A Force for Good

June 22, 2015

A Force For Good

A Force For Good

A note from Daniel Goleman:

As I was interviewing the Dalai Lama for my book A FORCE FOR GOOD: The Dalai Lama’s Vision for Our World, Paul Ekman’s work came up repeatedly. The Dalai Lama places great importance, for one, on Paul’s mapping the emotions – a tool that can help people get a better grip on their own. Then there’s the Cultivating Emotional Balance program, which has helped countless teachers and others mange their inner world better.

As Paul makes clear in his book, there is the challenge the Dalai Lama poses to all of us, moving toward the ideal of universal compassion, an attitude that values every person on Earth equally.

In A FORCE FOR GOOD the Dalai Lama suggests we start with an emotional transformation toward greater calm, clarity, and compassion. Then, with this inner rudder, act to improve the world he spells out what our world needs in many spheres – ranging from transparency to dispel corruption in government and business, to a more caring economics, to healing the planet.

And he urges us to act now, in whatever way we can – even if we won’t see the results in our lifetime. We can change the future over the course of this century, if we all act to create this force for good, he urges.

The Science of Compassion

Intriguingly, the arguments the Dalai Lama makes are not based in Buddhism, but rather in science.  He supports his views by drawing on the countless meetings he has had over the decades with world-class scientists – especially Paul’s work.

Paul has spent more than 60 hours in one-on-one conversation with the Dalai Lama. As Paul puts it, they are like brothers.

Of all the many achievements over the course of Paul’s career, this may be the most remarkable. For one, even those close to the Dalai Lama’s inner circle find it difficult to schedule time with that ceaseless world traveler. For another, when Richard Davidson and I were considering which scientists to invite to participate in the Mind and Life meeting on “Destructive Emotions,” we had misgivings about Paul, despite his being at the top of our list.

Our hesitation had to do with Paul’s tough-mindedness as a scientist – we were unsure what his chemistry might be with the Dalai Lama – and we know that beyond first-class science, personal rapport made these meetings work. And, as Paul has said himself, at first during the meeting he had his own doubts. But on the third day there was a personal encounter with Paul and the Dalai Lama – when Paul introduced his daughter Eve, and the Dalai Lama held on to Paul’s hand as they spoke.

There was an almost electrical charge, as Paul has put it – and a subsequent deep change in Paul’s being. Where he had been quick to anger, as Paul describes, after that encounter he didn’t even have an angry thought for about nine months.

While most of us can’t hope for such a drastic inner transformation, any of us can begin the inner journey toward more peace and clarity.  As for myself, I find that meditation has offered a way to renew that state daily.  Cultivating Emotional Balance offers a range of approaches to emotional hygiene. There are countless methods.

But as the Dalai Lama emphasizes, that’s a first step. By also enhancing our own compassion, we become better able to act in ways that will add our energy to the force for good he calls us to create.

 

Paul Ekman is a well-known psychologist and co-discoverer of micro expressions. He was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by TIME magazine in 2009. He has worked with many government agencies, domestic and abroad. Dr. Ekman has compiled over 50 years of his research to create comprehensive training tools to read the hidden emotions of those around you.

8 Myths about Lying

June 8, 2015

Myths about Lying

Myths about Lying

by Paul Ekman, Ph.D. as featured on Forbes.

Myth #1 – Everyone lies.

Not so. Not about serious matters, not about lies which if caught could result in the end of a relationship, employment, freedom, large sums of money or life itself. Those are what I call high stake lies; they are the lies that the police and the FBI and insecure spouses are trying to catch. They are the lies of the criminal, the terrorist, the philanderer, the embezzler, and what the cops call ‘bad guys’.

Myth #2 – No one lies.

Hardly. Nearly everyone tells low stake lies. Politeness, for example, or praising the host for a dull dinner and conversation, flattery, and so forth. No one really expects to be told the truth in those situations.

Myth #3 – Women can spot lies better than men.

No they can’t; most people are terrible lie catchers, fooled by high stake lies again and again. Often they want to believe the liar. Do you want to find out your lover is unfaithful, your children are using hard drugs, the person you recommended for the job is embezzling? These are hard truths to accept, so the target of the lie often cooperates in being misled because the truth is too painful.

Myth #4 – Psychopaths are perfect liars.

Psychopaths are no more skillful at lying than anyone else, but they are so charming we want to believe them, and we do.

Myth #5 – Looking up and to the left is a sign of lying.

The research shows that which way you look before answering a question is unrelated to whether you are lying.

Myth #6 – Micro facial expressions are proof of lying.

Fleeting facial expressions do reveal an emotion that is being concealed, and that is a kind of lie, but innocents under suspicion may conceal their fear, or anger about being suspected. You need to find out why they are concealing their emotions in order to judge whether it is sign they are guilty of the offense you are investigating.

Myth #7 – Scientists have discovered a silver bullet, which works on everyone, to betray a lie.

We don’t have Pinocchio’s nose. Nothing exists which, if absent, means the person is truthful and if present is proof of lying. The polygraph, the so-called lie detector, is just a little bit better than chance. Yet it does have its use in a criminal investigation—if only one of the suspects fails the test, he or she is the first one to investigate, bearing in mind that this suspect may be the most nervous or worried about not being believed, though innocent.

Myth #8 -There is no way to spot lying from how people behave.

There are what I like to call ‘hot spots’ which indicate you are not getting the full story. If you really do want to catch a liar there are nearly thirty different hot spots to pay attention to. Micro facial expressions and gestural slips are the two most important ones, but there are many more.

For example, a slight shrug, usually of one shoulder, coinciding with a verbal statement of confidence is an example of a ‘hot spot’ revealed in a gestural slip. Something is awry.  Another is a slight head shake no, only very slight, when saying ‘yes.’

Paul Ekman is a well-known psychologist and co-discoverer of micro expressions. He was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by TIME magazine in 2009. He has worked with many government agencies, domestic and abroad. Dr. Ekman has compiled over 50 years of his research to create comprehensive training tools to read the hidden emotions of those around you.