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Compassion Makes You Happy

Articles Inspirational articles from Hay House authors

Compassion Makes You Happy

Your smiles heal you and your neighbor.
Dalai  Lama
Dalai Lama More by this author
Jul 06, 2010 at 10:00 AM

Genuine compassion is a sense of concern for everyone. Compassion is not pity; it is based on respect for the other’s rights and a recognition that the other is just like myself. When I meet someone on the street, I am reassured of my human feelings. Regardless of whether I know him or not, I smile at him. Sometimes there is no response; sometimes there is suspicion. But I get the benefit of smiling. Whether the other person gets any benefit or not depends upon his own thinking as well as on the circumstances.

The rewards of practicing compassion go first to the practitioner. I believe it is very important to understand this; otherwise, we will believe that compassion benefits the other and has nothing for us.

A compassionate attitude helps you communicate easily with fellow human beings. As a result, you make more genuine friends; the atmosphere is more positive, which gives you inner strength. This inner strength helps you voluntarily concern yourself with others, instead of just thinking about your own self.

Scientific research has shown that those individuals who often use words such as me, I and mine face a greater risk of a heart attack. If one always thinks of oneself, one’s thinking becomes very narrow; even a small problem appears very significant and unbearable.

When we think of others, our minds widen, and within that large space, even big personal problems may appear insignificant. This, according to me, makes all the difference.

As a Buddhist monk, my main aim is to practice altruism, the practice of bodhicitta, with wisdom or awareness. I believe that analytical meditation is one of the key methods to transform the mind and the emotions. This has brought me inner peace and strength. Such a method also allows one to change perceptions and attitudes toward oneself, others, and immediate problems.

I feel that the foremost change would be that as one develops a sense of concern, of compassion for others, one’s mind broadens or widens. At that point, an individual’s problems and suffering appear very small.

To develop concern for others one could start by analyzing the value of negative feelings, or ill feelings, toward others. Consider what that means to you, and how you feel about yourself. Next probe the value of such a mental attitude and the value of a mind that shows concern and compassion for others.

I am suggesting that you analyze and make comparisons between these two mental attitudes. From my experience, I have found that insecurity and a lack of self-confidence brings about fears, frustration, and depression. However, if your nature changes to a selfless concern for the welfare of others, you will experience calmness, a sense of inner strength, and self-confidence.

The capacity for compassion that one has for others is the measuring rod for one’s own mental state, and compassion develops an inner strength. It is unnecessary to see the results of our acts of compassion. In some cases, our sense of compassion may not be appreciated. Many people have the impression that the practice of love, compassion, and forgiveness is of benefit to others, but will serve no specific purpose to one’s own self. I think that is wrong. These positive emotions will immediately help one’s own mental state.

About Author
Dalai  Lama
Tenzin Gyatso (born July 6, 1935) is the 14th and current Dalai Lama. He is a practicing member of the Gelug School of Tibetan Buddhism and is influential as a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and as the world’s most famous Buddhist monk. He is also the Continue reading