Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life - Karen Armstrong

In my mediocre attempts at self-improvement this year, I have read quite a number of books about veganism and living a compassionate life with respect to animals. Of course, idea of compassion should also be extended to fellow human beings, as well as oneself. So, I thought perhaps this book would give me some goods ways to think about doing that on a more meaningful level. Like any good self-help guide, this book is broken down into twelve steps - some more difficult and time-consuming than others. The author doesn't intend the reader to simply skim through the steps and be done, but rather to take the time to master each step before moving on to the next. The steps include mindfulness, self-love, sympathetic joy, and concern for others. While I didn't always agree with the way that Armstrong suggested going about mastering these steps, or incorporating them into everyday life, I am completely on board with the idea that it's not enough to just want to be a good person, or to try sometimes to be a good person. But, that compassion is a purposeful act, and that it is worth working hard at. Of course, this book is frustrating in that it is a reminder that I have a long way to go to becoming a better person, but I like the idea of it and am trying my best to implement some of the ideas in it daily.

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