Mindfulness Activity #144
Loving Kindness Series Day 14
Good Morning. A recent research study indicated a very important benefit of loving kindness practice—reducing unconscious or implicit bias towards stigmatized groups. The study examined a group of people. They measured their implicit bias towards Blacks and individuals who were homeless. Half of the participants in the study were assigned six weeks of loving kindness. Individuals in the loving kindness group had reduced unconscious biases towards both traditionally stigmatized groups.
Past posts have discussed the findings that most people exhibit some implicit biases, even when their conscious attitudes are positive about a group. The fact that loving kindness offers a whole host of personal benefits is well established, but the fact that it might benefit social connectedness in the form of reduced bias is so important.
Meditation teachers have long argued that people have innate goodness and that when one connects to breath and adopts a present-focused attention, compassion for other beings is a natural outgrowth of practice.
So today, when practicing, pay particular attention to extending care to others whom you do not know.
It is scary and unpleasant to think that, through no personal fault, each of us might harbor unconscious attitudes or biases that might harm people. The good news is that through conscious cognitive effort and practices such as this we can reduce these biases. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.