindfulness Meditation can actually stimulate the integrative circuits of our brains to grow! There is so much information available on Mindfulness Meditation that I am not going to repeat it here. However, I do include some resources on Mindfulness Meditation on my website. I highly recommend the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn. Why not try it? Spend 10 minutes a day doing one of Kabat-Zinn's Mindfulness Meditations and see if after 3 or 4 months you start to notice any changes. (Note : Not all meditations are the same -- the research that Dan talks about is based on the specific type of meditation called Mindfulness Meditation.) Are you thinking that 10 minutes a day is too much time?Okay. What if you start by just being aware of your breath for 5 minutes a day. As little as 5 minutes a day of watching your breath can lead to powerful changes. Try it -- you are worth it!
One last thought -- Dan ended the day by introducing the concept of Empathic Joy -- feeling joy in someone else's success. Wouldn't the world be a nicer place if we all felt empathic joy at other people's success rather than envy, jealousy or another emotion. And, since we are all connected, doesn't it make sense to be joyous when someone else has a success. Again, why not try it. The next time you hear of someone's success see if you can cultivate an attitude of joy, true empathic joy based on their success. Try it yourself and then spread the concept to others. Judi