If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” – Dalai Lama.
In order to understand the importance of compassion in a person’s life it is important to know what compassion is? Compassion is a powerful moral emotion—it moves us to care for the suffering of others, and enables us to live cooperatively with one another. We all need compassion because life is harsh and is susceptible to diseases and injuries. The recognition of common fear and yearning is the basis of compassion.
Why develop compassion in your life? Compassion is one of the few things we can practice and that will bring immediate and long-term happiness to our lives. The main benefit to develop compassion is that it makes more happy, also brings others around you more happiness. The other benefits of practising compassion is that it slows down the ageing process, reduces the stress hormone secretion while other benefits are emotional and spiritual. It is therefore of utmost importance that we cultivate compassion in our lives and practice compassion every day.
Now the main question arises that how can we cultivate and grow compassion in our lives? Here are the 3 simple ways which one should try and practice daily to increase compassion.
- Morning mantra: Greet each morning with this mantra suggested by the Dalai Lama: “Today I am fortunate to have woken up, I am alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others, to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings, I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others, I am going to benefit others as much as I can.” This practise will nurture you, make you strong and will make you feel proud of you and your life. The motivation for this kind of practice is usually driven by a desire to be happy.
- Increase the sense of Empathy: We can learn compassion when we practice giving without the need to gain anything in return, when we are with people or animals who are in sufferings , and also when we experience the reward of feeling appreciated. Imagine that a loved one is suffering. Something terrible has happened to him or her. Now try to imagine the pain they are going through. Imagine the suffering in as much detail as possible. After doing this practice for a couple of weeks, you should try moving on to imagining the suffering of others you know, not just those who are close to you.
- Develop and practise compassion over long term: A compassionate attitude increases internal strength and can greatly reduce the distress people feel in difficult situations and can become a profound personal resource in times of stress. Compassion cultivation techniques have been shown to increase positive emotions and social support, reduce negative distress at human suffering, and reduce people’s fears of feeling compassion for others. Such training programs may prevent the collapse of compassion, by letting people overcome fears of fatigue and accept their own compassion. Therefore, train your mind to intentionally choose compassionate thoughts and actions and develop skills that help you relate to others—and yourself.
Together, these mindfulness techniques may enable people to enhance their compassion at a time when we need our compassion to be firing at full speed.