1000 Voices Speak for Compassion
Written by
Shelah L. Maul
February 2015
Written by
Shelah L. Maul
February 2015

The past two days I've been pondering what exactly it means to be compassionate, a reflective exercise prompted by my decision to join the 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion movement. Yvonne Spence created the movement by asking the simple question, "How cool would it be if we could get 1000 bloggers on the same day to write posts about compassion, kindness, support, caring for others, non-judgement etc.? We could call it 1000 Voices For Compassion. Who’s in?" As it turns out, more than 1,000  bloggers are in!

On February 20, 2015, over 1,000 bloggers will share posts about compassion in all its subtle nuances. We will share stories that illustrate compassion and reflect on what compassion means to us. Our hope is that through this act of unity, we will spark a desire for the greater healing of our collective soul.

Compassion, as defined by dictionary.com, is "a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering."

Preliminary studies on the science of compassion reveal the importance of compassion for  mental, relational, and societal health. Beyond the obvious fact that compassion improves feelings of well-being, it also improves heart health, makes us more resilient to stress, strengthens the immune system, improves interpersonal relationships, and facilitates the cultivation of an optimistic outlook on life.

Paul Gilbert Ph.D., the head of the Mental Health Research Unit as well as Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Derbya, says that "Attention is like a spotlight—whatever it shines on becomes brighter in the mind." He explains how this knowledge of how the brain works can be used to help build compassion. He states that compassion is rooted deeper in brain systems having to do with intentionality and motivation. The simple act of meditating or thinking about compassion has the power to begin a process where the entire orientation of the mind can shift. He suggests that we can choose compassion through our intention to focus on it, and then we can help it grow through practice. The profound importance of the choice to orient our minds to compassion reveals that we, as humans, can become capable of developing much more control over our thoughts and lives.

So by shining the spotlight on compassion, we can begin to reorient our minds in such a way that all these benefits can be felt. What about you? Will you join us on February 20, 2015? If you don't have a blog, you can always post a compassionate Facebook status update. Or simply make it your meditation for the day. Learn more about 1,000 Voices Speak for Compassion HERE.

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