"In my own life, I have experienced many joys and sorrows, and I have encountered many difficulties. But when I think about the difficult times, I can see there has always been one thing that has given me hope, whatever the circumstances. The main reason I can feel, in my heart, that my human life has had a purpose and been worthwhile is that I have based my life on the wish to help others. This is something that I know has definitely proved very helpful to me throughout my life. When I have encountered difficulties, this attitude has given me courage and a feeling that hope is never lost, that hardship is manageable and worth going through. And this has brought me a kind of satisfaction through which I am able to find, quite naturally, some small degree of relaxation peace of mind and happiness, too. Without a doubt, it has also contributed to my physical well-being.
"Now, one of the main conditions for us to allow our minds to relax is unquestionably the attitude of love and affection we touched upon before. This attitude is neither absent from our natural make-up as human beings nor something fundamentally new, which has to come from somewhere else. People say, for example, that while a baby is still in its mother's womb, it can recognize her voice. That ability to recognize the unique sound of its mother's voice is something that is naturally just present, it seems, and something that it will need for its survival. And because the child possesses a natural feeling of intimacy with its mother, it can recognize her voice from the start.
"Take another example. Generally the first word that an infant gurgles, in any language, is 'mama.' It is a word that is so easy to say. Just the syllable 'ma' 'mother' seems to evoke that feeling of closeness. Not many words are needed; just one will convey that understanding instantly.
"In any case, mother and child feel a mutual love for one another. The baby is born and grows up surrounded by the special kind of love that exists between mother and child, and this creates the beginnings of a good and happy life.
"The reason we can say that we all possess love and affection is that they are naturally and inherently part of us. So we have to enhance them, rather than ignore them and let them disappear. This is of vital importance, because this love is one of the most essential qualities of our mind, something truly precious and crucial for a human being. Once we recognize how vital it is, then we can cherish and enhance it, although the basic potential that we are accentuating is already naturally ours.
"Now, when a person embodies that attitude of love and affection, his or her conduct in life will be admirable and what we call that of 'a true human being.' In fact this is the mark of a good human being, rather than whether or not he or she is a spiritual practitioner. It also lies at the root of a happy and peaceful human society. How important it is, then, that we recognize this and do everything we can to enhance that attitude of love and caring for others.
"Human beings naturally possess this love and affection, and so I feel it is the role of the religions of the world to bring out their potential and make these wonderful qualities grow. Isn't this why so many different spiritual views and philosophies have indeed evolved so that we can develop these wonderful, natural qualities more and more? In a nutshell, this is the whole reason that we undertake spiritual practice: to become a good human being, someone who is patient, tolerant, altruistic, compassionate, contented, and self-disciplined. We practice because that is the kind of person we want to become."