He told us he learned compassion FROM HIS MOM

Martin de Porres in San Francisco is a soup kitchen/homeless shelter at which I volunteer on Thursdays. We serve our guests anywhere from 600 – 1000 breakfasts, and then lunches daily. Everyone is welcome, and treated with the utmost respect.

It’s my favorite day of the week. Not only does it offer me a weekly reality check in my own life (puts my “problems” where they belong – in their proper perspective), but the love in that space is so palpable that you can touch it (and it touches you).

We (the volunteers) all walk around with these big smiles pasted on our faces, despite the suffering we observe all around us because it feels really good to do good stuff.

Dalai Lama
Not long ago the Dalai Lama came by. This man exudes love and joy. We put a Martins apron on him, handed him a big plastic spoon, and he served our guests (and us).

Then he sat and ate with a dozen or so of our guests. Remarkably, despite everything that
is on his mind these days, he was nevertheless completely engaged in his conversation with them. Totally present. Totally in the moment.
He spoke briefly. His message was very, very simple, and came down to the following: “We have a responsiblity to be happy. We have a responsibility to take care of each other.” That’s all.

One additional thing really got my attention. He said that our huge caldrons of soup brought back memories of his childhood kitchen. His mom always kept a pot of soup on the stove ready for hungry visitors. He said: ” I learned compassion from my mother.”
This from a Buddhist master who has spent countless hours on his meditation cushion, delivered many Dharma talks, and read innumerable books on the topic of compassion (and written some too). Yet he says he learned compassion not from his Buddhist practice, but from his mom – from real life – the same place we need to learn it.
It was clear that he was having the best time. Indeed, one of his staff called the next day to say that they haven’t seen him so happy in ages – doing service directly with the served, no layers in between.

I slept, and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service.I acted, and behold, sevice was joy.
Rabindranath Tagore

Be kind to yourself, Metta,Michael

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About Michael Scott

Michael Scott is a life coach, author and teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area. After spending 35 years in business - coaching found him - and he's never looked back. Michael uses his coaching training and experience, in the service of his clients, as their constant and loving guide towards joyous, fulfilling lives which are genuinely their own. He lives with his dear wife in Sausalito, CA.

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