Wisdom Curated...Compassion with Jack Kornfield and Trudy Goodman


Jack Kornfield has an amazing presence that just emanates light and love. We have seen/heard him for the last couple of years. It was especially rich to see him on stage with his wife Trudy, and to observe them and learn from them.

Here are some of my notes…

Wisdom 2.0 is an exercise in kinship and perhaps love. We stop what our ordinary lives are and come together. We pay attention to each other. We offer our full presence.

He then included a rich quote from Albert Einstein:

If you can drive safely while kissing someone, you are not paying enough attention to the kiss.

The Wisdom Conference is about intentionally moving to an experience of being fully present in the midst of our digital (and often distracted) world, and about bringing mindfulness and compassion into our lives.

We breathe together. You have to remember your buddha nature and connectedness, and you also need to remember your social security number—what a vivid illustration of the transactional world we move in AND our opportunity to choose how we show up to this world! When you are with someone as they die you see the connectedness. Just as you are connected, all the technology will not prevent war.

Wisdom happened during the week with focus on the fate of the dreamers and the school shootings, and all the divisiveness around us. Jack made a bold call to action—our outer technology must be matched with the inner development of the heart. Outer terror can come in to the heart when the outside terror is allowed in and fear gets in.


Healthy and unhealthy seeds are always there. If you water a seed of peace, it is the seed that is watered frequently that grows strong.

In it is unbearable beauty and unspeakable suffering.

How do we meet the measure of suffering, struggle or sorrows? With judgement and fear…or with compassion? We can use it to connect with each other. Don't just look at the tragedy--see the compassion that comes in--rescuers coming from all across the world.  The real compassion is how we respond.

Jack sat with his twin brother over the last two years as he lived with the cancer that ultimately took his life. He testified to seeing so many acts of love during that time. The opportunity is to meet suffering with the great heart of compassion. Empathy is the first step. Compassion is to see what is happening, to care, and then to respond. He added research on empathy from the University of Chicago (Helping Your Fellow Rat:Rodents Show Empath-Driven Behavior), and Stanford research about how empathy training can change the shape of telomeres and add to longevity (Can You Teach Compassion?).

He suggested and through Virtual Reality we may actually create a type of “fitbit” for compassion. He then asked “When you say to Siri, I am lonely, what does she say?” And asked how we might build a different interaction in the tech world–the power of the human heart.

He then offered a call to action…

When you look at the person next to you, or that person who most challenges your ability to be compassionate and non-judgmental…

See them as if they were the dearest member of your family.

See the person as a young child playing–the spirit of a child.

Pretend as you walk out that you are the Dalai Lama–I want to meet everyone as an old friend–offer them blessings.

Set your best intention–quiet–what is the deepest and best intention?

Together in the name of love–in the technology and in the heart.

Both Jesus and Buddha had a hard time when they went home.


He spoke about unfiltered mindfulness and included the elephant and the blind men metaphor

6 people who are blind, they have never seen an elephant; they see through their hands.

They trust their perceptions.

Wise woman says you are all right. You each carry part of the truth. Seeing the whole elephant is the Wisdom. The content of wisdom is compassion. We need our interconnection. How we do connect our lives together? We are kin. This whole elephant–through mindfulness we can see the inter-relatedness.

Technology narrows our view with filter bubbles.

It makes it harder to look at the wider picture.

Wikipedia definition of "Filter bubble" is the restriction of the user’s perception. When we are stealing our time by getting caught online we are stealing our opportunity to be aware. We have a biological clock.  Keeping my heart open to the reality that death is real, helps motivate me to set limits. Digital opiods are being fostered in all of us intentionally. How can we harness the superpowers of mindfulness and compassion?

Open Source Compassion Gathering–In order to learn we really need a community. We are innately wired for goodness; we will always choose a good kid relationship over an aggressive one. We need to learn the language of compassion and make it our default setting.

They ended with some great wisdom…

We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love. -Dorothy Day

May our purpose be love driven

Pope Francis invites us to “a revolution of tenderness in the world” that will spring from felt sense of kinship.

Jack concluded with a Poem by Fred Lamott

My Ancestry DNA-by Fred Lamott

My Ancestry DNA results came in.
Just as I suspected, my great-great-grandfather was a monarch butterfly.
Much of who I am is still wriggling under a stone.
I am part larva, but part hummingbird too.
There is dinosaur tar in my bone marrow.
My golden hair sprang out of a meadow in Palestine.
Genghis Khan is my fourth cousin, but I didn’t get his dimples.
My loins are loaded with banyan seeds from Sri Lanka, but I descended from Ravanna, not Ram.
My uncle is a mastodon.
There are traces of white people in my saliva.
3.7 billion years ago I swirled in golden dust, dreaming of a planet overgrown with lingams and yonis.
More recently, say, 60,000 B.C.,
I walked on hairy paws across a land bridge joining Sweden to Botswana.
I am the bastard of the sun and moon.
I can no longer hide my heritage of raindrops and cougar scat.
I am made of your grandmother’s tears.
You conquered rival tribesmen of your own color, chained them together, marched them naked to the coast,
And sold them to colonials from Savannah.
I was that brother you sold, I was the slave trader,
I was the chain.
Admit it, you have wings, vast and golden,
Like mine, like mine.
You have sweat, black and salty,
Like mine, like mine.
You have secrets silently singing in your blood,
Like mine, like mine.
Don’t pretend that earth is not one family.
Don’t pretend we never hung from the same branch.
Don’t pretend we don’t ripen on each other’s breath.
Don’t pretend we didn’t come here to forgive.


They invite us to “Appreciative Joy.”  And suggest we say to each person we encounter, “How wonderful you are in your being. I am glad that you are here. I take joy in your good fortune.”