Karen Armstrong- Advocate of Compassion and Spiritual Awakening

17 Oct

“I say that religion isn’t about believing things. It’s ethical alchemy. It’s about behaving in a way that changes you, that gives you intimations of holiness and sacredness.”– Karen Armstrong on Powells.com

Karen Armstrong has to be one of my favorite scholars.  My last two reads were two of her  books- “History of God” & “The Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life”.  Most of her  books are based on faith and the major religions, studying what Islam, Judaism and Christianity have in common, and how our faiths shaped world history and drive our current global affairs and cultures.

After reading her pieces, curiosity is enticed to learn more about other religions and cultures.  She thoroughly connects many nations and tribes through differences and commonalities- a lot of food for thought that makes one reflect on life and the many wonders beyond us.  Karen Armstrong embodies the advocate for  ecumenical understanding.  I encourage people to look her up!

“When we cling to our certainties, likes, and dislikes, deeming them essential to our sense of self, we alienate ourselves from the “great transformation” of the Way, because the reality is that we are all in continual flux, moving from one state to another.  An unenlightened person, Zhuangzi explained, is like a frog in a well who mistakes the tiny patch of sky he can see for the whole; but once he has seen the sky’s immensity, his perspective is changed forever.  If we are determined to remain trapped in our current perspective, our understanding remains “small… cramped and busy.”” – Karen Armstrong, The Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life

“Compassion was the major test of any true spirituality and the chief means by which human beings come into contact with God or Nirvana or Brahman. And yet you rarely hear people talking about compassion.” – Karen Armstrong, TED


2 Responses to “Karen Armstrong- Advocate of Compassion and Spiritual Awakening”

  1. jjhiii24 October 23, 2011 at 7:34 pm #

    Karen Armstrong is also one of my favorite scholars and writers, and her message of promoting compassion in this world of ours should be broadcast globally to all people everywhere. I can’t think of a better goal to be passionate about than to challenge ourselves to be more compassionate to every living creature and to the earth upon which our very existence depends.

    My introduction to Karen’s writing was through “The Spiral Staircase,” which details her “climb out of darkness.” This enormously appealing book arrived in my life at a time when I too was struggling with the darkness in my life, and her courage in facing her personal challenges gave me inspiration to at least look at mine and face them directly. Since that time I have been on a similar “intellectual journey,” and am hopeful that I will eventually progress to the point where I might be able to help others.

    Thanks so much for your post….John H.


    • amnabuku2 October 24, 2011 at 2:55 am #

      Well said, John! I def. gravitate towards her work b/c of what you said and for also trying to understand the foundation of humanity and our inner prejudices.. The “intellectual journey” makes life worth it. 🙂

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