Search Results for 'Karen Armstrong'

Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life

“Karen Armstrong's 12-step guide to becoming a better human being is a profound and lucid mixture of philosophy, theology and self-help. It's a perfect detox for the soul...as a write, she has many strengths: she is spry, eloquent, pacy. Unlike so many proselytisers, she manages to assert her ideas without being pompous or self-important...Crucially, Armstrong has a knack for grappling with complex ideas in the lightest of ways...She also displays an impressive degree of emotional intelligence...She uses her scholarly knowledge not as a blunt instrument with which to embarrass and humiliate the befuddled reader, but as a generous frame on which to lay many soft, welcoming cushions of learning” — The Times, 7 January, 2011

by Karen Armstrong

Link: Amazon

Category: Recommended books

Tradition: Multiple traditions

· Karen Armstrong · philosophy · religion · compassion · life

Twelve Concrete Ways To Live A 'Compassionate Life'

Putting the 12 steps to a compassionate life into practice.

Armstrong admits compassion isn't a very popular virtue. "People often prefer to be right," she says. And though she offers these 12 steps, it's not a get-compassionate-quick scheme. "This is a struggle for a lifetime, because there are aspects in it that militate against compassion."

Armstrong says she struggles with compassion, "all the time, every day." She admits to a sharp tongue, and "like everybody, I feel I've suffered, I feel I've been damaged, I meditate unpleasantly on my enemies and feel this corrosive sense of anger."

But her religious studies kept guiding her back to the theme of compassion. In histories of Jerusalem, God, even fundamentalism, compassion popped up again and again. And that's what frustrates her.

"The religions," she says, "which should be making a major contribution to one of the chief tasks of our generation — which is to build a global community, where people of all opinions and all ethnicities can live together in harmony — are seen as part of the problem, not as part of the solution."

The golden rule, a commonality throughout religion and guiding force for compassion, "asks you to look into your own heart, discover what gives you pain, and then refuse under any circumstance whatsoever to inflict that pain on anyone else." It's tricky, because each situation and individual must be evaluated differently.

But making space for the other "in our minds and our hearts and our policies" is essential to Armstrong. "We are always talking about the importance of democracy. But I think in our perilously divided world, we need global democracy, where all people's voices are heard, not just those of the rich and the powerful."

For example, it's hard to love your enemies. We are driven by our legacy from our reptilian ancestors, Armstrong says. It "makes us put ourselves first, become angry, [and] when we feel threatened in any way, we lash out violently."

Link: NPR books

Category: Spiritual practices

Tradition: Multiple traditions

· Karen Armstrong · philosophy · religion · compassion · spiritual practices

Interview with Karen Armstrong

by Al Jazeera

Link: YouTube

Category: Videos

Tradition: Multiple traditions

· Karen Armstrong · philosophy · religion

Suffering and the Power of Compassion

by Karen Armstrong

Link: YouTube

Category: Videos

Tradition: Multiple traditions

· Karen Armstrong · philosophy · religion · suffering · compassion

Bringing the Wisdom of Socrates to Modern Dialogue - Karen Armstrong

by Karen Armstrong

Link: YouTube

Category: Videos

Tradition: Multiple traditions

· Karen Armstrong · Socrates · philosophy · religion