Friday, May 31, 2013

Daniel Siegel Discusses Mindsight at the Dalai Lama Center

The full title of this conversation is Mindsight: Brain Science and Transformation for You and Your Relationships. The discussion is based on Dr. Siegel's book, Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation (2010).

Mindsight: Brain Science and Transformation for You and Your Relationships

Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education
Tuesday, May 10, 2011

On May 10, Daniel Siegel visited Vancouver for the closing event to the Dalai Lama Center's spring Speakers Series. The theme to these events has been "Living Compassion Inside and Out" and his discussion on Mindsight was very much on key. For Dr. Siegel, once we see the mind (inside...) we can have more healthy relationships with others (...and out).

Mindsight: Brain Science and Transformation for You and Your Relationships was moderated by Maria LeRose and she begun the evening by asking Dr. Siegel to define the concept of Mindsight.

"The word 'Mindsight' was created inside of me as a life preserver," said Dr. Siegel, who had briefly left Harvard medical school disillusioned and looking for more from his education. "Ultimately, when I went back to school, I said to myself that the only way that I'm going to survive is to realize that some of my teachers are missing some kind of gear in the way their mind works in that they don't see the mind."

Dr. Siegel described this lack as a lack of Mindsight, the ability to see the mind. He would go on to seek out professors who respected the role of the mind, along with the more subjective sides of health care that deal with grief and suffering.

But before we can see the mind, first we should probably ask where the mind resides. That's one of the questions that Dr. Siegel set out to answer.

"The mind is in your body and it's in your relationships. It's not nowhere. It's not a mystery," he said. "The body is the physical mechanism through which energy and information flow. Relationships are the sharing of energy and information."

Once we've located the mind and are aware of its presence, not only in ourselves but in our relationships, Dr. Siegel says we're ready to take the next step in the Mindsight process: "monitoring and modifying".

"You need to monitor energy and information flow in your bodies and in your relationships and then modify it toward integration."

And integration, for Dr. Siegel, occurs when two people can share a connection where each sees the mind of the other. Integration leads to empathic relationships.

Throughout the event, Dr. Siegel touched on a number of topics, ranging from his education as a medical practitioner to his recommendations on how to educate children to have Mindsight. If you missed the discussion, the Dalai Lama Center encourages you to check out either of the video or audio podcasts below.

Here is some more on Mindsight from the book promotion at Amazon:
From a pioneer in the field of mental health comes a groundbreaking book on the healing power of "mindsight," the potent skill that is the basis for both emotional and social intelligence. Mindsight allows you to make positive changes in your brain–and in your life.
• Is there a memory that torments you, or an irrational fear you can' t shake?
• Do you sometimes become unreasonably angry or upset and find it hard to calm down?
• Do you ever wonder why you can't stop behaving the way you do, no matter how hard you try?
• Are you and your child (or parent, partner, or boss) locked in a seemingly inevitable pattern of conflict?
What if you could escape traps like these and live a fuller, richer, happier life? This isn't mere speculation but the result of twenty-five years of careful hands-on clinical work by Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. A Harvard-trained physician, Dr. Siegel is one of the revolutionary global innovators in the integration of brain science into the practice of psychotherapy. Using case histories from his practice, he shows how, by following the proper steps, nearly everyone can learn how to focus their attention on the internal world of the mind in a way that will literally change the wiring and architecture of their brain.

Through his synthesis of a broad range of scientific research with applications to everyday life, Dr. Siegel has developed novel approaches that have helped hundreds of patients heal themselves from painful events in the past and liberate themselves from obstacles blocking their happiness in the present. And now he has written the first book that will help all of us understand the potential we have to create our own lives. Showing us mindsight in action, Dr. Siegel describes
a sixteen-year-old boy with bipolar disorder who uses meditation and other techniques instead of drugs to calm the emotional storms that made him suicidal
a woman paralyzed by anxiety, who uses mindsight to discover, in an unconscious memory of a childhood accident, the source of her dread
a physician–the author himself–who pays attention to his intuition, which he experiences as a "vague, uneasy feeling in my belly, a gnawing restlessness in my heart and my gut," and tracks down a patient who could have gone deaf because of an inaccurately written prescription for an ear infection
a twelve-year-old girl with OCD who learns a meditation that is "like watching myself from outside myself" and, using a form of internal dialogue, is able to stop the compulsive behaviors that have been tormenting her
These and many other extraordinary stories illustrate how mindsight can help us master our emotions, heal our relationships, and reach our fullest potential.

A book as inspiring as it is informative, as practical as it is profound, Mindsight offers exciting new proof that we aren't hardwired to behave in certain ways, but instead have the ability to harness the power of our minds to resculpt the neural pathways of our brains in ways that will be life-transforming.

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