At the heart of our world beats an intense core of compassion. Like gravity drawing water from the mountain peaks, the flow of compassion is natural and unstoppable, infusing every aspect of our planet. Living in tune with Mother Nature, animals are lucky when it comes to cultivating compassion – they can so easily tap into their innate ability to live in a loving and authentic way. Humans have to work harder to access this healing energy, constantly chipping away at a hard crust of ego that often prevents the light of compassion from shining through.
As an animal lover, I’m lucky to have the tool of observing animals as an unlimited supply of inspiration, allowing me to more easily break through the hard core of ego. Watching animals makes me a better person – I happily allow their calming grace to infiltrate my soul and expand my natural core of compassion.
I see compassion in their eyes as they navigate the world, just animals being animals.
I see compassion in their interaction with families, mates and friends.
I see compassion in their tolerance and adaptability, gracefully accepting the full brunt of human interference.
I feel compassion in my cat, as his body vibrates with the pure contentment and simplicity of being close to his human.
So why am I thinking so deeply about the concept of compassion? Well, I’m often inspired by humans as well as animals. You know those people who seem to just live and breathe compassion and authenticity? Well, my good friend Carol Tracey, advocate/activist for animal welfare and the environment, just happens to be one of them. In recognition of Remembrance Day, Carol wrote an article for the Calgary Herald about the sacrifices of animals in war. Please take a few moments to give this article a read:
Carol’s article made me aware of something I know on an intellectual level (animals have been part of war), but had never really thought about on a deeper lever. Countless animals have selflessly and unquestionably undergone an enormous amount of fear, pain and stress to help humans. War, of course, is just one of the many ways animals have suffered for the benefit of humans. And they do it so gracefully, without thought of ‘self’. Not many humans would willingly make such sacrifices for animals.
I realize the complexities of being that separate animals from humans cannot be reduced to a simple comparison of emotions. But as humans, if we believe compassion allows us to more fully appreciate our world, why not use animals as inspiration? In those times when it is difficult to come from a place of caring, think about the sacrifices animals have made for us, immerse yourself in nature, watch the birds, relax with your pets – do whatever it takes to absorb an animal’s natural flow of compassion.
At the risk of sounding naïve, I believe there is no animal or human hardship that cannot be softened through the healing lens of a compassionate perspective. It is the most powerful standpoint from which to view the world. But of course, it is not always easy.
Another inspiring human in my life is Andrea J Lee. She recently wrote about empathy on Facebook in the wake of some of the unsettling events going on in the world. Her words struck me as a gentle reminder of what we can all do:
“Check in with yourself and see. I bet you have the inner stuff it takes to go first, lay down your guard, and softly…softly…extend the tender, healing belly of empathy.” – Andrea J Lee, CEO of Thought Partners International.
Until next time, continue loving life and everything wild 🙂