There are certain qualities that I would like to embody as a human. I want to be compassionate, empathetic, kind, patient, truthful, loyal, humble, caring…I think this list could keep going. But, those will suffice to name a few.
It is stated in Vedanta, that if we dedicate our lives to just one of these qualities, and can master it in our lifetime, then all the other qualities have been mastered incidentally. I used to be confused by this, but then I realized of course it’s true! How could I be a truly compassionate person without exercising patience for those that test me? Without being kind to all living creatures? Without empathy for what other’s go through in their lives? It’s simply not possible. All these qualities are interrelated. We cannot have just one…I mean, do you know someone who is kind but has no patience?! (If so, please send me their name and address so I might witness this phenomena for myself.)
Okay, it’s great that I want to embody all these wonderful qualities…but now, the question resides: HOW???
The answer: By giving.
I begin to ask myself these types of questions:
How can I show compassion to all the creatures of Earth? How can I be kind to this asshole? How do I exercise patience with those who test it (or a situation for that matter)?
Maybe, when a situation arises where myself and another both have something at stake…I can remember, “oh yeah, he has something to lose, also…” and, instead of shooting a dirty look at my perceived opponent, I can smile. Instead of making threats, I can maintain a calm composure. He is, after all, a human just like me. Now, I’m not saying to give in and “lose.” I’m saying I can maintain patience and kindness without self-deprecation. After all, my worth is no more than or no less than. And, by giving the situation and all those involved patience and kindness, I also give compassion, truthfulness and empathy.
Maybe, instead of giving the finger (we all know which finger I’m talking about here) to the woman who cuts me off without using her blinker, I can give a wave. Or, if the gentleness of a wave is not yet accessible to me, maybe a less threatening gesture…like sticking my tongue out at her. Hey, we gotta start somewhere.
I know what I want, and I have a pretty good idea on how to attain these things. Luckily.