by Kathie England

The Compassionate Brain: Cultivating a Forgiving Heart

What does it take to develop a forgiving heart?

That is the question explored by Tara Brach, Ph.D., in the third part of The Compassionate Brain Series mentioned in an earlier blog post. Dr. Brach proposes that the first step in developing a forgiving heart is to develop compassion for ourselves and to forgive ourselves for all those thoughts and feelings that hold us back.

But where do we start?

The first step is the PAUSE. Just as Viktor Frankl, the Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist who survived the holocaust, describes in Man’s Search for Meaning, “Between the stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

Dr. Brach explains that in that PAUSE we have the opportunity to create a space. In that space we create possibility, how to respond to the challenge we face in that moment. The PAUSE might be no more than a few seconds. During this pause we can name the suffering and let go of blame – for onself or others.

This process is very similar to the strategy I have described in the Making Time for Success series of free monthly calls. I call it APBA: Awareness + Pause + Breath + Act (take a small step). This is the power to choose.

I invite you to watch┬áRick Hanson’s┬áinterview with Dr. Brach that was conducted a week ago and available for free through the link below: