Compassion is not only one of the cornerstones of Sand Hearts’ mission, it’s a term you will find many quotations and many definitions all over the place.
Maybe you will also have a number of questions.
Thinking about compassion, you might have the Dalai Lama XIV’s statement on compassion in mind:
„Compassion is not religious business, it is human business, it is not luxury, it is essential for our own peace and mental stability, it is essential for human survival.”
— Dalai Lama XIV
A very powerful, clear and strong statement. Period.
Let’s create some more awareness, let’s shed some more light on the term “compassion”, it’s too fascinating! The Dalai Lama already defined these basic characteristics:
- essential for our inner peace and our mental health
- essential for human survival
- it’s human business
Let’s add a few more. Compassion…
- has nothing to do with religions, it’s a universal, integrating approach
- is a driver for our own happiness and the happiness of others
- is a cornerstone of morality
- covers ALL living creatures and the beauty of the nature that’s surrounding us
- is based on understanding ALL living creatures and our connectedness with all living beings on Earth
So, understanding compassion this way, let’s focus on the animals, our fellow creatures. „Of course it’s about animals…“, you might argue, thinking about all the lovely pets. But let’s go a bit further. What about the pets that were abandoned or moved to a shelter where they are in danger to be killed or „euthanized“ (what an incredibly horrible word!). Don’t get me wrong – there might be a few serious reasons, animals are brought to a shelter (e.g. owner died and there is no family around) but the majority of all reasons (pet is old, sick, no time, no space, kids are grown up, etc.) are not acceptable at all. They have nothing to do with a compassionate behavior. They have only to do with a lack of responsibility for another living being which depends on the behavior of a human being.
That leads us to one of the world’s core challenges:
Considering an animal as something, not as someone
Let’s widen the circle of compassion even more: What about the animals, that are slaves in the meat and the dairy industry, animals that are only „produced“ to be killed, to be slaughtered for human consumption? What about this animal holocaust? Animals that are only considered as food, as meat, as egg producer, as milk machines?
These animals feel the same way as we do, the same way as our pets do.
There is zero difference between a pet and a pig and other farm animals. Period.
Let’s ask ourselves, how do we come to universal compassion as discussed above? Couldn’t it be the case, that we as human beings have just no need, no right and no reason to kill animals for human consumption and to use, misuse, abuse or torture them in meat and dairy factory farms to use their meat, their skin and their breast milk for the human species?
Pythagoras – you might remember him from your math lessons in school – stated perfectly:
“For as long as man continues to be the ruthless destroyer of lower living beings, he will never know health or peace. For as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seeds of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love.”
“The assumption that animals are without rights, and the illusion that our treatment of them has no moral significance, is a positively outrageous example of Western crudity and barbarity. Universal compassion in the only guarantee of morality.”
― Arthur Schopenhauer
So, compassion is a daily caring practice to make the world a better place.
Compassion, couldn’t that become a daily reminder for us especially for all the small choices, the small decisions we make every day, for instance: How do I consider my work, my business, my purpose on Earth? How do I talk to my team members, to my colleagues? How do I care about my customers? Do I really care about them or do I consider them as a revenue stream…? How do I drive change? How do I care about my behaviors? How can I change small decision in my life to make the world a better place, to cause less or no harm? What do I eat, where do I buy my food? Which food do I buy? Fresh, organic food or more processed food? What does my choice mean for the Earth, for other humans, for the animals? How can I find a way to reduce my own carbon foot print? How can I help to stop that living beings are suffering?
How can I support truly compassionate people, projects and businesses? And so forth….
Before I leave you thinking about all these questions, I would love to draw your attention to a person, I admire greatly and deeply: A truly compassionate woman, with passion and compassion and endless resources of energy:
Fiona Oakes, she is the „Queen of the Extreme – Vegan Marathon Runner – Patron of the Captive Animal Protection Society & Honorary Patron of the Vegan Society“
She is one of the best marathon runners in the UK. In parallel, she runs her Tower Hill Stables Animal Sanctuary. She takes care of those who have no voice, who need our voice and our support to survive unharmed, for instance the „unwanted staffies and similar, horses past their prime, pigs, sheep, cows: Low ranking animals mostly regarded as agricultural products“
If you take a few minutes to watch this video, then you might get an impression what Fiona is able to accomplish day by day, how Fiona makes a huge difference for hundreds of animals, who wouldn’t have a chance to survive without her. In parallel, she uses running marathons to draw even more attention to Tower Hill Stables Animal Sanctuary.
I want to close this post with compassion – in Fiona’s words:
“We reside on this planet for a very short space of time, I believe it is vital to make every minute of that time work for the purpose of helping others. There is so much suffering, so much pain, so much grief. When I die, I would love to think I had left behind the one thing that really matters – hope. Without the hope that things will change it hardly seems worth carrying on.“
Let’s change what needs to be changed to come to a truly compassionate world.
Let’s support what needs to be supported to come to a truly compassionate world.
There is only one moment that matters – NOW.