IMAGINE Magazine-Spring2016 - Page 34

PEACE SIGNS movement of COMPASSION IT at www.compassionit. com/programs Empathy Rising! by Dawn Shattuck A s one year ends and another begins we naturally tend to reflect on where we have been. We continue forward with the daily mind-numbing reports of terrorism, abuse, homelessness, natural disasters, and other assorted atrocities that challenge the moral fiber of any conscious person. Add on top of this “stew” the incessant and toxic political banter of a presidential election year and we have a perfect storm for chronic pessimism. Even a hopeful optimist like myself has days wondering if humanity has completely lost its way. We have to work hard every day to remain positive in this caustic world. Still I believe we can right the ship and overcome this tragic human mess with love, compassion, empathy and persistence. If we give up…who will be left standing? Whenever I become overwhelmed with the daily deluge, I make myself take time to search for the good works that people are doing. There really are an incredible number of people and organizations globally pushing for a better world. Unfortunately, we just don’t hear about much about their efforts via our traditional news media. The following are some of my latest finds that shine a light on beautiful examples empathy and compassion in action across the globe. I hope that these clippings give you hope, open your heart, inspire you to look further, and motivate you to get involved! l COMPASSION IT. Stanford University has launched a new social movement called COMPASSION IT, training team members to lead compassion, self-compassion and mindfulness workshops all over the world. They are also working with trained educators to inspire students of all ages through 34 IMAGINE l SPRING 2016 If we are to teach real peace in the world, we shall have to begin with the children. - Mahatma Gandhi their Elementary/Middle School Compassion Education workshops. Students are invited to join the social l An Israeli cafe gives Jewish-Arab customer tables half off.  A hummus cafe in Israel posted an offer on Facebook giving a 50 percent discount to tables mixing Jewish and Arab diners. Kobi Tzafrir, owner of Humus Bar in Kfar Vitkin, hopes his campaign will bring people together. “With us we don’t have Arabs! We also don’t have Jews. With us, we’ve got human beings!” Tzafrir wishes to demonstrate that there are a lot of Arabs and Jews who are not taking part in the violent events reported in the media. l Building the empathy superhighway. Carla Goldstein, an Omega faculty member who teaches about “spiritual activism,” claims that by creating a global network of people capable of feeling the reality of others, we can discover creative ways to reconcile our differences, heal past traumas, and build a new way of being together. We can deepen our understanding of what it means to be both unique individual beings and parts of a unified organism. Worth the read: l One Light Global, a new bright star provides assistance to refugees. One Light Global is a nonprofit humanitarian organization bringing direct aid to war refugees, creating platforms for healing and successful new lives, and creating peace and understanding between groups in conflict. Its founders believe that, individually, we may not know what we can do to have a big impact in the world, but in any moment each of us can choose to be a single light—a light of compassion, kindness, courage, generosity—of love to whomever is around. l Even rats have empathy! Researchers found that if a rat is in distress in water, another will save it. For the experiment, a rat was placed in a small pool of water—rats are not fond of water—while another sat in a dry area, the two separated by a door. The dry rat soon learned that it could rescue and free the wet rat through the door. Rats hurried to open the door only if the other animal seemed to be in real