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View Full Version : The Value of Compassion....

Flame of Hope
04-14-2011, 07:53 PM

I'm a collector of articles. Here's one that I found to have great benefit...I have also highlighted points worth noting in blue, as a reminder to myself:


Teach Compassion
Vijai P. Sharma, Ph.D

On one stormy night, giant waves kept scooping from the belly of an ocean such stuff as conches, sea shells, sea weed, jelly fish, etc., and dumping it on to the beach. Jelly fish were every where on the beach, thousands of them. A man who came to assess the damage next morning was puzzled by a "weird" activity occurring he observed. Someone was picking up the jelly fish one by one and throwing them into the ocean.

Assessors and surveyors tend to be left-brained, realistic and rational. Left-brained people are naturally puzzled by right-brained activities that are emotional and seemingly "irrational." So, the surveyor felt compelled to ask this person, "Are you crazy? There are tens of thousands of fish strewn all over this beach for miles. No matter what you do, you won’t make one bit of difference."

The man without interrupting his activity or his concentration, picked up another jelly fish and flung it out into the sea and said, "Well, it made a difference to this one."

To feel compassion for all creatures, that is, for all forms of life whatever shape, form, size, or color it is packaged in, is an extraordinary ability, and at times, overrides our normal reasoning. Toddlers, by nature, are compassionate little creatures. Many children become callous as they grow older. Often, grownups unconsciously teach children callousness by doing hurtful things or saying harsh words about a person they are angry with. Sometimes grownups do that to their kids which is often the beginning of callousness.

An isolated and rash incident of anger tends to be a reflex; it happens before we think it through. To control rash and angry behaviors, one should learn to reflect on anger. Think of the consequences before lashing out in an impulsive manner.

When you stay angry with someone for a long time, it requires an interaction between your anger and other emotions. As a result, you may lose your compassion and sympathy for that person and develop callousness towards him or her. Only human beings are capable of callousness and angry rumination or obsession because they have the ability to think the same thoughts, day after day, for years, and even for life-time. They can think these thoughts and come up with such twisted reasoning that it can stop them from feeling anything for the person they are angry with.

It is not uncommon for humans to do that to the people they once loved or still love. Not too infrequently, they do it to people they live in close contact with, such as neighbors, co-workers, and even their spouses with whom they share their bed every night. The fact that they have to be in contact with them every day is not enough to persuade them to develop kindness and compassion towards them.

Sometimes, we are kinder, gentler, and more thoughtful towards strangers and people with whom we have little contact. Wouldn’t life be less stressful if we expressed the same level of compassion and consideration to all the people around us?

We should extend our compassion to those people towards whom we are prejudiced. Prejudice means pre-judging people without knowing them. In prejudice, we form an opinion about others as a class without knowing them as individuals. We automatically lose our compassion for people we are prejudiced against. When we develop compassion for them, our prejudices are automatically dissolved.

We live in the age of mass media. Every day on our TV screen, while we eat, talk and sip our coffee, we see horrific images. Fires, earthquakes, guns, or explosives are shown destroying lives, close to home or in some remote land. We see individuals and families in agony while we carry on with the business at hand. This level of media exposure in the middle of our daily routine is making us numb to human pain and suffering.

I grew up in a semi rural area. The only form of public media exposure was radio and an occasional newspaper. When we heard tragic news, it was often about places or people we personally knew. Such news aroused intense personal emotion and we took some action and kept on talking about it until we could assuage our troubled feelings about it.

We are now bombarded with bad news every day. The world news and local news is full of it. We drive for just a few hours on a highway and we sooner or later we are going to see an accident somewhere. Reality demands that we keep on driving. Out of sight, out of mind. Such frequent direct and indirect exposures can desensitize us to human injury and pain.

Why do we need to teach compassion to our children and keep our own compassion alive? Because, compassion is necessary in order for us to survive as a species and, at an individual level, for our spiritual growth. It is impossible to make significant spiritual progress without experiencing deep compassion for all.

Here are some suggestions to keep compassion alive and strong in our hearts: Whenever you see or hear, directly or indirectly, about people facing hardship or struck by a tragedy, do not let it pass without giving some thought to what they and their loved ones may be going through. If you are someone who likes to pray, include them in your prayer. If you have children, express your feelings and thoughts about it to them. If they ask questions, answer them to the best of your ability and be grateful that they are expressing interest in their fellow beings.

In a private meeting with the American president, the Dalai Lama urged, "You are the most powerful man in the world. Every decision you make should be motivated by compassion."


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