Kryptonite for the Inner Critic With Kristin Neff


Nice to sue they you for doing this. I've been wanting to talk to you for a while. Actually because i've actually writing a book about kindness right now and i wanna do a chapter about self compassion. So you are the you are the leading experts so before we get to sell compassion. Though i wanna. I wanna hear how you got interested in meditation in the first place right so It was my last year graduate school. I was finishing up my phd at berkeley and basically my life was a mess. I'd gotten out of a divorce. It was a very messy divorce. I was feeling a lot of shame. I'm and i was also feeling a lot of stress not so much about what i finish my phd. But more after seven years of my life. When i get a job the job market was really tight. And so i thought you know. Well i've heard that meditation is is good for stress in berkeley. So right down. The street from me was a meditation group. I was lucky every right down every street. Yeah in berkeley so that you know on every corner but luckily the one. I chose to go to The woman leaving the group it was actually a tick not han sanga reason. It's important is because some meditation teachers. Mindfulness bennett teachers wouldn't necessarily talk about self compassion tic time one thing that's unique about him. He's really emphasizes heart qualities of practice. Vietnamese zen master doesn't talk a lot about compassion. Full stop is but he does in particular right and so i started in his tradition And the very the very first night. I went the woman talked about having compassion for yourself the needed to actively cultivate compassion for yourself as well as others and so i was also learning mindfulness but because my life was such a mess because i was such a mess you know almost immediately i saw the difference it made when i turn myself with this kind of kind. Warm supportive attitude. I just saw my own experience really made a difference. So and then i started practicing more in the insight meditation tradition. I think because. I am a scientists it. It was a little more compatible with my Way of approaching things. But with people like jack cornfield the path with heart. Sharon salzberg loving kindness. So i was always i was always really drawn to the integration of you might say the spaciousness of mindfulness with the heart opening qualities of compassion and i was fortunate because it was their practice from the very beginning and that was about twenty years ago. Let me just jump in and define terms for people. Yes i i just never know. We have a lot of experienced meditators who listen for new folks who are coming every week in once you start to meditate. There are lots of ways to lots away within buddhism. There are. I would say at least two big skills. We're trying to teach. One is mindfulness which is put simply the ability not to be around by your emotions. The other is compassion. Or if you're if you're afraid as. I am of gooey words. You can just re translate that into friendliness. Just exactly cooler. Calmer nicer attitude toward external and internal phenomena can replace would cooler with warmer sure. I mean i know jimmy but fair enough so it sounds like you pivoted from the initial zen tradition into what's known as the insight tradition which is just another form of buddhist meditation. It's actually the school. I've trained in and right stumbled upon teachers like jack cornfield. Sharon salzberg both of whom have written a lot about yes. Mindfulness again just being able to be non-judgmental aware of stuff compassion which is adding in the notch just non-judgmental aware but having a certain element of warmth in the awareness and so so the mindfulness is aimed holding experience in a non judgmental manner so the compassion is aimed holding the experience in a friendly manner and so they have slightly different targets and so both need to be practiced that can actually almost appear to conflict. Sometimes because you accept your experience as it is including the fact that it's painful at the same time that you wishing yourself well and you want to help. And so it almost forms a bit of a paradox. Actually one of the scenes we like to say is we give ourselves compassion not to feel better but because we feel bad so you have to allow the experience to be as it is at the same time as toward the experience. Because you're friendly because you care you do what you can to help. So one paradox is since sara restate that and i'm also thinking that there may be yet. Another paradox probably won paradox. Is you in mindfulness meditation. We are not trying to control anything. We're just trying to see things as they are right. See clearly insight. The clear seeing of whatever's happening so that it doesn't own us right but in this case All when you add in the compassion layer you're trying to Notice that they're suffering there and you're not trying to alleviate it per se you're just sending warmth toward the suffering as it is trying to manipulate your experience because if you use compassion to try to make the pain go away. It's actually just another form of resistance so you have to fully accept the fact that this was painful this hurt. You know mess the mindfulness validating accepting the fact that this is really painful right now

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