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Curiosity, Openness, Acceptance and Love

David Schouela

Curiosity, Openness, Acceptance and Love (COAL) is an acronym invented by Dr. Daniel Siegel to describe the qualities of mindfulness. Interestingly, COAL are also the qualities present in secure parent/child attachments and between psychotherapist and patient in successful healing outcomes. It is a loving and openly accepting relationship between parent and child that determines how well the child will grow into a successful and mature adult.

In his book " The Mindful Brain " Siegel states that "the interpersonal attunement of secure attachment is paralled by the intrapersonal attunement of mindful awareness. Both interpersonal and intrapersonal attunement develop the capacity for intimate relationships, well being and resilience."

When the child's world is understood by the parent, the child feels good, connected and loved. This is attunement. Similarly, when we are mindful of our moment to moment experience with a kind, and open-hearted presence, we become our own best friend.

Siegel also states that "both forms of attunement share common neural pathways particularly those found in the pre-frontal cortex. The development of these regulatory circuits in the brain is associated with emotional resilience, compassion for oneself and others. Seigel lists nine prefrontal functions that overlap with mindfulness practice and secure parent/child attachments. "They are regulation of body systems, balancing emotions, modulating fear, responding flexibly, attuning to others, exhibiting insight, empathy, intuition, and morality."

Seigel states "Another important dimension of looking toward the mindful brain is that by understanding the neural mechanisms associated with mindful awareness, we may be in a better position to identify it's universal human qualities and make it more accessible and acceptable to a broader audience." Seigel invites the reader to "imagine a world in which this health promoting, empathy-enhancing, executive-attention developing, self compassion nurturing, affordable, and adaptable mental practice is made available in everyone's life".


  • Dr. Daniel Siegel on ‘Mindsight’ &laqu 7 years, 7 months ago

    [...] COAL: Curiosity, Openness, Acceptance and Love. [...]

  • 6 years, 4 months ago

    I just love to read through your interesting posts.
    The mystic experience ,name it spiritual is deeply rooted in human part of CNS called the Peri-Ventricular area where a substance named Endorphin = natural morphine is released by a set of stimuli. These stimuli can be achieved by hard and really time consuming training. Yoga, like many other rituals is an example. This speculation could be well illustrated by injecting the yogi a substance called Naloxone, a general well-known anti-dote to opium, and after few minutes all that internal peace would collapse into real pain and confusion.
    I need to know your impression about this.
    Peace and Light.

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