The life and training of the ancient Samurai was not easy. These ancient warriors underwent intense training daily, seeking to develop a quickness and strength that would serve to keep them alive even as they served their lord to keep him alive. During their intense, and often short, lives they developed great power. They also learned that one good way to preserve and lengthen their own lives was to practice Jin, benevolence, and use their power for the good of others.
If we were to take a close look at our own lives we could easily find this same need. We each have skills and abilities that make us capable of great good and giving or great evil. When we use our skill and treasure to serve our own greed we create a great deal of damage in the world. When we choose to display compassion and actively seek opportunities to utilize what we know and our best capabilities to help our fellow man we are capable of creating magnificent change in the world.
To the Samurai the concept of Jin, the active practice of benevolence, became central to their efforts to be more than a heartless killing machine. For the modern individual, especially those not employed in the “business of war”, the practice of compassion is the path to living a more fulfilling life. When we seek ways to help others out of compassion instead of greed and self-interest an interesting thing happens… we grow and feel a greater sense of accomplishment!
What can you do to exercise your Jin this week?
- Reach out and help a neighbor: especially the elderly or those struggling under another form of health or wealth burden.
- Give of yourself to the less fortunate: Work at a food pantry or shelter to help make those lives better than they were the day before.
- Provide Safety to others: Habitat-for-Humanity, Wounded Warriors, and many other organizations need help all over the country.
- Support those who came before: Visit a nursing home or assisted living location and spend time with someone who has no family.
The whole concept of “Pay-it-Forward” is based on this ancient idea of Jin. When you reach out to help someone without expectation of compensation you are making an effort to build a stronger and better world. Your act of compassion will generate further acts of compassion and benevolence, a chain reaction that can make an incredible difference in your community.