Sometimes we think that to develop an open heart, to be truly loving and compassionate, means that we need to be passive, to allow others to abuse us, to smile and let anyone do what they want with us. Yet this is not what is meant by compassion. Quite the contrary. Compassion is not at all weak. It is the strength that arises out of seeing the true nature of suffering in the world. Compassion allows us to bear witness to that suffering, whether it is in ourselves or others, without fear; it allows us to name injustice without hesitation, and to act strongly, with all the skill at our disposal. To develop this mind state of compassion…is to learn to live, as the Buddha put it, with sympathy for all living beings, without exception.
― Sharon Salzberg, Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness
What difference would it make in your life if you engaged the world with a conscious commitment to end sorrow or pain wherever you meet it? What difference would it make to wake in the morning and greet your family, the stranger beside you on the bus, the troublesome colleague, with the intention to listen to them wholeheartedly and be present for them?
Compassion doesn’t always call for grand or heroic gestures. It asks you to find in your heart the simple but profound willingness to be present, with a commitment to end sorrow and contribute to the well-being and ease of all beings. — “The Buddha is Still Teaching”
When we seek happiness through accumulation, either outside of ourselves–from other people, relationships, or material goods–or from our own self-development, we are missing the essential point. In either case we are trying to find completion. But according to Buddhism, such a strategy is doomed. Completion comes not from adding another piece to ourselves but from surrendering our ideas of perfection.
As strange as it sounds, meditation may reveal that we are happier than we ever thought we were. We may discover that ancient conditioning rather than present circumstances is causing our dissatisfaction, and this moment is quite sufficient or even wonderful, and we simply hadn’t noticed. ~ The Buddha is Still Teaching