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Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Poems, Quotes, and Proverbs About Mindfulness and Compassion

last updated December 22, 2020

Image by Thought Catalog from Pixabay

by Catharine Hannay

Here's a selection of poems, quotes, and proverbs for mindfulness teachers, as well as K-12 teachers interested in Integrating Academics with Mindfulness and SEL

Over the past few years, I've put together several lists of quotations, with questions that can be used for class discussion or reflective writing assignments.
quotations focusing on Mindfulness
    quotations focusing on Compassion
    • The Power of Forgiveness: quotations about the meaning of forgiveness, forgiving others, and forgiving ourselves.
    • Tales of Generosity: stories of giving and receiving from a variety of sources, including a Hasidic tale, a Sufi parable, and a couple of popular passages from the Gospels.


    Here are some of my favorite proverbs and adages, which could also be good topics for class discussion and reflective writing: 
    It’s better to light a candle than curse the darkness.

    What you see in yourself is what you see in the world.  
    Two wrongs don’t make a right.  
    Whoever gossips to you will gossip about you.

    "Think before acting; and whilst acting, still think. 
    “Love me when I least deserve it, because that is when I need it most.” 


    If you'd like your students to write poetry or other forms of creative expression:

    If you're looking for poems to share with your class:
    • One of my favorite poets is Mary Oliver, a keen observer of the natural world. 
    • And here are a few poems that have led to thoughtful discussions in my classes:
      • Hook, by James Arlington Wright, about an unexpected moment of kindness. (There's one potentially-offensive phrase in the first stanza.)
      • Incident, by Countee Cullen, about an unexpected moment of unkindness. (Very offensive 'N-word' in the second stanza, but that's the point of the poem. As always, use your own best judgment about what's appropriate for your particular context.)
    • You may also be interested in the Songs About Kindness and Compassion (playlist 2), which includes a song based on 'Incident,' as well as other perspectives odiscrimination, understanding people from different backgrounds, and taking action to help others.

    Catharine Hannay is the founder of and the author of Being You: A Girl’s Guide to Mindfulness, a workbook for teen girls on mindfulness, compassion, and self-acceptance. (Sales of the book help me continue to run with no sponsorship or advertising.)