The Importance of Compassion for a Thriving Community and Wellbeing
Written by Joelle Beyrouthy
I believe, that the key to living in a healthy and thriving community can be achieved through cultivating empathy for others and developing genuine compassion. These are attitudes and emotions that can be learned and developed by training the mind. Acquiring these attitudes are much more beneficial for the one cultivating these emotions than for the person or group of people for whom these emotions are expressed towards. Compassion is one of the greatest emotion to develop for our authentic mental wellbeing and achieving an Equanimeous peaceful mind.
Love and belonging lies at the foundation of every human need. It stems from the interdependence we share with one another. No matter how independent one may be, left alone, you will not survive.
Inter-dependence, is a fundamental law of nature. Every life form survives by mutual cooperation. All phenomena from the planet we inhabit to the oceans, clouds, forests and flowers that surround us, arise in dependence upon proper interaction of cause and effect.
Because our own human existence is so interdependent on the cooperation of others, we need a genuine sense of responsibility and a sincere concern for the welfare of others. True compassion should not change if others behave negatively or are different from us.
This kind of compassion is not easy! But can be developed through non-judgmental mindfulness of others and empathy.
Whether people are beautiful and friendly or unattractive and disruptive, ultimately they are human beings, just like oneself, they want happiness and do not want suffering.
The right to be happy is equal to everyone. When we recognize that all beings are equal in both their desire for happiness and their right to obtain it, we automatically feel empathy and closeness for them. Through training one’s mind with this sense of universal altruism, one develops a feeling of responsibility for others and the wish to help others overcome their problems. This wish is not selective; it applies equally to all beings experiencing pleasure and pain just as you do, there is no logical basis to discriminate.
With patience and time, this kind of genuine compassion can be developed, and our self-centeredness, seeded from the delusional perception of being an independent Self is thus eliminated.
To start cultivating true compassion, we should begin by removing its greatest hindrances: anger and hatred; and practice tolerance towards our enemies. People we dislike because they are different, people we hate or that makes us angry, all whom we label as enemies, are the best to help us develop compassion and achieve a tranquil mind!
Anger and hatred are harmful emotions towards yourself and create mental disturbances, and unless we train our minds and work to reduce their negative force, they will continue to disturb us and disrupt our attempts to develop a calm mind. Anger and hatred are our real enemies. These are the forces we most need to confront and defeat in our afflicted mind, not the enemies who appear intermittently throughout life.
Compassion Meditation practice can help you train the afflicted mind and cultivate True Compassion.
How to Practice?
“Metta” – Loving-Kindness or “Karuna”- Compassion , often referred as “Metta Karuna” Meditation is a meditation practice brought to us from buddhist philosophy. Metta is a wish for all beings to be happy. Karuna is wishing all beings to be free from suffering. Often paired together, it is a mental state cultivated and maintained through this meditation practice.
Follow my guided meditation below.