Introduction

How wonderful that you’ve chosen to read this page. You have just demonstrated an interest in becoming more compassionate and gaining greater peace of mind. And, having taken even this one small step of opening the book to read about the process of becoming more compassionate – this, in and of itself, is an undeniably good thing, both for you and for the world.

Every single thought, action, or word you speak that is motivated by the desire to be more kind, sets ripples of goodness in motion that can, if reinforced, transform your mind into a sea of tranquility and happiness as well as lead to untold positive effects for others near and far both in time and place.

So, this is a very good thing, your reading this page, and is worthy of acknowledgement as such. I’m smiling with delight as I write this page envisioning you here and now, at this particular juncture in your life where you have acted upon an impulse to become more compassionate, even if only for a nanosecond.

Moment by moment, thought by thought, step by step we can transform our minds through time-tested compassion practices, and ultimately create a garden of delight out of any life history or current circumstance, regardless of how traumatic or difficult. Many others in equally, or even more difficult, circumstances have with sufficient time, patience, and perseverance followed this same path of creating a mind of compassion and loving kindness, and achieved personal peace and happiness as well as generating untold beneficial effects for the world around them.

There are countless examples of people from all spiritual paths, faiths, and religions who have experienced terrible hardships or themselves created hardships and suffering for others, who have turned their minds towards love and compassion. The peace and happiness they gain through following this path of compassion training brings about an evident state of peace and happiness, such that anyone who sees their countenance is inspired to follow their lead.

My own unshakable confidence in the compassion practices I present in this book is the result of having studied with many great spiritual masters, each of who possessed a level of kindness and peace of mind that surpassed anything I’d ever personally encountered before. The fact that so many of them had undergone the most painful life experiences imaginable made their spiritual achievements even more compelling. I can have no doubt that compassion practices work when I see their phenomenal kindness and evident peace of mind.

One might think that there is something unusual in the makeup of people who experience hardship yet are able to become compassionate, peaceful, and happy. Something perhaps that you are missing in your mental makeup? This is not at all the case. Luckily, we are not starting from scratch or trying to create something unnatural. Not in the least. In fact, the very opposite is true. It is in our essential nature to be kind. No one is born without this essential core of compassion and loving-kindness. It is already there within you waiting to be rediscovered and nurtured. True, sociopaths seem to be missing the compassion chip or wiring in their brains. But this is the rare case, and I doubt that anyone who chose to read this book falls into that (thankfully) minute portion of humanity.

So, each and everyone of us on this planet has within themselves a vast primordial reserve of loving kindness and compassion which has unfortunately been compromised or obscured by patterns of thought that lead us to think that others are to be used, possessed, envied, feared, dominated, or destroyed. We have been conditioned to believe that it is necessary for our survival and happiness to behave in ways that in truth will actually serve to destroy our happiness and create suffering for ourselves and others. It’s a tragedy, truly. Or, perhaps even worse in some ways, adding insult to injury, we are actually quite aware that our behavior and thought processes are irrational and do not lead to happiness, but the power of routine and adhering to ‘the known’ seems impossible to break free of. Also, a tragedy.

But this is not the end of the story for you. Today is the beginning of a new story for you. A story guaranteed to have a happy ending given sufficient time, patience, and perseverance, for you are now contemplating doing something quite wonderful for yourself. And, this is something that you have the innate ability to achieve. It is something that no one can prevent you from accomplishing and that no life circumstance can alter. The truth is that it is entirely within your power and ability to regain your birthright of a happy, peaceful, and compassionate mind. At this moment in time, you have the ability and the interest or motivation. You now have in your hand and before your eyes one of many proven paths that will lead to the happy experience of life that is your heart’s desire. All that is needed now is some focus and staying power, for it takes time and practice to change the patterns of mind of a lifetime.

So, let us begin this joyful journey!

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