Compassion and empathy are popular concepts today and believed to contribute to personal happiness. How useful are they in clinical settings, end-of-life care? Is it worthwhile to have compassion training programs in schools, assuming it is possible to train compassion? What is the difference between empathy and compassion and what do each of those words mean? Can they be measured? Can the brain be transformed through mental training (something we looked at in some depth in the June happiness meditations)?
Compassion: Bridging Science and Practice, a free multimendia e-book attempts to answer these questions. It is authored by Professor Dr.Tania Singer and Matthias Bolz, both from the Max Planck Institute of Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany. The book describes existing secular compassion training programs and empirical research, as well as the experiences of practitioners. The state-of-the-art layout of the e-book includes video clips and a selection of original sound collages by Nathalie Singer, and artistic images by Olafur Eliasson.
In the film Raising Compassion Tania Singer and Olafur Eliasson bring together workshop participants in an informative exchange between science, art, and contemplative practice.