Do No Harm — Mindful Engagement for a World in Crisis

(3rd Edition 2021)

Do No Harm Free Poster

To take good care of ourselves and our world is a universal obligation of fundamental importance. Courageous and thoughtful, Wendy Wood, PhD and Thaïs Mazur, PhD have written a guide for responding purposefully and with compassion to the challenges the world faces at home and abroad. They share the stories of people who exemplify the essence of what it means to live and work in ways that do no harm, without domination and divisiveness. Whether you are a social activist, educator, healthcare worker, community advocate, or someone who is wanting to ‘just do something’, engaging mindfully can become a source and foundation for bringing actions into the world that support the change we are hoping to initiate and realize.

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The world is a perilous and complicated place, and the sheer magnitude of human suffering and environmental destruction is incomprehensible. While many of us hope for and work toward creating a kinder, more just, and safer world, we may also feel burdened by powerlessness and despair. How we respond takes deliberate, conscious awareness and requires us to show up as our best possible selves. But how are we to do this?  We need the skills, ability, and willingness to work together towards a freer and better civil society. We must lead from both our hearts and our minds. We must learn how to act in ways that do not harm, from a place of balanced determination and with equal regard for all people — from a place of equanimity. This book is designed to help you do just that. The qualities, the stories and the practices within this book provide the insight, skills, and tools needed to embrace our shared humanity, build resilience, transform conflict, and create meaningful change. This is a guide book that will give you the opportunity to understand and practice the principles and qualities of Mindful Engagement, while reading stories of people whose lives and work represent these qualities.

The voices you will hear within this book include:

  • A mediator whose work has redefined the field of mediation, conflict resolution, and peace building throughout the world;
  • A Roman Catholic nun whose activism around issues of human rights, along with her public presence, has influenced national political and social decisions and policies;
  • An indigenous grandmother and activist working tirelessly to save the birthing grounds of the caribou in Alaska from oil drilling;
  • A woman who, along with her husband, creates a healing center for mothers and children living in Fukushima and suffering from radiation exposure;
  • A pediatric psychiatrist and early childhood trauma expert who has reshaped our understanding and approach to working with children exposed to violence and neglect;
  • A social worker who founded a job-training, earth stewardship program for former inmates and at-risk youth;
  • A mother who loses her son in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and subsequently co-founds an organization united to turn grief into actions for peace.

The people in these stories exemplify the essence of what it means to work in ways that do no harm. Their shared wisdom is a way finding-a way through. After years of experience, contemplation, successes, and failures, these people have embraced certain qualities they express as essential in their work and their daily lives-the qualities of Mindful Engagement. These core qualities that each person possesses, practices, embodies, and applies-authenticity, deep listening, wise speech, mindfulness, compassion, love and joy-are part of a wheel, an intersection of pain and beauty, where one informs the other.

Whether you are a social activist, educator, healthcare worker, community advocate, or someone who is wanting to ‘just do something’ to alter the course of the challenges we face as a society, engaging mindfully can become a source and foundation for bringing actions into the world that do not harm. Mindful engagement is a practice, and like all practices, the more we live it, the more we can fully embrace, embody, and share it with others. If we are to act for the common good while navigating ordinary, as well as difficult and perilous situations, then we must do so responsibly, with good intentions, confidence, purpose, and kindness. Our mindful presence, focused attention, and motivations will support the change we are hoping to initiate and realize.

Praise for Do No Harm

Through the stories of seventeen individuals we are given the  gift of experience and wisdom demonstrating the power of  mindful engagement and altruism to change not only our own  lives but the lives of those around us. This book is an explosion  of grace and enlightenment. —James R. Doty, MD, Director of CCARE, Stanford University 

With both sensitivity and boldness, Dr. Wendy Wood and Dr.  Thaïs Mazur examine the nature and quality of collective social  and environmental responsibility. The reader is called upon  to search deeply within about how his or her own experiences  might be shaped by these qualities of meaningful engagement  and altruism, thus asking the profound question: What is  required to truly Do No HarmIntegral Publishers 

If you care about the world, then this is a must read! —Joan Jiko Halifax, Abbot, Upaya Zen Center  

Do No Harm is the perfect medicine for what ails the world today.  In this book, Wendy and Thaïs elegantly articulate the elusive  balance between the responsibility of sovereign individuals and  the cooperative potential of collective awareness. And it’s a great  read, including beautiful stories and practical advice. —Duncan Autrey, Host of Fractal Friends Podcast, Democracy  Politics and Conflict Engagement Initiative 

Into our troubled world, where differences more readily give  rise to conflict than to mutual reverence, comes this gem of a  book. Read it only if you are open to becoming a more enlightened human being. —Marilyn Lacey, Founder and Executive Director of Mercy Beyond Borders 

The stories offer many insights and questions we all need to  consider as we try to live our lives to help work for justice and  peace and environmental sanity. —David Hartsough, Peaceworkers 

Wood and Mazur showcase repeatedly in this book, sometimes  people’s best efforts and most humane causes can actually produce new struggles and cause harm. Hardly anyone who causes  conflict in the world does so knowingly and often does so with  the best of intentions. This book attempts, and largely succeeds,  in not only examining the global need for collective and progressive improvement but in also managing to provide the reader  with the tools needed to improve the circle of humanity that  revolves around them. Told in a series of detailed and in-depth  interviews, this book not only encourages participation, it also  provides so many powerful insights to move the reader towards  a more mindful approach to life. Brilliant, richly told, and openly  hopeful, this is a book that any world weary person can take  comfort in. —Manhattan Book Review

The range of contributors in this book is gratifying: a neuroscientist who works with and for traumatized children, a ‘guerilla midwife’ whose work it is to assist in delivering babies in environmental disaster zones and war zones, mediators and wisdom  teachers. The importance of language, and particularly stories,  is a common theme. Terms like compassion, mindfulness, and  humility occur throughout, and Do No Harm offers inspiration  for all those who respond to those key values. In that sense it  can complement nonviolence and nonviolent action, and is a  welcome addition. —Michael Nagler The Metta Center for Nonviolence, Founder and President  

Consolidating thousands of years of human techniques for  supporting others and fostering change, while doing no harm,  is no easy task. Wood and Mazur have done it with great skill  in the book Do No Harm. If you work with and support people  in conflict, drop everything, get this book and read it cover to  cover. This “how to” book has nothing to do with lists or charts  or secret methodologies. It goes much deeper as it lands you  right smack dab in the middle of understanding your own  deepest ways of interacting so you don’t unintentionally make  things worse. Front and center on my shelf of books for mak ing change, and resolving organizational conflicts is Wood  and Mazur’s Do No Harm. This work is a solid touchstone for  those of us who work to support positive culture, engagement,  and good interpersonal relationships, and don’t want to make  things worse through our involvement. —Mark Batson Baril, Founder of  San Francisco USA based Resologics 

In the midst of all that is going on in the world and as we struggle to make our way through difficult situations, this book gives  us some good insights into how to respond when faced with  challenges and to show up the best way we can. —Richard Grayson, Veterans for Peace


Book Publicity Contact

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