Living A Compassionate Life

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“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive. Only the development of compassion and understanding for others can bring us the tranquility and happiness we all seek.” ~Dalai Lama XIV

I had the humble opportunity to be in the presence of the Dalai Lama at the University of Idaho. He spoke on compassion and universal responsibility, and reminded me it is through our actions and our thoughts that we make a difference.

The Dalai Lama says at our core our true nature is that of compassion. We all have the ability to be compassionate, but we have to find the inner strength to access our compassion.

Living a compassionate life takes courage. It means giving up ideas that no longer serve you and no longer serve this world. Living a compassionate life is a wake up call to live a life that gives you purpose and passion, not seeking and belonging.

In our society and culture we are not trained to live a compassionate life, but rather a successful one. We expect to escape death if we “do” enough, but at the end of the day it doesn’t matter what you did, but rather who you were. Were you kind, caring, loving and compassionate? At end of the day did allow someone to feel loved? 

I want to live a legacy of who I am, not what I did. Did I love with all my heart? 

Living a compassionate life takes heart. It means allowing your self to enter into new experiences and being okay with not knowing the outcome. The more you rely on your heart and your gut instincts the more you will find that it leads you to make choices that are naturally based on compassion and love.

When I lived with Buddhist monks in 2010 in Dharamshala, India-the Dalai Lama’s and Tibetan peoples refugee-I learned what a life of compassion looked like. For some monks it is waking up at 4 AM to mediate and chant as they are dedicated to achieving a compassionate life through the Buddhist tradition. Some people it was preparing Tibetan food or running a coffee shop. Some it was just being in the presence of nature.

I watched and listened to this every day and felt complete peace, every moment was based on love and compassion. Even if you are not a monk you still have the opportunity to dedicate your life to one of compassion and peace. The Buddhist monks and Tibetan people helped me open and find the confidence in my heart to be so. 

Living a compassionate life starts with mindful awareness and to know that your thoughts can change. You can’t change the circumstances in your life, but you can change how to react. Acting out of anger or fear does no good for humanity, acting out of kindness and compassion does. This takes patience and commitment and dedication to living a compassionate life.

Maya Angelou has a beautiful quote in which she says, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Feel is the key word here. Let people feel your true nature of compassion and love. It’s in all of us the Dali Lama says. First we have to have the courage to access our inner compassion.

I choose to feel with my heart. I choose to love myself completely so I can love others. I choose to be the best version of myself that offers this world peace and healing rather than success. I choose to live my life as service to others. I choose to find the strength to access my compassion. I choose to let go of fears that no longer serve me. I choose to love over success. To choose to embrace my natural self. I choose to live a compassionate life.


About the author


Feeding The Heart is a blog and resource dedicated to empowerment for whole heart living after trauma. I'm a writer, trauma sensitive-informed yoga teacher, and a trauma survivor here to share my story and journey of holistically healing.

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