How may I serve? Asking this question can turn your life around. Thinking of others first—reaching out to them despite how it might inconvenience you—causes you to feel joy. This gift of feeling good (or feeling God) within comes from serving and surrendering rather than asking and demanding.

There’s no room for blame in your life as long as you live with kindness. Blaming your past. Blaming the economy. Blaming your perceived personal flaws. Blaming God. Blaming your parents. Blaming your children or your spouse. Blaming your DNA. There’s no shortage of circumstances, people, and events to blame—and there’s no shortage of blame itself.

When you shift to compassion, all blame disappears. So no matter what you may want for yourself, discover how you can want it more for someone else, and then make that shift. In that contemplative moment, compassion will eradicate finger-pointing. And you’ll begin to think like God thinks: serving, offering, giving, and loving freely.

I’ve certainly found that when I remember to nurture kindness and courtesy, everything in my life seems to move toward more harmony and peace, to say nothing of how much better I feel when I’m giving rather than wanting.

I heard the Dalai Lama speak on compassion some years back, and the essence of his message contained these two points:

1. Compassion is the single most important quality that humanity needs to learn. This is the way to find happiness and health and to feel successful.

2. War and violence would become extinct in one generation if, beginning at the age of five, children were taught to meditate on compassion for an hour a week for the rest of their lives. Such is the power of a compassionate approach to life, which is truly thinking of others and living by the ancient Golden Rule.

The very second you feel yourself retreating to blaming and making excuses, repeat the mantra How may I serve? Then act upon the answers you receive. You’ll become aligned with the universal mind, which is always giving, and the bonus is that you’ll notice the universe asking you back, “How may I serve you?” As your compassion for others flows back to you, remember the truth I’ve written about many times: You do not attract what you want; you attract what you are. So make compassion be what you are. 

Suggestions for Living from Compassion 

  • Upon awakening, let the words Thank you flow from your lips, for this will remind you to begin your day with gratitude and compassion. Make it a practice to begin each day by thinking first of someone else and then making a decision to actively do something, anything, that will bring a smile to his or her face. When you become conscious of wanting to do something kind for another human being, you move into a higher way of being. It takes your thoughts off yourself and What’s in it for me? and puts them on How may I serve? which is precisely how the universal mind we call the Tao or God is always operating. When you’re aligned with a compassionate outlook, your entire day will reflect this kind of awareness.
  • If you believe as Martin Luther King, Jr. did that our culture needs restructuring and that compassion is the way, I urge you to work toward electing people to public office—at all levels—who relate sensitivity and kindness in their messages to the public. Look for the compassionate heart, rather than the one that excludes, punishes, seeks revenge, or manipulates with government power. The more our institutions reflect this humane attitude, the fewer collective excuses we will call upon to explain why we haven’t been able to create the heaven on earth that is our true calling. 
  • As I’ve frequently stated, the active repetition of an inner mantra reinforces and creates exactly what you’re saying to yourself. Therefore, repeat the following to yourself for at least five minutes: I am a being of compassion. I extend love outward everywhere because this is my nature. Affirm this to yourself continually, and post it in a prominent place in your home, your office, or even your car.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gives us the ultimate words of compassion. If our world today would put them into practice, we’d all be living in peace. But even if the rest of the world hasn’t yet caught on, you can. I urge you to put these words to work in your life today; if you do, all excuses will most certainly vanish:

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. (Matthew 5:43-44)

This is compassion in action!

Wayne W. Dyer, Ph.D., is an internationally renowned author and speaker in the field of self-development. Wayne holds a doctorate in educational counseling from Wayne State University and was an associate professor at St. John’s University in New York.