Mercy & Loving Kindness

I am currently reading a book by Dr Wayne Dyer called Wisdom of the Ages. It’s an incredible collection of 60, of what Dr Dyer feels are some of the most impactful quotes, poems or writings of all time, right back to Patanjali, Lao-tzu, St Francis of Assisi to modern day luminaries such as Rudyard Kipling and Mother Theresa.

The piece that I read recently, and I feel compelled to share here, is a brief piece by Shakespeare from the Merchant of Venice;

The quality of mercy is not strained;
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath; it is twice blest, –
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest, it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown:
His scepter shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherin doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway, –
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doeth then show likest God’s
When mercy seasons justice.

Dr Dyer urges us to practice mercy with ourselves first. He urges us to be compassionate and non-judgmental with ourselves when we make mistakes, or fail to live upto a presupposed standard.
‘Forgive yourself for being human’.

He goes on to say that if you are not compassionate with yourself, you will find it difficult to practice compassion with others, just as it is difficult to be generous with money, if you have none.

And he also mentions a quote by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj:

“The sinner and the saint are merely exchanging notes, the saint had sinned, the sinner will be sanctified.”

What these say to me is, if you are good to yourself, others begin to stand a chance. We tend to hurt people only when we are hurting ourselves – it starts with us.