Compassion for the human animal, is it so difficult?

Something I've said many ways and many times, but I'll keep saying it, because there will always be people needing to hear it.

Compassion for the human animal, since most people love animals, like cats and/or dogs, I find it's a helpful analogy.

For instance if I say "I love dogs, unconditionally, passionately, I'm advocate for and lover of dogs".

Most people don't question that kind of sentiment, they think it quite easy, common, and plausible for someone to be a dog lover.

However often when I've expressed unconditional love for people. Many people seem to have found the idea un-realistic, or irresponsible of me. The idea of unconditionally loving -people-, our very own species seems like a foreign or even threatening or implausible concept to many people. Does this not seem strange to you, that more people can unconditionally love another species so much easier than our own? Even now there will be people reading this saying that's because people have a capacity for 'evil' that animals do not. However this is exactly what I'm talking about, why on earth do we consider 'bad' behaviors in people as indicative of 'evil' instead of natural? Many people can not wrap their heads around unconditionally loving all people, most people think there are some people who should not be unconditionally loved. This makes no sense to me.

When we love dogs, we don't lose our compassion for a dog that is aggressive and/or dangerous because of bad genetics and/or abusive background, etc. We may avoid a dangerous dog, lock one up, or even put one down. But we retain that sense of love and compassion and affection, and we don't tend to blame the dog. We don't think of any dog as 'evil', just that they are being true to their nature, so if we encounter a dangerous dog, we assume no blame on their part. We think they've had a rough life perhaps, maybe brain damage, or doggy mental health issues, rabies, what have you. Whatever is driving the 'bad' behavior in the dog we don't hold blame. If we're someone who unconditionally loves dogs that is. *smile* We just accept what IS and often do so with compassion.

Why can't more people love each other this way? Why can we not look at each other and just accept what is without blame and with compassion? Yes, don't put yourself in a position to be 'bitten' by dangerous dogs or people... take precautions to protect self and others...

Unconditional love doesn't mean allowing others to hurt you or harm others, in fact, maintaining healthy boundaries is a part of unconditional love of self and unconditional love of all, we take ourselves, and other people into consideration along with the person who is behaving 'badly' and act in accordance to compassion to everyone. So we don't sacrifice ourselves or others well-being in this process. Just like unconditionally loving a dog doesn't mean you let it bite you, unconditionally loving a partner doesn't mean you let them abuse you. That doesn't mean we cannot still have love and compassion along with our healthy boundaries.. and lose this damaging idea of 'blame'.

We are often taught to believe that Love will somehow weaken us, how we feel about someone else will put us at greater 'risk'. However, I believe we are just brainwashed to fear, fear, and fear. Odds are if you're not in that place of unconditional love, you're being driven by... fear.

It's time, we all need to start fostering greater compassion toward all life on this planet, and if we're ever to have true peace, absolutely the human animal most of all.

This is what I mean, when I say
Live in Love


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Comment by Leila Raven on September 4, 2011 at 6:05pm

Earth Spirit, beautiful story, thanks for sharing it. Perhaps it's life will sustain some other predator in need. Who knows maybe it's death is a timely synchronicty for a weak mother with hungry babies somewhere that needs just such a wounded target to feed herself and her babes to survive... often what we see as a potential 'cruelty' is also a great blessing in another way.

I think in these situations.. whatever choice one makes, can be a good choice... what matters is that we act in accordance to our own beliefs/logic/intuition/etc and that we make choices that feel ethical and compassionate to us... all we can hope to aspire to is live authentically in our compassion.


Comment by Leila Raven on September 3, 2011 at 11:48am

Earth Spirit, I think there is a need to distinguish between compassion as an emotional feeling of love/empathy and compassion as a kind of empirical ethical action/response. Sometimes people are moved by the feeling of compassion to act in ways that are not truly compassionate in nature. Just by people are moved by the feeling of love to act in ways that are not loving in nature. Sometimes it's ignorance, or a lack of larger/view perspective, lack of insight into consequences, etc. Other times people don't think or rationalize and just react...

However should we not also have compassion for peoples inability to grasp compassion? Or their judgements and negative assumptions about the nature of nature and/or humanity? I must also have compassion for those who are blind to it, perhaps more than those who are able already to be truly compassionate in turn. It is hardest often to be compassionate to those who need it most.

The Dalai Lama says that it is China, as the enemy of Tibet, that has taught him the most compassion. Those who are the least compassionate towards us and/or others are those that really stretch our ability to extend our own compassion.

I must also assume it is natural for some of us to defy and contradict nature... I have a kind of pseudo-Taoist perspective that works for me in life, in terms of just going with the flow... and assuming that the greater divine wisdom of the collective infinite universe is greater than mine and to trust in it's unfolding.

Comment by Leila Raven on September 1, 2011 at 11:11am

Earth Spirit, I think the trouble lays that we've come to believe that if you don't 'judge' or 'hate' or actively take a stand against people that are doing something horrible and damaging that it means you yourself are a bad person. That somehow the 'right' thing to do is to respond in this fashion.

Compassion does not mean that we are not shocked and hurt and feel that what has occurred should never occur, it means that we feel all of those things, but that we don't bring hate and blame to the table. In fact we can still have outrage and anger, frustration, hurt, and all those empathic and natural emotions to seeing unnecessary suffering and cruelty. However instead of adding to that with our own suffering and our own cruelty or in trying to cause the perpetrator of the cruelty to likewise suffer which would only compound the situation.

With compassion, we can choose to take those emotional responses and ask ourselves why people do these things, how can we prevent them, what is going on in this persons life and psyche that has come together to create this situation. How can we heal this person who is lashing out and has lost control and is causing damage?

Compassion means we are just as sorry for the man hitting the dog as we are for the dog, and we are compassionate for the boy, and for the onlookers, and for ourselves....

Would we have compassion for this dog if it's breed were pitbull and the next day it killed a smaller dog in the park and we knew nothing of it's history, or might we have compassion if we knew it came from bad genetics and had been abused by this man all it's life...

Well, what about this man? We don't know his genetics, we don't know if he's been abused all his life...

That doesn't make what happens 'okay'...  It's still natural and healthy to view these as terrible events that should never occur... however the reality is in dog nature, and in human nature... they do occur. Compassion guides us to question how do we make it happen less often, how do we stop the next time?  lashing back out in punishment or revenge does absolutely nothing to stop or prevent these problems... They continue, and they escalate.

Compassion says forgive the man, but not the deed, so you can help the man. Thinking mean thoughts and calling him nasty names in our heads is the same vulgar release he had when he hit that dog.. it achieves nothing positive and is only more ugliness. Instead we could do what we would have wished the man did, and instead of reacting impulsively look for answers on how to change these circumstances.

I believe the answer is in greater focus on helping one another, communicating with one another, understanding one another, and having compassion for one another.

What if it had been an 8 year old girl instead of an adult man beating the dog... we would likely have more compassion for her. Instead of going to judgements like 'well he should know better' that does nothing.. clearly this person needs help.

We can sense something is wrong here, the actions upset us greatly, yet as a society, instead of healing the injury and the wrong, we often just add insult to injury... we retaliate with hateful judgmental thoughts a form of lashing out ourselves, instead of moving into a place of compassion.. problem solving, helping, healing... Looking at the bigger picture.. taking responsibility for our part in things. (Did no one move to intervene?) Etc.

Judgement, hate, anger, punishment, revenge, these things are fuel to the fire of destruction and violence in our world, they are not ways of stopping them, they just compound them.

Comment by Leila Raven on August 25, 2011 at 10:48am

Master Synaps, very well said, we are all part of the infinite divine, and coming from a place of compassion, love and respect for all of creation is in flow with the natural way of things...

Comment by L. Love on July 31, 2011 at 2:13pm

RaibearT...again my heart is with you for your honesty dearest and much love to you.  I think you are more open than you realise my friend and I think in truth many of us have 'walls' for we are behind the screens here...and yet each time we open up and share a little more of ourselves, it helps others and therefore showing you too are a being of love.

Be kind to yourselves my friends and remember, while we inhabit these human shells, that humanity is going to impact to some degree on how we are while inhabiting them.

I wish you all much love and peace.

Comment by L. Love on July 31, 2011 at 12:35pm

Leila....what a wonderful blog.  I completely agree with all you say here.  And Nigel, my heart is with you for your honesty my friend.  Much love to you.

I spent many years in an abusive relationship (all forms) and when I eventually got the courage to leave, many people wondered why I did not hate my ex partner....I think many felt the damage inflicted had caused me to be 'lacking' in some shape or form.

I chose to forgive him and move on with my life.  At the end of the day, I can take responsibility for my thoughts and actions and not anyone elses.  If I am a being of Love, then I must reflect that love to all Life....people, animals, plants...everything.  If not, then I am a fraud and everything that is abhorrent to me in that regard.

Much love to you all :)

Comment by Leila Raven on July 31, 2011 at 9:07am

Hi Nigel, thanks so much for your comment and for sharing about your own struggles with aspects of self. Particularly in light of how the world in general tends to be the least forgiving toward men who are struggling with anger/abuse issues. There is often very little compassion to be found for such.

I was very disheartened when starting to work in psychology at how little support and compassion, even from professional psychologists!, was available to men in this situation, and how it was all about blaming and shaming. Which I believe only serves to enforce the very actions we should be trying to help one another overcome compassionately. 

In no way shape or form do I support or advocate abusive actions, but people must realize a) these actions are not unique to any gender, ethnicity, orientation, etc, and b) they do not define a whole person and whole people should not be written off or labelled as 'bad' or 'evil' people based on 'bad' behaviours.

My views were not particularly accepted among many of my female colleagues some of which I would even go so far as to say had become 'man-haters'. However, I understand and have compassion for them also despite the blind prejudice. I think focusing on 'blame' is always a detraction from positive change, and instead the focus needs to be on compassionate solutions.

When I was working as a therapist doing my practicum I was with a women and violence program, counseling women who were dealing with violence/abuse either in their present or in their past. I had an opportunity to get to know some who were also violent/abusive, men and women. What I found out very quickly is that none of these people wanted to be abusers, they didn't want to hurt their loved ones or other people. They didn't want to have anger management issues, etc, etc. They may have been perpetrators of abuse, but they were also victims of their own emotions and actions.

Absolutely as you say, unconditional compassion and love for self, especially if one is struggling with 'dark' elements, usually things that we've been conditioned to respond with certain kinds of feelings and actions, can be the hardest struggle of all. I think in fact, that unconditional love and compassion for self is probably a far greater struggle for many, and also a very necessary part of coming into a place of enlightened peace.

We must be gentle with self in order to be gentle with others.


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