Cultivating Compassion

One of the greatest traits of modern society is the striving towards individual gain, often financial, with consequences of stress, depression, and a disconnection from the world around us.

Yet one of the most incredible things about being human is our state of emotional and spiritual consciousness that in fact inherently connects us to each other and our environment. It is well argued that we cannot survive without love, and a significant element of love, in the universal sense, comes from the wish to free ourselves and other living things from pain.

We call this compassion – actions born out of sympathy and empathy, and most importantly, love – all in the name of alleviating suffering. While acts of true compassion come from a selfless intuition, the rewards are plenty for anyone who practices it.

The feel-good factor of doing a good deed is undeniable. On a biochemical level, that feeling can be attributed to the release of endorphins and the anti-aging hormone DHEA, and a reduction in ‘the stress hormone’, cortisol.

On an emotional and spiritual level, compassion deepens our connections – not just with others, but with our own inner self, which should be the starting point for any pursuit of happiness. Looking kindly on yourself will allow you to practice true compassion, without the intent of personal gain, as well as making you more receptive to compassion from others.

People who are born with an unusually heightened sense of empathy are known as Empaths. They are highly sensitive to the thoughts and feelings of others and the energy of the environment at large. It can be difficult to thrive as an empath in a society that does not always embrace and encourage emotional expression, and where stress and negativity is sadly so rife. But if these unique beings can master their gift, they make excellent carers and healers of both people and nature – using their skills to tune into the needs of others and reduce suffering.

Whether you are an empath or not, we are all capable of being compassionate beings. Simple acts of kindness such as holding a door open or helping someone with their bags can lead to a domino effect, where the more we give, the more we receive. So if we all cultivate our compassionate selves, the world will be a better place.

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