The Compassion Project
Compassion is recognizing someone's suffering and doing something to relieve it.
Compassion and our common humanity
One of the pathways to well-being is to appreciate our interconnectedness by extending loving kindness to others. Understanding the suffering of others relieves our own suffering by shifting negative thoughts (mind) into positive emotions (heart). This is the path to the heart of compassion.
Creating a daily practice to cultivate compassion will help situations with loved ones, family members, and difficult people, while also alleviating self-criticism and quieting the inner critic. Compassion cultivation training enhances emotional intelligence, quiets negative self-talk and opens the door to genuine altruism. Like a meditation practice, you can make compassion a routine in your everyday life.
Develop compassion by using this exercise as a compassion practice for everyday life.
The Compassion Exercise
Honesty with yourself leads to compassion for others.
Objective: To increase the amount of compassion in the world.
Expected Result: A personal sense of peace
Instructions: This exercise can be done anywhere that people congregate (airports, malls, parks, beaches, etc.) It should be done on strangers, unobtrusively, from some distance. Try to do all five steps on the same person.
Step 1: With attention on the person, repeat to yourself: "Just like me, this person is seeking some happiness for his/her life."
Step 2: With attention on the person, repeat to yourself: "Just like me, this person is trying to avoid suffering in his/her life."
Step 3: With attention on the person, repeat to yourself: "Just like me, this person has known sadness, loneliness, and despair."
Step 4: With attention on the person, repeat to yourself: "Just like me, this person is seeking to fulfill his/her needs."
Step 5: With attention on the person, repeat to yourself: "Just like me, this person is learning about life."
Compassion Exercise Variations
1. To be done by couples and family members to increase understanding of each other.
2. To be done on old enemies and antagonists still present in your memories.
3. To be done on other life forms.
Love is an expression of the willingness to create space in which something is allowed to change.
Share the Compassion Exercise
Packs of 50 large cards are $5.00 USD. Available in 36 languages. Store
Large cards are 4.25in x 6in (10.8cm x 15.25cm), with a fold in the middle.
Packs of 50 small cards are $9.95 USD. Available in 27 languages. Store
"After the first day of the course we started to do the Compassion Exercise together, and we verbalized our appreciation for each other. We did this every day. Within just a few days there were visible signs of love, caring, understanding, and there was a lot of hugging. It just turned our lives completely around." — L. X., Dubai
"How much different my everyday life will be with the awareness that I can easily create positive emotions and connection with people." — John, Australia
If you are interested in joining us in a monthly compassion meditation, register here.
The Compassion Project
The intention of the Compassion Project is to increase the well being and sense of interconnectedness of humanity by distributing the Compassion Exercise, person to person, around the world. Providing practical compassionate action anyone can use in everyday life for the greater good of all human beings. The project began with Avatar students and Avatar Masters sharing Compassion Cards with people they encounter through their own life experiences and evolved into larger-scale action to support compassionate leadership throughout the world.
- Within a year, 2 million Compassion Cards were distributed in 72 countries.
- Currently almost 5 million Compassion Cards have been distributed in 36 languages around the world.
- 267,000 Compassion Cards have been delivered to political leaders around the world.
Cards are available in 36 languages: Albanian, Arabic, Catalan, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Dutch, English, Farsi, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Macedonian, Maori, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese (Portugal), Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Urdu and Vietnamese.
Another way to share compassion
Packs of 5 posters are $9.95 USD. Available in English only. Store
Here are just a few of the compassion projects that have been completed
- More than 31,000 Compassion Cards delivered to the Parliament and Representatives in Germany.
- Over 27,000 Compassion Cards were delivered to every Senator and Congressman in the USA .
- Over 20,000 Compassion Cards delivered to Parliament and Senators in Canada
- Over 64,000 Compassion Cards delivered to the Parliament of Great Britain, Wales and Northern Ireland
- Almost 12,000 Compassion Cards delivered to Parliament and the Governor-General in Australia.
- Almost 13,000 Compassion Cards delivered to Parliament and the Federal Council of Switzerland.
- Almost 12,300 Compassion Cards delivered to the Queen and Parliament of the Netherlands
- More than 6,000 Compassion Cards delivered to Parliament and the Governor-General in New Zealand.
- More than 6,000 Compassion Cards delivered to Parliament in Scotland
- Over 6,000 Compassion Cards delivered to the Prime Minister and Parliament of Israel
- 3000 Compassion Cards were delivered to the Governor, Legislative Council and District Councilors of Hong Kong.
- 2250 Compassion Cards were delivered in France to all Presidential election candidates and their teams.
- 1500 Compassion Cards were delivered in Christchurch, New Zealand to the Mayor, the Red Cross and the CEO of the Christchurch Earthquake Recovery Team.
The Power of Compassion
"Compassion is so powerful that it is considered by all major religions as among the greatest virtues that you can practice. The Dalai Lama has said, 'If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.' It starts with a feeling of friendliness toward yourself (self-acceptance) and then it grows into a feeling of friendliness toward others. You don’t have to find someone who is suffering to be compassionate. It just begins as an openness, a giving, a non-judging, a no demand, trusting, offer of friendship. Compassion sleeps in everyone’s heart, and sometimes you have to do something to awaken it."
— Harry Palmer from the talk “Path to Compassion” also featured in The Avatar Legacy book.
The benefits of compassion are well known in Buddhist philosophy, psychotherapy and more recently, neuroscience. The Avatar Course is a step by step training program to cultivate compassion. If you'd like to connect with an Avatar Master to learn more about the course, contact us.