Inspiration: Joan Halifax on Compassion


In this inspirational TEDWomen Talk, Joan Halifax discusses the importance of compassion.  Her experiences with the sick and dying throughout her life shape her views on empathy.  Her 40 years of work experience in healthcare and on death row help her articulate the qualities of compassion as well as its enemies.


In his book Westward Dharma, Professor Christopher Queen says of Halifax, “In a culture where death is an enemy to be ignored, denied, and hidden away, Joan physically touches the dying. She holds them, listens to them, comforts them, calms them, and eases their suffering by any means possible. She shares their thoughts and fears; she feels their last shuddering breaths, holding them in her arms” (Source).  What we could all learn from someone like this…


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