A Heart that Responds

A Heart that Responds

For the upcoming year, while continuing our emphasis on Welcoming All, we are highlighting the next part of our mission statement, Inspiring Compassion.  In Spring 2021, we put together a wonderful team of people who expressed an interest in building some programming related to compassion. Our team met several times throughout the spring and summer to define what we mean by compassion and to brainstorm some ideas about possible programming.

After much conversation, we came up with a short phrase that embodies the main focus of what we have in mind when we talk about compassion.  The phrase is “a heart that responds”.   With compassion, we are responding to struggles within ourselves, in people we know, in people we do not know, and in larger causes. Whether it is self-compassion, compassion for others, or compassion in action for the world, we are responding with our hearts.

There are so many ways to express compassion, and of course, many of us already do this every day. To highlight and possibly improve what we are already doing, we have developed some programming:

  • As a starting point, this Voices of Unity blog will include ideas and stories that encourage us to live with more compassion.
  • Starting on November 1, we will begin a 30-day Compassion Challenge and more details about that will be rolling out soon.
  • On December 31, the Mindful Reflection Community will host a New Year’s Eve sangha with a dharma talk about compassion.
  • In January, we will begin a five-month drop-in group to practice mindfulness and compassion.  This group is inspired by the book Radical Compassion by Tara Brach and is co-sponsored by the Mindful Reflection Community and the Inspiring Compassion team.
  • There will be other programming in 2022 as well.

The main thought we want to share today is a reminder to be intentional about inclining our minds toward kindness and compassion whenever we can.  This includes how we talk with ourselves and others, how we interact within our congregational teams and groups, and how we focus on equity and liberation initiatives.  When we remember to engage a “heart that responds”, we bring more goodness into all that we do.

With Gratitude,
Beth Martell
Jay Cohen
Co-Chairs, Inspiring Compassion Team