Health has many dimensions, and intolerance and lack of compassion may contribute to the poor health and disparities in our nation. Tolerance can convey an inherent paradox or dissonance that can be associated with stress. However, tolerance has a dimension of acceptance, an acknowledgement and acceptance of what "is" at the present moment, that can relieve tension associated with differing beliefs and practices. Compassionate consideration of others can be combined with acceptance to create harmony within and across individuals. In this article, we explore how contemplative practices can cultivate tolerance and compassion and contribute to improvements in individual and population health.
Keywords: health disparities; meditation; spirituality; stress reduction.