A “Just Like Me” Practice to Expand Your Circle of Compassion

As we process the tragic events in Ukraine and around the world, we can choose to cultivate a sense of what ties all of humanity together: the desire to overcome suffering.

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When we’re aware that events of war and injustice are unfolding, wherever we are in the world, we often feel a powerful sense of connection with those who are at the center of the conflict. The crisis in Ukraine allows us to witness the plight of the Ukrainian people, everyday citizens who are not so different from ourselves—mounting a courageous and heroic defense of their homeland or being forced to flee as refugees. We also see Russian people who are protesting the actions of their government, risking their own safety in the process. 

For many of us, this moment also invites us to reflect deeply upon other instances of violence that, sadly, are always occurring. Conflicts in countries like Iran, Syria, Yemen, or Afghanistan (among many others) are often omitted from our news cycle. Despite this, the people who are suffering in conflicts around the world are not so different from ourselves.

The invitation with this practice is to put aside ideas and concepts about differences, shame, fear, survival, and the rest, and to simply see if you can begin to develop a felt sense of common humanity. What you are tapping into here is the awareness…