One way of achieving happiness is through compassion – the wish that other people will be happy and free from suffering. Empathy is a powerful tool and when others are happy, we tend to feel happy as well (but not always). But in modern society, people are so busy with their own lives and stresses that they do not have the luxury of caring for the well-being of others. The result of this is our compassion drying up, crippling our ability to be happy. Here is a simple meditation that helps train your compassion.
The first step of this meditation is simple: think of someone you know that is suffering and wish them good fortune. It could be a friend who has gone through a break-up or a family member who is ill. Wish that they will find the right one eventually or that they will get better soon. An important point is that you should be sincere with this, ergo it is easier to do it for people you care about. Over time, you will find that it is easier and easier to wish for someone to not suffer and it will slowly become almost a “habit”.
Once you feel yourself becoming comfortable with this, try it out on strangers on the street. If you see someone, think to yourself “I wish that person will have a good day”. It could be that you wish that person will have a loving family to go home to, or even a little thing such as someone complimenting them. Much like training an unused muscle, it will be difficult at first but you will slowly see your compassion grow and strengthen, as you genuinely wish the better for others. Perhaps you will even find yourself doing little things to brighten someone else’s day, such as giving a compliment, listening to someone’s problems or giving a small but thoughtful gift.
The ultimate step of this meditation is being compassionate towards someone you truly dislike. If you are able to wish good fortune on your worst enemy and sincerely hope that they would be happy, you would truly be a compassionate person. Like any skill, it takes much training and effort to train yourself to be this compassionate. But even if you cannot reach this level, every single step towards becoming a more compassionate person will make you feel just a little bit happier.