One of the most original thinkers on the role of religion in the modern world—author of such acclaimed books as A History of God, Islam, and Buddha—now gives us an impassioned and practical book that can help us make the world a more compassionate place.
Karen Armstrong believes that while compassion is intrinsic in all human beings, each of us needs to work diligently to cultivate and expand our capacity for compassion. Here, in this straightforward, thoughtful, and thought-provoking book, she sets out a program that can lead us toward a more compassionate life.
The 12 steps Armstrong suggests begin with “Learn about Compassion” and close with “Love Your Enemies.” In between, she takes up “compassion for yourself”, mindfulness, suffering, sympathetic joy, the limits of our knowledge of others, and “concern for everybody”. She suggests concrete ways of enhancing our compassion and putting it into action in our everyday lives and provides, as well, a reading list to encourage us to “hear one another’s narratives”. Throughout, Armstrong makes clear that a compassionate life is not a matter of only heart or mind but a deliberate and often life-altering commingling of the two.
©2010 Karen Armstrong (P)2010 Random House
Scientifically minded and imaginative middle aged white woman. I enjoy a great story with well-rounded, believable characters. Picky and finicky about my books. Hate pablum.
read again and again
The story of the Head Nun who showed Karen compassion--What one small thing can do to bolster up another person.
This is a very well-written book. I am reading it as part of a book club over the duration of a year. I have the print and the audible--Having the author read the text makes it really come alive in a way that the print does not.
This is a very excellent book--it is not for the casual reader. If you follow the instructions of the book, you will have your work cut out for you for a long time. I loved the way each step builds upon the next in a the way traditional 12-step programs do. Don't be turned off by the 12-step approach, as my husband was. Give yourself time to work through the steps--invite a friend or several to work through the book with you.
Chicago transplant to Texas (still coping). Reading about politics, business, and religion.
I would (and have) confidently recommend this book to friends and colleagues. Far from being "too Eastern" in philosophy or "too Western," far from "too religious" or "too secular," Karen Armstrong really acutely and sensitively touches on the issues of religion, faith, and being a good person — and how the three are not always mutually exclusive, but aren't necessarily natural bedfellows either. I really appreciated her slow narration of the book so I could follow along while working without missing too much on the first run through and it's a digestible length, so you can definitely finish this in a couple of days max. Good luck! Hope you like it as much as I did.
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