Originally appeared in Planet Jackson Hole

How to enrich your life and the lives of others with one simple, deep feeling.

Compassion is a state of mind, a state of feeling and a state of being that views life through the lens of the heart and therefore removes judgment. Compassion is not about condoning hurtful behavior. It is not about pity, and it is not about fixing anyone.

Since compassion bypasses judgment, it becomes possible to see beyond the surface, beyond automatic emotional responses and personal bias. This allows us to observe the following universal truth: We are all doing the best we can with what we are given in any given moment. Whether or not we like what's happening does not cancel out this truth.

With this profound awareness it is possible to extend to yourself, to other people and to all living things the desire that suffering, which underlies certain behavior, be relieved. Scientific research has proven that positive thoughts and feelings have a powerful upgrading effect on everything in the matrix of life.

Another big plus is that positive body chemistry also accompanies the experience of compassion. When you evoke the feeling of compassion, the heart opens and the heart informs the brain to produce and release the biochemistry of wellbeing. This includes maximum immune system support, emotional balance and mental clarity. This biochemistry opens the ability to not get caught up in taking things personally. With compassion, we can see difficult and painful situations from a bigger picture perspective and to respond from a nobler place in ourselves.

Here is a true story, which is also a metaphor. A woman was rushing out of the supermarket her arms full of grocery bags, when from out of nowhere a man came crashing into her, knocking the two of them to the ground. The groceries were strewn everywhere. The woman was enraged and lashed out at the man screaming at the top of her lungs, "What's the matter with you? Are you f'ing blind or something?" Then she looked up at him for the first time to see his reaction, and she saw that he was blind. A huge transformation washed over her with the instant realization of that truth. The woman was overcome with compassion and her anger evaporated. She no longer felt she was "wronged and attacked by some jerk." She saw the blind man was doing the best he could, and the two began to get up, repair the damage and help each other.

On a final note, compassion is also close relative of kindness. To quote the wisdom of the Dali Lama, "Whenever possible be kind. It is always possible." PJH