Book Review: An Open Heart: Practicing Compassion in Everyday Life

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This book reads as a little instruction book on how to be compassionate.  It was a good book to read after the depressing David Sedaris book Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary.  If that book said everyone is awful, this book said, maybe but you can still be compassionate.  Don’t be evil, be a nice person.  I always like the stories told in the books with the Dalai Lama as the author.  Not that he writes much of the book himself mind you.  He has a writer do the work and they kinda get a feel for what he wants to say from the Dalai Lama’s speeches and interviews.  I have two notes from this book that I think are worth sharing with you:

It is difficult to hold back from anger when provoked unless we have trained our mind to first recollect the unpleasant effects such thoughts will cause us. It is therefore essential that we begin our training in patience calmly, not while experiencing anger. We must recall in detail how, when angry, we lose our peace of mind, how we are unable to concentrate on our work, and how unpleasant we become to those around us. It is by thinking long and hard in this manner that we eventually become able to refrain from anger

Compassion is the wish that others be free of suffering.