I hate this empathy thing. I drove across country recently. I could not help but notice many cows in fields on extremely hot days without shelter. I ruminated that a mammal is left to fend without shelter. Wild animals can seek shelter. But these cows could do nothing. They were fenced in, no cover in view. Other cows were in fields with trees or structures and they were all gathered out of the sun, to escape the heat. Domesticated mammals are often in the hands of persons who are indifferent to the animal’s comfort or worse exposed to torture.
I find I suffer at these observations. I want to do something. I want to mitigate, ameliorate or prevent the neglect and/or abuse of all living things. I cannot prevent harm to all living things. But do I in some way contribute. Do I create a market place that makes the raising and selling of animals desirable/profitable? Should I worry about the other animals like horses and livestock which are equally helpless? Should I lobby for domesticated animals to have access to food and shelter? Should I advocate to criminalize the farmer who forgoes the cost of providing such? Could our economy tolerate the elimination of meat and chicken consumption and the reliance of so many on the industry.
I do not have answers. I do not even purport to judge consumers. I just want to stop my own suffering by mitigating my contribution to this marketplace. My time eating meat may be coming to an end soon.
Pets are equally helpless. On Facebook this week alone, there was a video of a dog being gleefully hung by a teenage boy. The next day a photo appeared of a dog who had had fireworks placed in his mouth and detonated by another teen. Should I do more to alleviate the suffering of homeless cats and dogs? Is it not enough that I care for 2 rescue cats?
Sometimes I even worry that being a U.S. citizen means I contribute to the suffering of untold numbers of humans worldwide. I have no desire to surrender or denounce my citizenship. But maybe I should do more about resisting the military/industrial complex.
Again, no answers. Just questions today.
One thought on “The practice of meditation and loving kindness can be a source of suffering.”
Hi interesting post but I think you are confusing empathy with compassion. And ruminating is not meditation. Yes one should take care if all living beings but it is a slippery slope where does it all end? Do you drive a car? Yes you do , are there dead insects on your windshield in the summertime? Yes there are. Is there any difference between the lives of the smallest living beings and the larger ones? Do you eat salad? Have you thought about the worms and other small beings that the farmer cuts in half when he tills the fields? There is no end to the suffering of all beings other than to meditate and gaining the enlightened insight and compassion to free all beings.
Compassion not empathy is the key.