“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.”
The Dalai Lama
Having read the compassionate article submitted by Lula May Reed in Spotlight 126, I wish the same advice could be extended to humans as well as pets!
The conclusion of eight decades of scientific research (quoted in “The Longevity Project” by Howard Friedman and Leslie Martin) is that compassion and belonging are greater keys to longevity than obsessing over what we eat or how much we exercise.
Fostering qualities such as kindness, respect, compassion and gratitude can reduce the risk of chronic disease, and belonging to a compassionate community (such as the “Fundação Britânica de Beneficência”) can help us cope in times of personal difficulties.
The association between compassion and better self-care is clear; for decades doctors have known that showing compassion inspires quality communication with patients. Simple questions such as “What worries you the most?” can be more effective than endless expensive lab tests.
Part of caring deeply for people is listening to their worries. However, compassion need not, and should not, be limited to human relationships.
According to Darwin, the communities with the greatest compassion for others “flourish the best and rear the greatest number of offspring” In fact, it is evolutionary.
Therefore, I believe Darwin would agree that compassion (or the lack of it) is the most pressing problem in the world today. And that includes compassion for all forms of Life, especially Mother Earth on whom we all depend.
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