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Dr. James Doty: The Science of Compassion

James Doty, M.D. is a neurosurgeon and founder of Project Compassion at the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University. Project Compassion seeks to work with both the Stanford Institute for Neuro-Innovation and Translational Neuroscience and a variety of...

Marc Ian Barasch: The Compassionate Life

Marc Ian Barasch is an award winning author, magazine editor, TV producer, and media activist.      Desmond Tutu call his book Field Notes on the Compassionate Life "a compulsory read for everyone", while Dr. Larry Dossey said of The Healing Path, “If you read one...

Sara Schairer: Birthing a Compassion Revolution

Nearly five years ago, Sara was facing an unwanted divorce, taking care of her 18-month old daughter, and looking for a job during the economic fallout.  As she says, "I was depressed, and quite frankly, I was a mess."  Her picture-perfect life had been turned upside down, so...

Nipun Mehta: Where Do We Find Gandhi Today?

Nipun Mehta is the founder of ServiceSpace (formerly CharityFocus).  In 2001, at the age of 25, Nipun quit his job to become a "full time volunteer." Since then, his work has reached millions, he has received many prestigious awards, and has tirelessly addressed hundreds...

Sujatha Baliga: Forgiveness of Unforgivable Acts

sujatha baliga's legal career is characterized by an equal dedication to victims and persons accused of crime. As a survivor of child sexual abuse, she was fairly certain that she wanted to become a lawyer and lock up child molesters. Along the way, life circumstances brought her to...

Anne-Marie Bauer: An Ethic of Care

In any given encounter with Anne-Marie Bauer, one is inevitably left with a warmth of heart. A nurse by profession, nurturer by nature, and generous giver of small acts with great love, any environment that bears witness to her presence sooner or later beams a-glow with her motherly care,...

Charles Gibbs: Interfaith Peacebuilding: I'd Like to Help

The Rev. Canon Charles P. Gibbs is an Episcopal priest who, from 1996 until his retirement in 2013, served as the founding executive director of the United Religions Initiative – serving from URI’s gestation to its position as an international network which consists presently of more...

Pierre Pradervand: Gentle Art of Blessing

Pierre Pradervand has worked for decades in personal development and social justice. His career includes work on nearly every continent. He is the author of The Gentle Art of Blessing: A Simple Practice That Will Transform You and Your World, in which he posits that making the conscious choice to...

Emily Baxter: We Are All Criminals

Emily Baxter is the Creator and Director of We Are All Criminals, a non-profit, non-partisan organization that seeks to inspire empathy and ignite social change through personal stories of crime, privilege, justice, and injustice, disrupting the barriers that separate us. Through their stories,...

Arlene Samen: Encountering Open Doors on the Path of Service

Arlene Samen has been a Nurse Practitioner in Maternal Fetal Medicine for over 33 years. In 2004, she left behind her clinical practice to dedicate her life to serving pregnant women living in the most vulnerable conditions in the most remote places of the world. By 2009, she started One Heart...

Mike Dickson: Exercising Our Generosity Gene

Mike Dickson encourages people to be generous, and guides them so that their giving is as fulfilling and effective as possible.  He is the Founder of Rainmaker Foundation, a collaborative charity launched in the United Kingdom in January 2012.  The Foundation's aims are to...

Sonia Deotto: Art and Activism for a Nonviolent World

Sonia Deotto is co-founder and executive director of OraWorldMandala, a global peace movement whose objective is to use art and activism to spread the practice of ahimsa (nonviolence).  Since 2004, the headquarters of Ora World Mandala Research/Action Lab have been located at the Peace...

Keith McHenry: Abundance and Cooperation Toward Peace and Justice

In 1980, Keith McHenry was a college student trying to raise money for a friend who had been arrested at an anti-nuclear protest. To help pay for the lawyers, Keith was planning a bake sale; in a fateful moment, he saw a poster that read: It will be a great day when the schools get all the...

Mushim Patricia Ikeda: Taking the Great Vow Not to Burn Out

Mushim Patricia Ikeda is a sansei (third-generation Japanese American) poet and writer, social justice activist, diversity and inclusion consultant, secular mindfulness coach and core Buddhist teacher based in Oakland, California.  She teaches primarily at the East Bay Meditation Center...

Rhonda Magee: Addressing Social and Racial Injustice with Compassion

Rhonda Magee is a teacher of mindfulness-based stress reduction interventions for lawyers and law students, and for minimizing social-identity-based bias. A full-time faculty member at the Jesuit University of San Francisco since 1998, and a full professor since 2004, she is dedicated to...

Makala Kozo Hattori: Healing Gift of Cancer -- And Life

Makala Kozo Hattori is a healer, counselor, host and writer who was diagnosed with stage 2 colorectal cancer in July 2015. Rather than pursue traditional Western medicine’s allopathic treatments, he chose a path of natural medicine, diet, spiritual practices, and relational healing....

Anthony Chavez: Continuing a Legacy of Inspiration

Walking in the footsteps of his grandfather, Anthony Chavez wants to make difference in the lives of young people. "What I want to tell the youth is that their voices do matter that they can start making change now," Chavez says. He is the grandson of César Chavez, who...

Edmund Benson: Making a Difference as Elders

Florida businessman Edmund F. Benson, together with his wife Susan, declined to rest on their laurels when their well-earned retirement began.  Instead, the energetic and service-committed couple in some ways just began (again) their service journeys during their golden years.  They...

Liz Mitten Ryan: The Wisdom of the Herd

In 1999 Liz Mitten Ryan, award-winning artist, mother of six and founder of a successful fine art publishing company in Vancouver, traded in the secure terrain of her known life to move with her architect husband, and a herd of eleven horses, to Gateway 2 Ranch -- a 320-acre slice of paradise...

Luc Reynaud: Music as a Force of Love

When you consider its synchronicities and various plot twists, Luc Reynaud’s life seems stage directed by the universe.  Perhaps it all started when at 6 years old he announced to his teacher Rayma Hayes that he was going to paint the moon.  “And what about the Earth,...

Alfred Tolle: Cultivating and Connecting Conscious Leaders

“Wisdom is not about intellectual debate, but magical moments of presence so deeply connected and so pure with people.”  -- Bernd Kolb (Atman Project) Business leader Alfred Tolle has spent his personal and professional lives at the geographic as well as spiritual...

Robert Bengston: Art and Inspiration: What Would Love Do?

"I'm here to help make the world more beautiful, inside and out." San Francisco Bay Area artist, Robert Bengtson, expresses his love for beauty through the mediums of photography, interactive art, wood, metal, plaster... and puts his creativity into inspiring the human spirit....

Rajni Bakshi: A Teller of Stories of Modern-Day Gandhians

Rajni Bakshi is a Mumbai-based freelance journalist and author who writes about social and political movements in contemporary India.  She stands in the “fertile ground” between journalism and activism – chronicling struggles for more humane and ecologically sound ways...

Doug Powers: Cultivating and Teaching Freedom

“Freedom is the goal of the liberal education.” A teacher at Berkeley High School in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Douglas Powers was a student of philosophy exploring phenomenology and freedom of the mind, as well as a self-described Bay Area “happy hippie,” when he...

Frank Ostaseski: What the Living Can Learn From the Dying

“Dying is much more than a medical event. It is a time for important psychological, emotional and spiritual work – a time for transition. To a large extent, the way we meet death is shaped by our habitual response to suffering, and our relationship to ourselves, to those we love, and...

Clair Brown: How Would Buddha Teach Economics?

Clair Brown, a professor emeritus in the Economics Department at UC Berkeley, taught the basic Economics 1 class at Berkeley for over 30 years. She often found that the students in her sprawling introductory classes had a hard time reconciling the dominant neoclassical model that she taught with...

Meredith May: Why Mercy Matters

Meredith May is a storyteller, award-winning journalist, author, and third-generation beekeeper. For much of her career, Meredith was (until 2015) a feature writer at The San Francisco Chronicle.  Her 2004 newspaper series “Operation Lion Heart,” about a war-wounded...

Abbot Sojun Mel Weitsman: Walking the World of Suffering with Both Compassion and Indifference

Suzuki Roshi walked up to Mel Weitsman one day and said, “Just being alive is enough.” This became a touchstone for Abbot Sojun Mel Weitsman who, after more than 50 years of practice, continues to draw on Suzuki Roshi as his role model. He tries to be as simple as possible when he...

Mark Barone & Marina Dervan: An Act of Dog: 5,500 Portraits for Animal Justice

"Getting sober, 18 years ago, was the most important catalyst and spiritual change in my life. I remember looking down at my dogs and seeing their utter dependency and need for me to be present, and without hesitation, I got up and poured my drink down the sink and never looked back."...

Parag Shah: A Different Kind of R.O.E.

As a diamond merchant and savvy businessman in Surat, India, Parag Shah used to look for R.O.E. -- return on equity. While running one of the most successful companies in the industry at its peak, Parag felt that his cup of gratitude overflowed, and so he started doing lots of...

Thom Bond: Teaching Compassion at Scale

Thom Bond brings 27 years of study and training experience in human potential to his work as a writer, speaker and workshop leader. His passion and knowledge of Nonviolent Communication (NVC) combine to create a practical, understandable, humorous, and potentially profound approach for learning...

Laura Delano: Recovery from Psychiatry and Reclamation of Inner Compass

Laura Delano is a community organizer, psychiatric liberation writer, and activist who advocates for fully informed choice about psychiatric diagnosis and "treatment" and for individuals’ right to access alternatives to the mental health system.  Laura recently founded and...

Rick Hanson: Hardwiring Happiness -- Rewiring Our Brain to be More Compassionate and Happy

Rick Hanson, Ph.D., is a psychologist, Senior Fellow of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, and New York Times best-selling author.  His best-selling books, available in 26 languages, include Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence;...

Jonathan Rose: Well-Tempered Cities That Harmonize Humans

Cities are birthplaces of civilization; centers of culture, trade, and progress; cauldrons of opportunity—and the home of 80 percent of the world’s population by 2080. Our Awakin Call guest Jonathan Rose has a vision to transform these cities into well-balanced, nurturing, sustainable...

Sarah Peyton: The Riddle of Self-Esteem: Why Self-Compassion Can Be Hard

Sarah Peyton is a certified trainer of the Center for Nonviolent Communication who has a passion for weaving together neuroscience knowledge and experiences of healing that unify people with their brains and bodies. She aims to integrate teachings from brain science and the use of resonant...

Jasmin Singer: Compassion Unlocks Identity

"What I want to stand for is compassion for myself first, and then for all those other individuals, humans and non humans whom we so easily cast aside. The ones we marginalize, the ones we choose not to see, the ones we don't call beautiful." -Jasmin Singer from her TED...

Dr. Manulani Aluli Meyer: Healing through Indigenous Wisdom

Manulani Aluli Meyer (Manu) is the fifth daughter of Emma Aluli and Harry Meyer. Her family hails from Mokapu, Kailua, Kamamalu, Wailuku, Hilo and Kohala on the islands of Oahu, Maui and Moku o Keawe. The Aluli ohana (family) is a large and diverse group of scholar-activists who have...

David Fryburg: You are What You See: Inspiring Kindness through Images

We live in a world where news stories are riddled with negativity; wars, crashes, political and social strife fill our living rooms and enter our most personal of space, our homes.  What are the implications for our neurological and physical health to be exposed to such negative news, and...

Ann Medlock: Sticking Her Neck Out For Democracy and Our Common Humanity

Ann Medlock is a writer and social activist who founded the Giraffe Heroes Project, a nonprofit organization that's given countless people around the globe the stories and inspiring examples of real heroes—people sticking their necks out for the common good—for more than...

ServiceSpace Interns: Beginners' Minds in Kindness and Generosity

Once again this summer Service Space hosted a 10-week internship for students, with ages ranging from beginning high school to upperclass-persons in college! Each week, the interns were given readings and reflections, opportunities for silence, and experiments involving various personal...

Shamash Alidina: Mindfulness and Kindfulness

Shamash Alidina, one of the UK’s most well-known mindfulness experts, is an accomplished mindfulness teacher, coach, speaker and author.  He is author of the international bestseller Mindfulness For Dummies, and more recently, of The Mindful Way through...

Aarti Kuber: Healing through Acceptance and Forgiveness

Mumbai-based 22-year-old Aarti Kuber likes to call herself a Planeteer and believes her life’s mission is to help our planet and its people heal. Having experienced child sexual abuse, she went on to peacefully confront the person who violated her, ten years after the incident took place....

Lee Perlman: Love and Philosophy Between Prison Walls and Ivory Towers

“In 1987, while teaching a class at MIT [the Massachusetts Institute of Technology] on nonviolence, philosophy lecturer Lee Perlman had a novel idea: Why not take the students to a prison, to talk with men who had committed extreme forms of violence?  Needless to say,” an MIT...

Stephen Murphy-Shigematsu: From Mindfulness to Heartfulness

Stephen Murphy-Shigematsu is a Stanford University-based psychologist and scholar who combines disciplines of Western science with Eastern healing modalities.  With a doctorate from Harvard University, Stephen has trained in clinical and community psychology, yoga, meditation, and Chinese...

Anil Sachdev: Cultivating Inspired and Mindful Business Leaders

Anil Sachdev is a businessman who integrates a path of self-knowing and meditation with a successful executive career. His business experience in India and across the world covers areas such as talent management, strategic change and organizational transformation. He has been a senior leader...

Bonnie Rose: The Power of Sacred Irreverence

“Holiness is everywhere. It abides hidden in the infinite ordinary and seeks expression through our intimate recognition of it.” -- Bonnie Rose   As a former registered nurse, actress, and opera singer, Bonnie Rose's career trajectory has been anything but...

Lobsang Phuntsok: Re-inviting the Uninvited Guests of the Universe

Everyone is an invited guest of the universe. Lobsang Phunstock tells the children of his community this frequently. But the message he received at a young age was the opposite: he was an uninvited guest of the universe. His mother was very young when she gave birth to him in the state of...

Maya Soetoro-Ng: Peacebuilding is Teachable: Pragmatic Peace Studies for Social Change

At the end of every class, Dr. Maya Soetoro-Ng would ask her students to consider one thing: to ask "so what?" after each lesson, in order to think about what they could do, in that day, to further the course of peace in their community. Her brother is former US President and Nobel...

Ron Epstein: Responsible Living: Explorations in Applied Buddhist Ethics

Ron Epstein, Ph.D., is a Buddhist scholar and practitioner who has spent decades as a professor of Buddhist studies.  A prolific writer, translator, ethicist and activist who has authored countless pieces on the modern application of Buddhism and Buddhist ethics, he is a trustee, chancellor...

Emma Slade: From Global Banking to Monasticism to Compassion in Action

How does a jet-setting financial analyst from London end up a Buddhist nun in Bhutan? Emma Slade (ordained as Ani Pema Deki) is a yoga and meditation teacher and author who left a successful career in finance in her thirties to find peace and meaning in the mountains of Bhutan.  Unusual...

Dimple Parmar: Marrying Into Cancer -- and Finding Love

The founder of Love Heals Cancer based in Delhi, India, Dimple Parmar is a force to be reckoned with. Determined to serve humanity and bring a smile to everyone's face, she is a person who believes in letting the power of love and care engulf one’s life. After losing her loving partner...

Scilla Elworthy: Wisdom in Action: Global Peace and a World that Works

"Wherever there is injustice, there is anger, and anger is like gasoline -- if you spray it around and somebody lights a matchstick, you have an inferno. But anger inside an engine is powerful: it can drive us forward and can get us through dreadful moments and give us power. I learnt this...

Melanie Joy: Beyond Carnism: Awareness to Create a More Compassionate World

“With awareness, we can create a better world for all beings, human and non-human alike.”-- Dr. Melanie Joy    Like many of us, Dr. Melanie Joy, a Harvard-educated psychologist, professor, and vegan activist, grew up without giving too much mind to a behavior that most of...

Janessa Gans Wilder: Seeing The Other as Brother and Opening to Rivers of Possibility

Janessa Gans Wilder is a former CIA officer turned peacebuilder and social entrepreneur. She discovered in the war zones of Iraq that eliminating the “enemy” did not lead to peace – nor did it solve the more immediate problem of the growing counterinsurgency and terrorism....

Reverend Eric Elnes: Connecting Interfaith Hearts in the Heartland

Dr. Eric Elnes is a minister, biblical scholar, author, speaker and media host. Since 2008, he has been the Senior Minister of Countryside Community Church (UCC) in Omaha, Nebraska. Countryside recently became the Christian partner in Omaha’s heralded Tri-Faith Initiative – in...

Jane Murray: Moving from Headspace to Heartspace and Midwifing the New

Jane Murray, a former commercial lawyer qualified in the UK, Ireland and New York, and now a start-up entrepreneur in the United Kingdom, has shifted both in her life and in her career from inhabiting the head-space to the heart-space. As she's sought connection and belonging in a...

Shinzen Young: The Role of Compassion on the Spiritual Path

Shinzen Young is an American mindfulness teacher and neuroscience research consultant who frequently uses concepts from mathematics as a metaphor to illustrate the abstract concepts of meditation and who is building a bridge between contemplative practice and hard science. His interest...

Alan Wallace: Contemplative Science: Fathoming the Human Mind and the Nature of Consciousness

In 1970 when he was just 20 years old, Alan Wallace said to the universe, “I need to meet a wise old man and I need it quickly!”  He was hitchhiking alone in Norway.  After several hours of waiting to catch a ride to Oslo, a little old man in a Volkswagon picked him up. As...

Parker Palmer: An Elder's Look Back at Healing Our Divided Selves and Worlds

Parker J. Palmer is a renowned writer, teacher, and activist whose work speaks deeply to people in many walks of life. For more than five decades, he has written and spoken about subjects ranging from contemplation to community, the inner life to public life, education to social change. He is...

Tsering Gellek: Preserving Sacred Culture and Building Bridges of Goodness Across Time and Place

For Buddhists, the small town of Sarnath, India is singular:  it is the place where Gautama Buddha first taught the Dharma following his enlightenment, and where a cutting from the original Bodhi tree (the symbol of the Buddha’s great awakening) is planted.  This unique town in...

Ajay Dahiya: From Teenage Monk to Lifelong Experimentation in Service

Ajay Dahiya is Executive Director of The Pollination Project, a grant-making organization that seeks to unleash goodness and expand compassion all over the world. Founded by active ServiceSpace volunteer Ari Nessel, The Pollination Project makes worldwide daily seed grants –...

Tim Harrison: Compassion Based Education

Timothy Harrison of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia joined the university's Center for Contemplative Science and Compassion-Based Ethics (formerly the Emory-Tibet Partnership) in 2013 and currently serves as the associate director for Cognitively-Based Compassion Training (CBCT)....

Grayson Sword: 18-Year-Old Wisdom

Grayson Sword is a 18-year-old high school senior and open-heart surgery survivor. At 13, she was diagnosed with a rare heart condition. Given almost no chance to survive, she lived, finding strength in compassion and resilience. Now 18, she's on a mission to raise compassion in the world....

Angela Oh: Transforming Communities: Tools for Peace and Justice

Angela Oh is an attorney, ordained Zen Buddhist priest, and nationally recognized expert on race relations and conflict resolution who has spent a lifetime utilizing a range of internal and external tools to help bridge cultural divides across race and religion. A second-generation Korean...

Gregory Ellison: Fearless Dialogues

Reverend Dr. Gregory C. Ellison, II is an artist who creates spaces for fearless dialogues. Rev. Ellison challenges each of us to ask, "who are you and how will you fight for freedom in your most authentic way?" His most authentic way is by creating the space for us to personally...

Kevin Adler: Rebuilding Social Support Systems for the Homeless

Kevin F. Adler is a social entrepreneur dedicated to a world where everyone is seen as invaluable and interconnected. Adler is the Founder and CEO of Miracle Messages, a nonprofit that is working to end homelessness by rebuilding social support systems. Miracle Messages has been featured...

Sunita Puri: A Palliative Care Doctor's Learnings on Death and Impermanence

“I began to believe that a longer life was a better life. A doctor’s job was to manipulate, control, and postpone death, not to accept it as inevitable. We learned to rage against the dying of the light.” – Sunita Puri Sunita Puri, M.D., is a California-based palliative...

Mandar Apte: Beyond Reducing Violence: Creating Conditions for Sustainable Peace

Mandar Apte is a former corporate leader and chemical engineer who is bringing the tool of meditation to promote nonviolence in the world.  Over the past decade, Mandar has taught meditation to thousands of people including police officers, victims of violence, returning veterans, inner city...

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