Defense Date

5-16-2014

Graduation Date

2014

Availability

Immediate Access

Submission Type

dissertation

Degree Name

PhD

Department

Clinical Psychology

School

McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

Eva-Maria Simms

Committee Member

Russell Walsh

Committee Member

Anthony Barton

Keywords

Buddhism, Compassion, Kindness, Loving, Mindfulness, Phenomenology

Abstract

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.

Format

PDF

Language

English

Share

COinS