Compassion, Mindfulness & Meaning


Altruism – Matthieu Ricard
One of my favorite books, this combines the insights of Buddihist scholars and more recent scientific insights. Although it’s quite large, it’s a fascinating and enjoyable read that flies by.

Neurotribes – Steve Silberman
“By autistic standards, the”normal” brain is easily distractible, is obsessively social, and suffers from a deficit of attention to detail and routine. Thus people on the spectrum experience the narrow typical world is relentlessly unpredictable and chaotic, perpetually turned up too loud, and full of people who have little respect for personal space.”

Coming to Our Senses – Jon Kabat-Zinn
An important book in these troubled times.
“Perhaps it is time for us to own the name we have given ourselves as a species, to own our sentience, and come to our senses while there is still time for us to do so. And while we might not realize it, that time, by all reckoning, is shorter than we think. And the stakes higher. What is at stake, finally, is none other than our very hearts, our very humanity, our species, and our world. What is available to us is the full spectrum of who and what we are. What is required is nothing special, simply that we start paying attention and wake up to things as they are. All else will follow.”

Wherever You Go, There You Are – Jon Kabat-Zinn
More of Jon’s timeless teaching. “Meditation is simply about being yourself and knowing something about who that is.”

No Mud, No Lotus – Thich Nhat Hanh
A gentle and beautiful book of profound insights. “Spending time each day doing mindful walking can help. Arrange your life so that you can do mindful walking every day. … You can ask a friend to go with you, or you can even take the hand of a child and walk with him or her.”

A Fearless Heart – Thupten Jinpa
“Compassion arises as our response to suffering, period; Whose suffering it is should not matter.” A beautiful book.

Meditation is Not What You Think – Jon Kabat-Zinn
“The act of taking your seat in your own life, which could also be seen as taking a stand of a certain kind, on a regular basis, is in and of itself a profound expression of human intelligence.” This is my favorite recommendation for people new to mediation.

The Tao Te Ching of Lao Tsu – translated by Ursula LeGuin
The best translation, as far as I’m concerned. rendered in beautiful and clear English prose, but still enigmatic. Read a stanza, or MAYBE a page, and then go think about it for a while.

Websites & Blogs


The Compassion Institute
Non-profit global advocate for compassion. Offering programs for individuals and organizations. I can personally recommend the Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT) program. It’s a transformative program.

San Francisco Zen Center
Offerings online programs and resources.

Spirit Rock: An Insight Meditation Center
Online programs and residential retreats. See the website for information