Lorne Ladner* writes:
“From a psychological perspective, what’s important is to become aware of the great value of compassion for our own and others happiness and then to apply practical methods in our daily lives for actually increasing our feelings of love and compassion.
“If we spend time actively cultivating such feelings, then we will quickly begin seeing how they lead to happiness for ourselves. [W]hen we develop feelings of love or compassion, we may not always be able to actually benefit others in a direct way, but we ourselves do always benefit from such feelings. They serve as causes for our own happiness.
“And, as we give more and more time to developing such feelings, then we will naturally begin benefiting others as well. … By developing deep, powerful feelings of compassionate connection with others that we can learn to live meaningful and joyful lives. Only such feelings can help us to learn experientially how to work for meaningful causes and give of ourselves without becoming exhausted or burnt out. Such feelings of joyful compassion teach us how taking care of others is actually a supreme method for taking care of ourselves.”
*A psychologist in private practice, Dr. Ladner is also director of a Buddhist center in Washington, DC and author of The lost art of compassion: discovering the practice of happiness in the meeting of Buddhism and psychology. image: climbing rose Compassion.