Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life by Karen Armstrong

A process for developing personal compassion to engage in compassionate community for a more compassionate world

Welcome to Compassionate Sunday. We’re working through Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life by Karen Armstrong, one step per month.

If you’d like to share a post about what you learned about compassion (The First Step), what you’re seeing in your world (The Second Step), self-compassion (The Third Step), empathy (The Fourth Step), mindfulness (The Fifth Step), action (The Sixth Step), or how little we know (The Seventh Step) use the link list below. Or join the discussion in the comments or on Facebook.

On the last Sunday of the month, I aim to put into practice what I learned about that month’s step. I’m working on the Seventh Step in August: How Little We Know. As I wrote last week, I’ve been having some trouble focusing on this. But things keep coming up that put this step back in my path.

In the American Citizens Summit, I learned about many efforts in the US that attempt to bring together opposing sides or find other ways that transcend partisanship to propose solutions that can be widely agreed on.

I continue to be haunted by the conversation relayed in this blog post: How to listen when you disagree: a lesson from the Republican National Convention by Benjamin Mathes at Urban Confessional. We don’t know what brought other people to their positions unless we ask.

The best mantra I’ve found for this work is a quote that wasn’t said by Walt Whitman (but is usually attributed to him):

Be Curious Not Judgmental, Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman is usually attributed for this quote, but there’s no record that he said it.

I fail more than I succeed at following the advice to be curious not judgmental. Like most things that are worth doing, it’s worth doing badly because continued practice might help me get better at it.

How do you remind yourself that you don’t know everything and, therefore, need to be open to learning, even from people you don’t believe you agree with?


Not Knowing Practice #CompassionateSunday — 4 Comments

  1. LOVE this, Joy!

    I abhor judgment. But I found myself judging those that judged me, and knew I was such a hypocrite.

    So for the past two years I have focused on releasing judgment and instead practicing the sage advice of Atticus Finch: Put yourself in their shoes for a while …

    I’m not sure it is something I will ever perfect, but at least I am now more aware of my shortcomings.

  2. Our sermon this morning was on humility. I have to continually remind myself of my many failings to keep my spirit humble.

    Judgment is something I struggle with, too. It arises out of that same I-Know-Everything self.

    Yes, we must be compassionate with ourselves, I know, but I also need to keep an humble spirit.

  3. Pingback: Questions about Dialogue #CompassionateSunday – Joy's Book Blog

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