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Awe changes us by expanding our world and that can change everything.

Craig Anderson

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Memorial Day is a time to remember American service members whose lives have been lost in the name of our country, and, by law, it is also a day of prayer for permanent peace.

The President is requested to issue each year a proclamation—calling on the people of the United States to observe Memorial Day by praying, according to their individual religious faith, for permanent peace [US code]

Today, and every day, let us remember the servicemen and women we have lost, and let us honor them by rededicating ourselves to strengthening our Nation’s promise.  With love, grace, and reflection, let us honor our fallen fellow Americans, known and unknown, who sacrificed their freedom to ensure our own.

President Obama, Memorial Day Proclamation, May 26, 2016

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What is Compassion?

from the Greater Good Science Center, University of California, Berkeley

Compassion literally means “to suffer together.” Among emotion researchers, it is defined as the feeling that arises when you are confronted with another’s suffering and feel motivated to relieve that suffering.

Compassion is not the same as empathy or altruism, though the concepts are related. While empathy refers more generally to our ability to take the perspective of and feel the emotions of another person, compassion is when those feelings and thoughts include the desire to help. Altruism, in turn, is the kind, selfless behavior often prompted by feelings of compassion, though one can feel compassion without acting on it, and altruism isn’t always motivated by compassion.

While cynics may dismiss compassion as touchy-feely or irrational, scientists have started to map the biological basis of compassion, suggesting its deep evolutionary purpose. This research has shown that when we feel compassion, our heart rate slows down, we secrete the “bonding hormone” oxytocin, and regions of the brain linked to empathy, caregiving, and feelings of pleasure light up, which often results in our wanting to approach and care for other people.

Read more at the Greater Good Science Center website

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Ahimsa: the compassionate virtue of nonviolence that is an important tenet of Jainism, Hinduism, and Buddhism.

Ahimsa is not mere negative non-injury. It is positive, cosmic love. It is the development of a mental attitude in which hatred is replaced by love. Ahimsa is true sacrifice. Ahimsa is forgiveness. Ahimsa is Sakti (power). Ahimsa is true strength.

Sri Swami Sivananda, The Devine Life Society
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