Everyone who takes time to explore meditative practice becomes aware of the central importance of compassion in the relief of suffering, the cultivation of inner peace, and the creation of a better world for all.
'Compassion' and 'kindness' are familiar words. They become something more clearly and specifically defined in the context of 'mindfulness' and 'meditation'. Here they become far more than emotions to be felt, or worthy attributes that only some possess. They are seen more as skills to be cultivated and practiced. No one is born a 'kind' or 'compassionate' person, just as no one is born able to play piano. These are skills, habits we can all choose to cultivate. It is too simplistic to speak of 'good' people and 'bad' people. Rather, we witness people who are cultivating habits that are skilful or unskilful, and none of us get it right all the time.
With the awareness that meditation brings, we see this clearly and it adds purpose, strength and meaning to our experience. It also shows a clear path to contentment and joyfulness. Why would we choose a path that is unskilful and leads to unhappiness for all, including ourselves?
I write this after sharing a compassion meditation in the lovely environment of Ebbw Vale Institute yesterday morning. Of course, the environment is made lovely by the people participating. My thanks to them.
Here are some words from Aldous Huxley, that tell us all we need to know:
'It's a little embarrassing that after 45 years of research and study, the best advice I can give people is to be a little kinder to each other.'
That's not at all embarrassing!