In my last blog, I wrote that I would refrain from expressing through social media my indignation and outrage over issues of social and political injustice–e.g., HB 2–until I have taken at least one concrete step to be a part of the solution. Talk is not enough! I’m seeking actions that can make a difference–actions that, no matter how small, will contribute to making the world a little more just, a little more compassionate, a little more peaceful place. Notice that I did not say I would stop expressing outrage. I like my words too much for that! But my goal is to do something positive first, and then speak.
About a year ago, I read a book that my son Bob passed on to me, called Twelve Steps to to a Compassionate Life. http://www.amazon.com/Twelve-Steps-Compassionate-Karen-Armstrong/dp/0307742881. That book has become a useful resource to me as I attempt to move beyond words and into action. The author, Karen Armstrong, is a former nun who has written extensively on comparative religion and the role of religion in the modern world. The book is worth reading if only for the first chapter, in which Armstrong gives a succinct history of the spiritual development of humanity in the ancient world, and demonstrates how compassion and the Golden Rule are at the heart of all religious and secular ethics. She goes on to outline twelve steps that anyone can take to promote interdependence and equality, steps that will lead to a more compassionate coexistence among human beings. If you want to know more, you can check out the Youtube clip below.
Karen Armstrong received a TED prize in 2008, and her wish was:
to establish a Charter for Compassion in the spirit of the Golden Rule, to identify shared moral priorities across religious traditions, in order to foster global understanding and a peaceful world.
After completing the book, I visited the Charter for Compassion Website (www.charterforcompassion.org) and added my name to the charter, in solidarity with thousands of other individuals and organizations. Since that time, I’ve been checking it regularly to see what creative ideas are posted.
Currently, I am in the process of completing an online course, Emotional Intelligence for a Compassionate World, offered through the Charter for Compassion Educational Institute. I’ll write more about that in my next blog. And, as you come across strategies and examples of compassionate action, please continue to share them with me as well!