I found this post after googling How to Cope with the Suffering of Animals. A midnight search after waking in pain about the hunting of whales. I have recently been to watch the beautiful humpbacks in Iceland so when I read about the hunts I was immediately connected to the suffering and the pain. And didn’t know how to calm myself. I didn’t want to numb myself or turn away but such a reaction isn’t helping anyone.
Thank you so much to Jane for asking the original question and to Matt for his incredible and wise answer.
I don’t think I have ever understood so clearly the difference between empathy and compassion. Of course because I am extra connected with the whales after my holiday, the empathy route is more open than ever. Just as when my friend had a new baby, her empathy connection with other babies and their cries was extra strong.
It is good to be empathic and helps in so many ways but of course it needs managing – boundaries and conscious work to keep it from overwhelming me
Compassion on the other hand is for all beings – the hunter and the hunted.
Amazing and powerful post. Thank you all for contributing and for clarifying something deeply important to me.
Best wishes to you all
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