I was born in the 80s. That generation who grew up at the same time that communication technology was developing at full speed. As we were getting older, new computers, music-players and phones were successfully launched on the market every day.
When I was 13 years old, everybody (my parents would ask who is everybody?) had a mobile phone at school. It was a common gift that parents would give to their children for doing things well at school. And let’s be honest; it was a practical way of keeping an eye on teenagers as well.
Naturally, as I didn’t want to be less that the rest of the kids at school, I also asked my parents to buy me a mobile phone. Of course, they said no. I must admit they tried to talk to me and explain why they thought it wasn’t a good idea to have a mobile phone, but I didn’t pay much attention.
After several months seeing my friends exchanging confident messages and funny phone calls all the time (you couldn’t do more than that with a mobile phone in the 90’s), I decided that I would buy a mobile phone on my own.
I don’t think I was a capricious girl, but I was indeed very committed to getting what I wanted. So, I went to a shop, I bought a mobile phone as a self-gift for Christmas and I head back home scared to death thinking about my parents’ reaction.
And what a reaction! They made me spend my Christmas day at a charity in my city where homeless people go every day to eat a warm meal. And they said: “now you might learn which are the real needs for so many people in life, and having a mobile phone is certainly not a one of them”.
That was a life-changing lesson. Feeding homeless people made me develop my sense of compassion towards others. I also learned to have more empathy for those who, unfortunately, suffer extremely in their life.
Image credit: The Guibord Center
Ten years after that experience I started meditating and when looking for information about the benefits of this practice, I was pleasantly surprised when I found that through meditation we actually improve the empathy and compassion feelings developed towards others.
No need to believe me. You can learn the benefits of meditation listening to Dalai Lama himself and to some of the leading scientists who conducted scientific research on compassion meditation.
And now I’d like to invite you to think about what our teaching monk LP Pasura told us once: “imagine what would happen if we teach every child in this world to meditate”. People would be more empathetic. And we are certainly in so much need of human beings feeling compassionate about each other.