Compassionate radicals convene in Boulder

Every day there’s news of terrible things going on in the world, from wars in the Middle East to Ebola to environmental crises. Some spiritual thinkers believe teaching something simple, compassion, is one way to reduce conflict and solve problems.

The Dalai Lama has said, “We need a little more compassion, and if we cannot have it then no politician or even a magician can save the planet.”

This week contemplatives, scientists, and activists will participate in the Radical Compassion Symposium at Naropa University in Boulder.

“Business leaders and workers must learn to practice non-violent business, especially in how they manage people,” he says.

The way to accomplish this is through deep self exploration, he adds. CEOs need to understand how their inner lives affect their decisions, so they can be effective and better managers, Colonna says. That can lead to more compassion in the workplace.

Colonna says having compassion does not preclude being financially successful either. “Greed and compassion are not compatible,” says Colonna, and greed stems from fear, so understanding fears like fear of failure or fear of loss of security is critical to developing radical compassion.

Judith Simmer Brown teaches religious studies and Buddhist practice at Naropa. She says fear is also at the root of many of the world’s conflicts.

“Warfare and alienation is caused by people who don’t understand each other,” she says.

She says it’s critical to listen and talk with those who have different beliefs, because this is how to interrupt the cycles of misunderstanding.

If you stay away from talking about philosophy and theology there’s often common ground between opposing groups, she says, and that is the place to build peace and a compassionate society.

See photos and listen to Compassionate radicals convene in Boulder reported and produced by Shanna Lewis for Colorado Matters.

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