Of all the virtures perhaps the one I admire the most is compassion. Compassion is born out of a an ability to be and empathic and a generous heart. A generous heart is born out of an attitude of gratitude. Gratitude is born out of an awareness on our utter dependence. We are born totally dependent on others and on the world. If we did not have oxygen to breath, and water to drink, and food to eat, and people to care for us we would die. To whom do we owe thanks for these blessings? How do we express appreciation and thanks for these elements and ministrations?
Gratitude is born not only out of awareness of our dependence but also on the truth, beauty, and justice all around us. This awareness is blocked sometimes by a sense of entitlement which is born out of both a healthy narcissism and an unhealthy narcissism. It is easy to take things for granted or to come to believe that we are better than others and therefore are entitled to more than they are because we are smarter, more hard working, more handsome or beautifull, or more privledged because of our beliefs and/or position in society. However, when we step back and look at life objectively we observe that we come into life utterly dependent on others and often time we will leave life frail and sick and again utterly dependent on others for the last days or weeks or sometimes months of our lives.
In the spiritual life we are thankful for what life has given us and we are aware that the entitlement which we as humans sometimes experience is an illusion.