12 Steps to a Compassionate Life

Karen Armstrong’s 2010 book takes the work developed in her previous book, The Case for God, and the work around the ‘Charter of Compassion’ to develop an approach to building up a global community in which all people can live together in mutual respect. Learning to live together might be a byline for this idea, which builds on the ancient concept of the Golden Rule, ‘do unto others as you would wish them to do unto you’. For Armstrong this ethical maxim is the test of true spirituality.

The Council of Conscience is a multi-religious group of notable individuals from Buddhist, Christian, Confucian, Hindu, Islamic and Jewish backgrounds. They have agreed and articulated a charter which is focused on compassion, solidarity and the inviolable sanctity of all human beings. It calls on all people to put compassion at the heart of morality, reject interpretations of scripture that breed violence, hatred or disdain, and ensure that youth are given accurate information about other religions, appreciate diversity and cultivate an informed empathy with those who suffer. In her book she establishes twelve steps to achieve this.

The First Step: Learn about Compassion
The Second Step: Look at your Own World
The Third Step: Compassion for Yourself
The Fourth Step: Empathy
The Fifth Step: Mindfulness
The Sixth Step: Action
The Seventh Step: How Little We Know
The Eighth Step: How Should We Speak to One Another?
The Ninth Step: Concern for Everybody
The Tenth Step: Knowledge
The Eleventh Step: Recognition
The Twelfth Step: Love Your Enemies

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