Compassion – how to foster it in yourself

We often feel guilty that we do not “feel something” for situations that arise in the world or with others.  Sometimes we know the people involved and sometimes we do not. Why do we feel guilty?

Most of the time it is because our intuition is telling us that we need to be fostering greater compassion in these situations, and we are ignoring our intuition and going on about our everyday lives.  It is because we are ignoring our intuition that we feel guilt – most often.  So how do we act on our intuition and foster greater compassion for ourselves, others, and the planet?  And why might we even want to in the first place?

Simple answer:  when we foster or increase the amount of compassion in the world, we receive a personal sense of peace and it then becomes a cycle – give compassion get peace, get peace and want to give more compassion to get more peace… This generates what the Buddists term METTA or Lovingkindness.

Here are five simple little steps you can do to foster compassion.  These steps can be done anywhere, anytime that people gather, malls; parks; beaches; gatherings of any kind.  They should be done from a distance, unobtrusively, on people you do not even know.  Trying focusing on one person and do all five steps.

Step 1:  With attention on the person, repeat to yourself: “Just like me, this person is seeking some happiness for his/her life”.

Step 2:  With attention on the person, repeat to yourself: “Just like me, this person is trying to avoid suffering in his/her life”.

Step 3: With attention on the person, repeat to yourself: “Just like me, this person has known sadness, pain, loneliness and despair”.

Step 4: With attention on the person, repeat to yourself: “Just like me, this person is seeking to fulfill his/her needs”.

Step 5: With attention on the person, repeat to yourself: “Just like me, this person is learning about life”.

When finished, take note of how you feel….. how you feel about yourself, and how you feel about the person you were focusing your intention on.

You can then continue to grow your compassion/metta/lovingkindness by expanding on those you send your intention toward.  You can continue by substituting the name of an old enemy or antagonist still present in your memory, for the words “this person”.  And next you can include “all living beings” in place of “this person”.  All living beings includes all life on the planet, animals, sea life, birds, plants, and all thoses billions of people that you will never meet or know.

Let me know how it goes.

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