Increasing Love and Compassion in the New Year

A dear friend sent this to me in e-mail form today. It arrived on a day when I was having a hard time tolerating someone in the community, much less "cherishing" him. The e-mail about the practice of cherishing rang true to me, and while part of me was kicking and screaming at the mere thought of it, I knew that everyone in my life (most of all myself!) would be a whole lot happier if I made a conscious decision to cherish. Regardless of what spiritual venue you have chosen for yourself, my hope is that these words will enrich and encourage you as you increase the love and compassion we have on this planet. Here is the e-mail:

(The Dalai Lama has asked that the following practice be shared with as many people as possible.)

A group recently spent days visiting with the Dalai Lama, focusing on what they believe are the five most important questions to be considered as we move into the new millennium.

The five questions were:

  1. How do we address the widening gap between rich and poor?
  2. How do we protect the earth?
  3. How do we educate our children?
  4. How do we help Tibet and other oppressed countries and peoples of the world?
  5. How do we bring spirituality (deep caring for one another) through all disciplines of life?

The Dalai Lama said all five questions fall under the last one. If we have true compassion in our hearts, our children will be educated wisely, we will care for the earth, and those who "have not" will be cared for.

The group asked the Dalai Lama, "Do you think loving on the planet is increasing or staying the same?" His response: "My experience leads me to believe that love is increasing." He shared a simple practice that will increase loving and compassion in the world. He asked everyone in the group to share it with as many people as they can.

The Practice:

  1. Spend 5 minutes at the beginning of each day remembering we all want the same things (to be happy and to be loved) and we are all connected to one another.
  2. Spend 5 minutes - breathing in - cherishing yourself, and breathing out - cherishing others. If you think about people you have difficulty cherishing, extend your cherishing to them anyway.
  3. During the day, extend that attitude to everyone you meet. Practice cherishing the "simplest" person (clerks, attendants, etc.), as well as the "important" people in your life; cherish the people you love and the people you dislike.
  4. Continue this practice no matter what happens or what anyone does to you.

These thoughts are very simple, inspiring and helpful. The practice of cherishing can be taken very deep if done wordlessly, allowing yourself to feel the love and appreciation that already exists in your heart.

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