Sometimes we have a positive thought and are moved by an altruistic motivation to benefit others, but the response is not what we had hoped for. People might not accept our offer of help. We ourselves might feel our capacity was not adequate to the task, or we might be left with the feeling that our virtue lacked strength. However, when it comes to art, there are no such problems: for example, when children make drawings, they are not concerned about the reactions of grown-ups or other people. They simply express on paper whatever arises spontaneously in their heart or mind, without forcing or faking anything and without worrying whether others will like it or not.
Similarly, when it comes to engaging in virtue, it is important that we do not act to please or impress anyone. Rather, we should be expressing whatever is pure and spontaneous in our heart and mind, without pretence, phoniness or hesitation. First, we bring forth whatever we find within ourselves that is beautiful and spontaneous, and only later do we consider whether it will be accepted or not. Otherwise, sometimes others have strong expectations and we might feel we will not be able to show them what we have that is beautiful. This is the feeling that comes.
Nurturing Compassion: Teachings from the First Visit to Europe
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