“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.
If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”--Dalai Lama
The Dalai Lama’s quote reminds me of my own writing on the topic of compassion (Please Dance at My Funeral: A Celebration of Life). When we think of compassion we think of helping others, of the selfless charitable acts performed by missionaries, physicians and volunteers who travel to far off lands to make a difference. We think of people of various faiths and skills traveling to other countries to perform miracles of caring, and repairing, the lives of others.
I then ask, “What comes to mind when I ask you to extend compassion to yourself?” Did your mind just go blank? “It takes compassion to forgive another. It takes courage to ask forgiveness. It takes both to forgive ourselves.”
It’s easy to dig into our past and find something that we have deep regrets about. It could be how we invested a sum of money without wise “due diligence.” It might be how we cut a friend out of our life over something now insignificant. Maybe a job was taken in haste that wasn’t a good fit. Maybe the telling signs of deceit by a family member were too long ignored because the idea of their betrayal was inconceivable.
Seldom does anyone berate us as capably as we do ourselves. Studies have demonstrated that people live longer, healthier lives if they are happy; and die more peaceful deaths if they have resolved their unfinished business. Harshly holding ourselves accountable for our past, and until our death, is neither a productive or helpful use of our time and energy. How can we most fully live our lives now if we are tethered to the ball and chain of every regret?
There is no way around grief, and no way around unfinished business. Going through and deeply experiencing the emotions is the way. “If you wish healing outside of you, you must begin within. If you wish to offer genuine compassion to another, it must come first from within yourself.”
“There is no formal protocol, no ten-step affirmation, and no outside coaching. It is a deeply personal and individual pursuit when sought from the most genuine part of our being.”
“The ultimate power of forgiveness and compassion when attained from this purist possible quest, is that of transcendence which exceeds distance or death. There is nothing which compares, which encompasses the depth of understanding, the release, the healing, and ultimate closure.”
Why postpone? “If I become neutral with the pain from my past…I know I shall then move freely from this reality to the next unfettered, and with peace.”
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