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No more I, Me, My (or how compassion can make you a healthier person)

Posted Nov 01 2010 10:54am
I was lucky enough to see the Dalai Lama speak at Stanford a few weeks ago (thanks Linda!) and while I expected it to be enlightening, I had no idea it would have me thinking about my everyday language.*

He talked about the centrality of compassion in human life and society which pretty much boils down to: be kind and compassionate toward others and you will be a complete and happy person. Pretty simple, right? Yep. Got it.

What I found even more fascinating is the work — which he referenced throughout his talk — being done at the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) at Stanford. CCARE studies the effects of altruism on people via neurology, science, physics, medicine, etc. and recently received the largest donation from the Dalai Lama ever given to a non-Buddhist organization. Here’s a quick, but intriguing snippet as to how he became so involved in the center’s work:

...scientific research has shown that constant fear and hatred are eating away our immune system while individuals who are calm and compassionate sometimes even show an increase in their positive body elements.

His Holiness recalled attending a conference at which a paper was presented in which it was stated that people who continued to stress on “I”, “me” or “my” had greater risk of heart attack.

If that isn’t one more compelling reason to be compassionate, I don’t know what is. Here’s to more “we”, “theirs” and “ours” in your everyday discourse. Cheers!

*Watch the video here: dalailama.stanford.edu/webcast

Photo by Bruce Bortin / Creative Commons
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