Compassion is the sympathy for the suffering of others and the desire to free them from it. Yet, how does one become a compassionate person and how can we try to live life from a generous heart, when we live in a world that often encourages us to focus on our own needs?
The Dalai Lama believes that every human being has an innate desire for happiness and does not want to suffer. He also believes that the purpose of this life is to experience this happiness. Our true human values, underneath our needs to achieve what we desire in our material world, are qualities like sharing with one another and caring for one another.
Altruism means a sense of caring for others and developing an attitude that our own individual concerns are less important than those of others. Love, compassion and forgiveness are basic human values that we would do well in trying to nurture within ourselves on a daily basis. Usually when faced with problems, we look at them from our own point of view. But to look at the situation from others' angles or with a wider perspective, can create compassion. We can see that we are all seeking to achieve happiness, we are no different, it is better that we solve this mutually, rather than creating disharmony and fighting. By recognising that the mind can be changed, that we can change our attitudes by using different thought processes, we can transform our minds from negative thinking to compassion. Meditation is an effective training of the mind which allows us to connect to our heart and develope our compassion. Human emotions are very powerful and sometimes overwhelm us. But if we can distance ourselves from these strong emotions before they arise in us, we can see them for what they are and that they will too pass.
If you can develope patience, tolerance, peacefulness and calm in your mind, these are signs of strength. The difficult times in your life provide the best opportunities to gain inner strength and develope a warm heart. The Dalai Lama suggests that as long as we are part of human society, it is very important to be a kind, warm-hearted person. This beautiful poem, sums it up:
May the poor find wealth,
Those weak with sorrow find joy,
May the forlorn find new hope,
Constant happiness and prosperity.
May the frightened cease to be afraid,
And those bound be free.
May the weak find power,
And may their hearts join in friendship.