October 19, 2023
In this episode, Wendy speaks with social psychologist and contemplative researcher Paul Condon. Paul’s work integrates psychological theory with the Buddhist contemplative tradition, looking at meditation through the lens of attachment theory. This conversation covers many topics, including:
- his long interest in the intersection between Buddhism and psychology;
- measuring compassion in the real world;
- meditation’s effects on prosocial behavior and relating to suffering;
- barriers to compassion;
- the relevance of vulnerability and safety to compassion;
- understanding secure and insecure attachment;
- shifting our attachment style:
- how contemplative practice can help develop our secure base;
- security as adaptability;
- limitations of viewing meditation as self-help and individual effort;
- the relational starting point of meditation;
- open vs. closed secular contexts;
- identifying a caring moment or benefactor;
- the power of mental simulation;
- changes he’s noticed from practice;
- and what these practices can offer in our current moment as a society.
Paul Condon is an associate professor of psychology at Southern Oregon University. He has also served as a visiting lecturer for the Centre for Buddhist Studies at Rangjung Yeshe Institute. His research examines the relational basis for empathy, compassion, well-being, and prosocial action, and the influence of compassion and mindfulness training on those capacities. His writing and teaching explore the use of scientific theories and vocabulary, such as attachment theory and the constructed nature of emotion and concepts, to inform meditation practice in dialogue with contemplative traditions. He has collaborated with John Makransky to develop and teach Sustainable Compassion Training, a system of meditation practices adapted from the Tibetan Nyingma and Kagyu traditions for multi-faith and secular application.
- Relational meditation program developed by Paul with John Makransy: Sustainable Compassion Training
- Meditations: Intro to Field of Care and Field of Care guided meditation
- Essay: Nurturing a Relational Mindset, Mind & Life Insights Project, 2022.
- Essay: Buddhanature Beyond Mere Concept, Lion’s Roar, 2023.
- Blog: Bridging psychology and contemplative practice to benefit hearts and minds today. Mind & Life Institute Blog, 2020.
- Essay: Modern meditation needs to recover its communal heart. Psyche, 2020.