Two Famous Albert’s: We Must Extend Our “Circle of Compassion” (and HOW To Do It)

Written by on March 28, 2016 in Conscious Evolution, Conscious Living with 12 Comments
Albert Einstein and Albert Schweitzer each implored us to extend our circle of compassion

Albert Einstein and Albert Schweitzer each implored us to extend our circle of compassion to all living things.

“Until he extends his circle of compassion to include all living things, man will not himself find peace.” – Albert Schweitzer

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security.” ― Albert Einstein

Sadly, at least 65 were killed yesterday by a bomb blast in a park filled with Christian families celebrating Easter in the Pakistani city of Lahore. And just last week, dozens were killed in Brussels by two separate terrorist attacks. And, before that, there was Paris. And what about the hundreds of thousands of refugees who have been forced to abandon everything (their homes, jobs, communities, etc), in search for a peaceful place to live.

With the internet, our world has become a global community. Still, for many of us, our circle of compassion does not extend beyond our small circle of families, friends, and neighbors.

Both Albert Schweitzer and Albert Einstein implored us all to extend our circle of compassion to all living things.  Watch this beautiful video in which Abby Martin provides the historical context and a heartfelt discussion regarding Albert Einstein’s famous ‘Circle of Compassion’ quote.

Here are some tips for extending your compassion:

  • Feel compassion in your heart first.  Imagine that your compassion is a light that is spreading over your heart.
  • Concentrate on the kindness and compassion of all living things, and how they make your life possible.
  • Know that every day is a call to compassion.  When you feel compassion for others, don’t brush it aside.  Become open and vulnerable, enhance and deepen the feeling.
    • In the “Tibetan Book of Living and Dying”, Sogyal Rinpoche advises us that when we are met with sights that make us aware of the world’s suffering, instead of avoiding our feelings we should allow ourselves to participate in them fully. ”Switch on a television,” he writes, ”and there on the news perhaps is a mother in Beirut kneeling above the body of her murdered son; or an old grandmother in Moscow pointing to the soup that is her food for today, not knowing if she’ll have even that tomorrow…”
    • Don’t waste the love and grief it arouses,” he tells us. ”In the moment you feel compassion welling up in you, don’t brush it aside, don’t shrug it off and try quickly to return to ‘normal,’ don’t be afraid of your feeling or embarrassed by it, or allow yourself to be distracted from it or let it run aground in apathy. Be vulnerable; use that quick, bright uprush of compassion; focus on it, go deep in your heart and meditate on it, develop it, enhance, and deepen it. By doing this you will realize how blind you have been to suffering, how the pain that you are experiencing or seeing now is only a tiny fraction of the pain of the world.
    • All beings, everywhere, suffer; let your heart go out to them all in spontaneous and immeasurable compassion, and direct that compassion, along with the blessing of all the Buddhas, to the alleviation of suffering everywhere.”

This article was originally created and published by and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Ross Pittman and  It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution and this copyright statement.

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12 Reader Comments

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  1.' Mayse Vila says:

    Sending love and light to Pakistan.

  2.' Rob Versteeg says:


  3.' Thomas Nasine Fogouang says:

    Yes of course I do agree.

  4.' G Matthew Oothoudt says:

    Life beats us into a box and we accept these boundaries because we believe we are what present society has defined us as. It is an illusion. We are God.

  5.' Erik Albert says:

    By no means must compassion mean feeling the need to help, regardless. This life is about trying not to miss any opportunities where your help is truly required. In other words, helping for the sake of simply helping, unless specifically asked for, is utterly awkward, as it implied you drawing the conclusion help is needed only as a result of your own interpretation of reality. Also, each species’ feeding procedure/ritual is not applicable for consideration. Under natural no nonsense, I can eat what I want. Hunting and killing for self-preservation is natural.

  6.' Kathy Madigan says:

    YES! Two incredible human beings!!

  7.' Kc Phillips says:

    Morowa Fuziwe Fye

  8.' Annelle Miller says:

    It all comes back to compassion…

  9.' Lin Zhang says:

    Thank you!

  10.' Lin Zhang says:

    We are all one, not alone!

  11.' Pedro J Zevallos says:

    Ain’t that the truth.
    And more and more things are becoming part of this optical illusion.

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