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Paul Gilbert – The Importance of Self Compassion

Professor Paul Gilbert – The Importance of Self Compassion

Paul Gilbert is a British clinical psychologist. He is the founder of Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT), Compassionate Mind Training (CMT) and author of books such as The Compassionate Mind: A New Approach to Life’s Challenges and Overcoming Depression.

Today learn about the importance of self compassion in mindfulness practice. You’ll also gain deep insights into how our brains have evolved and how we can learn new, more skilful ways, to relate to the minds we have.

The first video is a presentation by Paul and the second one follows of with a practice session where Pauls guides us in several mindfulness and self-compassion practices.

Also enjoy the third video is a ‘mindfulness and self-compassion’ meditation guided by Choden.

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Show Notes

Join The Mindfulness Summit Journey here

Come and join the community discussions at any time on our Facebook page

If you’d like to learn more about Paul’s books and events go and check out his website at http://www.compassionatewellbeing.co.uk for more and you might also be interested in checking out the http://www.samyeling.org website where Paul and Choden often teach from.




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Purchase a full access pass to unlock downloads for the full interview transcripts, audio, video and separate audio meditation tracks.

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Purchase a full access pass to unlock downloads for the full interview transcripts, audio, video and separate audio meditation tracks.

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177 Responses

  1. Janet Wright

    Having really enjoyed Vidyamala Burch talk yesterday; I read this morning in ‘The Tao of Healing’ by Haven Trevino:

    No 41 You are not weak but strong.
    You are not limited, but unlimited.
    You are not unloved, but much beloved.
    You have suffered only for this:
    That you may bless those who suffer still.

    Thank you for a great month of learning, love and compassion.

          1. Ellen Cedergreen

            Hi Varda, They are free only on the day they are released, with the exception of the first day, Mark Williams. After the day is over, you have to buy in to download or rematch the talks.

          2. Linda Goodman

            I believe that they can be viewed for free for 24 hours from when they are posted. A donation is asked when you want full access to all after 24 hours.

    1. Mary

      I likes Paul’s manner of speaking very much, because of the warmth in his voice. Also the emphasis on: IT’s NOT YOUR FAULT reached me in the heart. It’s zo very true! Thanks very much!

      1. Brendan M.

        I liked the “it’s not your fault” idea, but think it should be clarified that there are those who DO NOT explore the roots of their repetitive negative or aggressive behaviors. They are blinded by pride, ego, personality disorders, etc, and LACK the COURAGE to work on themselves. But, alas, they are the ones NOT watching/seeking these types of programs. Go kindness and compassion!

    1. Doris Göhl

      October 15, 2015, at 2.40 pm

      I regret not being able to do the meditation because of the bad sound quality.
      Thank you ever so much for all these treasures I have found each and every day since the summit started.
      Melli, thanks it is superb and I broadened my mindfulness a lot.

      1. Paola

        I think There are some exercises on his website , and more self compassion exercises and guided meditations on both Kristin Neff and Christopher Germer websites, don’t have the link right now, but a search will give them straight away, all are very good. Had the pleasure to attend a weekend retreat with Choden,

  2. Rosemary

    Rrally enjoyed today’s and yesterday’s speakers. Two areas that are very relevant to my current healing journey.

    Such a shame that the recording quality of the practice with Choden made it very difficult to hear and follow his gentle instructions today.

  3. christina wat

    Day 15 : One of my key learning is that for the well being of ourselves and others, we need to treat each other with respect, kindness and compassion !

    Thank you!

  4. Linda Breitenstein

    Very interesting but, unfortunately, the video with Mr. Gilbert stopped in the middle and the sound quality of each video was poor. i tried to restart and could not.

  5. Deb

    I enjoyed this so much I suppose because it was what I needed to hear. I loved the meditation though I struggled hearing it. I am going to see if I can find something similar on their website. Thank you!

  6. Jill Zastko

    I loved listening to Paul’s talk and learning how our “tricky brains” work. Sooooo helpful in understanding how to work with our brains, and our practice, to cultivate more loving compassion and mindfulness. The layers and layers that this excellent summit are revealing are amazing. Thank you.

  7. Susan Saunders

    Unfortunately far too much sound interference to listen to this meditation – sounds like a loud roadsweeper which is running up and down in the background, I enjoyed the presentation by Prof Gilbert – it is a shame it is not possible to go with the meditation afterwards.

    I have been enjoying the summit and will tune in again tomorrow – thank you

  8. Joyce Trites

    Such an insightful presentation on compassion. I will be watching this again and printing the transcript for future reference. Thanks again for this summit and all the work that Melli, the team and presenters have done. Such a gift!

  9. Tobias Schreiber

    Really enjoyed the information and experience today with Paul Gilbert about compassion. The exercise with Choden and Melli was very grounding. Thank you. Each day is a great blessing.

  10. Debra Hobert

    Paul Gilbert’s message was wonderful! This summit just keeps getting better & better! Unfortunately, I also gave up on the meditation because it was garbled & I couldn’t understand what he was saying. However, what I learned from Paul’s message was invaluable! Thank you so much!

  11. Jackie Dixon

    I loved this meditation and this focus on cultivating compassion for ourselves in one of our difficult moments. I pictured a recent time when I lost all patience with my 4 year old son and was speaking to him angrily and rudely. He fed off my negative energy and became angry and called me a poo poo head or something like that, which made me even more upset at his lack of respect. I imagined this moment and the after moments of shame and regret for sort of losing it with him, and I was able to visualize a sort of warm, loving presence that felt like my husband or a close friend there with me as I was spinning out in my mind. I saw or felt warm arms around me or giving me a bit of a shoulder massage saying “you are doing great as a parent, it’s okay, don’t be so hard on yourself, take a break.” And I imagined how differently it might have been if I had just taken a moment or a break in the middle of that. It’s such a relief to forgive yourself and be your own support system if even for a moment. Thank you for that. I will definitely use this meditation again. For whatever reason, I could really visualize and feel myself offering compassion for myself in a challenging moment. Something I don’t often do.

  12. Alejandra Almada

    Great talk and easy way to understand the main functions in the brain…its not my fault is wonderful but i also believe we are more than our genes and our environment and that our actions shape does genes and the result…

  13. Sabine Keller

    Awesome presentation by Prof. Gilbert – THANK YOU 🙂

    I would LOVE TO BE ABLE TO LOCATE THE SHORT VIDEO he talks about at the end which has the exercises he mentions.

    Melli, could you please post instructions on where to find that video?


    1. Nserina Chan

      Hi Sabine

      Paul was referring to the video underneath his presentation–the compassion meditation led by Choden (Sean McGovern). As mentioned in Mellie’s notes underneath the presentation, Paul and Choden often teach together on a website.

    2. Candy

      Yes please let me know how to access the exercises I have the meditation and thought maybe it might be in that sectionl Sound quality not a problem for me but usually am listening with earphones on.

  14. Darren

    “On an incredibly simplistic level, you can think of depression as occurring when your cortex thinks an abstract thought and manages to convince the rest of the brain that this is as real as a physical stressor.”

    ― Robert M. Sapolsky, Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers

    “the compassionate mind is the mind that transforms.”

    “You are writing a Gospel,
    A chapter each day,
    By deeds that you do,
    By words that you say.

    Men read what you write,
    Whether faithless or true;
    Say, what is the Gospel
    According to you?”

    ― Paul Gilbert, Mindful Compassion: How the Science of Compassion Can Help You Understand Your Emotions, Live in the Present, and Connect Deeply with Others

    Those of us stuck in the deceit of traumatic experience battle with a symptom (Once PTSD takes root) whereby our memories become our biological enemy. Thoughts are incessantly intrusive with this symptom. Every time a traumatic memory is recalled, our bodies respond to the memory as though the event is again happening in the present moment.

    This is an automatic response inside of us, and outside triggers can set memories in motion, leading to a painful physiological response. We need to break the cycle and we need interventions initially intended to break this cycle.

    Once we’ve found safety, we learn to manage our thinking, emotions and physiological response through coaching towards building skills of emotional self-regulation and self-soothing. It’s only once this work begins to settle into a natural ability of expression that we are enabled to face our traumatic memories, processing those memories towards integration into the narrative of our lives.

    Mindfulness is a technique shared in the mental health recovery community, along with practices of self-compassion that is showing promise in assisting us with skill development towards an ability to self-regulate emotions and self-soothing our often painful physiological response.

    Our thoughts are powerful and experiences groove memories with neural networking in the brain. “What Wires Together Fires Together”. This is an expression we who wish to understand how our brain responds to trauma use to help us stay real with our experience, understanding ourselves more fully at a biological level. The same is true in practices such as building skills of Mindfulness. “What Fires Together Wires Together” as we practice, consistently, using such techniques as this to groove new patterns of thought from which to experience life in our human environments.

    “All Life Is Suffering (Dis-satisfaction”, says the Buddha. With clear need still, as our animal-selves might often rely on through use of our perceptions as a left-behind primal need to be aware of threat in our environment for survival, much human suffering today is created through the psychological and biological arousal of our nervous-system, always silently on the look-out for threat.

    It is a healthy choice we make, when we choose learning Mindfulness and other meditation practices to help us work through a process of nervous system re-education, taking us step-by-step with each session of practice towards living with a mind more quiet, and less attached to our suffering.

    Thank you both, so much for today’s gift. Be Well

  15. David +S.+Mason

    What an amazing world it would be if everyone was taught mindfulness training such as that of Paul Gilbert, Right from the age of a child. Maybe one day.

    Another great session, Thanks.

  16. Carol Docherty

    Thank you Paul for your talk on compassion. I learned a lot from it.

    Choden thank you for your compassion meditation. I enjoyed it and it helped me be more compassionate and loving to myself. Unfortunately I couldn’t hear parts of it and I struggled with your accent- that’s a difficulty I have- in parts also. Is there a transcript available to enable me fill in the bits I missed? Please let me know.

    Thank you with all my heart.


  17. Frank Campbell

    Wonder if there is an alternative site to download Choden’s meditation, which seemed quite valuable. The audio though was scratchy, garbled and difficult to follow.

    Prof. Gilbert’s presentation was brilliant.

  18. Kerstin

    Paul Gilbert was fantasic to listen to. Just what I needed today! Unfortunately I had problems to hear the meditation. The sound was really poor. Is it possible to hear it somewear else?
    I think this meditation should help me a lot.

  19. Carmen Pereira

    I appreciated hearing, “It’s not your fault.” I think understanding this and accepting this is a step towards self-compassion. I, too, am interested in the meditation, but couldn’t participate in it because of the poor quality of the audio. It would be great if a better version of it could be accessible somehow.

    Thanks, Paul, Melli and all.

  20. Barb Winer

    It’s unfortunate but the sound quality of Paul Gilbert’s talk is so poor, I can’t listen to it. I tried two different devices to no avail. The Choden meditation sound is perfect. Thanks.

  21. Jenny Clare

    Thanks so much Melli for organising this amazing summit. So many speakers who each bring a different perspective. I am amazed each day at the variety, and have found each talk/interview/meditation fascinating and helpful. Great to be part of such a big online community, too. Namaste

  22. Andrea Dasilva

    I feel so fortunate and thankful to have the opportunity to listen/watch these wonderful and inspiring presentations!

    I am wondering if the slides that Paul Gilbert used in his presentation are available for download?

    Thank you to everyone involved with the Mindfulness Summit!


  23. Lynne Dummett

    Am thoroughly enjoying this summit. An amazing achievement! Well done you, Melli for organising this and all your eminent, mindful colleagues for their stimulating contributions. Please could you repeat today’s meditation at some juncture? It was impossible to appreciate it due to interference.

    1. Anna sellers

      I found this so informative and will definitely explore more into this. I found it hard to hear the meditation however. It was like he was far from the mic. I missed out the odd words. Brilliant though so thankyou.

    2. Phyllis Rauch

      I loved Paul Gilbert’s presentation, his humor, and loving presence. I was disappointed though, that it was not he who led the meditation. I was looking forward to being led by him after being taught. I found the meditation very hard to follow, bad quality sound, and I found Chdron very difficult to understand. I finally just gave up. Sad.

    3. Kelli

      I have learned so much from Professoe Gilbert. Absolutely my favorite speaker so far. Excellent content, so helpful. I understand more clearly the anatomy of the brain, our emotions and I have to make a choice to be more compassionate with myself and love myself without judgement . I loved the poem by Thich Nhat Hanh. I am so grateful for the mindfulness summit. Thank you. Kelli O’Kane Hudson, Wisconsin

    4. claire morris

      Me too, I want everyone to listen to his talk! I listened to every single word, completely captivated. What a total pleasure. I feel I understand a little more about my brain and can actually bring compassion to my thoughts. Much gratitude!

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