Health Courses->Consciousness Hygiene->Compassion
Serve Others, Practice Generosity,
Do Not Avert Your Eyes from the Suffering of Others:
The Practice of Compassion
All major religions speak about service to others as an important component of a meaningful life. Even monks in solitary hermitage have a significant relationship with all other people on the planet. Interpersonal relationships influence our mind-body health strongly. The health of one determines, in part, the health of the other.
The way of service expands our sense of self to others. In a way it is like surrendering the personal ego, not to a higher authority, but to a valuable cause or those in need, whether it be the family or the underprivileged. There are many examples: Albert Schweitzer, Florence Nightingale, the millions of devoted mothers who get rich fulfillment from nurturing their children and family ties, and all those participating in the many service organizations for the disadvantaged.
Sometimes livelihood is our primary mode of giving to humanity. Others dedicate a certain amount of time, money, and effort per year in volunteer service. In whatever form seems best to the individual, sharing our life energy with others can be some of the most uplifting acts we can do. And it is not without its personal rewards. It is a well known, documented phenomenon that helping others improves the helper’s health physically. It also let’s us see more clearly the interdependent nature of all things.
There are pitfalls to the practice of generosity. It sometimes comes from blind, mindless devotion to the service without adequately looking at its potential adverse results. There are examples of religious aid organizations bringing so much relief food to an area that it ruined the local farming economy. How many millions have died in holy wars fought to save the souls of nonbelievers? On a personal level there are those who have wrapped themselves up so much in service to others they neglected their own well-being (the typical co-dependent personality) and became ill or died an early death because of it.
So it will take some work and refinement to wisely practice compassionate action as a part of a richer life. Use the books in the resource section as guides.
A Path with Heart: A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life by Jack Kornfield
Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happinessby Sharon Salzberg
How Can I Help? Ram Dass and Dan Goleman
Compassion In Action: Setting Out on the Path of Service by Ram Dass and Mirabai Bush
Any good that I can do, or any kindness that
Consciousness Hygiene Course Summary
I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love