“Compassion and love are not mere luxuries…they constitute non-violence in action.” Dalai Lama
Compassion and love are our greatest pathways to inner peace and our true source of happiness. This past week, I had the blessed opportunity to hear the Dalai Lama speak on non-violence at a Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates at Loyola University. Although hearing him speak has been a lifelong dream of mine, it wasn’t about checking this experience off my bucket list. On the contrary, it is about being in alignment with the universal principles of compassion, love and inner peace and practicing them in everyday life.
What this experience revealed to me was more impactful than a chance to be in the presence of one of humanity’s greatest leaders for peace. It provided an opportunity for me to walk the path of compassion, love, patience and inner peace. Beginning with driving to Chicago, I was challenged to practice nonviolence at every turn especially with myself. Instead of becoming irritated, upset or even angry when the GPS system failed, when I took the wrong exit or when I got a nose bleed as I was asking for new directions, I took deep breaths, smiled at others (even with my nose as red as a tomato), opened my heart and repeated such affirmative mantras as “Trust and Let go,” and “Bless and Release.”
Once I arrived at my hotel, the opportunities for practicing non-violence continued with more positive outcomes. When my room key didn’t work, there was someone from housekeeping to let me in. When I was given the wrong directions to the restaurant for dinner, I walked a few more blocks only to find it on my own. Also, when finding out that there would be no public parking at the event, a kind metro employee showed me which trains I would need to take the next day. Each of these challenges turned into opportunities to practice compassion, patience and love.
Compassion or “Come-Passion” as I see it, reminds me to bring passion into every encounter I experience. It shows me the inter-connectedness of all life and that we are all part of a whole energy-the energy of divine light and love. And that, widening our circle of compassion and practicing non-violence begins with ourselves. It starts with halting the harsh, violent thoughts, words and actions we inflict upon ourselves and then, onto others.
Practice loving-kindness, nonjudgment, and compassion of yourself and others. As you move through your day, keep an open heart and extend pure love and gratitude to whomever you meet. In these moments, pay attention to the loving connection between your heart and the other person’s. Open to light flowing through you and bless the individual in loving compassion. With this energetic expansion comes a sense of love, inner peace, and spiritual attunement with everyone and everything.