Visiting a former concentration camp, hearing a survivor speak about the Nazi genocide, reading a book or seeing a film about the Holocaust, or encountering human rights abuses in our world today often sparks compassion, which can raise the question:
What can I do?
Being kinder to ourselves and others is one answer.
Sociologists, historians, journalists and other experts studied the violent society that existed in Germany during National Socialism (1933-45) and what led to that violence before the Nazis took power. Would history be different if the German and European societies had been more empathetic? If humanity, worldwide, had shown more empathy?
Researchers and mindfulness teachers believe that empathy for ourselves and each other reduces conflicts, problems, aggression and ultimately, violence. Here are some resources:
Roots of Empathy An evidence-based classroom program that has shown significant effect in reducing levels of aggression among school children while raising social/emotional competence and increasing empathy. Mary Gordon is the founder, president and inspiration behind this organization.
Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese Zen Master and international mindfulness teacher, introduces the powerful tools of deep/compassionate listening and loving speech to Oprah Winfrey in this video clip. He believes that happy teachers will change the world.
CCARE: The Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University investigates methods for cultivating compassion and promoting altruism within individuals and society through rigorous research, scientific collaborations, and academic conferences. In addition, CCARE provides a compassion cultivation program and teacher training as well as educational public events and programs. Led by Director and Founder, James R. Doty, MD.
Mindful + Kindness = Kindfulness
Let’s use this space to cultivate and practice kindfulness.
How were you kinder today? Please share.