Excessive self-centeredness of me, my, and mine, is fraught with unhappiness. We become anxious and fearful. Distrust and suspicion ooze into our life. We don’t sleep well. We don’t digest our food well. We often feel miserable and don’t know why. Other-centeredness brings happiness, not only when practicing enlightenment, but also in normal everyday life. Practicing Bodhicitta to become enlightened for others — other-centeredness — is called “exchanging self for others.” It means exchanging the attitude of self-centeredness for the attitude of other-centeredness, thinking and acting for the complete welfare of others, all the way to enlightenment. In normal life, the more self-centered we are, the more people walk away from us. We are never satisfied, always wanting more. Other-centeredness, on the other hand, builds trusting relationships filled with meaning, love, and happiness. Emaho! ~ Barry Kerzin
Although we are all the same in not wanting problems and wanting a peaceful life, we tend to create a lot of problems for ourselves. Encountering those problems, anger develops and overwhelms our mind, which leads to violence. A good way to counter this and to work for a more peaceful world is to develop concern for others. Then our anger, jealousy and other destructive emotions will naturally weaken and diminish. ~ His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama
No matter what comes up, we can learn new ways of being with it. We have a capacity to meet any thought or emotion with mindfulness and balance. Whatever disagreeable emotion is coursing through us, we can let it go. Rereading those words may keep you going when sitting down to practice is the last thing you want to do. ~ Sharon Salzberg, “Sticking with It”
In meditation, imagine that in front of you are three persons—an enemy, a friend, and a neutral person. At that time, in our minds we have (1) a sense of closeness for one of them, thinking, “This is my friend”; (2) a sense of dislike even when imagining the enemy; and (3) a sense of ignoring the neutral person. Now, we have to think about the reasons why we generate these feelings—the reasons being that temporarily one of them helped us whereas the other temporarily harmed us, and the third did neither. However, when we think in terms of the long course of beginningless rebirth, none of us could decide that someone who has helped or harmed us in this life has been doing so for all lifetimes.
When you contemplate this way, eventually you arrive at a point where a strong generation of desire or hatred appears to you to be just senseless. Gradually, such a bias weakens, and you decide that one-sided classification of persons as friends and enemies has been a mistake. ~ His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama, The Dalai Lama at Harvard: Lectures on the Buddhist Path to Peace, page 166
One of the things that most nourishes true compassion is clarity—when we know what we are thinking and know what we are feeling. This clarity differentiates compassion from shallow martyrdom when we are only thinking of others, and we are never caring about ourselves. ~ Sharon Salzberg, “A Quiver of the Heart.”