Advancing American Compassion

By The Garrison Institute

At the Garrison Institute, we believe in the power of contemplative practice to create a more compassionate and resilient future for all.

It’s a truth that lies at the foundations of all of the world’s great spiritual traditions: that, with care and reflection, we can slip the bonds of parochial egotism, and experience the sacredness of our fellow human beings, and our interconnectedness within a larger whole. This understanding expands our moral community to include ever-widening circles of humanity—and ultimately, all of life itself—in an embrace of compassion and loving kindness.

Today America faces a crisis of confidence in the power of compassion to advance our society. Division and separation shape our national conversation. Identity politics on both the left and the right increasingly divide us, at exactly the time that we need to see that we are all in this together. Rules are being enacted which are minimally compassionate, when they should be maximally so. This is particularly true regarding recent policies on refugees, many of whom carry the lasting burdens of trauma.

Through contemplative practice and deep social engagement, a restoration of compassion is possible, and with it, healing, reintegration, and creative possibility. This possibility is available to every person, and to our society as a whole.

Accordingly, in the year to come, as we continue to serve people from many walks of life, we will be offering special retreat programs for refugees and the people who care for them. In a similar spirit, we will also offer a free contemplative retreat to any senior member of the current Administration who wishes to participate in one. And we will continue to advocate tirelessly for the transformational potential of greater compassion in public life.

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