In wars and disaster zones, a simple explanation is that humanity is a force that advances the idea of life, with dignity. To strengthen the idea of humanity for people caught in conflicts, epidemics and disasters, we could borrow some ideas from the Olympic motto: Citius (faster), Altius (higher) and Fortius (stronger).
Scrolling though the news channels this morning was like the opening sequence to a film in which the director is trying to convey just how chaotic the world has become in the dystopian future. Except it's real life. It's right now, and though I can choose to turn off the TV, I cannot forget what I've learned and I cannot ignore it - and nor should you.
So last week I wrote about how to cope with other people's negative emotions. The following day, the Brexit result was announced. The result packed such a big emotional punch that even though I normally try to keep out of politics, I felt I had to write about it. Brexit shows how difficult it can be to remain compassionate and balanced in response to a slew of anger and hatred.
Jo Cox's death on Thursday, along with the tragic mass shooting in Orlando, has been a wakeup call for all of us, in a world where its becoming increasingly apparent that violence is the accepted answer to someone who doesn't agree with you or isn't like you. When did this way of dealing with difference become the norm?
Evolutionary theory would be compatible with altruism if we could expect the same in return. One monkey picks the parasites from the back of his monkey friend, then his monkey friend returns the favor. But it is hard to see how the 'you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours' gene could ever gain dominance in the first place.
I recently introduced mindfulness to a small group. What they found surprising was the fact that mindfulness isn't about sitting and picturing a beach scene and blocking out the 'bad stuff'. The sitting practice of meditation does often enable a sense of calm and restfulness, but this isn't always the case.
Valentine's Day is here and you might be frantically thinking about how to show your loved one you care. Or perhaps you're waiting with excitement what they will do for you to surprise you. There's nothing wrong with either of those scenarios - unless you start to let your expectations influence the happiness and love you feel.
Compassion is there, in all of us, we don't need to create it, just cultivate it. Engaging with compassion meditations is an excellent way to bring more your way. Just sitting and wishing those around you well, visualising others happiness as well as your own is the start of a greater experience of compassion.