I have found that the greatest degree of inner peace comes from cultivating love and compassion. – Dalai Lama
What does that mean?
This quote is about how you feel when you are working on your feelings of love and of compassion. The quote says there is a great deal of inner peace can result from this kind of practice.
Cultivating love and compassion, both for yourself and for others, is something I believe we all can work on. This quote suggests that the practice itself is beneficial as well.
The use of the word cultivate is interesting, as it implies that there is something you do, and something that then needs to grow on its own. Yes, you will help, you will tend, but you do not control or dictate.
I find this quote to be very inspirational, as this quote urges us to reach out, both to ourselves as well as to others. It urges us to develop our best possible selves, and says that we will find a great reward in exchange for our effort; inner peace.
Why is having love and compassion important?
While there are a few dedicated loners out there who believe they have no need for love and who find compassion contemptible I hope the rest of us can still manage to feel love and compassion towards them, even if it is not wanted or reciprocated by them.
Can you imagine not feeling any love or compassion from anyone? Could you imagine not even loving yourself? While we may have passed through a phase where we believed this to be the case, those I have talked with eventually realized that it was not true, and returned to a more normal life.
Now imagine being a person who feels no love or compassion for others? Could you imagine not even feeling compassion for the victims of natural disasters or other tragedies? We may have passed through such an empty phase in our lives, I imagine we have all moved beyond that and have at least a little compassion for others, perhaps even a little love.
That, to me, is why love and compassion are important. I cannot imagine living any kind of a normal life without these feelings, both towards myself, as well as towards others. While we may have days where it’s a challenge to do so, I believe it’s a challenge worth taking.
Where can I apply this in my life?
By cultivating love and compassion for ourselves, we are looking past our failures and our faults, and reaching deep inside and loving the person. We are each worthy of love and compassion, but we don’t always remember to do so. In doing so, we find peace within ourselves, an inner peace.
By cultivating love and compassion for others, we are looking past their failures and their faults, and reaching deep inside and loving that person. Each of them is worthy of love and compassion, but we don’t always remember to do so. In doing so, we find peace within ourselves, a peace with ourselves and with the other person.
Note that love (not a romantic love) and compassion in this sense does not mean we agree with them, or support their actions, thoughts, or plans. Parents understand this form of love and compassion, and get plenty of chances to practice it, especially when their children are young.
Just because they did something stupid and broke a lamp or spilled their drink on the good couch doesn’t mean you have no compassion or that you cease to love them. You may be very angry with them, or just a little disappointed. You may have to apply discipline as a consequence of their action.
One of the ways I work on cultivating love for my fellow-man is to remember that we are all in this together. The quote from Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice “If you prick us, do we not bleed?” While we all have the same basic wants and needs, we go about attaining them differently. How would we treat others, if we could set aside these differences?
Similarly, we are each products of our birth, our culture, and our decisions. Some of us have had good luck with things outside of our control, and others have had less. Compassion is for all of us, regardless of our birth, our culture, and even our decisions.
Yes, I said that. We all make the occasional bad decision. We are, after all, merely human. Some of us were fortunate or careful to make sure the impact would be minimal. Others of us have managed to have a more spectacular failure in judgement, and suffered or caused suffering.
However, we are all still human, and we are all due a little compassion. We don’t need to agree with what someone did to show them compassion. Even people who have done you wrong (or especially them, as some believe) deserve some compassion. It’s not easy, but true tests rarely are.
As we try to make our way in the world, it’s easy to get caught up in the competitive nature of it, and consider others as enemies to vanquish. In the instant we think such a thing, our humanity vanishes and the animal comes to the fore. Love and compassion will bring our humanity back to us.
I don’t know of a single individual who has too much love or too much compassion. I believe it is something we can all work on, an area where there is always room for improvement.