Dr James Doty is a man on a mission, or several. He is the founder and Clinical Director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) at Stanford University. He is also a neurosurgeon, entrepreneur, philanthropist and inventor!
My greatest wish is that by each of our actions, we create a “meme” of compassion that permeates our world and by doing so decreases suffering. That instead of reacting to negative behavior by, for example, spending billions on weapons to destroy lives, we are proactive and spend billions to improve lives. – James Doty
This Daily Good article got me thinking about compassion.
How do we care for others? How do we balance care for others with care for self? I believe it starts with caring about others at least as much as I care about self. Then I must be willing and able to help. No point is stressing myself over something that I can’t impact .If however, there is something that I am able and willing to do, then step up and help.
The article talked about the tendency in our culture to get lost in self absorption, materialism and isolation. This has happened to me more than I would like to admit. Third world countries don’t tend to suffer from the psychological challenges that we do. In less developed countries, each individual has value, worth and contribution to the whole. They learn a sense of connectedness that we rarely do, except by transformation and mindfulness.
The key seems to be a balance of care for others and care for self. Many of us want to help others, to relieve suffering and improve lives. It’s important to find what we can reasonably offer, take action and be at peace with the results. Humor and perspective go a long way to keep us rooted and healthy. The Dali Lama is a perfect example of someone who cares deeply, offers compassion, gives service and takes care of himself.
To be effective, I believe compassion needs to be translated into action.
According to Dr. Doty, our brains can grow the compassion centers with practice. Be an evolutionary soul by practicing compassionate living.
For more tips on taking care of self, read this blog on thriving.