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Watch: Compassion and the true meaning of empathy by Joan Halifax.

In this TED talk Buddhist teacher Joan Halifax speaks on compassion and empathy and how to open to the pain of the world with courage, strength, and wisdom. She works with people at the last stage of life, (in hospice and on death row), and she shares what she’s learned.

“Tending those 31 dying people were young women from villages around Bangalore. I looked into the face of one of these women, and I saw the strength that arises when natural compassion is really present. I know those hands and eyes; they touched me as well. They touched me when I was four and I lost my eyesight and was partially paralyzed. My family brought in a woman whose mother had been a slave to take care of me. That woman did not have sentimental compassion, she had phenomenal strength. And it was her strength that became the kind of mudra and imprimatur that has been a guiding light in my life.”

Read: The Elusive Art of Inner Wholeness and How to Stop Hiding Our Souls

Once more Maria Popova draws together writer’s thoughts – this time on the subject of ‘inner wholeness’.


“Do not despise your inner world,” philosopher Martha Nussbaum admonished in her reflection on what it takes to live a full life. “Real self-esteem is an integration of an inner value with things in the world around you,” Anna Deavere Smith wrote in her spectacular letters of advice to young artists. And yet in a culture where we’re devouring one another’s outward selves with accelerating “aesthetic consumerism” as we scroll through social media feeds, we’re increasingly bedeviled by the rift between private person and public persona, inner world and outward projection. “Wholeness does not mean perfection: it means embracing brokenness as an integral part of life.”

Listen: Breath, You Invisible Poem

BBC Something UnderstoodIn this edition of BBC Radio 4’s Something Understood John McCarthy considers the cultural and metaphorical significance of breathing.
For most of us breathing is so continuous, so easy, that it’s something we take for granted. But without breath nothing is possible. Breath energizes movement and enables bodily activities. It punctuates speech, and is central to singing and the playing of many musical instruments. And in particular situations, giving birth or meditating, it becomes the focus of our attention and is bound by specific techniques.

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