~ Compassionate Action
The Dalai Lama has said, "If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion."
Compassionate action is considered one of the highest of virtues in Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Islam, and is one of MANY common threads between them.
In the practice of yoga the moral conduct referred to as Ahimsa (Sanskrit: अहिंसा), or non-violence toward one's self and others, is key to the cultivation of compassion in action. We are advised to come to our mats minus the motivation of ego. We are urged to embrace gentleness and mindfulness in our relationship with the body -- our temple and anchor in this world.
There is a story in which the Buddha was asked "Would it be true to say that the cultivation of loving kindness and compassion is part of our practice?"
The Buddha replied, "No. It would not be true to say that the cultivation of loving kindness and compassion is part of our practice. It would be true to say that the cultivation of loving kindness and compassion is all of our practice."
A Meditation or Prayer:
Visualize and feel one who is beloved to you. Address and connect with your loved one by saying: "May you be free of pain and sorrow. May you be well, happy, and at ease." Take the time to see the ones who are dear to you in this light.
It is important to affirm to yourself:
"May I be free of pain and sorrow. May I be well, happy, and at ease." See and feel a sense of well-being manifesting in your life.
Dedicate the same level of loving kindness to one with whom you've had conflict, an enemy, or individual you feel has caused you pain or harm (not so easy).
In your mind's eye see the image of someone you do not really know, such as a clerk or delivery person. Project your compassion, your loving kindness toward this individual: "May you be free of pain and sorrow, well, happy, and at ease."
Conclude your meditation or prayer with the offering of compassion to all sentient beings everywhere, to all life forms, without limit & without exception: "May all beings be free of pain and sorrow. May all beings be well, happy, and at ease."
A Sanskrit Chant: Lokah Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu:
May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.