Like a caring mother
holding and guarding the life
of her only child,
so with a boundless heart
hold yourself and all beings
as your beloved children.
~ Gautama Buddha
It is only through letting our heart break that we discover something unexpected: the heart cannot actually break–it can only break open. To live with an open heart is to experience life full-strength.
Mind is very cunning; it is never simple. The heart is never cunning; it is always simple. To be simple means shifting from the head to the heart.
We live through the head. That’s why our life becomes more and more complicated, more and more like a jigsaw puzzle. Nothing seems to fit. And the more we try to be clever, the more in a mess we are. That has been our history: We have gone more and more insane. Now the whole earth is almost like a madhouse. The time has come, if humanity is to survive at all, for a great shift to happen: We have to move from the head to the heart. Otherwise, the head is ready to commit suicide. It has created so much misery and so much boredom and so many problems that suicide seems the only way out. The whole earth is preparing for suicide. It is going to be a global suicide, unless a miracle happens.
And this is going to be the miracle — if it happens, this is the miracle — there will be a great shift, a radical change, in our very outlook: We will start living from the heart. We will drop the whole universe of the mind, and we will start afresh like small children.
Live from the heart. Feel more, think less, be more sensitive and less logical. Be more and more heartful, and your life will become sheer joy.
~ Osho, Everyday Osho, Day 92
The typical, well-meaning liberal approach to solving social tensions is to treat every value as equal, and then try to force a leveling or redistribution of resources (money, rights, goods, land) while leaving the values untouched. The typical conservative approach is take its particular values and try to foist them on everybody else. The developmental approach is to realize that there are many different values and worldviews; that some are more complex than others; that many of the problems at one stage of development can only be defused by evolving to a higher level; and that only by recognizing and facilitating this evolution can social justice be finally served.
~ Ken Wilber, Integral Psychology: Consciusness, Spirit, Psychology, Therapy
For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.
Relaxation means releasing all concern and tension and letting the natural order of life flow through one’s being.
One compassionate achiever is all it takes to start spreading the ripples of success through a community. It begins with you and how you interact with people on a daily basis. All of your personal interactions are like small stones of compassion dropped into a pond, creating ripples that reach far beyond you.
Approach each day with a compassionate mindset and take actions to reinforce your commitment…
~ Christopher L. Kukk, Ph.D., excerpted from “The Compassionate Achiever: How Helping Others Fuels Success”
As regular visitors to my blog know, I occasionally do book reviews for TLC Book Tours. The publisher sends me a free copy and in exchange, I read and review of the book. When I was asked to review The Compassionate Achiever: How Helping Others Fuels Success, I jumped at the chance. My theme or word for this year is Lovingkindness, and compassion (of course!) fits right in with that theme.
In The Compassionate Achiever, Dr. Kukk posits that it is through compassion that success is most likely to be achieved, and he writes that compassion can be taught. He lays out a four-step program for cultivating compassion: Listening, Understanding, Connecting, and Acting (or LUCA). He teaches several listening skills that include reviewing what was said by questioning, and how to ask the right questions to help you better understand the other person’s point of view. In the section on understanding, Kukk defines emotions and feelings, and writes about the gap between the emotions (the physical reaction) and feelings (the mental reaction) where you can take the time to stop and think:
By taking a moment to simply think about what you’re feeling, your behavior becomes an act of reflection, not of instinct. During that moment of silence you are filling the gap with reflection and self-awareness.
As a nature lover and tree-hugger, one of my favorite pieces of advice from the book is what to do to help yourself when you’ve been practicing/experiencing empathy (taking on the feelings of others, which can be tiring and stressful and lead to burn-out) rather than compassion (feeling kindness toward others, which can lead to happiness and optimism). Dr. Kukk suggests you “try taking a WIRL (walk, imagine, read, and listen).” He even has a trail on his property called “the Pondering Path” which he walks. I may borrow that idea when it comes to naming our trails here at the Wabi-Sabi Ranch.
I like the premise of this book and think that it would be a fantastic book for everyone to read, especially given the current state of political affairs in the United States where those at the top appear to be rattling their sabers, practicing little or no compassion towards anyone other than themselves. I would highly recommend this book for those in schools, businesses, the government, and in what is referred to as “the resistance.” We could use a lot more compassion towards each other in this world.
The publisher accidentally mailed two copies of the book to me which means… A GIVEAWAY!! Yay! I’m so happy to be able to pass on this book to others. I am going to donate the copy I read to the local library in hopes that some of our local organizations will find it and use it. (It is for that reason I refrained from my usual practice of margin notes and highlighting.) If you are interested in a copy of this book, let me know in the comments. I’ll have a drawing for the book on or about May 9. It will be a low-tech drawing of putting names in a hat and letting M blindly pick one.
I will leave you with one more quote followed by the publisher’s release with more information about the book and the author. Thank you for stopping by. I hope to be back again this weekend for a coffee chat. In the meantime… Be good, be kind, be loving. Just Be. 🙂
A country led by compassionate achievers would collaborate, coordinate, and cooperate its way to political, economic, and civic success. Every country, just like every person and organization, has its weaknesses and strengths, but by walking with compassion, a country can avoid repeating historic mistakes while simultaneously strengthening its current society.
… From the human right to clean water to the rights of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community, legal policies are still perpetuating injustice. Compassionate achievers are the people striving to make clean water a basic human right (even though people die in seven days without water, it is not considered a human right in most developed countries, including the United States), and they are the citizens and organizations standing up to governments that have legalized LGBT discrimination. Compassionate achievers eternally embrace justice even when the law deserts or forsakes it.
~ Christopher L. Kukk, Ph.D., excerpted from “The Compassionate Achiever: How Helping Others Fuels Success
About The Compassionate Achiever
• Hardcover: 256 pages
• Publisher: HarperOne (March 7, 2017)
A powerful, practical guide for cultivating compassion—the scientifically proven foundation for personal achievement and success at work, at home, and in the community.
For decades, we’ve been told the key to prosperity is to look out for number one. But recent science shows that to achieve durable success, we need to be more than just achievers; we need to be compassionate achievers.
New research in biology, neuroscience, and economics have found that compassion—recognizing a problem or caring about another’s pain and making a commitment to help—not only improves others’ lives; it can transform our own. Based on the most recent studies from a wide range of fields, The Compassionate Achiever reveals the profound benefits of practicing compassion including more constructive relationships, improved intelligence, and increased resiliency. To help us achieve these benefits, Christopher L. Kukk, the founding Director of the Center for Compassion, Creativity and Innovation, shares his unique 4-step program for cultivating compassion.
Kukk makes clear that practicing compassion isn’t about being a martyr or a paragon of virtue; it’s about rejecting rage and indifference and choosing instead to be a thoughtful, caring problem-solver. He identifies the skills every compassionate achiever should master—listening, understanding, connecting, and acting—and outlines how to develop each, with clear explanations, easy-to-implement strategies, actionable exercises, and real-world examples.
With the The Compassionate Achiever everyone wins—we can each achieve success in our own lives and create more productive workplaces, and healthier, less violent communities.
About Christopher L. Kukk
Christopher L. Kukk, Ph.D., is a professor of political science and social science at Western Connecticut State University; founding director of the Center for Compassion, Creativity and Innovation; and faculty advisor for the University and City of Compassion initiatives. He is also cofounder and CEO of InnovOwl LLC, a research and consulting start-up for solving micro and macro problems through innovative education. He was an international security fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, a counterintelligence agent for the United States Army, and a research associate for Cambridge Energy Research Associates. He lives in Brookfield, Connecticut.
The trees ahead and the bushes beside you Are not lost.
Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you,
If you leave it you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still.
The forest knows Where you are.
You must let it find you.
~ David Whyte, The Heart Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America