Mirriam-Webster says that compassion is:
sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it; [in other words], a feeling of wanting to help someone who is sick, hungry, in trouble, etc.
Today’s thoughts about compassion:
I find it interesting that compassion seems to have a relationship to empathy. As an empath and a deeply compassionate person, I have been crying all morning because of animals in pain, confusion, and suffering. I want to help them. I want to alleviate their distress. Unfortunately, I am too far away from most of them to help, or the damage has already been done and there is nothing left to do but weep — and then spread education so the same thing doesn’t happen again.
I find that I also have a desire to help people in their suffering, even though people are often the perpetrators of pain for animals. I wonder about this. I was raised to have respect for all living things. I was raised in relationship with animals. Is this the difference? Do some people think animals are not capable of relationships? How confusing to me. Animals are in fact quite capable of maintaining relationships, and maybe even more capable of such than many humans.
I think compassion actually comes from a deep understanding of a similar pain or confusion; having a similar experience (the death of a parent, for instance) hones one’s compassion for another in the same situation. I find it bewildering that some humans just don’t see or care about the pain and suffering they cause to animals. Is it the inability to briefly put oneself into the other guy’s shoes? What are we not teaching our children about animals? How are we failing to foster that same compassion for animals?
How is it okay to terrorize wild horses with helicopters? How is it okay to shoot a lion for a trophy room? How is it okay to kill wolves that aren’t harming anyone?
It isn’t okay. It just isn’t okay. For that matter, it isn’t okay to bomb innocent women and children, either, or rape anyone. So maybe it’s the removal of oneself from the Grand Design that removes compassion. Maybe it’s the refusal to acknowledge that everyone and everything has the same spark of divinity within. That life (all life) should be respected just for being what it is, and that no form of life here is better than any other. We are all in this together.
It has long been my feeling that when humans discover the truth of their divinity, they will also find their compassion for all others who share this world. They may understand then that all living beings feel pain and fear and suffering, and that it is quite unnecessary if we only have a little bit of the same compassion we would want others to extend to us.
I’m on a mission to cultivate compassion! Won’t you join me?