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The mindset of Compassion

posted Dec 19, 2013, 1:53 AM by Sandeep Kulshrestha   [ updated Dec 19, 2013, 5:13 AM ]

Of all the human virtues, compassion is very difficult to imbibe in day to day life. Perhaps this is something all of us feel at some point or the other but are not able to sustain it. Also, at times we comprehend this as a negative trait, which belittles our hope to be assertive

According to The Dalai Lama, “Only the development of compassion and understanding for others can bring us the tranquility and happiness we all seek”. This is true as compassion leads to other positive emotions, few among them include happiness, gratitude, patience, kindness and acceptance. The literary meaning of compassion is empathy towards others but then I feel that there is no fine line between empathy and pity. For me compassion means thinking of happiness for others and accepting people as they are and being kind to them, while trying to be non-judgmental. Compassion, for me is a tool of strength and I believe that a mindset of Compassion can be developed and nurtured, either through self contemplation or through a help of a life coach/positive psychologist.

There are some pointers, although debatable, which may lead you on in getting near the compassionate mindset;


1.    Imagine the magnanimity of the Universe: When you imagine yourself being a small part of a magnanimous and mysterious Universe, small and frivolous issues really don’t bother and you would become more humble. You can do a daily meditation which can connect you to the Universe. One is available on this YouTube link

The reason I mentioned it has to do with the humbleness and humility this experience can bring. One may also relate our mortality to this theory as well. When we know that we have a fixed number of years to live on this planet, would we let them go waste? If one can’t think of being compassionate ever, it is like wasting the very life we are living.

2.   Think of all loved ones with Gratitude: It so happens that we get disillusioned with our loved ones, either because of something we experience while interacting with them or by building unreal perceptions (the latter happens more frequently). However, if we sit quietly as soon as we get up in the morning, at a comfortable place, over a cup of hot tea or coffee, we can just think of joyful moments we had with same loved ones in the past and then ask ourselves this question as to whether we had built a perception about those people which was not true at all. This is a very simple yet profound exercise which has helped me in the past.

3.   Start accepting people as they are: I have a friend who is very moody as well as straightforward but he is a nice person to know, if one understands him holistically and he is very compassionate and warm. Some of his relatives perceive him to be calculative and clever and this is what is intriguing to me as I never felt that he is like that. Later through my own observations I concluded that sometimes in the normal course of life we build perceptions about people, which makes it difficult to accept a person as he/she is in reality and negative perceptions somehow have multiplying effect. When we have a negative perception about any person, we start adding more fuel to the thoughts and start believing in our perceptions. When we accept a person as he or she is, with all virtues and weaknesses, we will become more compassionate and kinder towards that person. We should all do this as quickly as possible before it is too late (if applicable in anyone’s situation)

4.   Keep your brain free of clutter: If we are not compassionate, our perceptions will make us self-pity ourselves. The people who consider others as bad are themselves into a denial and self-pity mode (example: I am always good to that person but he doesn’t treat me well). If you are full of compassion, you will use your brain for better purposes and in creating happiness for yourself and others.

5.   Avoid negative emotions (to the extent possible): What happens when we expect a person to act rationally and he/she starts behaving irrationally? For example you call a friend and ask him/her to lend you some money. That person doesn’t have any money available so he/she starts avoiding the one who was asking for it, although they have been long time friends, usually chatting few days in a week. This avoidance is due to the fact that this person doesn’t want to hurt anyone by saying “no” and this is a perfectly accepted human trait! So, do not correlate any negative emotion with the lack of response and start thinking on “high dose of self-inflicted perception (HDSIP)”. According to my theory, HDSIP is a disorder which is present in many people and originates from a chaotic and stressed mind. Let no negative emotion affect you especially in a case where the people involved are close to you. Start thinking beautifully about that person and remember the “Index of Good Times”, which is nothing but our good memories about people in our life.

6.   Read simple spiritual books/hear discourses: There are a lot of simple books on compassion, happiness and related themes and hundreds of videos available on YouTube. I am personally fond of books/discourses by The Dalai Lama, Deepak Chopra, Osho and Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev but you may find your own inspiration. These inspirational thoughts, if practiced and implemented in day to day life bring beautiful results and also enrich us in developing our own thinking abilities

I end this article with a quote from Phil Jackson, “Always keep an open mind and a compassionate heart”