His Holiness the Dalai Lama frequently utters the phrase that all sentient beings wish to be happy and be free from suffering. His Holiness can offer deep philosophical lectures on the finer points of Buddhist philosophy, but will then distill his message into these few words.

I find that this message can come across as deceptively simple. Almost a casual throw off before moving onto something “more” profound.

However, I went through a phase when I was struggling with a colleague at work. Unsure where to turn to, I reached out to this phrase. I reflected how I wish for happiness and not to suffer, fleshing out for myself what this meant, and then brought the colleague to mind and started working with the same logic. It was challenging at first, but like making a stone smooth by constantly rubbing it, my view towards them shifted. Did I agree with everything that they said? No, but I slowly started to see the basis of who they were as no different to myself. I saw them as a human being making their way through life and it for me it eased our relationship and interaction.

I have since used this meditation as the basis for meditations on compassion, and as a way to see and experience the humanness in those around me. It is a gradual process and one that constantly brings up challenges to my world view, but I find it a process that is fruitful and rewarding.