Compassion is a simple way of moving through the world with respect for all beings. It is about practicing acceptance, concern and understanding for others, with the realization that whatever we do for someone else helps us grow as spiritual beings.

Here are seven thoughts from notable spiritual teachers on the power of compassion to break down barriers and help us unfold our hearts:

  1. “Compassion is a muscle that gets stronger with use.” (Gandhi)
    The works we do for one another determine our true strength.
  2. “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” (Plato)
    Compassion is most worthwhile when it becomes most difficult to practice.
  3. “Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.” (14th Dalai Lama)
    Never doubt the impact of one person’s goodness to affect greater change.
  4. “I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.” (Lao Tzu)
    Kindness can be learned. Compassion can be taught. It’s never too late to study.
  5. “I would rather feel compassion than know the meaning of it. I would hope to act with compassion without thinking of personal gain.” (Thomas Aquinas)
    Compassion helps the give perhaps more than the recipient.
  6. “I vow to live fully in each moment and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion.” (Thich Nhat Hanh)
    Acceptance is the first component of universal compassion and respect for all life.
  7. “If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.” (Buddha)
    Do not forget to treat yourself with the same love and patience you show others.

Not all of us can be world-renowned spiritual teachers… and that’s okay! We too can grow closer to universal love through small acts of goodness every day.