Why should you expend energy on becoming more kind and compassionate? First, when we extend kindness to others it actually makes us happier and healthier. Second, kind people are sexy. Most importantly, look around — the world needs you at your best right now. When we are kind and helpful, we set off a chain reaction that impacts the well-being of everyone.
We are saturated with information about the importance of meditation and mindfulness. Meditation alleviates stress and anxiety, helps us manage pain, and makes us happier. (Hooray for us!) I truly believe all of these claims are true. However, a mindfulness practice is only half the picture. If you are on a spiritual or self-improvement path, it’s equally important to cultivate compassion for yourself and others. Once cultivated, you must act on that energy. Like, get up and do something. While I see a lot of information on the benefits of self-love and self-care, I don’t see as much content describing the benefits of helping others. We can connect with Green Tara to cultivate compassion and extend kindness to others as well as ourselves.
The story of Tara
Tara is a goddess that comes up often in Buddhist and Hindu traditions, but I’m referring specifically to Green Tara, the Tibetan Buddhist goddess of compassion and action. Some traditions consider her a bodhisattva while others consider her so advanced as to be a female buddha. I’m happy with either interpretation, but let’s go with bodhisattva here. A bodhisattva is a person who has achieved enlightenment and could continue on to nirvana, but has committed themselves to staying on earth until all other beings have overcome suffering and attained enlightenment themselves.
Green Tara energy manifests as the impetus we feel to donate, volunteer, or perform random acts of kindness.
There are many versions of Green Tara’s origin story. Often, stories describe her as being created from the tears of another bodhisattva, Avalokitesvara. Despite his best efforts to alleviate the…