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Some Things You May Not Know About Compassion

‘Compassion’ – The capacity to see clearly into the nature of suffering and to aspire to transform it.

– When we experience compassion, that state activates our motor cortex so we are primed to take action to do something about it.
– In our compassionate actions, we cannot be attached to outcome as it distorts our ability to be fully present to the situation.
– It is an inherent human quality, but the surrounding conditions for the capacities to be activated are different among individuals. A convicted murderer, a greed/power corrupt corporate CEO, the architects and minions of totalitarian regimes all have the seeds of compassion.
– Enemies of compassion are pity, moral outrage, fear. Fear paralyzes us in the face of suffering.
– Neuroscience studies that monitor those who have cultivated compassion reveal that they feel more in the presence of suffering than others do. However, they are also able to return to baseline sooner, thus exhibiting another quality – resilience.
– Cultivating compassion enhances neural-integration, it wires up all parts of the brain network, what some scientists call ‘whole brain functioning’.
– Self-compassion assists in healthy weight-loss: Research shows that it increases a sense of personal responsibility, without the typical guilt of self-blame. When you don’t have to deal with feeling bad about yourself, it is easier to get back on the track of healthy eating habits after setbacks.
– Cultivating compassion enhances our immune system.
– It is a core virtue in all of the major religious and spiritual traditions.
– Why don’t we VOTE based on compassion?
“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them the planet cannot survive.”
– His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Resources: TED Talk (2011) by Roshi Joan Halifax; www.kellymcgonigal.com – Where Science & Compassion Meet; ‘The Joy of Living” – Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche.
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