The Rhythm of Compassion presents a novel, powerful approach to healing and spirituality using the profound metaphor of in-and-out breath meditation. Unlike most self-help books, this one offers the revolutionary notion that caring for the self is not the only component of healing our minds and spirits. So too, argues author Gail Straub, is reaching out and giving to others. Straub believes "the health of the human psyche and the health of the world are inextricably related, and we cannot truly heal one without healing the other." Here Straub compellingly invites the reader to connect with the in-breath of self-knowing and the out-breath of acting to heal others. Only through this fascinating yet simple practice, says Straub, can we truly heal ourselves, our society, and our planet. Few spirituality books take such a stance-fewer still explain it with such clarity, wisdom, and compassion.
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This heartfelt guide provides practical exercises for readers to achieve the delicate balance between care of self and service to others. From learning how to develop compassion to fostering introspection and calling for social and community action, Straub lays the groundwork for individual transformation and enlightenment. By offering insightful and encouraging advice that allows readers to take a realistic look inward, Straub taps into a healthy and balanced spirituality that will not only nourish the self, but will also benefit the outside world.Review:
Using the primal rhythm of breath-in and breath-out, renowned author and teacher Gail Straub shows readers how they can serve the spirit and the planet simultaneously. Yes, it's a radical concept--considering the human tendency to gravitate toward one extreme or the other. But Straub offers compelling reasons why we must stay in balance. "Without the in-breath of self care and reflection we can't sustain our involvement with the suffering of the world, nor do we have the clarity of heart and mind required for the complex challenges we face," writes Straub. "On the other hand, without the out-breath of compassionate engagement with society our inner work implodes upon itself leading to the dead end of narcissism and spiritual emptiness."
The first half of the book is devoted to breathing in--which involves significant truth-telling, as readers face chapters such as, "Excavating Where You Belong and Where You Hide," "Unearthing Broken Hearts, Radical Surprises and Wake-up Calls." The second half addresses the out-breath with chapters such as "Uncovering the Shadow Side of Service" and "Stewardship as a Spiritual Practice." Straub is a persuasive and anecdote-rich narrator, who offers numerous activities and exercises to make this remarkable book even more tangible--a must-read for activists as well as spiritual seekers. --Gail Hudson
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