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Core Reflections

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Getty/Ritthichai

Meditation teacher Tara Brach offers explorations of kindness and beauty and how to be in the stillness of their truth.

One of my favorite quotes is taped on a wall in my office: “To be kind, you must swerve regularly from your path.” I need this reminder. Like so many, when I’m caught up in my busyness, trying to cross things off the list and on my way to somewhere else, I’m not so sensitive to opportunities to be kind. My attention is goal-directed, and my heart can be tight. A psychological study done at Princeton Theological Seminary revealed a lot about how this kind of narrow self-focus can get in the way of bringing compassion to our world. To look at the impact of time pressure on helpful behavior, the researchers told a group of seminary students that they would be crossing campus to a classroom where each would present a talk on the biblical parable of the Good Samaritan. As the students knew, in that story two important religious people pass right by a man on the street who clearly needs help. The only person who stops to assist him is someone who’s considered a social outcast. Some of the students were told they had just a few minutes to get to the classroom before the session for their talks would begin. …


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