I agree with that definition. The next questions would be, what are these abilities or qualities? I reckon that the answer to this question may vary for each individual. As for me, referring to my own self-development, these characters would be of Wisdom, Compassion/ Loving-Kindness.
For the sake of this conversation I will define what I mean when I speak of Wisdom and Compassion or Loving/Kindness. Wisdom to me refers to our insight, our ability to keep an open mind to let us reflect on what is essential; whereas compassion/loving kindness is not of empathy alone, but an active act of wanting others to be happy as much as I want myself to be happy.
Those 2 things exist innately, naturally in the heart of all of us! But because of our tendency to be involved with our own selfishness, our own likes and dislikes, we develop walls and isolate ourselves from others. We do not allow the openness that can be felt between human beings to express itself because of two fundamental things: hope and fear. All of us want some happiness and no one wants to suffer, so every action we take is motivated by the thought of how can I be happy, how can I avoid pain. In a world already divided in so many ways, we create a world of our own. A very selfish attitude develops
To illustrate, when we see tragic news in the media, our heart naturally feel the same sadness as the victims, this natural instinct-our ability to empathize. Along with that, naturally we want them to be free of that pain and suffering and to once again find happiness; this act of empathy comes from our own insight/wisdom that if we were to be in their situation, this would be what we wish for ourselves. This understanding of others pain and elevating it to want others to be happy is compassion
Through my own struggle, I see this 2 aspects as 2 sets of wings that will help raise us in times of difficulties and we know that in this life, there are many difficult moments to overcome and ultimately this will help us grow into a decent human being to contribute to humanity in a global spectrum.
How to do it?
1)Do No Harm
2)Meditation/Time alone for Self Reflection
3)Attitude of Gratitude
5)Be of Service to Others
Do No Harm
The basic understanding that when we hurt others, we hurt ourselves. It is hurtful when someone lie to us, therefore we don’t lie to others, it is sad when something stolen from us, therefore we don’t steal. It is disappointing to know that others think of us in such evil way, therefore refrain from thinking negative things about others. It is upsetting when someone gossip about our friends or family, therefore refrain from saying untrue things about others.
Life in itself comes with pain and suffering, therefore we try our best not to contribute in more pain and suffering rather the other way, to be the cause of joy for others.
To Pay Attention on purpose, to be fully aware and to be present through each experience.
Mindfulness, the act to be fully present at all time is needed in order to do no harm, otherwise before we know it, we have done something that we may regret.
You need the wisdom to look inward to see what kind of a person you are. Being mindful is to be aware at all times what is going on within us, for example maybe if due to something happened to us that day that effect our mood, it is important to be aware of it and be mindful so that we do not take out on others this ‘bad mood’ that we currently have, our mood is transient however the effect of our lack of mindfulness may last
In recent years, the practice of mindfulness had been actively use in Clinical Psychology to help with depression and anxiety. This practice force people to be confrontational to what is going on inside their inner template, to identify the disturbing emotions, reflecting on its origin and rather than be a victim of these emotions by indulging in behavior that is destructive rather to cope with that emotions with more positive way.
Meditation / spend time alone for self Reflection
Wisdom is innate in us; it is not something that can be bought, heard or received from outside. But our involvement with the external environment and the distraction of our own emotions causes a kind of layering or veiling that prevents us from observing ourselves carefully. We do not give ourselves enough time and space to use our innate wisdom to observe ourselves before we act.
If we reflect on it, we realize that our perception of the external world has much to do with our internal attitude. Our mind makes excuses based on external circumstances that reflect what we feel inside. When we see a person and he does something we like, then he is a good person. But if this same person does something we don’t like, then he is a bad person. So transforming the external environment must begin with transforming the inner self, because only when the self is tamed and a fair amount of awareness exists within us will we have the strength to relate properly with others.
Realizing the innate wisdom in every human being must begin with training the self.
I find reflection help enrich life and encourage personal growth, in clinical setting itself, client’s ability to reflect on their issue is the key to progress in their treatment. It is not to be mistaken as living in the past, rather to reflect what to learn from the past experience in order to break habitual pattern so that we can alter our action in the present moment to effect a favorable outcome in the future.
Naturally, self-reflection is a solitary process, typically you want to choose a time and place where you can be alone with your thoughts, make it a daily habit or weekly habits. This will help to center thoughts and learn to ‘hear’ your own inner voice.
Be of Service to others
Expanding on the first point of Do No Harm, be a source of joy and happiness for others instead; that include helping others in need, to give back, it doesn’t have to be participating in big charity, it doesn’t have to be fancy, but simply by looking around your immediate environment and see how can you contribute? As simple as when you see a tourist in need of direction, offer assistance; when you see someone carrying a heavy bag-offer help or help open doors, any simple act of kindness and service to others.
Simple act of kindness force us to step out of our own selfish tendency and the habitual pattern of ‘victim’ mindset or ‘poor me’ and replace it by empowering ourselves in positive way by helping others.
When receive kindness, be thankful for we know it is not always easy to help other people. In time of difficulties, be thankful for this is an opportunity to practice more compassion, to remember to extend to others when times are good. Either way, everything that happens in life is for our growth and expansion, so be grateful for all. When you receive help be grateful and when you are the giver, be so grateful that you can somehow be of help or of use to someone else. This attitude help develop inner wealth, the kind of richness in your heart that no amount of money can buy.
A society based upon peace, harmony, wisdom and compassion is not going to come about unless each person begins with themselves. Through our ignorance, our failure to use our innate wisdom, we make many excuses for not starting with ourselves. The biggest excuse we use is that we require the other person to change before we do. So if I get up in the morning and things don’t happen the way that I want, everything gets blamed on my external world. On days when everything goes right, people look good to us and appear kinder.
Through our wisdom we understand that our life eventually comes to an end and everything in life can change at any second. Our Time is one of the most valuable possessions we have, wasting it on not having a purpose in life would only harm ourselves. However, if in this short period of time we call life as human beings we are able to develop our inner wealth, inner qualities of wisdom and compassion and can be of benefit to someone else; then that is the activity of a develop human being; a decent human being; therefore a successful life.