“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” – Dalai Lama
Happiness. This is considered by many to be the meaning of life – reaching happiness. So we see truth in the Dalai Lama’s statement above, it would seem that what we ought to be reaching for is compassion. Compassion paves the pathway on our journey to find our way to the ultimate destination, happiness.
So how do we build our capacity for compassion?
There are many ways that we can fill our storehouse with compassion, including participating in a ritual such as the Circle of Compassionate Presence that we practice at UUCG. When congregants enter the circle to receive compassion from the community, either in the form of a light touch or the non-physical exchange of energy, all those present benefit from the experience. Even those who choose not to enter the circle are changed by the simple fact of being there. By sharing the ritual of giving and receiving compassion, we expand our hearts to the appreciation of the myriad benefits we receive by doing for others, especially others in need.
When we set out with an intention to cultivate a compassionate heart, we are immediately several steps closer to happiness. If you are seeking ways to invite compassion into your life, you can start by consciously recognizing the fact that we are all human beings traveling life’s path. We each love, we each suffer, and we each desire happiness. Developing empathy in this way provides a bridge to truly feeling compassion for all those around you, and allows you to offer that gift to those whom your life touches.
A heart overflowing with compassion is a heart overflowing with happiness. And isn’t that what we all are striving for?
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