After we have really dedicated ourselves to cultivating compassion, we will find that a desire arises in us to be of real, practical help to other beings and to assist them in becoming free from suffering. This is a process wherein our compassion gradually matures. To begin with, our desire for all beings to be free from suffering is only at the level of hope, but through ongoing practice this hope becomes a kind of courage enabling us to engage in acts that will assist others in becoming free from suffering. At this point our compassion is slowly being transformed into bodhicitta. What we begin with is a wish or an aspiration, but with our desire to be of real use in benefitting others, our compassion gradually grows into bodhicitta. But at present, even when we find ourselves really wanting to be of effective benefit to others in helping them be free from suffering and achieve happiness, we realise that we are really limited in what we can actually do to help. Here we begin to search for methods that will enable us to more effectively benefit others.
Depicted from "Guide to the Four Preliminary Practices 1 - Part 7" April, 2015, Vancouver, Canada