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It’s been difficult and emotional in recent months around the world, colored by separateness, violence and often a sense of despair. With shootings, terrorism and violent protest around the world, it can be hard to stay connected to current events without becoming overwhelmed and dispirited. These events underscore the importance of the Search Inside Yourself program, especially parts of the program that teach the tools of empathy and leading with compassion.

We teach these practices by starting where it’s easiest with the people who are closest to us, our family members, loved ones, closest friends and work colleagues. Starting with these easy-to-love people, we show how to become accustomed to seeing similarities and offering kindness. If we build this habit with the people in our inner circles, we can then extend the practice outward when there’s conflict in our lives or in the world, or to those who may have different backgrounds, experiences and beliefs.

Our hope is that everyone could learn, embrace and incorporate this simple, yet powerful, practice into daily life, especially during times of difficulty and conflict:

Focus on someone mentally and repeat to yourself: This other person is a human being, just like me. This other person has a body and mind, emotions, fears and hopes, just like me. I wish for this person to be happy and to be free of suffering.

We suggest doing this practice anywhere you can. Try it this week with colleagues, quietly on your own, when you’re stuck in traffic or on a bus or train and especially anywhere in your life where conflict needs to be reduced or tensions overcome. You can also listen to one of our teachers, Meg Levie, as she does the full seeing similarities and offering kindness practice from Search Inside Yourself.

Imagine being able to relate to and embody seeing similarities and offering kindness to all people, to all beings. We realize this may sound incredibly idealistic. But what do we have to lose? Start with yourself. Cultivate the ability to see that we are all part of one human family, that everyone wants to be happy, everyone deep down wants to live in safety and in peace.