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Cultivating Compassion

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Many world religions and philosophies encourage us to cultivate and express compassion toward our self, and others.

Life-affirming compassion facilitates the healing of bodies, minds, emotions, and relationships. So, whether you observe Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, December’s solstice, or the arising of each moment, here are some words about compassion for inspiration and encouragement.

The Gifts of Compassion

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” ~ Leo Buscaglia

“When I tried this morning, after an hour or so of unhappy thinking, to dip back into my meditation, I took a new idea with me: compassion. I asked my heart if it could please infuse my soul with a more generous perspective on my mind's workings. Instead of thinking that I was a failure, could I perhaps accept that I am only a human being--and a normal one, at that?” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” ~ Albert Einstein

“If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.” ~ Gautama Buddha

“Kindness and good nature unite men more effectually and with greater strength than any agreements whatsoever, since thereby the engagements of men’s hearts become stronger than the bond and obligation of words.” ~ Thomas More, Utopia

“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It's a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.” ~ Pema Chodron, The Places That Scare You

“Many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they look for a place to dump it. And if you let them, they’ll dump it on you. So when someone wants to dump on you, don’t take it personally. Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Believe me. You’ll be happier.” ~ David J. Pollay, The Law of the Garbage Truck

Photo credit: RC Designer