• Dr Bijal Maroo

Developing Compassion

Updated: Dec 24, 2021


The law of attraction is at work subliminally in all our lives. As our awareness and observations about life and our circumstances grow, we see this law manifesting at our daily interactional level. Thus, we realise that we like a true blue magnet, we attract life circumstances very similar to what our thoughts, words and deeds comprise of. Soon, it is evident to us that if we desire love, happiness, abundance, peace and joy, we must send these same wishes out on the wings on our intentions and actions.


But how does one apply this approach at a practical level?

The Buddhist teachings provide a very pragmatic method, admirable for its simplicity of use. They use the practice of 'Metta' and 'Mudita' very widely with regards to developing compassion.


'Metta' means "maitri bhav"- i.e. feelings of friendship, positivity and kindness, which are felt and practised in relation to all living beings. Yes! towards all living beings, not just human beings. This is an important distinction because we humans have come to believe that we are God's gift to this beautiful planet earth. But, is it really true? If God made each creature, each animal, each bird, each insect, each tree, each flower, every single life form with such loving care and intricate detail; he must love each one of his creations equally well. Just like an artist can never pick any one of his works as the best, so also with the greatest artist, God. Then, who are we to think that we are some special species.


So, 'Metta' essentially means wishing that all living beings stay happy and also remain free from all suffering.


This can be one way of concluding any practice of silence or meditation that one practices. If one does chanting or some prayers, just conclude by saying these two lines a few times -


"May all living beings be free from all suffering" and


"May all beings be happy."

Try to feel this as intensely and genuinely as possible, when you say it.


Now lets discuss the word 'Mudita', which means being happy in another person's happiness. We all have experienced how well we celebrate the success and achievements and milestones of happiness in our own lives or in the lives of our loved ones, families and close friends. 'Mudita' extends this feeling further and teaches us to be genuinely happy in the happiness of everyone, whenever we hear of them being in a good space.


For example, when we hear that a neighbour has landed a cushy job, or a colleague has received a coveted promotion, or an associate has bought an expensive car or a plush new house in the most up-market area of the city. Can we feel truly and genuinely happy for them and celebrate their success and achievements with them? What if we or one of our loved ones were contenders for these same goals and dreams?

What if someone is celebrating the arrival of a newborn while we don't have children?

What if someone has found love while ours is a relationship full of strife or bereft of love?

What if we suffer from diabetes or a heart ailment and have to follow a restricted diet, while we see people twice our age gorging on all kinds of tasty food?

Won't a bit or maybe a lot of envy or worse still jealousy creep in? Won't we catch ourselves saying, "I wish I had that too." Or worse still, what if we end up saying, "Why him?He doesn't deserve it! Instead only I should be blessed with this good fortune."


Just knowing and accepting that these feelings exist is the first step towards developing 'Mudita.' One must try to feel genuinely happy in the happiness of others.

How ? I hear you ask...


Well, there are two keys which we can use-


The first key is to start with loved ones and then slowly expand our circle to include people towards whom we feel neutral i e experience neither good nor bad feelings. For example, people who serve us or who are mere acquaintences. Later, we will find it easy to push the envelope to include the people we dislike in the same circle. Slowly, we reach a level where we genuinely feel happy even in the good fortune and achievements of our worst enemies.


The second key is to realise that there is plenty for everyone in this world. There is an unlimited supply of happiness, love, peace, good fortune and abundance in this Universe. One man's wealth does not mean another man's poverty. The lack stems from improverished thinking alone. Think abundance and it is sure to grace your life.


May all of us succeed in inculcating 'Mudita and Metta' in our life.

Love and Peace to all!


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