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The Radicalism of Our Time

Compassion Dalai Lama quote

The Dalai Lama has noted, “Compassion is the radicalism of our time.”

Compassion includes positive thoughts and feelings like hope, courage, determination and inner strength. When one expresses compassion toward others, it means treating them as if they are being their highest and best selves—even when they are not demonstrating that potential in the moment.

The Dalai Lama tells a story that demonstrates how powerful this can be. There was a young boy who was raised in the wild by animals, and he had not assimilated into the human experience. The young boy did not stand. He did not speak, but grunted and looked around nervously when other people were near.

His Holiness wanted to meet this boy. So the social scientists who were caring for the boy arranged a meeting for the Dalai Lama and the boy. During the visit, the doctors explained to the Dalai Lama that the boy was full of fear. He constantly darted around and had been doing so the whole time he was under the doctors’ supervision. The doctors and the social workers tried to get him to chill out, but without success.

During the Dalai Lama’s visit, the doctors kept explaining what they could not do and why it was impossible to make any progress.

His Holiness simply began to look at the young boy and petted him in a loving and compassionate manner. Eventually, the boy settled down and curled up around the Dalai Lama’s feet. Over time, the boy began to stand up and take part in the dynamic of love that was being expressed by His Holiness.

While those around him were trying to change that young boy, the Dalai Lama just met him where he was and simply loved him and expressed compassion toward him. And a change took place.

There are many ways we may avoid meeting other people as they truly are, as spiritual beings. We may reduce them to some category and not see the humanity and the Spirit that is in all of us.

As the radicals of our day, we are being called to radiate the compassion that is so needed in our communities, our countries and our world. Compassion is particularly indispensable toward those we may consider to be “not on our side.”

As the Dalai Lama said, “Only the development of compassion and understanding for others can bring us the tranquility and happiness we all seek.”

Peace and Blessings,


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