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Enlighten: Uplift & Inspire

Oct 19, 2020

This week I share a short, simple exercise called the “Compassion Beads”. The premise is that compassion is part of our DNA and can be nourished and cultivated with intention and mindfulness. Biologically, compassion decreases levels of stress, boosts our immune system and helps us feel calm.

Using a simple alphabetical mnemonic device, which provides a memory tool, the compassion beads, start with the letter C, and end with the letter L, or think of it this way: the beads start with COMPASSION and end with LOVE.  The beads take you through 10 words, in alphabetical order that cultivate a calming, inner state of mind. Each bead represents one of the following words: Compassion, Dignity, Equanimity, Forgiveness, Gratitude, Humility, Integrity, Justice, Kindness and Love. Dr. James Doty, a neurosurgeon who has dedicated over 15 years to studying compassion, altruism and empathy, calls these 10 words the alphabet of the heart. A golden bead added at the end of the 10 words is a reminder of the golden rule: treat others the way you want to be treated.  

Even without physical beads to hold onto, you can feel the effects of this exercise. I lead a brief meditation to demonstrate how to use the compassion beads.

Check out the links to the San Antonio Peace Center and to CCARE: Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education. Feel free to make your own beads. You can easily carry them in your pocket or purse, a tangible reminder that compassion and peace are within reach and at your fingertips.  Enjoy the podcast!


The Center for Compassion And Altruism Research And Education
CCARE Videos
Dr. Doty's Alphabet of the Heart
San Antonio Peace Center