Taking as her starting point the teachings of the great world religions, Karen Armstrong demonstrates in twelve practical steps how we can bring compassion to the forefront of our lives. Armstrong argues that compassion is inseparable from humanity, and by transcending the limitations of selfishness on a daily basis we will not only make a difference in the world but also lead happier, more fulfilled, lives.
Worth the time to read, time to think and time to put into action.
Containing what seems like common sense to people who have already struggled with the concept of forgiveness and compassion this book will be a good place to start if one is just beginning the journey of enlightened (or compassionate) living.
Although she touches briefly on the need to apply the Golden Rule (to love our neighbour as we love ourselves) in families and neighbourhoods, the focus was more on the universal than the personal. Given Armstrong’s background as a strong advocate of interfaith dialogue, this is understandable, but I would have gained more if there’d been deeper discussion on the challenges of living a compassionate life in my ordinary day-to-day existence before I start worrying about healing breaches with people across the oceans. Yes, we live in a global village, but as Armstrong herself points out, compassion has to start at the very centre of our personal lives before it can spread to the outer reaches of the larger world we live in.
Still, any book that emphasises the need for love and compassion in our current world is a worthwhile read. I turned the last page feeling more hopeful for the souls of the human race than I have in a long time.