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.

Reaching Out for Compassion

At a weekend workshop I led, one of the participants, Marian, shared her story about the shame and guilt that had tortured her.

The Gentle Gift of Mercy

When we manage a flash of mercy for someone we don’t like—including ourselves—we experience a great spiritual moment.

I Never Got Over the Trauma of My Mother's Abadonment

I worked with a therapist to cope with this estrangement for 10 years, but it wasn't until I had my daughter that I was truly inspired to put in the work to become a better person and the mom I never had.

The Power of Forgiveness

Noah Levine on what forgiveness has meant in his own life.

12 Inspiring Life Lessons From Maya Angelou

Here are twelve of Maya Angelou’s most famous quotations and the inspirational life lessons that come from them.

How to Go Through Life with Love in Your Heart

A Q&A with Tara Brach about offering radical compassion to yourself and others.

15 Traits That Kind People Exhibit Without Realizing It

There are certain traits that kind people have, and they may not even realize it. Since they are naturally kind-hearted, behaving in the way that they do comes easily to them.

Awaken Interviews Stephen Mitchell Part 1 — Joseph and the Way of Forgiveness

Stephen Mitchell’s gift is to breathe new life into ancient classics. In Joseph and the Way of Forgiveness, he offers us his riveting novelistic version of the biblical tale in which Jacob’s favorite son is sold into slavery and eventually becomes viceroy of Egypt.


The information offered here is not a substitute for professional advice. Please proceed with care and caution.