With selfish apathy arises no compassion.
With selfless empathy arises true compassion.
[7-step visualization exercise] 1. Think of someone who annoys you or whom you really don’t like. Bring this person into the foremost of your mind. 2. Think about something in their lives that is causing them to be unhappy. Try to think of the particulars of what might be wrong. If you don’t know the person well enough to know what this might be, use your imagination to think about something that typically in the course of a person’s life might cause them grief. Be careful not to take pleasure in their grief.
- Take a moment to try to put yourself in this person’s shoes at a time when something quite difficult has happened in their life, and they are upset about it. Just imagine that you are that person and something legitimately sad or difficult has happened to you. See and feel how upset they are about this situation [to increase empathy]. 4. Now step out of their shoes and be yourself again. Imagine that you have the ability to make right whatever it is that has gone wrong in their lives. You have this kind of magic ability. 5. Then imagine that you do that. You’ll have to tailor this to the particular scenario that you thought of. Think that somehow you are able to undo whatever it is that happened or turn time back or give them what they needed that they didn’t get. Whatever it is that would make them happy, imagine that you do that.
- Take a minute to contemplate that sequence. See the person being upset. See yourself having whatever it takes to remedy the situation. You go to the person and fix it. Imagine yourself making everything great again for the person. 7. Then imagine how peaceful and happy the person feels now that their life has improved. Something that was really bothering them has been resolved, or it’s disappeared, and things are good now. Feel how peaceful, happy, and relieved they are. Take a minute to contemplate that. [The more you train accordingly, the less anger and bitterness there will be, and the more actual compassion there will be.]
First Invite Love In: 40 Time-tested Tools for Creating a More Compassionate Life
by Tana Pesso with Penor Rinpoche
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