Why is it important to develop attention?
Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habit. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny. ~Lao Tzu
Create a choice in how we engage with our emotions
Support the cultivation of genuine happiness through leading a constructive emotional life.
“I believe that the very purpose of our life is to seek happiness. Whether one believes in religion or not, whether one believes in this religion or that religion, we all are seeking something better in life. So, I think, the very motion of our life is towards happiness.”
~H. H. Dalai Lama
The words of Nyanaponika Thera, 1962 (cited in Kabat-Zinn, 2011) provide a succinct, concluding summary of the power of mindfulness. These words are still relevant today …
‘Mindfulness is…the unfailing master key for knowing the mind and thus is the starting point; the perfect tool for shaping the mind, and thus is the focal point; the lofty manifestation of the achieved freedom of the mind, and thus is the culminating point.’
Mindfulness then, is the way of understanding; it is where we start, it is what we do along the way, and it is where we end up. Put simply, it is the path and the fruit all rolled into one.
The history of this program:
CEB began at the Mind and Life Conference in Dharamsala in 2000; the subject for this meeting of a group of scientists, philosophers, and monks with H.H. the Dalai Lama was Destructive Emotions. Paul Ekman spoke on “The Evolution of Human Emotion.” Other scientists spoke on the psychobiology of destructive emotions, cultural and developmental neuroplasticity, including its relevance for modern education.
Paul Ekman and Alan Wallace took on that challenge and organized the first CEB, which was offered in 2002 to implement the ideas for improving emotional life discussed at the meeting. Margaret Cullen taught the psychological materials, Alan the contemplative practices.
A research project based on CEB was designed by Ekman and Kemeny (with input from Davidson, Greenberg and Goleman) and carried out by Kemeny—the research showed major benefits from CEB. Participants showed a highly significant decrease in depression, anxiety and hostility over the 5-week period. In addition, participants reported a significant increase in affection for others and demonstrated a significant improvement in their ability to detect subtle forms of emotional expression on the face.
On the post-test, participants showed a response pattern that suggested less emotional and physiological reactivity to the stress task compared to their reactivity prior to the training. In other words, the training appeared to protect them from the negative psychological and physiological effects of stress.
“Where you put your attention is your reality”