February 18

Today's quotation:

Compassion is like sunlight, awakening and bringing joy to beings.  Its beauty is like a rainbow, lifting the hearts of all who see it.

Tarthang Tulku

Today's Meditation:

There are many benefits to developing a compassionate nature, many things that we can contribute to the world if we do so.  When we become compassionate human beings, not only do we spread compassion but we spread the experience of being compassionate to everyone who witnesses it.  And our acts of compassion can act as lights--rainbows, if you will--which reflect and illuminate the promise of a better world in which love and compassion are the norms for all people.

Do we wish to contribute light to the world, or darkness?  If we wish to contribute light, compassion is absolutely necessary.  Compassion is the ability and willingness to see and understand what other people are going through and to act accordingly.  That man might have just been rude to me, but he also might have been up all night worrying about the possibility of his business going under.  That woman might have just talked to me in a very condescending tone, but she's probably dealing with a strong sense of insecurity that causes her to try to talk down to other people.

Compassion isn't blindly and lamely accepting any bad behavior that other people act out on us, but it is trying to understand where someone is coming from and trying to help them reach points at which bad behavior no longer happens.  Compassion shines light into the darker areas of our lives and the lives of others, allowing us to see what the deeper problems may be and to deal with them on their own terms.

Do you want to cause joy in the lives of others?  Show compassion.  Do you want to turn your own life into a satisfying series of joyful experiences?  Show compassion.  Do you want to contribute regularly to the positive sides of life?  Then you know what to do. . . .

Questions to consider:

Why are many people afraid to show compassion?  Are their fears justified?

What kinds of things might you do to develop your ability to show compassion?  Have you started doing them yet?

What's the difference between being a compassionate person and a weak person who is used by other people?

For further thought:

Next time you encounter someone in pain, don't just wince and pass by with a shrug.  Hurting people need a bit of color to brighten their dark places, and they need to remember the promise that God is with them right where they are.  Where rainbows grow, angels sing and courage becomes contagious.  You can be a rainbow gardener by opening your heart even if you're in pain yourself.

Barbara Johnson



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