2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A powerful tool for cultivating compassion,
This review is from: Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life (Paperback)
Karen Armstrong says the principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions. The call is always to treat others as we wish to be treated. Her thought-provoking book "Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life" is a powerful tool to cultivate and expand our capacity for compassion. The twelve steps ask us to "Imagine a World of Compassion" by learning about compassion for ourselves and the world. The exercises include deepening our empathy, mindfulness and action. How to cultivate concern for others, the awareness about how little we know and how to speak to another. The powerful stories and guidelines in the last steps illustrate how developing knowledge of self and others deepens our capacity to love without conditions which leads to the golden rule "Love Your Enemies" by treating others as you wish to be treated. She says a compassionate life is not a matter of only heart or mind but a commingling of the two.
Armstrong helps us understand the power of compassion by taking us on a journey though the history, literal, moral, allegorical and mystical interpretations of the prominent religions.
She says a person who is impartial, fair, calm, gentle, serene, accepting and openhearted is a refuge. They have gone beyond the limitations and partialities of selfhood. They touch a chord that resonates with our deepest yearnings. People flock to them for they offer a haven of peace in a violent, angry world. Although this is an ideal she says even if we achieve only a fraction of this enlightenment and leave the world marginally better our lives will have been worthwhile.
As the recipient of the 2008 TED Prize (given to people "with ideas worth spreading" and who have made a difference) Armstrong was given a sum of money and granted a wish for a better world. TED helped her create, launch and propagate a Charter for Compassion written by leading thinkers from a variety of major faiths. Her readers are invited to visit her website charterforcompassion as a symbolic act of commitment.