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The Door to Inner Happiness
from An Open-Hearted Life:
Transformative Methods for Compassionate Living from a Clinical Psychologist and a Buddhist Nun
by Ven. Thubten Chodron and Dr. Russell Kolts
Extending ourselves to another living being—a pet, a child, a friend, a stranger, even someone we don’t care for or someone who has different opinions than we do—opens the door to inner happiness.
Leave food out for the squirrels, put up a bird feeder, volunteer at the library, smile at someone, bestow a favor that wasn’t asked for, praise someone for work well done, point out someone’s good qualities when they need a boost.
In other words, do something that pulls you outside of yourself, that helps you see that there are billions of living beings who, like you, want to connect to others with compassion. All of us feel better when we experience kindness, empathy, and good wishes for others.
It may be helpful to give yourself a homework assignment: “Every day, I’m going to make at least one small effort to connect with someone with compassion. I’m going to do one tiny action without expecting anything back from anyone, while quietly and by myself taking delight in giving.”
Then, even if you don’t feel like doing it, do it anyway.
A Compassionate Homework Assignment for the Holidays
Sravasti Abbey monastics are staying connected with our local community this holiday season by offering gifts to homeless teens through Youth Emergency Services.
We’re also writing Christmas cards to the residents at River Mountain Village Assisted Living and the folks at at our local health district and hospitals.
You can brighten your heart by sharing some cheer with others this holiday season too. Ven. Chodron offers some ideas and more in her Bodhisattva’s Breakfast Corner talk, “Going Stir Crazy?” which you can watch here.