Practices and Meditations

The key to developing compassion in one’s life is to make it a daily practice. In other words, the goal is to consistently apply methods known to grow compassion and mindfulness as opposed to just considering theories or practice benefits. Compassionate Houston recognizes that there are many practices and meditations that may help us develop compassion. We have provided you with examples of practices to try and share with your family and friends.




Alphabet of the Heart Practice

This is a practice developed by James R. Doty, M.D., the founder of CCARE at Stanford University, keynote speaker for Houston Compassion Week 2017, and author of Into The Magic Shop. Dr. Doty developed a list of 10 attributes or qualities that have been shown to open the heart, and he suddenly saw the list as a mnemonic, CDEFGHIJKL (for a full discussion of each letter, see his book, pages 242-245). He began a new practice for himself of reciting this alphabet each morning, and he selected one quality from the list as his intention for the day.





A Guide to Cultivating Compassion in Your Life, With 7 Practices

Compassion can be learned, developed and practiced. How do we do that? Leo Babuta’s Compassion Cultivation Guide contains 7 different practices that you can try out and perhaps incorporate into your every day life.  Reference: Babuta, L. (2007). A Guide to Cultivating Compassion in Your Life, With 7 Practices. Zen Habits. Retrieved on November 8, 2016 from




Cultivating Compassion Training Meditation

“Cultivating Compassion Training” or CCT, is an 8-week educational program designed at CCARE at Stanford University to strengthen specific qualities natural o the human heart and mind. Enrollment in the full training course, offered regularly by partner faculty of Compassionate Houston, is strongly recommended to achieve the full understanding and benefit of this powerful program. The steps of CCT, presented as guided meditations, are available below. You may choose to use the integrated practice or to explore and practice each step individually.


Integrated Practice

This meditation ties together all the steps of Compassion Cultivation Training, beginning with mindfulness and leading through compassion for loved ones, compassion and loving kindness for yourself, recognition of common humanity, compassion for all people, and active compassion practice.


Step 1 – Mindfulness

10 Minute Breath Awareness

20 Minute Mindfulness


Step 2 – Compassion for Someone You Love

12 Min

20 Min Full


Step 3 – Self-Compassion

Part 1 – Compassion for Yourself

12 Min

20 Min Full

Part 2 – Loving Kindness for Yourself

16 Min

24 Min


Step 4 – Common Humanity

14 Min

26 Min


Step 5 – Compassion for Others

8 Min Short

26 Min Full


Step 6 – Active Compassion 

10 Min

24 Min