Once a sense of closeness with others has formed, you want to help them. A technique that is said to develop the capacity to be of actual benefit is to visualize helping others in imagination. In meditation, visualize radiating beams of light, streams of ambrosia, out from your own heart. The beams enter into the minds and bodies of other beings. This helpful light, this beneficial substance, influences them such that as it penetrates flesh, blood, bone, mind, and so forth – streaming into the person’s body and mind – it clears away problems and restores balance.

Previously, we have been meditating that all beings want happiness and don’t want suffering. Now, in this new phase of the meditation, we communicate this realization: Imagine, pretend, that this ambrosia radiates from your heart to others and enables them to reflect easily on the equality of all beings in this basic sense and to develop a feeling of closeness with all beings. Although this practice may not actually confer these abilities onto the people you are visualizing, you are enhancing the power of your own meditation by drawing other people into it, and seeing them meditate with the same purpose. Through this you help to clean up the psychic atmosphere.

The light is often described as five-colored – white, yellow, blue, green, and red – but this can be a bit too much to imagine. Start the meditation with one person: Emit streams of light from your heart, and as the light enters, it puts that person’s body at ease and affects the mind such that the person has the ability to reflect on the fact that all beings want happiness and don’t want suffering and that all beings have been the best of your friends in a past life. The light beams give the person the ability to develop a feeling of closeness with all beings.

By imagining rays of ambrosia streaming from your heart to as many beings as you can imagine – including animals, and so forth – we reconnect to a sense of other-cherishing; we become imbedded in an attitude of making ourselves sources of help for others. As Nagarjuna says in his Precious Garland, using examples from a time before forests and so forth became restricted objects:

If only for a moment make yourself
Available for the use of others
Just as earth, water, fire, wind, herbs
And forests [are available to all].

At the end of the Precious Garland, he recommends turning this aspiration into a wish repeated three times daily:

May I always be an object of enjoyment
For all sentient beings according to their wish
And without interference, as are the earth,
Water, fire, wind, herbs, and wild forests.

Jeffrey Hopkins in Cultivating Compassion