Dalai Lama through his talks and writing says:- Not only is compassion good for you because it will help you feel good and organize your mind in such a way that makes it more open to happiness, but it’s good for others, too, and being good for others mean that we live in a happier world.
In my previous posting I have written about how evolution first found a way for life to just survive, then went beyond that so as to allow individuals to live better within group settings, without grievously harming each other. Evolution continues to adopt or incorporate ideas that are successful through the gene pool of those who practice and are successful with living and reproducing. Those who are successful at living (I like to say living well) pass their genes to the next generation; and the wisdom and the practices of their ancestors gets carried forward to the next generation. Evolution over millions of years continue to refine and adopt useful practices. We maybe at an “evolutionary stage” where we are beginning to appreciate that ‘being nice’ is a better way to live well.
Todays I asked a group of my friends how many people they know who feel content with their lives. The answer was “not many.” There are many reasons for this and I will elaborate on this point on another occasion. Today I want to explore how we can develop sense of well-being and purpose, resulting in contentment and feeling of living well. I think Dalai Lama is wise in recommending compassion. If compassion had bad consequences like shortening your life or causing illness or discontentment I believe he would not recommend compassion. Having practiced compassion all his life, he knows first hand, what the benefits of compassion are and now even the new research is confirming what Buddhist have been saying for thousands of years, that compassion is good for both ourselves and others. The fact is that evolution has provided us with brain system that makes the ‘ the experience of compassion’ possible , and that compassion can organize our brain patterns in certain ways so as to allow us to be nice. This cultivates within us a sense of well-being and purpose. It will allow us to have and feel compassion more deeply and for much wider group of individuals than just our family and friends.
Paul Gilbert writes:- Throughout the world, people want to care for others, to become nurses, doctors, social workers, teachers and alternative therapist. Throughout the world, people put their lives at risk to save others – think about such services as the police, peacekeepers, fire, sea and mountain rescue services. If we take the capitalist view, or look at how our history has been shaped by the darker sides of our nature, clashes of tribes and dominant males, it’s easy to forget that, although many of us want to have good lives ourselves, we also want to help and make a difference to others. When we fully acknowledge that we’ve woken up in a world of beauty but also one where many live in hellish conditions, we can see that there’s much we need to do with our science, social polices. and legal systems. In the heart of many is a genuine desire to improve the conditions of humans and , indeed, of all living things.
Our patterns of living will need to change if we are to be happy, healthy , able to love and be loved. Our current way of being; with our stress, striving and competitive social mentalities are getting us into trouble – not to mention what we are doing to the world around us.
Compassion, it seems, is our potential antidote.
The Compassionate Mind by Paul Gilbert
- James R. Doty, M.D.: The Science of Compassion (huffingtonpost.com)
- Inspirational Reading: The Art of Happiness by HH Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler, MD. (ahappieremily.wordpress.com)
- Inspirational Quotes from The Art of Happiness by The Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler, M.D. (heallovebe.wordpress.com)
- Dalai Lama: A True Visionary (theurbn.com)
- Dalai Lama awarded Templeton Prize (thehindu.com)
- The Dalai Lama, Arianna Huffington Interview: His Holiness Discusses Compassion, Science, Religion And Sleep (VIDEO) (huffingtonpost.com)
- More Words of Wisdom from the Dalai Lama. (rhubblog.com)