McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts
Buddhism, Compassion, Kindness, Loving, Mindfulness, Phenomenology
Loving-Kindness meditation is a Buddhist practice than involves sending and receiving mental wishes of well-being and happiness in order to cultivate positive feeling states and relieve suffering. This qualitative study examines the effects of Loving-Kindness meditation on everyday experiences of being angry. It uses participants' accounts to create a systematic structural description of how Loving-Kindness meditation affects anger. Participants in this study were asked to provide written narratives of an incident when practicing Loving-Kindness meditation helped them cope with feelings of anger. Each of the five participants was interviewed in order to further elaborate their written narratives. These accounts were analyzed using the empirical phenomenological method in order to ascertain the most salient themes common to all participants. Strong commonalities emerged across participants' lived experiences of how Loving-Kindness meditation helped them cope with anger. Major findings revealed that this practice helped participants switch the focus of their attention from the perceived wrongdoing of others back to themselves. In refocusing their attention to themselves, participants were able to come into contact with their own vulnerability and to gain greater awareness of their strengths and limitations. They were also empowered to better understand the broader context of the angering encounter, and to recognize their own contribution to the conflict. Participants found the greatest relief when they were able to see that the individuals who angered them are rich and complex human beings who are just as susceptible to suffering, and who are just as driven by internal motives and external circumstances as the participants themselves are.
Kurdieh, I. (2014). The Influence of Loving-Kindness Meditation on Everyday Experiences of Being Angry: An Empirical Phenomenological Study (Doctoral dissertation, Duquesne University). Retrieved from https://dsc.duq.edu/etd/794