The heart of compassion centers on the selfless compulsion to alleviate suffering. While compassion is similar to empathy and sympathy in the ability to commiserate and feel another’s emotions, the spirit of compassion moves a person to act in order to reduce pain. Compassion is the central tenet of many belief traditions, most notably Buddhism, and has been rigorously studied in recent decades for its physical and mental health benefits. Learning to be compassionate toward others—and ourselves—is a cornerstone to many aspects of well-being.
Tara Brach is an in-the-trenches teacher whose work counters today's ever-increasing onslaught of news, conflict, demands, and anxieties—stresses that leave us rushing around on auto-pilot and cut off from the presence and creativity that give our lives meaning.