The Wise Path/Compassionate
—Joyously Radiating Calm and Compassion
Being There edit
Compassionate people are unconditionally kind to all. They are generous, forgiving, tolerant, respectful, and warm. They are especially sensitive, sincere, gentle, and open-hearted as they engage another person in one-on-one contact. They detach themselves from destructive emotions—just noticing it pass by—without being consumed by the emotion. They seek what is—an accurate perception of reality—and know that destructive emotions are only fleeting distortions of our perception of reality. This allows them to be restrained, non-violent, influential, serene, and at peace. Compassionate people are humans being, not just humans doing.
But compassionate people are not pushovers, wimps, victims, or doormats. They access their deep self-esteem and are self-reliant, responsible, and willful. To maintain harmony in relationships they are candid and express their innermost concerns about what has transpired. They say what they mean, and do so with compassion, even when delivering a difficult message.
Compassionate people seem enlightened and particularly joyous, perhaps as a result of their contemplation practices. An excellent example is Dr. Matthieu Ricard who is a molecular geneticist, Buddhist monk, author, translator, and photographer sometimes described as the happiest person in the world. He has spent more than 10,000 hours meditating. At the University of Wisconsin, fMRI scans were performed on the frontal lobes of his brain. The tests confirmed that he and other long-time meditators showed more evidence of positive emotions on the left side of their brains, and lower-than-average levels of negative emotions on the right. This scientific evidence confirms what others around him already knew: he radiates calm and compassion.
Getting There edit
Compassionate people are uncommon. They seem to achieve this remarkable level of calm, peace, and compassion through extensive practice of various disciplined forms of meditation.
Recommended Study: edit
- An important skill is the ability to interrupt the flow of your thoughts—stare back a thought—so you can observe them from a distance. From this detached viewpoint you can realize that thoughts are neither lasting nor intrinsic. Use this skill to truncate destructive emotions whenever they begin to arise within you and then deliberately move on to more accurate and constructive thoughts.
- Deliberately practice feeling compassion for various people in your life, especially people you find difficult or who seem different from yourself.
- Study, practice, and learn from these resources for developing self-knowledge and intuition toward wisdom.
- Learn from the lives of compassionate people such as the 14th Dalai Lama and Dr. Matthieu Ricard.
Recommended Reading: edit
Reading and studying these books will begin to improve your compassion:
- Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life's Most Important Skill, by Matthieu Ricard
- The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living, by the Dalai Lama
- Destructive Emotions: A Scientific Dialogue with the Dalai Lama, by Daniel Goleman
- Emotional Awareness: Overcoming the Obstacles to Psychological Balance and Compassion, by the Dalai Lama and Paul Ekman
Moving On edit
Continue your compassion as you work toward wisdom.
The diagram links to the states that neighbor this one. This can help orient you to this state both horizontally, showing the cognition and action states at this level of development, and vertically showing the emotion levels before and after this one.