Contemplative interventions designed to cultivate compassion are receiving increasing empirical attention. Accumulating evidence suggests that these interventions bolster prosocial motivation and warmth toward others. Less is known about how these practices impact compassion in everyday life. Here we consider one mechanistic pathway through which compassion practices may impact perception and action in the world: simulation. Evidence suggests that vividly imagining a situation simulates that experience in the brain as if it were, to a degree, actually happening. Thus, we hypothesize that simulation during imagery-based contemplative practices can construct sensorimotor patterns in the brain that prime an individual to act compassionately in the world. We first present evidence across multiple literatures in psychology that motivates this hypothesis, including the neuroscience of mental imagery and the emerging literature on prosocial episodic simulation. Then, we examine the specific contemplative practices in compassion-based interventions that may construct such simulations. We conclude with future directions for investigating how compassion-based interventions may shape prosocial perception and action in everyday life.