Compassion arises within our minds and therefore is like a seed that is already present within the mind. Like any seed, it has to be nurtured. In the case of compassion, we nurture it in several ways. One is to reflect on it, to direct our minds to it. Another is to take joy in compassion.
A physical seed needs many things –soil, water, and sun– and these not only need to be provided, but provided in the right way. For example, when you water a seed, you cannot simply dump a gallon of water on it all at once; you have to water it gently and, therefore, it takes more time and more effort.
In the same way, in caring for the seed of compassion within us, we need to be patient and persistent. If we do not take proper care of the seed of compassion, the seed will either not ripen or will ripen in an unhealthy way.
―Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje