"If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion."This morning, I was early for an appointment and stopped at a cafe. I was reading about compassion in The Joy of Living. As I walked to my appointment, I was doing a casual version of a loving-kindness meditation. Last night in yoga class, we had worked on backbends, all heart opening postures. In savasana, I had experienced a momentary breakthrough to a very calm place of connection with everything. So as I walked, I was remembering this moment and thinking about what I had been reading. I began to practice focusing on my heart while thinking about someone I love, and then visualized that love and openness radiating out to all the world around me.
-- The Dalai Lama
"I vow to offer joy to one person in the morning and to help relieve the grief of one person in the afternoon."
-- Thich Nhat Hanh
I paused to wait for traffic at a crosswalk. I imagine I had a smile on my face as I waited there. An elderly man walking by stopped and stared at me and then said, in an odd tone of voice, "Thank you."
I looked at him. He must have realized it was somewhat strange because he explained, "I was having a depressing morning, and then I saw you standing there, and I don't know why but you changed my perspective somehow. Thank you."
You can be skeptical about his intentions if you want, but that gave me a chill - the sense that this man had actually received the love I had been sending. Love is powerful stuff, and it's contagious. And I have to warn you, the primary symptom is happiness. Look out - you might catch it!
Who am I kidding?! We all want happiness. Well, here's some loving kindness. Pass it on.