If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”
- Dalai Lam
I believe compassion to be one of the few things we can practice that will bring immediate and long-term happiness to our lives. it is something that will bring true and lasting happiness. The kind that sticks.
The key to developing compassion in your life is to make it a daily practice.
Meditate upon it in the morning (you can do it while checking email), think about it when you interact with others, and reflect on it at night. In this way, it becomes a part of your life.
Or as the Dalai Lama also said, “This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.”
Compassion is an emotion that is a sense of shared suffering, most often combined with a desire to alleviate or reduce the suffering of another; to show special kindness to those who suffer. Compassion essentially arises through empathy, and is often characterized through actions, wherein a person acting with compassion will seek to aid those to which they feel compassionate.
Compassionate acts are generally considered those which take into account the suffering of others and attempt to alleviate that suffering as if it were one’s own. In this sense, the various forms of the Golden Rule are clearly based on the concept of compassion.
Compassion differs from other forms of helpful or
humane behavior in that its focus is primarily on the
alleviation of suffering.
Why develop compassion in your life? Well, there are scientific studies that suggest there are physical benefits to practicing compassion — people who practice it produce 100 percent more DHEA, which is a hormone that counteracts the aging process, and 23 percent less cortisol -- the “stress hormone.”
But there are other benefits as well, and these are emotional and spiritual. The main benefit is that it helps you to be more happy, and brings others around you to be more happy.
If we agree that it is a common aim of each of us to strive to be happy, then compassion is one of the main tools for achieving that happiness.
It is therefore of utmost importance that we cultivate compassion in our lives and practice compassion every day.