Enriching our lives through compassion

Heidi Wayment

       Heidi Wayment, 
       Professor and Chair, Psychological Sciences

Living a compassionate life is more than helping those in need or distress.

Albert Einstein characterized compassion as a way to free ourselves from the tendency to restrict our attention only to our personal desires and our affection only to persons nearest to us, which he calls a prison. Einstein said that “widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty” liberates us and is a foundation for inner security.

These ideas are not new and are reflected as important values in nearly all cultural and spiritual traditions. Yet, the goals and values related to compassion are often lost or forgotten in the day-to-day strivings of many.

At NAU, the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences established the Compassion Project to remind us of the importance of compassion, its philosophical, psychological, and spiritual roots; its cultivation and expression; its importance, relevance, and application in our everyday lives.

The Compassion Project will host its third annual Living Compassion Conference that will be held on Friday, March 27, at the DuBois ballroom on NAU’s south campus.

Presentations begin at 8:30 a.m. and include a presentation about the impact of categories of “Us” and “Them,” a presentation about the importance of mindfulness in cultivating compassion, the impact of mindfulness on the legal profession and how it is reshaping the practice of law to increase collaboration, community-well being, and compassion, and a panel discussion of how compassion arises from and is a critical component of understanding and coping with human suffering.

A lunchtime poster session will feature NAU and Flagstaff community presenters.

Details about the SBS Compassion Project sessions, including times and parking information, are available at the SBS Compassion Conference website. We hope to see you there.