Compassion, for many reasons I suppose, is not as commanding a word as the things it attempts to combat. War. Terror. Fear. Violence. Destruction. Evil. The list of words like these goes on and on. But there is also another list, the countless acts of kindness and goodwill that surround us everyday: people obeying traffic laws, opening doors for strangers, smiling on the street, helping someone anonymously, listening with empathy and giving away time, money and energy in an effort to help others. Those things give me hope amidst news reports dominated by the horrible acts people can commit. Those things, the little things each of us has a chance to do every moment, help me maintain the belief that we can move forward as a human race and evolve from the inside out.
I really enjoyed two TEDTalks recently - one by Chade-Meng Tan (who was one of the first engineers at Google and now heads the company's personal development initiatives) and one by John Hunter who has been teaching children for three decades and playing something with them he calls the World Peace Game. Both men, on a daily basis, are engaged in creating the conditions for world peace through creating the conditions for inner peace and compassion. That, as you might have guessed, strikes a very strong cord with me. It's at the very foundation of what I want to do with Advance Humanity.
"Compassion is not a chore," says Chade-Meng, "Compassion is something that creates happiness. Compassion is fun. And that mind-blowing insight changes the entire game. Because, if compassion was a chore, nobody's going to do it -- except maybe the Dalai Lama or something. But if compassion was fun, everybody's going to do it. Therefore, to create the conditions for global compassion, all we have to do is to reframe compassion as something that is fun."
Like Chade-Meng, my dream is to create the conditions for world peace in my lifetime and to do that by creating the conditions for inner peace and compassion - I want to do that through Advance Humanity. Making it a game, letting it dominate the airwaves and the media channels, and letting it take priority in our minds is key. Did you know that psychologists have studied how many thoughts we think, on average, every day? Usually it's around 60,000 thoughts a day. Get this: 95% of those are the same thoughts from day to day to day. And how many of those do you think are negative thoughts? 85%. 85%!
That sounds like a pretty good place to start to me. Each of us can make a game out of it and try to bring that percentage down, every thought, every moment. You don't have to go on a meditation retreat to do it (although, if you can, it's awesome). Everyday we can choose love over fear, positive over negative, and we can choose to open rather than close. What do you say? Want to start today?
I have included both of these two awesome TEDTalk videos below so you can watch them on the blog if you like, and you can also see them at TED.com. Here is a link to Chade-Meng Tan's talk on Everyday compassion at Google and John Hunter's talk on the World Peace Game. I hope you enjoy them!
To read more about those 60,000 thoughts, check out A Philosopher's Notes
Have you joined our growing community on Facebook?