Consider that while love and compassion are marvelous and good, they are not really very relevant. Our world is not a place where such beliefs have much influence or power. Anger and hatred are so much a part of human nature that humanity will always be dominated by them. Would you agree?
Maybe compassionate activities are so much a part of daily life that they are taken for granted and largely ignored.
Certainly the mental benefits of compassion contribute to good physical health as well as mental stability and well-being. Do anger and agitation prevent the mind from being tranquil and occupied with positive thoughts? It seems like anger and agitation might influence the body to more easily fall prey to disease.
It is also true that all humans are self-centered that could inhibit our love for others. So, since we desire the true happiness that is brought about by only a calm mind, and since such peace of mind is brought about by only a compassionate attitude, how can we develop this? Obviously, it is not enough for us simply to think about how nice compassion is! We need to make a concerted effort to develop it; we must use all the events of our daily life to transform our thoughts and behavior.
First of all, we must be clear about what we mean by compassion. Many forms of compassionate feelings are mixed with desire and attachment. For instance, the love parents feel for their child is often strongly associated with their own emotional needs. So it is not fully compassionate. Again, in marriage, the love between husband and wife - particularly at the beginning, when each partner still may not know the other’s deeper character very well - depends more on attachment than genuine love. Our desire can be so strong that the person to whom we are attached appears to be good, when in fact he or she may be quite negative. In addition, we have a tendency to trick ourselves, to support our feelings of love by exaggerating small positive qualities. Thus when one partner’s attitude changes, the other partner is often disappointed and his or her attitude changes too. This is an indication that love has been motivated more by personal need than by genuine care for the other individual.
True compassion is not just an emotional response, but a firm commitment founded on reason. Therefore, a truly compassionate attitude towards others does not change even if they behave negatively.
Of course, developing this kind of compassion is not at all easy! As a start, let us consider the following facts:
Whether people are beautiful and friendly or unattractive and disruptive, ultimately they are still human beings. They want happiness and do not want suffering. Furthermore, their right to overcome suffering and be happy is equal to your own. When you recognize that all beings are equal in both their desire for happiness and their right to obtain it, you automatically feel empathy and closeness for them. Through the training of your mind to this sense of universal altruism, you develop a feeling of responsibility for others: the wish to help them actively overcome their problems. This feeling must be applied equally to all. As long as you can recognize all human beings experiencing pleasure and pain just as you do, there is no logical basis to discriminate between them or to alter your concern for them if they behave negatively.
It is within your power, given patience and time, to develop this kind of compassion. Of course, our self-centeredness, our distinctive attachment to the feeling of an independent, self-existent life works to inhibit our compassion. Indeed, true compassion can be experienced only when this type of self- grasping is eliminated.