12 Sep 2013 Comments 0

Compassion seems like an old fashioned word but it is as full of relevance today and for the future as it ever was. The dictionary definition for compassion is to feel for the distress of another, or to have pity or mercy, towards another. My intuition tells me that compassion is an act that rewards the giver because in allowing yourself to identify with the suffering of another being, you deepen and enrich the depth of your own heart space.

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In today’s fast moving Western dominated world it is easy to have one’s eye fixed solely on the material world and on oneself, the prize being more goods, more success and more money. It is easy to ignore the number of people one tramples on to “get there”. It is estimated that the worlds’ population will be over 7 billion next year and the thought that 7 billion people could all climb over each other to survive, rather than working together with respect and caring is too horrific to dwell on. Can you imagine a world where no-one cares, where there is no dignity, common decency and no morality. A world where we have no sympathy for the sick or less fortunate? The plight of sick people in hospitals during the current public workers strike has been a sad indictment of hardened hearts and a lack of caring, but the upside has been the unleashing of compassion of ordinary people rushing to volunteer their help where needed in understaffed medical units.


If we all endeavour to practice compassion in our daily lives, we will create a ripple effect that spreads through our relationships, the business world and our nation, uplifting humanity to a new level where decency and respect prevail.


You may not have heard about it yet but there is a new movement called the Charter of Compassion which aims to bring back the awareness of compassion and caring into our lives. I have pasted the manifesto below and I urge you all to go onto the website and join. There is no fee, just a willingness to work from the heart. Let us work together to create a world where caring and sharing count for something!




The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves. Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the centre of our world and put another there, and to honour the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect.


It is also necessary in both public and private life to refrain consistently and empathically from inflicting pain. To act or speak violently out of spite, chauvinism, or self- interest, to impoverish, exploit or deny basic rights to anybody, and to incite hatred by denigrating others – even our enemies – is a denial of our common humanity. We acknowledge that we have failed to live compassionately and that some have even increased the sum of human misery in the name of religion.


We therefore call upon all men and women


§ to restore compassion to the centre of morality and religion


§ to return to the ancient principle that any interpretation of scripture that breeds violence, hatred or disdain is illegitimate


§ to ensure that youth are given accurate and respectful information about other traditions, religions and cultures


§ to encourage a positive appreciation of cultural and religious diversity


§ to cultivate an informed empathy with the suffering of all human beings – even those regarded as enemies.


We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in a polarized world. Rooted in a principled determination to transcend selfishness, compassion can break down political, dogmatic, ideological and religious boundaries. Born of our deep interdependence, compassion is essential to human relationships and to a fulfilled humanity. It is the path to enlightenment, and indispensable to the creation of a just economy and peaceful global community.







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