Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Compassion and the news

Here's a good reason for keeping up with what's going on. It's from Heal Thy Self: Lessons on Mindfulness in Medicine by Saki Santorelli:
Twenty years ago I met a man from Montana who watched the news on television and read the newspapers because he said that doing so awakened his heart of compassion. Although not particularly interested in the news itself, he found these two forms of media rich sources for cultivating his growing sense of care for and connection to people, animals, landmasses, oceans, forests, and countries all over the planet. He went on to say that he would sit down in his living room, watch or read about some atrocity occurring in some part of the world, and feel his pain, his impulse to turn away, and, in turn, his sense of connection with all of these beings.
Meditation helps us keep our heart open when our impulse is to turn away and tune things out. This is because through the meditative process we learn how to train our minds not to be overwhelmed. And it's the fear of being overwhelmed that causes us to to turn away in the first place.

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