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The Rhythm of Compassion: A Book Review

Rhythm of Compassion bookcover

       For most of my life I have felt uncomfortable ‘in my own skin’.  It seemed logical since I was raised in a family that encouraged non-conformist thinking.   Eventually, I realized that the root of the discomfort was an egotistical mindset that simultaneously created my personal alienation as I strove to ‘save the world’.   As a well-intended activist, I tried to ‘fix the problem or person’ but repeatedly suffered emotional exhaustion and/or confusion in the process.

Ms. Straub, author of The Rhythm of Compassion, believes that each of us is broken in some way.   Furthermore, she posits, that for many of us, our inherent “quest for wholeness expresses itself in two fundamental and inseparable yearnings – self-reflection and contribution, the in-breath and out-breath."  Following this ‘rhythm of compassion’ provides us with an inner cadence of contentment as we balance our commitments to personal growth and to family and to the planet. She contends that finding meaning in our suffering is crucial not only to our personal healing, but also to the healing of the world.

This book offers meditations and procedures designed to develop the four qualities of ‘mature compassion’ – a quiet mind, an open heart, a loving presence and a radical simplicity.

A quiet mind is the first step.

A quiet mind - Rthymn of Compassion

It harbors a safe place for an open heart. 

Open Heart - Rhythm of Compassion

A loving presence presumes a relationship

between equals (i.e. I heal and am healed). 

Loving presence - Rhythm of Compassion

Radical simplicity requires the ego to be harnessed so one can encounter suffering with equanimity.  

Compassion - The Rhythm of Compassion

The sum total of the process leads to the realization that “I am content to be one part of the solution and know that I cannot fix it all”.

Content - Rhythm of Compassion

The Rhythm of Compassion is much more than a spiritual self-help guide for social justice activists.  This book offers a lifeline to those who care and feel the need to serve, but suffer pitfalls along the way. I strongly recommend that anyone struggling to make a difference in this world read this book. Review by Tim Wolcott

“I slept and dreamt that life was joy, I woke and found that life was service, I acted and behold, service was joy”.  – Rabindranath Tagore

An Interview with Gail Straub

Read an EXCERPT from The Rhythm of Compassion

We welcome your comments and feedback.

Teach Peace Now
Teach Peace Now
We offer books, activities, lesson plans, and ideas that teachers, parents, and students can use to promote values, attitudes and behaviors which encourage non-violent resolution of conflict, respect for human rights, democracy, intercultural understanding and tolerance.


  1. Marchi says:

    The problem didn’t need you to fix it.just encourage it.
    I have lost the greatest gift I was ever allowed.I have found peace in myself and now have no way express all I kept in over years with my love. If there was a way, I would take it. I will live the life I had and didn’t share for the rest of my life. And if God sees fit, he will do what I know he can, and I will hold my wife again

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