Friday, September 22, 2017

Easy Steps Toward Building Compassion

Train Your Brain to be Compassionate…
in 7 Hours Or Less! 
A NeuroTip by Mark Waldman

A new study at the University of Wisconsin shows that adults can be quickly trained to be more caring toward others by practicing loving kindness meditation.

Participants spent a half hour each day listening to an audio recording in which they envisioned a time when someone has suffered. As they did so, they repeated a phrase like this: "May you be free from suffering. May you have joy and ease."

Participants then played a money game where people were treated fairly or unfairly. Those who did the compassion training were more likely to give money to people who suffered financial loss. When their brains were scanned, they showed more activity in circuits involving motivation, awareness, and pleasure.

Altruism not only gave these people more satisfaction, they gained more control over their emotions. Compassion can also lower social anxiety and reduce antisocial behavior.

Begin by thinking about a loved one and sending kind thoughts toward them: "May you be happy, may you be well, may you be filled with love and peace." 

Then send kind thoughts toward yourself. Next, send kindness to a stranger. Finally, repeat these phrases as you think about a difficult person – someone you have had a conflict with and who deeply hurt your feelings. This step is difficult, but the emotional release can feel fantastic. If you can't send kindness or forgiveness, that's okay. Perhaps it will be easier on another day. Try it again later.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Global Peace Meditations with Links

Below are two notices of Global Meditations for Peace and activities.

BeThePeace Global Meditation
Thursday September 21, 12noon US Pacific 

Hosted by the Gaiafield Project and the Shift Network
Happy Peace Day! 

Tens of millions of people around the world will engage in peace-building actions of various kinds today.

And over 5,000 people have registered already for our BeThePeace Global Meditation, taking place at 12noon US Pacific.

At this critical time of transition for humanity, please join us to plant seeds of peace deep in your heart and in the higher awareness of humanity itself.

Register here

Note: The meditation will be available by phone, webphone, and audio webcast

Tomorrow (Friday, Sept. 22,  2017) begins World Peace Weekend and so many people and organizations are joining in this Global Peace event. 

Today, we bring you three beautiful and important videos about peace. Check them out below and share them with your friends and colleagues. 

We're honored to be part of this Global Campaign for Peace and partner with so many organizations focusing on peace and compassion. 

Gather your friends, UNIFY, join a local event near you from our World Peace Events Map and build a bridge to others in the name of peace.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Everyday People Show Good Deeds Exist

Volunteer sorts trash collected during a local coastal cleanup
With a spate of news reporting on people with "bad in the heart," the folks with "good in the heart" are alive and showcasing how easy it is to be a force for good.  Over the last weekend, thousands of people around the world joined in an effort to clean beaches and waterways of trash, that would have eventually wound up in the ocean.

Besides my personal moment this week with a good deed (and super-stress relieving good deed) given to me, the local paper reports the following:


SEPTEMBER 19, 2017 12:01 PM

Elk Grove resident Melissa Vang is thrilled to see that goodness still lies in the hearts of today’s teens.

She witnessed a good deed right at her own front door when Tyler Opdyke, 18, returned her husband’s wallet that happened to have $1,500 in it.

However, Vang didn’t answer the door when Opdyke came knocking, because like many people she doesn’t open the door to strangers. But she found him later, and thanked him for his kind gesture.

“When I checked the video, he had walked away already,” Vang told ABC 10. “I was like, ‘that’s my husband’s wallet!’ ”

Read more here:

What good deed can you share today?

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Food for Peace

On July 10, 1954, President Eisenhower signed into law the legislation that would eventually become known as the Food for Peace Act. As a result, the Food for Peace program has been bringing help and hope to the far reaches of the world for over 60 years - reaching more than 3 billion hungry people since its inception.

FFP predicts, prevents, and responds to hunger overseas. Through its emergency programs, FFP saves lives, reduces suffering, and supports the early recovery of people affected by conflict and natural disaster emergencies through food assistance. FFP’s development programs equip people with the knowledge and tools to feed themselves, address the underlying causes of hunger, and reduces the need for future food assistance. Alleviating global hunger is critical to national security: where hunger persists, instability grows. By supporting the world's most vulnerable, FFP is building a more stable world and ensuring that people have the opportunity to lead healthy, productive lives.

Monday, September 18, 2017

"Impact Investing" for Underserved Communities

Unlocking new sources of capital and creating more inclusive markets in a changing global economy.

Since the concept of impact investing was coined in 2007, the impact investing sector has grown to US$77 billion, according to the International Institute for Environment and Development

The following is excerpted from Eco-Business news:

For Durreen Shahnaz, an investment banker turned social entrepreneur from Bangladesh, impact investing seeks to “connect the Wall Streets of the world with the backstreets of underserved communities."

... Impact investors mobilise capital to grow local businesses. But these businesses need water, sewers, electricity and roads. They need markets for selling their produce and storage to preserve their goods.

Only when basic infrastructure is in place can injections of new capital enable businesses to thrive and create jobs. ..

... Local savings groups in Durban have mapped their settlements and are using this information to improve houses and infrastructure. These community-led processes can facilitate public and private investment in informal settlements

Across the global South, low-income communities are often coming together themselves to develop their own ways to fund basic infrastructure. Savings schemes are one such way.

The savings groups provide a platform for people to self-organise, enabling them to collectively negotiate with governments to get the services they need: they know their city, they know how to design infrastructure that works and they know where the gaps are in housing, water and sanitation.

In Uganda, the Jinja Municipal Council worked with the National Slum Dwellers Federation of Uganda to establish a community upgrading fund. As of 2014, the community fund had collected $161,949 from daily savings, helping more than 40,000 people. This fund supports community-led initiatives to provide toilets and water tanks and renovate health centres.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Finding Peace When "Great Souls Die"

On finding peace when "great souls die"

“When Great Trees Fall"

When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down
in tall grasses,
and even elephants
lumber after safety.

When great trees fall
in forests,
small things recoil into silence,
their senses
eroded beyond fear.

When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
see with
a hurtful clarity.
Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
gnaws on kind words
promised walks
never taken.

Great souls die and
our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.
Our souls,
dependent upon their
now shrink, wizened.
Our minds, formed
and informed by their
fall away.
We are not so much maddened
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
of dark, cold

And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.”
― Maya Angelou

Thursday, September 14, 2017

MLK on Peace, Nonviolence, and Love

 "Don't ever let anyone pull you so low as to hate them. We must use the weapon of love. We must have the compassion and understanding for those who hate us. We must realize so many people are taught to hate us that they are not totally responsible for their hate. But we stand in life at midnight; we are always on the threshold of a new dawn."
--Martin Luther King, Jr., "Pilgrimage to Nonviolence," Strength to Love, 13 April 1960 


"I want to say one other challenge that we face is simply that we must find an alternative to war and bloodshed. Anyone who feels, and there are still a lot of people who feel that way, that war can solve the social problems facing mankind is sleeping through a great revolution. President Kennedy said on one occasion, "Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind." The world must hear this. I pray to God that America will hear this before it is too late, because today we’re fighting a war."

"Through our scientific and technological genius, we have made of this world a neighborhood and yet we have not had the ethical commitment to make of it a brotherhood. But somehow, and in some way, we have got to do this. We must all learn to live together as brothers or we will all perish together as fools. We are tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality. And whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. For some strange reason I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. And you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the way God’s universe is made; this is the way it is structured."
--Martin Luther King, Jr., Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution, 2 June 1959