Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Matthew 7:15-16 The suffering in some people is so denied and undignified that they borrow the suffering of an entire group and use it as a cover. In the 1960s, my mother was involved in the civil rights movement – as much as a woman with four children under six could be. She would march and vote on the side of social justice and she bel
Check this out... Only one third of abused children go on to become abusers. Revealingly, the majority of that group deny they had been abused when they were kids. In one study, 75% of adult male abusers described events like being beaten black and blue and thrown into a basement and then said the punishment was deserved because they had been such a bad kid. To understand their denial, consider the dilemma of a small child confronted by an out-of-control adult. The child i
In this world, worthy things don't come easy. Candy is sweeter than carrots and selfishness seems like a more direct path to happiness than service. Without instruction and encouragement it can take lifetimes to learn how empty candy and selfishness can be. So the first way that education can help produce compassionate people is to get them thinking about the distinction between pleasure and satisfaction. It's a kind of tuning - toward accomplishment and away from procrastina
Question: Some think one should suffer to develop compassion for others, but isn't it better to learn to avoid pain through wisdom and foresight? Answer: Oh absolutely! There's plenty of suffering to go around - no need to artificially manufacture any. But suffering can not be avoided in the long run. The practice of compassion does not end suffering, it transforms the way we relate to suffering and the power that we give it. Every instance of the word should could be ha
When I still called him “my rat-bastard-cheating-whore-ex” I wrote the following words on a post it and stuck it on my chest over my heart. It was like a nicotine patch for quitting hate. ‘May you be peaceful, may you be happy, may you be safe, may you awaken to the light of your true nature, may you be free.’ This is what I repeated silently as I thought of him. I did this wondering if ‘you’ meant him or me. I eventually realized that the answer to that question was ‘yes.’ I
There are two spiritual games I play, rackets as Alan Watts might say, as meaningless and diverting as solitaire on my phone. One is spiritual bypass, and the other is spiritual materialism. They are related.
Spiritual bypass is the hope that I can transcend the painful grit of my life by rising above it spiritually. Maybe I won't have to feel my chest and groin torn apart when my lover betrays me, maybe I can just forgive everyone involved - as a saint might do. As it
There are two ways to respond to suffering - one is to focus on the event, the other is to focus on the present-moment distress. Pity is part of cluster of event-focused responses, while compassion becomes possible when we resonate with the level of distress. Event-Focused Sympathy (Contempt-Empathy-Pity) People who are unskillful with suffering tend to focus on the events that caused it. They unconsciously assign a value to what happened. For example, they might classify a
First, I'm so sorry about the loss of your dog. As you go through this, there are probably some good opportunities to parent. Three rules of thumb:
1) Emotional training is as important as cognitive training. The loss of a loved one is an opportunity to discuss and validate emotions with your son. In order to become competent with our emotional selves it helps to have vocabulary and to tie that vocabulary to embodied feelings. There are many words for types of sad: disap
I hope my legacy will be ripples.
I hope the people I've taught to use "hurt" instead of "broken" hold that small aperture open for someone else. I hope that people who have watched me notice what they got right instead of what they got wrong do similar things for their fellow humans from time to time. I hope the forgiveness I have given and pain I have transmuted will mean a bit less suffering in the world.
When I haven't been a good example, I hope my work as a terr
Quora: What are some tips for dealing with someone who is angry and/or confrontational? Put on your asbestos bodysuit and make absolutely sure they know you are hearing what they say. Repeat their main points back to them, for example. "Let me make sure I understand. Whatever language they used to describe their upset? And you're whatever emotion word they used about this."
Keep your attitude neutral, you are only clarifying. You are making sure you understand. It's im