Quotes that challenge and inspire...

Here you will find a selection of quotes from various writers on a variety of topics relating to spirituality. Each month, we will choose a new topic to focus on but you still be able to access the quotes from previous months by searching our quotes archive at the bottom of this page.

if you would like to contribute a quote that we haven't included below, please send it to us at spaceforsoulbristol@gmail.com

Quotes about compassion

Karen Armstrong 

British author and commentator on religious affairs; founder of the Charter for Compassion; author of ‘Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life.’


Compassion is not an option. It's the key to our survival.


At their best, all religious, philosophical, and ethical traditions are based on the principle of compassion.


… religious people often prefer to be right rather than compassionate. They've lost the Axial Age vision of concern for everybody.


… no religious doctrine or practice can be authentic if it does not lead to practical compassion. 


In compassion, when we feel with the other, we dethrone ourselves from the center of the world and we put another person there.


If it is not tempered by compassion, and empathy, reason can lead men and women into a moral void.


Compassion is a practically acquired knowledge, like dancing. You must do it and practice diligently day by day.


… the attempt to become a compassionate human being is a lifelong project.


Dalai Lama

​Compassion is the wish to see others free from suffering.


Compassion and tolerance are not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength.


Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.


One of the secrets of inner peace is the practice of compassion.


Only the development of compassion and understanding for others can bring us the tranquillity and happiness we all seek.


A truly compassionate attitude toward others does not change even if they behave negatively or hurt you.

Generosity is the most natural outward expression of an inner attitude of compassion and loving-kindness.



Henri Nouwen 

Catholic priest, theologian and writer; co-author of ‘Compassion: Reflection on the Christian life’


Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into the places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion, and anguish. Compassion challenges us to cry out with those in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to weep with those in tears. Compassion requires us to be weak with the weak, vulnerable with the vulnerable, and powerless with the powerless. Compassion means full immersion in the condition of being human. 


Action with and for those who suffer is the concrete expression of the compassionate life and the final criterion of being a Christian.


Compassion can never coexist with judgement because judgement creates the distance, the distinction, which prevents us from really being with the other. 


When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.


The joy that compassion brings is one of the best-kept secrets of humanity. It is a secret known only to a very few people, a secret that has to be rediscovered over and over again.


Other miscellaneous quotes 


Albert Einstein

Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.


Robert Frost

There never was any heart truly great and generous, that was not also tender and compassionate.  


Thich Nhat Hahn

Compassion is a verb.


Compassion is a mind that removes the suffering that is present in the other. The essence of love and compassion is understanding, the ability to recognize the physical, material and psychological suffering of others, to put ourselves ‘inside the skin’ of the other… Shallow observation as an outsider is not enough to see their suffering. We must become one with the object of our observation. When we are in contact with another’s suffering, a feeling of compassion is born in us.    


Martin Luther King

True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.

Jack Kornfield

Our sorrow and wounds are healed only when we touch them with compassion. 


If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.

Thomas Merton

Compassion is the keen awareness of the interdependence of all things.


Amit Ray

The light of compassion opens the petals of the heart. When the petals of the heart unfold fragrance spreads across the valley.


Compassion is all inclusive. Compassion knows no boundaries. Compassion comes with awareness, and awareness breaks all narrow territories.


Albert Schweitzer

Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace. 

Mother Theresa

I would rather make mistakes in kindness and compassion than work miracles in unkindness and hardness. 


We do not need guns and bombs to bring peace, we need love and compassion.

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Quotes about soul








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