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Being Compassionate – A Key to Happiness

image by Celetine Chua via Flickr

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.  If you want to be happy, practice compassion”-The Dalai Lama

I had one of the best experiences of my life Friday past!  Why?  Because I was in the presence of one of the most loving, compassionate, and inspirational men I’ve ever known.  This man was Dr. Wayne Dyer!

He gave a presentation at one of the local churches in my home town.  I’d never met him before that day, but I feel like I’ve known him for most of my life.  He was the first person who truly inspired me as a child.  He ignited within me a burning desire to fully understand our human potential and to explore the deeply gratifying path of compassion and service to others.

As I sit, writing these words, my heart is still filled to the brim with the love, light, and compassion which radiated from this man and enriched my soul.  I feel such deep appreciation for Dr. Dyer and for the I Am Genie foundation, which made it all possible.  I highly recommend that you check out this foundation.  The story behind it and what they do will touch you deeply.  Their genuine acts of kindness are helping to spread the seeds of compassion and love.

After having such an incredible experience and still feeling the residual effects, I thought it would be a great time to write about the power of compassion in your life.

First, it’s important to recognize that Western society appears to have forgotten about the importance of compassion.  In fact, many people in this culture feel isolated and depressed.  It’s no wonder at all because this culture promotes competition and jealousy at its core.

One is made to believe that in order to be happy you have to get better grades than your classmates, wear better clothes than you friends, be professionally successful no matter what, ensure you look 25 years old no matter how old you get, own a big fancy house, have brand name clothes and cars, etc.

I feel exhausted and depressed just writing about this.  Unfortunately, this culture has forced us to disconnect ourselves from who we truly are inside.

But, I’m here to say that there is a way to feel that connection and happiness that we all so yearn for as human beings.  In fact, one of the most important sources of happiness and fulfillment is compassion.  Not only is the significance of compassion supported and promoted by world religions and spiritual traditions, but scientific studies now show that compassion can improve your mental and physical health.

I don’t need to prove to you that compassion is good. You already know it yourself.  It feels good to help others.  There is a lot of truth behind the old saying “It feels better to give than to receive.”  In fact, there are scientific studies regarding acts of kindness which reveal that the giver feels even better than the receiver.

Whenever I think of compassion, I always reflect on the wise words of the Dalai Lama.  He said that 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.  And that’s just meditating on compassion.  What would our world be like one year from now if we all started to approach life from a place of compassion?

Why not start today with the simple intention to do just one act of kindness for another.

What can you do to increase compassion in your life?

First, you need to know that it doesn’t have to cost any money and it doesn’t have to take much time.  So, there is no excuse or reason to not practice compassion.  Here are some examples of simple acts of kindness:

  • Send someone an email expressing your appreciation for something they did.
  • Pay someone a compliment.
  • Smile at someone.  It will brighten their day.
  • Hug your friends and family. A hug can be more powerful than any words you can say.
  • Help someone pick up their groceries.
  • Collect food for a food bank.
  • Surprise someone with flowers.
  • Shovel snow for a neighbor.
  • Cook a meal for someone.
  • Donate used clothes.
  • Share your umbrella.
  • Volunteer.

There is an endless list of things you can do to express kindness and generosity!  The key is to just get out there and set an example.  In a shorter time than you know, the powerful influence of compassion could sweep through our culture.

Final Words

A compassionate attitude can make you happier and healthier.  And the people you help will benefit greatly.  Start today with the heart-felt intention to uplift others.  Together we can spread the seeds of compassion and love and make our planet a happier place!

Photo credit: Image by Celestine Chua via Flickr

 

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