Report from the Charter for Compassion Religion, Spirituality and Interfaith Call April 22, 2014

Report from the Charter for Compassion Religion, Spirituality and Interfaith Call April 22, 2014

Forgive Thy Brother by Scott Erickson

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Lending a Helping Hand 

As was demonstrated in our conversations yesterday so many of you have access to extensive networks of religion/spirituality and interfaith organizations.  Would you consider letting your fellow colleagues and associates know about the Charter for Compassion network?  We can accomplish a great deal more by adding hands, hearts and minds to our end goal of bringing shared dialogue, and compassionate action to our network efforts.  If you were on yesterday's call, and are not a partner, please consider it.  It's easy to register. 

Our next big step is to consider how we might have a world-wide on-line conference with our 200+ cities and 725+ partners.  Finally, learn more about Compassionate Religion, Spirituality and Interfaith Reader. Please share your writings, thoughts and events with us.

The Charter for Compassion International is one of the sponsors of the Tutu Global Forgiveness Challenge.  The intent of the challenge is to help each of us discover how the act of forgiving can bring more love and peace to your life. When enough of us forgive – we can change the world!

Sign up, and starting May 4th you’ll receive a daily inspirational email from the Archbishop and Mpho Tutu, with a link to join their online forgiveness community. Inside, you’ll get:

  • Daily exercises to teach you how to forgive anyone for anything.

  • Extraordinary stories from ordinary people who have been transformed through forgiving or being forgiven.

  • Interviews with the world’s top forgiveness experts, great spiritual leaders, and well-known celebrities, including Alanis Morissette and Arianna Huffington.

  • Community support from people just like you who are trying to live a more forgiving life.

To participate register at:

Charter Staff on the Religion, Spirituality and Interfaith Call

Andrew Himes This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Executive Director)
Ben Roberts This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Technical Assistant/Facilitator)
Marilyn Turkovich This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Program Director)

Presenter: Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The speaker on this call was Reverend Dr. Joan Brown Campbell, who currently serves as chair of the Global Compassion Council. Her leadership in national and international ecumenical and interfaith work has earned her many “firsts” as a devoted activist for peace and social justice as a freedom fighter and in the founding or co-founding of religious coalitions for the environment, health, and peace. Her full bio may be found here:

Dr. Campbell provided a thoughtful and inspiring presentation focused on her hope: that the global compassion movement will unite all people of faith, and that world religious leaders will make compassion a “guiding star” and a force for unity.  She posed a number of questions for the audience regarding what it could mean to commit to compassion, with the Charter as a central document.

Dr. Campbell worked with Karen Armstrong as she penned the Charter with input from people all over the world.  The first group was made up of faith groups and religions. She hopes today we can discuss how a commitment to compassion will help us work together. 

“Compassion,” she said, “enriches our capacity to work together. I really think that the need for compassion is most evident if we are able to understand that we live in a world of tension.” There is a profound sense of discomfort in the heart of people who choose to live compassion. If we can find a way to unite ourselves, we can be the force that faith and religion are meant to be in the world.

“We have made progress,” Dr. Campbell said, “we have joined together to deal with hunger, prejudice, and violence. But what if everyone looked at the world asking the question, “What if children became the focus of all communities of faith—providing food, shelter, and education?” The global compassion movement provides us a way of uniting people of faith, and of ending violence.

Her experience is that divisions in faith groups can keep us from cooperating when there is real power in the coming together of the faithful. The Charter for Compassion has words that ring true to all faiths: Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, Christian, etc. For people of faith or who claim spirituality, “Compassion offers us the way to find the unity that we have difficulty finding. We must never put one religion above another, but to think of all people as equal and united through compassion.”

Questions and Answers

A question and answer session followed Dr. Campbell’s talk.  These are the questions that were addressed by Dr. Campbell with wisdom and inspiration.  The following Q & A’s are paraphrased, but we have tried to capture the spirit of both the questions and the answers.

Q:  Compassion for “the other” is a hard sell in some communities.  How do we get a close-knit community to care about others outside that community?

A:  One idea is to remind people of their personal histories—ask “where was your grandmother born?”  Compassion does begin in community.  One of the best ways to make people aware of others is to meet and listen to people from other places, get to know what it is like to be “from somewhere else.”

Q:  How does Earth Day and the movement to care for the Earth relate to the compassion movement?

A:  “Mother Earth is our placenta.”  The compassion movement must include compassion for the Earth.

Q:  How do we get beyond just knowing about compassion to actually being compassionate?  And is forgiveness necessary for compassion?  Is it inherent in the concept of compassion?

A:  As Karen Armstrong says, “we must dethrone ourselves.”  Being compassionate does require empathy, forgiveness, and caring for others.  People do respond when there is a tragedy (like the recent mudslide)—and at those times we seem to understand that we are part of a larger humanity.  We need to begin by forgiving ourselves for not being as connected as we’d like to be.  We are not always aware of the suffering and the gifts of others—and we need to educate about compassion.  These are the right questions.

Q:  What has been most exciting and most troubling in the work of the compassion movement?

A:  Most exciting—that the Charter has now taken over in towns and villages and cities all over the world—this is something I have always hoped and prayed for!  A difficulty now is that we have not yet been able to gather the resources we need to continue, to provide leadership to make this all happen.

Q:  How do we get people with different views (e.g., the people who are invested in oil and gas) to hear us?

A:  I live with this question all the time . . . Why don’t “they” want to listen?  Becoming compassionate would require a change in thinking, in priorities.  One of our big challenges is how to open the hearts of people, perhaps especially those with great resources.  We can live out the compassionate life and hope that it grows.  I have seen people have a change of heart—my formative years were in the civil rights movement—and a change of heart can happen.  We need to keep being compassionate.  The compassionate cities movement is a hopeful step in this direction.

Q:  Tell us about your experience as a freedom rider in the 60’s.

A:  That experience was life changing for me.  My life is a tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King.  That change was very disruptive to my personal life and to those around me.  It required a change of heart, not just mind.  When we are uncomfortable, we will take on the responsibility—we internalize it and become truly compassionate.

Break Out Groups

The question: What might be the most significant action we could take as people of faith to bring compassion into being?

Sande Hart’s Group

Khenmo Drolma - Vajra Dakini Nunnery in Vermont - Spoke about the importance of having access to resources of compassion training from all religious traditions. We can modernize and contemporize age old teachings to be culturally significant to today’s world, demonstrating how great religious minds come to and teach compassion.

Steve Gold - Author of Yoga and Buddhism - Through meditative and contemplative practices, we can go to a place that transcends religious ideology and dogmatic teachings and find our common ground in our silence. Silence is our “bonding agent” and a safe place to dwell together.

Kat Haber - Vale, CO, LaQuinta, CA, Alaska – nature based, environmentalist, Producer of  TED XHaber and TEDX Youth in Alaska, and Guide for  Foundation for Conscience Evolution, President of the Board for Alaskan Coastal Studies.

Sande Hart - Chair of the North American region of the United Religions Initiative, Founder and President of S.A.R.A.H. (Spiritual And Religious Alliance for Hope, and Head Coach of the Compassion Games International. Feels the Compassion Games offers a great opportunity to provide people of diverse faiths an opportunity to work shoulder to shoulder with one another to find a common understanding of compassion through the personalized experience of service. The Games offer us a new way to look and be together, and find a new understanding of the other.,,,

Jenn A.M. Hooten’s Group

Cavosie mentioned that whenever she was experiencing a difficult or repulsive emotion toward someone else, she tried to look for similarities between her own experience and that of another.  She reminded us that “we are really a mirror to each other” and notes this as one of the ways we build more authentic connections with others.  
Megan DaGata (Houston) reports that there is a lot going on in Houston!  There are currently 14 organizations collaborating to provide housing to veterans and homeless families.  The Compassion City campaign also provides materials inside the house that help to create a home.  In addition, they are creating safe spaces at local high schools where students can have conversation with adults about situations they are facing.  She notes that their leadership is interfaith in distribution, which helps to ensure that they are living their commitments.  

Meenakshi Suri is involved in Sujok healing which aligns
mind, body, life through physical attention to hands and feet.  Her organization provides “healing camps” once a month for anyone seeking assistance. She is also involved in the Gaia Minute and Sync movements.  Her hope is that each person will engage in a daily practice of a higher vibration that is synchronized with the rest of the world.

Jenn A.M. Hooten (Claremont Lincoln University) shared her excitement that Claremont Lincoln University recently joined the Charter community as a Compassionate University.  As a newer graduate school, she shared about how the institution’s interfaith roots naturally led to a cirriculum and organizational structure built on the foundation of compassion.  

Racheal noted that it is good to take joy in baby steps and remove pressure to feel responsible for the larger world.  By being compassionate ourselves, the impact on the world will be the natural result.  

Megan reminded us to keep “living it out every day” and to remove judgment about what people wear, where they go, what they do, etc.  She also mentioned that when we see something that does not align with compassion, we are invited to say something!  By doing this, it shows others what they could, and perhaps should, do.  

Meenakshi suggested that we make time each day to recognize that we are all part of a global family.  She also noted that compassion “isn’t something that we need to bring out, but to be aware of.”  Words aren’t always helpful, so wordlessly and silently connecting with everyone in the world brings peace to self and radiates compassion to the rest of the world.

Jenn mentioned that the place to begin is always with self.  Once a person identifies ways to be compassionate, there will be beauty in each unique expression that emerges from each person.  If each starts with self, good will result.

Barbara Kaufmann’s Group

Rick Rodgers: Has been involved with the Charter before it was started. He was with Karen and Joan at launch. He is a member of Festival Church, Washington D.C., and a manager of the Resource Network- that combines a faith and business standpoint.

His passion is building bridges across big divides and helping the world communicate. As a disabled individual, he would like to improve accessibility for people with disabilities. He wants to build a community of access for justice. Handicapped babies are sometimes killed, and children with disabilities are put in jail. His view is that we need to change and to be inclusive.

Rick cited that a disabled child is among the most vulnerable but that disability also can be a great uniting force. He knows someone who has become a mouth painting artist who does stunning work. He is mindful of the innocence of children and how they should be honored and revered.

Abdul Majaeg: A physician from Gig Harbor, Washington. He joined the call because he is interested in all the issues that have been raised. His parents are Lebanese, and he was born in Brazil. His grandfather was a Muslim religious figure. His family, however, were liberal and did not insist he go to the Mosque. He was also educated by the Christian faith, and lived in an Armenian community that was part of the Jewish faith.

As a physician in Internal Medicine working in a hospital, he is exposed to a great deal of misery. Abdul shared that because of his background, becoming the person he is has been a struggle. Because of the atrocities he witnessed, forgiveness before compassion is a struggle. He feels that “organized religion” should be kept at home. He sees a problem in people who profess a certain faith, yet do not hesitate to commit atrocities, and he has witnessed that personally and does not hesitate to speak of it. Even though it is a difficult reality, he insists it bears discussing. He believes all opinions are valid, and he wishes for dialogue. He thinks people should demonstrate the depths of their faith, particularly with children and the elderly.

All participants agreed that telling stories is the means to connection and community. More stories are needed about communities that have embraced their vulnerable populations and how they have done that. They cite stories as transformationally inspirational. Rick brought up the double amputee on “Dancing with The Stars,” Amy Purdy, and how she inspires others with her courage.

Abdul mentioned a common thread among the elderly—loneliness. He also says the amount of hunger boggles the mind given the wealth and greed in America. We all should learn to pay attention to loneliness of the elderly and hunger of children.

A suggestion was made to perhaps explore the possibility of communities putting these two groups together—having the elderly cook for children facing hunger and involving the disabled in the project. Perhaps this initiative might be piloted in compassionate cities to make strategic connections.

Barbara Kerr’s Group

Marianne Boyle, from Gainesville, FL, is a professional coach;  she helps individuals and organizations find meaning.  She believes that compassion and peace are essential to the human race.  As a coach, she has a focus on the positive, helping people reach their full potential.  

Val Browne (from Charleston, SC) tries to live a life of compassion.  With her late partner, Don Hart, she worked to bring the Charter to their respective faith groups—the Unity Church of Charleston and the Unitarian Church, which have both adopted the Charter.  They have also approached the mayor of Charleston to have the city become a compassionate city.  Within the Unity Church, Val has also worked on a Compassion Council, which has been responsible for a number of compassionate initiatives including a blood drive and an Earth Day celebration.  

Barbara Kerr (from Torrance, CA), formerly an instructor, coach, and consultant, now educates individuals and groups in emotional intelligence, with the idea that the learnable skills of EI are the basis for compassionate action.  

Our conversation touched on a number of questions and issues.  We are all looking for ways to contribute to the movement.  On the positive side, the Compassion Games are a great way to connect people with each other, and the Charter has made many more people aware of the need for compassion. We need resources, and we need to celebrate the positive actions.  The Charter website is one way of connecting and educating people.  Positive action breeds more positive action—so telling our compassion stories can be helpful. There are positive activities taking place everywhere.  In Charleston, for example, there is an interfaith effort with a focus on young people (echoing Dr. Campbell’s idea to focus on children) working with juvenile offenders as well as supporting pre-school education.  Officials need to be “uncomfortable” in order to lead compassionate change.

We also discussed how to bring more faith groups on board to sign the Charter.  Do we approach individual faith-based groups, or do we begin with their national level organizations?  Val shared that in Charleston, the Unity Church adopted the Charter quickly, whereas the Unitarian Church held a year’s focus on the concept of compassion before signing on.  One idea in bringing the Charter to any group is to point out that they are already doing a lot that is compassionate, and that becoming part of the Charter for Compassion allows them to connect to a larger community.  

Another issue that came up was how to address the barriers to advancing our desire for compassion.  We recalled the opening presentation and the question that someone asked about how to get the “gas and oil” folks to listen to the message of compassion.  It was suggested that we need to appeal to people on a more personal level—their concern for families, their own faith principles.  While so many of the world leaders (in business, religion, politics) seem to be men, we felt that women may need to play a larger leadership role, bringing a more collaborative style perhaps, and less violence for resolving conflict.  

A final conversation centered on the idea that we need to share stories.  The Unity Church, for example, includes small articles that provide examples of compassionate acts to help people realize possibilities and think more in that direction.  We talked about the compassion mapping project and the concept of “elevation”—the idea that simply hearing about compassionate acts engenders compassionate feelings and acts in the listener.  Paul Ekman, a prominent psychologist, has spoken about three kinds of empathy—cognitive empathy (simply recognizing someone’s suffering), emotional empathy (actually feeling with the person who is suffering), and compassionate empathy (taking action to relieve the person’s suffering).  Learning of compassionate acts from others who also care (learning from a group of people in Louisville was an example) can be helpful, and we need to find ways to educate more people about these acts.

Ali Perry’s Group

To be inserted soon

Reverend Dr. Peggy Price’s Group
Pattie Williams (Fayetteville, Arkansas) - How can we reach inside each individual's being to find the skills and practices to have compassion for ourselves and other people? It is an inside job. How do we undergird study, skill building and then connect to the fact that we are all human, that we all suffer.
Joan Brown Campbell (Chautauqua, NY) – How do we keep from getting stuck? Often groups join together to talk about compassion, and end up stuck on their own needs rather than reaching out.
George Varghese (Calgary, Alberta) – A member of Indian Orthodox Church, he began seeking out people to connect with and found a Christian discussion group. He joined with other Christians on the Internet, and the group grew to about 12,000 people worldwide. He became a moderator. The group reached the point where they asked: instead of just talking, what can we do to help? They began providing support to students to further their educations. Begin with a platform and provide people opportunities to share.
Peggy Price (Huntington Beach, CA) - We will not get everyone together. Not everyone will resonate with compassionate action. The New Thought movement has a vision of a world that works for everyone. This vision ties into the Charter. Personally the Charter opened up something within that called me to do something about it. I have worked to bring city of Huntington Beach into the Compassionate Cities project. We are doing our first community-wide Day of Compassionate Service this Saturday with 1000 people in the community mobilized.  Vision is the key – a vision calls people together.
Joan: Having a shared vision that others can grasp--it must go beyond ourselves into our country and into the world. The vision drives us beyond ourselves; otherwise compassion would become internal to ourselves. The civil rights movement changed her way of thinking in her life and pushed her off a cliff. It wasn't easy. We must be uncomfortable. Being uncomfortable calls us to action.
Peggy: Compassion is not pity--it is a desire to do something about it.
George: You can't be comfortable. You must be uncomfortable. Indian Orthodox is one of the six Orthodox churches. Their church has charged them to become more compassionate.
Pattie:How do we link our hearts so that each individual can contribute to compassion? How do we reach the tipping point--how do we shift the consciousness? Every drop helps.
George: Appreciated sharing the ideas with each other and the importance of being uncomfortable.
Joan:A large vision is key. We can do small acts within a large vision, but the vision is essential.

Marilyn Turkovich's Group

Amy Spears: is a graduate of Earlham College, holds a degree in peace and global studies, and is interested in the work of the Charter in the area of compassion; newly discovered Christianity. 

When Amy was in college the phrase “think globally, act locally” was often used. The idea of pilgrimage, which has been discussed, is one that can happen in one's own community.  This helps us feel less limited.  We can become models of compassion and influence by participating in a pilgrimage in our own communities and asking others for forgiveness.

Compassion can be difficult--especially forgiving someone who has hurt you. What does it mean to show compassion to the other person? It means you need to find the divinity in that person who has harmed you. When this is done, you can then begin to heal that hurt.  Recognizing the divinity of self is equally important.

Jlll English: From Beads on One String, an organization that deals with unity and has a diverse community who become members through pilgrimage; such as pilgrimages in India.  Jill is now leading projects in US called Heartland projects; two pilgrimages of forgiveness that she is now working on--Civil Rights and Trail of Tears; forgiveness and acknowledging of atrocities; generational grief and trauma; has gone to the people asking for forgiveness of dysfunctional ancestors. 

Jill is currently working on a workshop that will include three people from civil rights, Native American community, and three people from the Beads on One String group.

Talk about compassion: compassion can be quite painful when one feels empathy for the other. " I've also experienced that people are afraid to carry a burden of guilt--this is part of the pilgrimage to learn to release the guilt."  "I heard of a church to church pilgrimage in one's own community--one day pilgrimage--visiting each other’s place of worship."  

Feel inspired and thrilled with the work I'm doing; I'd like to bring up the idea of pilgrimage--it is an action that has brought to the forefront so many kinds of people who really want to do this--seeking forgiveness, compassion, unity.  This is an action that can be done in your own neighborhood.

Peter Johannesen Osisi: lawyer, involved with international and local organizations; currently involved with an ashram that welcomes people from various traditions in a mutually common area on an equal footing.  Multi-ethnic man-family comes from different tribes around the earth.  

Pilgrimage is a good idea--perhaps an inner pilgrimage--being the change we want to see in the universe (Gandhi); acting, being quiet and listening, engaging people where they are. He speaks about changing our curriculum to learn about each other--when doing this it is difficult to treat people without compassion--knowing the history of one another makes us act differently towards one another.  

Compassion ideas and social entrepreneurship--notion that compassion is more than kumbaya--we need to think how compassion is about stopping wars, conflicts, ending hunger, getting people to work.

Lesa Walker's Group

Lesa Walker: Education Program Associate of the Charter for Compassion and a public health physician.  Launching and promoting the Compassion Relays (year-round), which herald the Compassion Games in September.  The Compassion Relays involve everyone (any person, anywhere, anytime) in the daily practice of compassion in three dimensions (caring for others, self, and the Earth).
Teresa Cowan Jones: ordained United Church of Christ minister (Tucson, Arizona). Bringing contemplative practices to public life.  Has started a public local gathering:

Aziz Nathoo: originally from east African, an Indian Muslim.  Lives in Philadelphia.  His wife and he host interfaith couples in early stages of marriage who may not have same degree of acceptance from either or both sides.  Looks at commonalities that are present--usually compassion.  Noise seems to crowd out basic tenets of their faith.  Usually the couples leave with a deeper understanding of what they have in common.  Differences seem to fade away.  Build relationships with other couples.  They have been doing this for twelve or so years.  Many activities started in aftermath of 9/11.   He has found that laughter and comedy are disarming tools.

Teresa Cowan Jones: Re: breakout question:  Teresa might be doing that in Sacred Space, which is a core link for her to increase compassion--a capacity that is built within us.  She wants to cultivate space for people to learn compassion--through spiritual practice and some narrative other than the consumer narrative.  Such a space can help people appreciate and acknowledge the distinctions between faiths, and also give people a compassionate way to become reacquainted with wisdom traditions, which are the heart of love.  An interior transformative process needs to happen internally to prompt action.  She tries to help people develop a spiritual practice, a skill built in them.  Compassion is something that needs to be cultivated over time.  Essentially rooting ourselves in a deeper meta-narrative from wisdom traditions instead of the disruptive consumer narrative and learning a new respect for the other. 

Jeremias La Barbera: Melbourne, Australia- have received emails from the Charter for about two years.  Now happy to be on this call.  Doing master’s in teaching--going through a change.  His area is philosophy, and he will be teaching that together with religious studies.  Would like to bring compassion into the school environment—for those from 13 to 18.

Aziz Nathoo: Re: breakout question: suggestion would be that in any situation, identify the most aggrieved party and hear them out and try to understand their perspective.  That can help bring down barriers--break the trend that leads to violence.  Listening is key.  The one act of listening can be powerful.

Jeremias La Barbera: Re: breakout question: Important simply to be present to the ambiguity/confusion of someone.  Be present in a very simply way--in body, mind, breath, and silence.

Full Group Conversation: Nuggets from the Conversations

There is a compassion in silence; those deliberate, contemplative moments woven into gatherings and circles can deepen the spiritual activity of the structure as people come out of the silence. It can become a “bonding sauce.” A daily wordless prayer can connect us to the compassion that is already in this world.

We start to bring the world and Earth together by starting with ourselves.

It can be a struggle to bring compassion into the world. One antidote is to show how compassion is the fabric of the Universe.

Stories can be problem solvers. Stories create commonalities and bring people together.

Being uncomfortable is important. We must get out of the “comfort zone.” Discomfort can move us, and move us to action.

Visioning a world that works for everyone is important. When we put those who do things together, we can make miracles. We bring love to pain and light to darkness.

Teresa Cowan Jones has developed a way for a common core of people to come together, and to invite people. She may be onto something that creates a structure that is duplicable and sustainable. Cities may be able to adopt this model to cultivate and nurture a capacity for love, being aware of others traditions and religious backgrounds. The idea is to create small groups out of Karen’s book.  She thinks her work may be serendipitous to the conversation today. She is part of Sacred Space Tucson

Resources Identified During Conversations

Bestselling author, political adviser and social and ethical prophet Jeremy Rifkin investigates the evolution of empathy and the profound ways that it has shaped our development and our society. Taken from a lecture given by Jeremy Rifkin as part of the RSA's free public events programme. Watch the full lecture here:

Wombat Wisdom: is a 1- minute treatise one how to become one world

Dangerous Memories

Voices Compassionate Education

In 1991, Dangerous Memories, the book Dangerous Memories was published. Its intent then, as now in its latest revision, was to challenge readers to examine their knowledge and assumptions about the history of a certain time and place; to become critical of their knowledge base and to begin to confront the ways we are all affected and influenced by our understandings.

The book has been updated and includes links to tens of dozens of resources: internet and YouTube videos. The original bibliography is included, but to this listing is a new annotated bibliography for more in depth exploration.

The material presented in these pages is meant to challenge us to understand and appreciate American history from vantage points to which many of us have not been privileged.  Furthermore, it is meant to help us realize how present economic, social and cultural realities of the lives of all Americans, the dominant and disenfranchised, are intimately connected to the events described.

These pages are meant to engage us in serious reflection on and questioning our perspectives, ultimately leading us to a clearer realization of the way we are also actors today in maintaining or altering that history and those realities.  With Tolstoy, we must ask, "What then must we do?"

These pages will undoubtedly raise strong reactions.  A deep level of engagement is required to make this history come alive and be a catalyst for change.  "Dangerous Memories" remain dangerous only if they are not allowed to emerge and be heard.

Memories frame perspectives. These pages are meant to frame new perspectives in places where the old ones have fooled us—and failed us.

Information Sent in From Partners

Submitted by Jill English

The Beads-on-One-String Foundation is a fledgling organization which grew out of the profound experience many people had through pilgrimage, which seeks to acknowledge the One in All.  In a statement to the press in London 1931, using an alphabet board, the silent Indian Master, Meher Baba declared "I intend on bringing together all religions and cults like Beads on One String and revitalize them for individual and collective needs."

In 1952 Meher Baba, not long after beginning a trip across America, had a terrible head on collision in Prague, Oklahoma.  It was recently discovered that his route that started in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina matched the Cherokee Trail of Tears.  His route two weeks later back to Myrtle Beach in an ambulance also matched one of the routes of the Freedom Riders from the Civil Rights Movement.  This was significant to Baba devotees because of his great suffering which symbolized the suffering of both of those cultures on those paths.  The Heartland pilgrimage of forgiveness grew out of this realization.

Global participants in 2012 and 2013 followed these routes, met Cherokee, Freedom Riders and African-Americans along the way, acknowledged the dysfunction of the ancestors who inflicted those terrible atrocities, apologized on behalf of those ancestors for the generational grief and trauma still suffered today by living cultural descendants, and offered a prayer of repentance among others. This was so deeply received that another project has grown into the planning of a greater gathering in 2015 which will also include an invitation to beloved others from the diverse religions.

In June of this year 3 Cherokee, 2 Freedom Riders and a member of the Civil Rights Movement, 3 Beads plus the Board Chair, and a 14 yr old girl (who attended the Sept. 2013 Heartland pilgrimage) will meet for four days to begin to design and plan the gathering in 2015.  Because pilgrims have proved so significant as vessels for a spiritual delivery mechanism in the area of compassion and forgiveness to significant sites of trauma, we will also include a mini-pilgrimage to set the tone of our workshop which is still in its own planning stage.

submitted by Teresa Cowan Jones

Sacred Space is a new weekly gathering in Tucson for live music, inspiration from the world's spiritual traditions, and community connection.  We meet downtown at Maker House, 283 N. Stone Avenue on Sundays at 4:30 p.m.

Bands and teachers vary each week at this free and open non-faith and interfaith event for those who want to slow down, need a relaxed place for renewal, and who are curious about wisdom traditions but wary of organized religion.  Coupling contemplative wisdom with research-based practices, Sacred Space in Tucson is a gathering for those who seek to live a meaningful life.  In addition to the weekly gathering, Sacred Space offers coaching, small groups and classes, all with the aim of bringing together inner resources to drive social change.

summmited by Meenakshi Suri

Sync Gaia Hug [SGH] is a service growing as an organic movement without any formal organization, to bring about a world that benefits all beings, life and elements of our planetary mother by sharing a simple tool: H.U.G.S. or Hourly Universal Global Sync.

Simply, it requests the people of Earth to adopt any daily practice of mindful focus and synchronize it with the middle of the first half of every UTC  hour i.e. 1:10-1:20, 2:10-2:20 ....00:10-00:20. [In India and other countries with a time lag from UTC, please check your times here]. This is the key to providing Unity in Diversity, by wrapping the planet in an hourly wave of compassion that can be received by all and radiated to all, without a major change in resistant belief systems.

The SGH service helps to synchronize global movements round the world by sharing their events and messages. There is no cost and nothing to join, enroll or sign up for, but we do provide a free blog space for global movements and volunteers to receive and share messages. Our growing Sync Family of co-sharers shows that the world of compassion is not so distant as many in the world sometimes fear, and yet it is not so synchronized as it needs to be. The H.U.G.S. tool can help to synchronize the scattered practices of compassionate spiritual and other global movements.
We are looking for volunteers to help spread the simple tool of Hourly  Universal Global Sync [H.U.G.S.] in different languages by writing, art, speaking  through the mass media, social networking, world-wide web, and their own communities.

Our main website is Sync Gaia Hug: The H.U.G.S* Tool: *Hourly.Universal.Global.Sync
Contact email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., In the global teams of Gaia Minute, Sync Gaia Hug, Triorigin Smile World

submitted by Lesa Walker

THE COMPASSION RELAYS: The Charter invites every individual and group to join in the Compassion Relays. The Relays put compassion into action.  They can be done by any person (of any age), anywhere, and at any time.The Relays are a simple way to engage people in your projects and activities and help translate your projects into daily life reality.  When people participate in the Relays, they have intention each day (for at least one week) to discover insights and acts of compassion in their own daily lives. The Relays motivate compassion in three dimensions (caring for others, self, and the Earth). When we each take action to make compassion a priority in our daily lives, we create a more peaceful world.  Join in the Relays: Take the Compassion Torch (the commitment to compassion), discover and do acts of compassion in your daily life, report on your week's experience in the Compassion Map, and pass the Compassion Torch to at least one other person or group (by asking another to commit to participate in the Relays).  Let's connect everyone with compassion.  

Important links for the Relays:  1) Key information and instructions: ; and 2) the Compassion Map (where you report on your acts of compassion and your week's compassion journey:  

Submitted by Barbara Kaufmann

Voices Compassion Education: Voices Compassion Education and Barbara Kaufmann, founder, writer and editor for Words and Violence have extended an invitation to submit material for the next edition of its online publication Words and Violence's 3rd edition, released last fall, featured performance arts as communicator and change agent (film, dance, hip hop, music as messenger and universal language and more…) The upcoming 4th edition will address ways in which we “bully the planet,”--  that subject limited only by human imagination: climate change, war, sustainable agriculture, waste and recycling, drilling, bio-fuels, oil dependence, Indigenous land disrespect, ocean and water, animals: humane treatment, farming, extinction…. Words and Violence is accepting submissions for the 4th edition. If you would like a compendium of what is featured in the project, please contact Barbara at

Submitted by Steven Gold

Yoga And Judaism Center MISSION STATEMENT: The mission of the Yoga and Judaism Center is to provide an avenue for the awakening, nurturance and expression of spirituality, with a focus on the mystical traditions of Yoga/Vedanta and Judaism/Kabala. We seek the common threads that exist between these and various other spiritual and mystical traditions, exploring the possibilities for a new synthesis relevant to the spiritual needs of today. Yogis and non-yogis, Jews and non-Jews, are all welcome.  

WELCOME TO THE YOGA AND JUDAISM CENTER The primary focus of this yoga is not on physical exercise, but is rather "yoga beyond the mat," focusing on meditation, mysticism, philosophy and psychology. Likewise, the focus on Judaism here is on "Hebrew Spirituality", the spirituality within Judaism, not the religion. Your comments and posts are welcome.

About the Founder/Director Steven J. Gold, BA Antioch College, Philosophy and Religion; JD Emory Law School, is the founder/director of the Yoga and Judaism Center in Atlanta, GA. He has been a student, practitioner and teacher of spiritual self-realization and its related philosophy and psychology for many years. Over the past thirty years, he has read or studied with many eastern and western teachers of spirituality and "New Age" thought and practice. He is an initiate and practitioner in the Tradition of the Himalayan Masters, as propagated in the West by the late Sri Swami Rama of the Himalayas. This broad-based tradition includes the classical Ashtanga Yoga/Raja Yoga and meditation systems of Patanjali and the Advaita Vedanta systems and philosophy of Shankara. He is a graduate of the Karin Kabalah Center course on Kabalah: A Process of Awakening, and has continued a course of self-study of Torah and mystical Judaism in light of yoga for several years. He has studied with Rabbi Joseph Gelberman, Rabbi Gedalia Fleer, Rabbi Eliyahu Schusterman, Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Rabbi Phyliss Berman, and Zev ben Shimon Halevi. He is the author of Yoga and Judaism, Explorations of Jewish Yogi; IVRI: The Essence of Hebrew Spirituality, 21st Century Perspectives on an Ancient Tradition; Torah Portion Summaries, With Insights from the Perspective of a Jewish Yogi; and Basic Spiritual Principles. He has taught and presented at the Karin Kabalah Center, Himalayan Heritage, Atlanta JCC, Sadhaka Gram (India), and assisted living facilities.

The Yoga and Judaism Center conducts programs that provide an avenue for the awakening, nurturance and expression of spirituality with a focus, although not exclusively, on the mystical traditions of Yoga/Vedanta and Judaism/Kabala. We seek the common threads that exist between these and various other spiritual and mystical traditions, exploring the possibilities for a new synthesis relevant to the spiritual needs of today. Yogis and non-yogis, Jews and non-Jews, are all welcome. Mr. Gold is available for booksignings, workshops, courses and lectures.

To contact Mr. Gold, for more information about the Yoga and Judaism Center, or to order a book: PO Box 1769, Decatur, GA 30031; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. [email] [author's page at publisher's site] [publisher's main site] [blog]; Phone/fax 770-270-8290.

About Us

  • charter brand transp blue mediumCharter for Compassion provides an umbrella for people to engage in collaborative partnerships worldwide. Our mission is to bring to life the principles articulated in the Charter for Compassion through concrete, practical action in a myriad of sectors.


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