Although kindness and compassion are basic human qualities, it is not always easy to embody them in our lives, especially in today’s hectic, fast-paced world.
Fortunately there are several techniques that the Buddhist “training of the mind” in compassion has developed to help us evoke our own innate love and compassion. We can actively cultivate compassion.
One powerful way to evoke compassion is to think of others as exactly the same as you. “After all,” the Dalai Lama explains, “all human beings are the same – made of human flesh, bones, and blood. We all want happiness and want to avoid suffering. Further, we have an equal right to be happy. In other words, it is important to realize our sameness as human beings.”
Try it out: considering others as another you
We are going to contemplate now on how others are the same as ourselves.
Begin by picturing someone—any person who comes to mind. We just imagine this person vividly in our mind’s eye.
Then, quietly in our mind, we say the following phrases, and we rest our attention on them.
Imagine that we are addressing these phrases to the person in our mind’s eye:
—“You have a body and a mind, just like me.”
—“You have feelings and emotions, just like me.”
—“You have had physical pain, illness, mental anguish, depression, just like me.”
—“You have been sad, disappointed, anxious, been angry, been hurt, just like me.”
—“You made mistakes, and regret them, just like me.”
—“You have hurt or saddened other people, just like me.”
—“You get frightened, just like me.”
—“You get lonely and feel no support, just like me.”
—“You are still learning about life, just like me.”
—“You want to be caring, compassionate, kind, loving, just like me.”
—“You want to feel contentment, fulfilled in life, just like me.”
—“You dream of finding meaning in your life, just like me.”
—“You want to be free from suffering and pain, just like me.”
—“You want to be happy, be loved, just like me.”
Now, you wish to this person: “I wish you have the strength, the resources, the resilience, the support, to get through any challenges smoothly. I wish that you become free from any pain or suffering. I wish that you release yourself from all the causes of suffering. I wish that you find peace and happiness and love and contentment. I wish that you find real inspiration, because you are another human being just like me.”