If you want others to be happy,
practice compassion.  If you want
to be happy, practice compassion.

the Dalai Lama


Compassion for the other comes out of our ability to accept ourselves.  Until we realize both our own weaknesses and our own privileges, we can never tolerate lack of status and depth of weakness in the other.

Joan Chittister
Seeing with Our Souls


Though people may try to stop you from following the correct path they can never divert you from correct behavior.  Just make sure they don't force you to lose compassion toward them.

Marcus Aurelius

The value of compassion cannot be over-emphasized.  Anyone can criticize.  It takes a true believer to be compassionate.  No greater burden can be borne by an individual than to know no one cares or understands.

Arthur H. Stainback

Without an awareness of our feelings we cannot experience compassion.  How can we share the sufferings and the joys of others if we cannot experience our own?

Gary Zukav
When you go out into this world, remember:  compassion, compassion, compassion.

Betty Williams


The truth is, this quality of compassion--and the word means "to suffer with"--has
been transforming the world.  And especially in the last century or two.  It was
the force that abolished slavery and put an end to child labor.  It was the power
that sent Florence Nightingale to Crimea and Albert Schweitzer to Africa.  Mobilized
in the March of Dimes, it helped to conquer polio.  Without it there would be no
Social Security, no Medicare, no ASPCA, no Red Cross.  But the most remarkable
thing about it is what it can do to--and for--the person who feels it deeply.

Arthur Gordon


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One of the ways to learn to "feel with" is to get to know others
beyond a superficial level.  When we experience another's
life the way he or she experiences it, our world expands
and we begin to develop the ability to "feel with."
We develop compassion.

Anne Wilson Schaef
Meditations for Living in Balance


Let your heart feel for the afflictions and distress of everyone,
and let your hand give in proportion to your purse.

George Washington


The essence of love and compassion is understanding, the ability to recognize
the physical, material, and psychological suffering of others, to put ourselves
"inside the skin" of the other.  We "go inside" their body, feelings, and mental
formations, and witness for ourselves their suffering.  Shallow observation
as an outsider is not enough to see their suffering.  We must become one with
the subject of our observation.  When we are in contact with another's suffering,
a feeling of compassion is born in us.  Compassion means, literally, "to suffer with."

Thich Nhat Hanh

To develop true compassion, first we must know that suffering is real, and that sufferings hurt.

Thupten Rinpoche

Compassion is not religious business, it is human business; it is not luxury, it is essential for our own peace and mental stability; it is essential for human survival.

the Dalai Lama

The purpose of the journey is compassion.  When you have come past all the pairs of opposites you have reached compassion.

Joseph Campbell

A human being is a part of the whole that we call the universe, a part limited in
time and space.  We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings, as something
separated from the rest—a kind of optical illusion of our consciousness.  This
illusion is a prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection
for only the few people nearest us.  Our task must be to free ourselves from this
prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living beings
and all of nature.

Albert Einstein

When we finally know we are dying, and all other sentient
beings are dying with us, we start to have a burning,
almost heartbreaking sense of the fragility and preciousness
of each moment and each being, and from this can
grow a deep, clear, limitless compassion for all beings.

Sogyal Rinpoche


If we make our goal to live a life of compassion
and unconditional love, then the world
will indeed become a garden where all
kinds of flowers can bloom and grow.

Elisabeth Kuebler-Ross


We have some inspiring and motivational books that may interest you.  Our main way of supporting this site is through the sale of books, either physical copies or digital copies for your Amazon Kindle (including the online reader).  All of the money that we earn through them comes back to the site in one way or another.  Just click on the picture to the left to visit our page of books, both fiction and non-fiction!


Next time you encounter someone in pain, don't just wince and
pass by with a shrug.  Hurting people need a bit of color to brighten
their dark places, and they need to remember the promise that God
is with them right where they are.  Where rainbows grow,
angels sing and courage becomes contagious.  You can be
a rainbow gardener by opening your heart
even if you're in pain yourself.

Barbara Johnson


When I'm bewildered and overwhelmed, I seek the gentle
guidance of a person I know will respond with compassion.
Life is complicated enough without having to listen to
the caustic remarks of someone's misdirected strength.

Patsy Clairmont


Be understanding and compassionate,
but not responsible for others.

Stephen C. Paul


If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.

the Buddha

True compassion flows fast, as if we were wounded ourselves,
yet without diminishing our strength.

Modern Japanese inspiration




Compassion springs from a mind and heart deeply rooted in
simplicity, integrity, and a profound understanding of the
interconnected nature of all life.  Compassion is a transforming
quality of heart we cultivate, nurture, and refine.  It is rediscovered
through the falling away of the layers of fear, resistance, and anxiety
that have the power to veil the innately compassionate heart.  Our
challenge may not be so much one of becoming more compassionate,
but one of learning to let go of the clouds of confusion that
obscure the powerful compassion within us.

Christina Feldman


I cannot but have reverence for all that is called life.  I cannot avoid
compassion for everything that is called life.  That is the beginning
and foundation of morality.

Albert Schweitzer

Anyone who does not exercise compassion is ignorant of the reality
that everyone needs it at some time in life; or we forget that someone
has blessed us with compassion at a time when we needed it.

Joseph M. Marshall III

Everyone alive has suffered.  It is the wisdom gained from our wounds
and from our own experiences of suffering that makes us able to heal.
Becoming expert has turned out to be less important than remembering and
trusting the wholeness in myself and everyone else.  Expertise cures,
but wounded people can best be healed by other wounded people.
Only other wounded people can understand what is needed,
for the healing of suffering is compassion, not expertise.

Rachel Naomi Remen


It is in identifying yourself with the hopes, dreams, fears, and longings
of others that you may understand them and help them.

Wilferd A. Peterson



Compassion simply stated is leaving other people alone.  You don't lay trips.
You exist as a statement of your own level of evolution.  You are available
to another human being, to provide what they need, to the extent that they
ask.  But you begin to see that it is a fallacy to think
that you can impose a trip on another person.

Ram Dass


Compassion is a far greater and nobler thing than pity.  Pity has its roots in
fear, and a sense of arrogance and condescension, sometimes even a strong
feeling of "I'm glad it's not me." . . . To train in compassion, then, is to know all
beings are the same and suffer in similar ways, to honor all those who suffer,
and to know you are neither separate from nor superior to anyone.

Sogyal Rinpoche


I would like to be known as a person who is concerned about freedom
and equality and justice and prosperity for all people.

Rosa Parks

Have you ever been with a child who feels different or challenged for
one reason or another?  A loving and inspirational word or two can work
wonders with a sensitive child.  A gentle touch, a smile, a compliment,
a warm look that implies, "Hey, you're okay and you're loved" can make
a huge difference.  And it works great with adults, too.
   So how do we learn to be compassionate?  The people who are best
at being compassionate toward others have learned to be compassionate
with themselves, first.  Someone who talks lovingly to himself or herself
excels in speaking loving words to others, and the opposite is true.  If you
verbally beat yourself up as a habit, you will tend to be negative 
toward other people, too.

Lucinda Bassett

The wisdom that comes from having experienced heartbreak cannot
be bequeathed; it can only be gained through experience.  And having
truly felt it, we are far more likely to have compassion for others.  Anything
that takes us close to true compassion takes us closer to what will one day
be an experience of even greater joy.

Marianne Williamson



Compassion is the most precious of all gifts.  In times of sorrow and bewilderment,
it is what restores us and offers refuge.  It is the force of empathy in your own
heart that allows you to reach out and touch the broken heart of another.  It is
rooted in the heartfelt acknowledgement that others, like ourselves, yearn to be
free from suffering and harm, and be safe and happy.  It is compassion that rescues
us from despair and helplessness, that provides a refuge of peace and understanding
inwardly and outwardly.  Compassion does not claim to be a quick-fix for the age-old
causes of suffering, nor is it a magic wand that will sweep away sorrow.  But it is
our commitment to compassion and our willingness to nurture it
in every moment that gives meaning to life.

Christina Feldman


Compassion is both teacher and student.
When we show it, we teach it to others.
When we feel it, we learn how it heals.

Leslie Levine

Compassion is the skillful way to respond to pain and difficulty.
It is what makes it possible to open to what is occurring instead
of shutting it out or walling off against it.

Dawna Markova
I Will Not Die an Unlived Life


Let us not underestimate how hard it is to be compassionate.  Compassion
is hard because it requires the inner disposition to go with others to places
where they are weak, vulnerable, lonely, and broken.  But this is not our
spontaneous response to suffering.  What we desire most is to do away
with suffering by fleeing from it or finding a quick cure for it.

Henri Nouwen

Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s
a relationship between equals.  Only when we know our own darkness well
can we be present with the darkness of others.  Compassion becomes
real when we recognize our shared humanity.

Pema Chödrön

God calls all of you to take the path of the inner truth--and that
means taking responsibility for everything that's in you:  for what
pleases you and for what you're ashamed of, for the rich person
inside you and for the poor one.  Francis of Assisi called this,
"loving the leper within us."  If you learn to love the poor one within
you, you'll discover that you have room to have compassion "outside"
too, that there's room in you for others, for those who are different
from you, for the least among your brothers and sisters.

Richard Rohr


When someone accepts your help, that person is giving you a wonderful
opportunity.  You're not only helping that person but you also have the
opportunity to grow in compassion.  On seeing the suffering of another,
you have the opportunity to feel in your heart the suffering of that person.
When your heart softens and you feel compassion for that person, you
become more selfless and rise closer to God, your Higher Power,
which is complete compassion.

Michael Goddart



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(Found online images come from a variety of unattributed
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Yes, life can be mysterious and confusing--but there's much of life that's actually rather dependable and reliable.  Some principles apply to life in so many different contexts that they can truly be called universal--and learning what they are and how to approach them and use them can teach us some of the most important lessons that we've ever learned.
My doctorate is in Teaching and Learning.  I use it a lot when I teach at school, but I also do my best to apply what I've learned to the life I'm living, and to observe how others live their lives.  What makes them happy or unhappy, stressed or peaceful, selfish or generous, compassionate or arrogant?  In this book, I've done my best to pass on to you what I've learned from people in my life, writers whose works I've read, and stories that I've heard.  Perhaps these principles can be a positive part of your life, too!
Universal Principles of Living Life Fully.  Awareness of these principles can explain a lot and take much of the frustration out of the lives we lead.



Explore all of our quotations pages--these links will take you to the first page of each topic, and those pages will contain links to any additional pages on the same topic.

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