"Only the development of compassion and understanding for others can bring us the tranquility and happiness we all seek." - Dalai Lama
In my book Create Your Legacy, I told the story of Azim Khamisa, who turned the tragedy of losing his beloved son in a senseless killing into compassionate, humanitarian service at a global level. He found a way to live a life of deep purpose and fulfillment that began with forgiveness for the man who committed the act. The story is a great inspiration for compassion that starts with those around us and expands its reach globally.
This story also demonstrtes the great human ability for compassion and the effects that compassion can have on our behavior. I believe that that we can all cultivate this ability. In our modern world, we enjoy the benefits of many conveniences and advances in technology, industry, and medicine. I feel that in some way these conveniences have overcome our sense of morals. Respect for others has diminished. This is evident by children thinking it's okay to express bad behavior or worse -- violence against their friends and neighbors.
- Understand there are things we all face, no matter where we live
- Look to your own sense of morals to find answers to global issues
- Start every day in gratitude and peace
To understand what a person is doing and how they are behaving that is different, it helps to understand what is the same. For example, challenges of hunger and homelessness are all around us, and no matter where you live, you don't have to travel very far to see it. Hungry and homeless people wake up every day with similar things on their mind that we might have. Worries about family, the day's events, health, or fears about repeating past mistakes or what the future may hold are things we may be able to relate to. We share the light and warmth of the same sun. We share desires of family, and meeting their basic needs of living. We share a human bond and cycle of making mistakes or figuratively tripping over obstacles.
And when we make mistakes or trip up over what life brings, we somehow get ourselves through it. We get through it because we have morals of self-respect, self-preservation, a hopeful future, and a forgiveness of the past. When we apply those same morals to others, we exercise compassion.
I find peace in my life in many ways. My life is simple; my pleasures and treasures come from interacting with the people I love and who love me. I find true joy in being with my daughter and listening to what is happening in her life. I have a passion for giving to those in need, and finding ways to give to them in the most respectful way possible. I follow that passion every time I can drop a couple of dollars in a cup or listen to a stranger's story of need. I start every day in gratitude for all these opportunities to be a blessing.
One of the wonderful things about compassion is that it allows you to open your heart. Once that happens your attitude changes and the behavior follows. Compassion engages our capacity for love and generosity. By being understanding and accepting towards others we open doors of kindness and develop an attitude of forgiveness. With this attitude we also provide ourselves with the sense of safety needed to explore the oneness of all humanity across the globe.