April 7, 2012

Compassion

A post the Dalai Lama did on compassion

one thing seems clear to me: whether or not we are consciously aware of it, from the day we are born, the need for human affection is in our very blood. Even if the affection comes from an animal or someone we would normally consider an enemy, both children and adults will naturally gravitate towards it.

I believe that no one is born free from the need for love. And this demonstrates that, although some modern schools of thought seek to do so, human beings cannot be defined as solely physical. No material object, however beautiful or valuable, can make us feel loved, because our deeper identity and true character lie in the subjective nature of the mind.

This need for human affection he speaks of.  We all crave it.  Some more than others.  I crave it, I know.  I want to feel affection, and do.  I want others to feel affection towards me.  That is what is so lovely about the affection of a child.  They simply love you for who you are.  No qualifications needed.  I feel simple love for my daughters and husband and parents. No qualifications needed.  I love my cat too, but not in the same way.  I know she simply feels affectionate to me to get food.  That's her main purpose in life:  to eat and sleep. If I was replaced by someone else she wouldn't care, likely.  But my kids would care.  My husband would care.

But of course it is also true that we all have an innate self-centeredness that inhibits our love for others. So, since we desire the true happiness that is brought about by only a calm mind, and since such peace of mind is brought about by only a compassionate attitude, how can we develop this? Obviously, it is not enough for us simply to think about how nice compassion is! We need to make a concerted effort to develop it; we must use all the events of our daily life to transform our thoughts and behavior.

Yes, this concerted effort to develop it. I believe that you're only compassionate towards others if you love yourself.  Not just saying to yourself "you're okay", or "you're a bit weak in spots".  But really saying honestly to yourself "I LOVE YOU".  Unconditionally, without any reservations.  From that love you project outwards.  You are able to love your neighbour because you love yourself.  You are able to love others, because you love yourself.  It comes around to this inner idea of peace.  Compassion starts from within.  Be compassionate to yourself.


 Whether people are beautiful and friendly or unattractive and disruptive, ultimately they are human beings, just like oneself. Like oneself, they want happiness and do not want suffering. Furthermore, their right to overcome suffering and be happy is equal to one's own. Now, when you recognize that all beings are equal in both their desire for happiness and their right to obtain it, you automatically feel empathy and closeness for them. Through accustoming your mind to this sense of universal altruism, you develop a feeling of responsibility for others: the wish to help them actively overcome their problems. Nor is this wish selective; it applies equally to all. As long as they are human beings experiencing pleasure and pain just as you do, there is no logical basis to discriminate between them or to alter your concern for them if they behave negatively.

No, there is no need to discriminate against people.  If they are human, they deserve your compassion.  No strings attached.  Just because they are different doesn't mean they feel less pain, does it? 

 We should begin by removing the greatest hindrances to compassion: anger and hatred. As we all know, these are extremely powerful emotions and they can overwhelm our entire mind. Nevertheless, they can be controlled. If, however, they are not, these negative emotions will plague us - with no extra effort on their part! - and impede our quest for the happiness of a loving mind.

I believe that anger and hatred comes from fear of the unknown.  It is easy to hate someone you don't know.  Look at the love letters sent between Israel and Iran on Facebook for instance.  People getting to know each other and realizing they're not monsters.  If a Christian person was to meet a gay person and simply talk to them, they'd see that isn't a person filled with Satan but simply a person that is the way they are.  If only they'd open their ears and hear that the person just wants the same thing they want.  To be loved and accepted and cherished for who they are.  Not what they "should" or "shouldn't" be.

 Because we all share an identical need for love, it is possible to feel that anybody we meet, in whatever circumstances, is a brother or sister. No matter how new the face or how different the dress and behavior, there is no significant division between us and other people. It is foolish to dwell on external differences, because our basic natures are the same.

We all need love.  Every single person on this planet that breathes needs love.  We all need compassion. Will you listen to one person that is different to you?  Will you honestly listen and open your ears and hear that they need love, just like you do?  Will you show compassion?

I'll end this post with the Dalai Lamas words:  I try to treat whoever I meet as an old friend. This gives me a genuine feeling of happiness.  It is the practice of compassion.
 
 

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