Compassionate Integrity Training Final CIT training manual 11-30 - Page 85

Compa ssionate Integrit y Tr a ining A S e cu l a r Ethic s Appr oa c h to C ulti vat ing Pe rs on al, S o ci al and E n vir on me n tal F lo u r i shing relationships and our society. If these qualities were to increase among family members, would the family be happier? If they were to increase in our society, in our work places, or in our justice system, what would happen? Moreover, we can look at places in the world where bias and prejudice is especially strong between different groups. In such places, as an outsider, we can clearly see that such views lead to protracted conflict, often violent conflict, that only harms the entire community and people on both sides in the long run. Common Humanity I n thinking about how we want to relate to others, Fortunately, it is not hard to use common sense, common we can consider how we’d like them to relate to us: experience and science to arrive at our common humanity. with kindness, understanding, empathy, forgiveness, The principle of “common humanity” is based on what generosity and compassion. If we want these things for all human beings have in common. For example, we all ourselves, integrity and consistency demand that we seek happiness and wish to avoid suffering. Even when should extend them to others also – otherwise we would we engage in actions that appear to lead to pain or suf- have a double standard for ourselves and others. fering, the motivation underlying them always seems to Unfortunately when it comes to relationships between be seeking a greater well-being. 54 This isn’t just something individuals and groups, we find that there often is a we share on a mental or emotional level; it is even double standard. We have a common tendency to privilege embodied in our nervous system. As seen in the skill our own well-being and the well-being of those of our on Calming the Body and Mind, we all have a central “in-group” (our family, our friends, our religion, our racial nervous system that reacts to perceived danger and or ethnic group, our nation) over others who we consider safety in order to keep us safe and alive. In fact, we strangers or enemies. While this is so common that it may even have this in common with non-human animals. be hard to even question the correctness of such a view, we can see that it is a problem if we step outside our own situation and think more broadly. Between any two individuals or human groups, can we say which one deserves happiness more than the other? Even if we were to think we could determine this, would both sides agree with our conclusion? Once we recognize aspects of our common humanity, we begin to see other people more and more as equal to and the same as ourselves in a fundamental way, despite our various differences. Gradually, we can even see that others’ lives are as important as our own. We begin to see that the categories we create to differentiate groups are superficial and changeable when compared to our Furthermore, we can see how bias, prejudice and unfair common humanity. While these categories can be useful preferential treatment cause a number of ills in our and must be acknowledged, when we lose sight of our Ce n t e r for Compa s sion, I n teg r i t y a nd S e cu l ar E t hics | L ife Uni ve rsi t y | M ar ie t ta, G e or g i a - 79 -