If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.
If you want to be happy, practice compassion. ~The Dalai Lama
I've been reading "The Art of Happiness" and thanks to not watching TV in bed, I'm about half way through the book. Last night I just couldn't get enough! The section on compassion with attachment compared to genuine compassion was incredibly interesting. When I've thought of compassion I understand the idea behind not wanting others to suffer. But sometimes the whole concept of compassion for all beings seems a bit "out there". How do you practice compassion when someone is grating on your last nerve? It's at that point that I can't imagine being a peaceful being full time. It's at that point I judge myself.
Compassion with attachment is what is hardwired into my being. It's actually what I see in most people I know. It's what I teach my children.
Last fall our oldest moved out of the house against our wishes. Our first response? Take everything away and teach her life is hard and she'll get little to no support from us. If the basis of compassion is wanting for others to NOT suffer, then clearly, going out of one's way to aid in the suffering is by no means compassionate. Recently I had a fight with my youngest and took away some of her favourite belongings. She hurt me...I'll make her suffer. Not compassionate.
I honestly have no idea how to be genuinely compassionate towards those closest to me. I'm a compassionate person...yes...but I don't feel I'm a genuine compassionate being towards my loved ones. And while I can sit here and claim to now know the difference between the two, put me through a test and all hardwired behaviours/thoughts/feelings will emerge. It's what I've practiced and mastered for many years.
That being said, awareness is huge. Now I have to learn how to increase my level of genuine compassion.
I feel... at 34 yrs old..I'm rebuilding my foundation from scratch. Exciting and overwhelming. Yet, if I take it one brick at a time, eventually it will be solid and strong.