In one way or another, every values-oriented culture, religious or not, teaches the importance of treating others the way we wish to be treated. How to achieve that goal may vary. It begins with listening. When we are able to listen to another’s viewpoint, we begin to be able to understand how to treat people as individuals, not categories.
Compassion is a simple response of the heart. I often reflect upon the words of George Washington Carver, "How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong, because someday in your life you will have been all of these." We all have been given the ability to offer compassion. We must simply decide if we are willing to move beyond our selves in order to truly live as agents of change.
"We are hard-wired for compassion- it feels good in our body when we act with care and understanding toward ourselves or others. Compassion springs from knowing in our heart we all belong to one another; our well-being depends on the well-being of all creation."