The Lost Art of Compassion: Discovering the Practice of Happiness in the Meeting of Buddhism and Psychology
Now in paperback, this practical guide to cultivating compassion delivers Buddhist and psychological insight right where we need it most—navigating the difficulties of our daily lives.
Compassion is often seen as a distant, altruistic ideal cultivated by saints, or as an unrealistic response of the naively kind-hearted. Seeing compassion in this way, we lose out on experiencing the transformative potential of one of our most neglected inner resources.
Dr Lorne Ladner rescues compassion from this marginalised view, showing how its practical application in our life can be a powerful force in achieving happiness. Combining the wisdom of Tibetan Buddhism and Western psychology, Ladner presents clear, effective practices for cultivating compassion in daily living.
For modern Westerners groomed to be competitive, insatiable, and as hyperactive as hamsters, The Lost Art of Compassion stops us dead in our frantic tracks. With a zenlike whack to the side of our heads, Ladner deftly applies the pragmatic methods of Buddhism to psychology, reminding us that genuine happiness won't come from our misdirected striving and craving. A clinical psychologist and longtime Tibetan practitioner, Ladner has written a deeply innovative and kind how-to guide that reclaims the foundations of authentic contentment and compassion. The Western practice of psychology has taught us to work with damaging emotions and patterns, but according to Ladner has not offered "even one clear, practical, well-researched method for people to use to develop compassion." In contrast, the Buddhist tradition of mind-training focuses on the steady cultivation of positive emotions and mental states such as affection, even-mindedness, empathy, gratitude, and especially compassion. By practicing, we not only free ourselves from negative emotions, but are moved to ease the human suffering around us that is fed by such emotions. Richly combining his years of clinical and spiritual work, Ladner offers 10 reflective practices that drill out "the ego's calcifications" and distorting self images, opening the space for compassion. Emphasizing that "you cannot give others what you do not have yourself," his method gradually builds outward from establishing a secure self to caring for others. And, somehow, he does this without making us feel like we need to be Mother Teresa by next week. Ladner has never forgotten how he once heard someone in Los Angeles ask the Dalai Lama "what was the 'quickest and easiest' way to enlightenment." The Dalai Lama bowed his head and began to cry. Not fast-food, Ladner's book is a gift of compassion in itself once anyone puts it to practice. --Deborah Easter