What is the purpose of life? In “Compassion and the Individual,” the Dalai Lama proposes that the purpose of life is to be happy. No matter what the individual situation is, we all strive for contentment in our lives. No one wants to be miserable, but how can we achieve happiness?
The single thing that makes us most happy is compassion and love for one another. We have to remember that we are not the only ones suffering, and we need to be supportive and empathetic towards others. When we express sympathy – genuine sympathy – for those around us, it makes us stronger when dealing with our own obstacles. That type of positive thinking is what will help us grow and be happy.
Every human needs love and compassion; it is how we are built. We need each other to survive. If someone is left alone in life, no matter how strong and independent they think they are, they will perish. We need love and support from others, especially when ill or young or elderly. When we are born, we must have the love and affection from a caregiver in the household to properly grow and thrive. If a teacher makes a difference in a students’ life, and shows that they care, they, and everything they taught, will live on in this student while all others will be forgotten. We heal and recover faster with the help of a compassionate doctor rather than from one that is cold and distant. We cannot survive if we do not depend on one another.
Some people feel that it is pointless to strive to be compassionate because hatred and anger are too much a part of our world. The Dalai Lama says that he does not believe this is true because the sheer volume of population would be smaller if all we did was war with each other. He believes that acts of love and compassion are so much a part of our lives that we take it for granted instead of celebrating it. We must not only like the idea of compassion, but actively try to make it a part of our daily lives. We have to be compassionate with others, even when they act in a way that makes this difficult. This does not apply to only a few of us, but each and every person must learn to think this way.
We can start by trying to eliminate all of the anger from our lives. Love and anger are both extremely powerful emotions, but anger is not controllable. Anger makes you lash out at everyone and everything, and solves nothing. We can overcome anger with patience and reason. These are indicators of inner strength, while anger and hatred are signs of weakness.
Be thankful for your enemies, for they are the ones that trigger instances when we can attempt to practice compassion. Also, take care of those around you because you never know when you could need them, and if you are not loving and caring to them, they will not be there for you. If we want to see more smiles in the world, we have to make people smile.
Basically, we are all human. We all have the same emotions; we all bleed red. If we all treat each other as we would a close friend, the world would be a better place for all of us to live, and through compassion, patience and love, we can achieve the purpose for living – true happiness.