I have always been a person who cares about others’ issues. I may be more sensitive than the average, but the truth is that it affects me to see others suffer. And I’m not talking about problems affecting just my beloved ones. I actually care about what happens also to people that I don’t know at all.
This is something that has happened to me since I was a kid. I grew up in a conflictive land overshadowed by terrorist acts towards certain people who were extorted, kidnaped and killed. And even though I could have perceived this as something natural because I didn’t get to know a different reality, every act of violence would make me suffer. Sometimes I wondered, “Why do I feel bad for those that I don’t know?”
Over time, I found the answer to this question: it is the lesson I learnt when I listened to the last president of Uruguay, José Mujica, gave an inspirational speech at the second summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, back in 2014. One of his most memorable quotes was the following one: “If humanity is not able to think as humankind, if still thinks just as a country, as a social class, caring only about our own problems, then civilization is doomed.”
That speech made me rethink about my reactions towards the pain and misery in the world, and I finally understood that what causes afflictions to others, is also causing suffering to all of us as a species. Humankind completes a very delicate and perfect balance, just as nature does, and if we break it, we all end up being affected. So, the fact that there were people killed in my homeland affected us as a society that is now incapable of acting together towards mutually beneficial goals. And this problem is extrapolated to the whole world. How wouldn’t I feel bad for seeing my peers suffer for many different reasons in many places around the world?
When I started meditating, my empathy towards others increased even more and I found that both human catastrophes, as well as individual miseries, affected me equally. Then, I discovered that there is scientific evidence about how compassion can be increased when we practice loving and kindness meditation. How wonderful it is to know that we can train our mind to be more aware of problems in the world. To understand that nobody is free from the scope of the issues that affect others. What if we use this a basis to start thinking and living as humankind? What if we all start meditating and raising awareness about issues that affects us all? Wouldn’t we change our behaviour and build a better world for all of us with no distinction? Why not give it a try!