How Showing Compassion for Animals Can Improve Personal Well-Being

by Alex Pietrowski, Staff,Waking Times

Compassion is the humane side of suffering, which inspires the most beautiful acts of humanity. In man’s world, animals often bear the worst of our dark side, suffering under the stresses of cruelty and ruthlessness, however, being compassionate towards animals may actually be good for your health and well-being, perhaps even prolonging your life.

For so many of us, compassion appears to be an innate, instinctual part of the human experience, something so many of us do automatically, and decades of clinical psychological research into the problem of human suffering shows how our most evolved nature is to respond compassionately. A host of university studies share the conclusion that compassion is part of our higher nature, looking at the biological basis for compassion.

Dacher Keltner summarized the emerging findings from this new science of human goodness, proposing that compassion is “an evolved part of human nature, rooted in our brain and biology.”” [Source]

Human well-being is multi-dimensional and the corollaries between how we behave and how that behavior in turn affects our overall wellness are more understood now than ever before. When we act from our higher nature, it benefits our health, which may explain the tendency for so many people to live altruistic lives in helping others and protecting animals.

“That suffering, as unpleasant as it is, often also has a bright side to which research has paid less attention: compassion. Human suffering is often accompanied by beautiful acts of compassion by others wishing to help relieve it. What led 26.5 percent of Americans to volunteer in 2012 (according to statistics from the US Department of Labor)? What propels someone to serve food at a homeless shelter, pull over on the highway in the rain to help someone with a broken down vehicle, or feed a stray cat?” [Source]

Taking this one step further, looking at the tendency of people to extend compassion beyond the human race, showing empathy towards the animal kingdom and the natural world, we find an infinite number of possibilities for improving our own lives by directing our energy toward ending the pain and suffering of many beings.

Being compassionate has even been shown to make us more attractive to the opposite sex in behavioral studies looking at societies with more altruistic tendencies.

“One more sign that suggests that compassion is an adaptively evolved trait is that it makes us more attractive to potential mates. A study examining the trait most highly valued in potential romantic partners suggests that both men and women agree that “kindness” is one of the most highly desirable traits.” [Source]

Furthermore, engaging in acts of compassion, when done for the right reasons, can increase one’s peace of mind and happiness:

“The cultivation of well-being has specifically shown that it is eudemonic, rather than hedonic wellbeing which is linked to a sense of connectedness with oneself, and others. Eudemonic wellbeing implies finding meaning and purpose in life, living in accordance with one’s values and developing a sense of long-term “spiritual” health (not necessarily religious).

In turn, eudemonic well-being may be cultivated through mindful practices such as mediation and compassion training.” [Source]

Final Thoughts

It’s not something that would surprise most people, as the expression of our best nature feels good and is uplifting for everyone involved, but the inverse of this must also be true, that people who neglect their own health would have a more difficult time being compassionate to animals, and even nature in general. Therefore, adding intentional kindness, compassion and empathy the ways in which we attain better health and wellness makes perfect sense.

About the Author

Alex Pietrowski is an artist and writer concerned with preserving good health and the basic freedom to enjoy a healthy lifestyle. He is a staff writer for WakingTimes.com and Offgrid Outpost, a provider ofstorable food and emergency kits. Alex is an avid student of Yoga and life.

This article (How Showing Compassion for Animals Can Improve Personal Well-Being) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Alex Pietrowski and WakingTimes.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this copyright statement.

http://www.wakingtimes.com/2017/03/21/the-link-between-compassion-for-animals-and-good-health/

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What to Do If You’re Attacked By a Dog, According to a Former Navy SEAL

Stephanie Lee

Hopefully, you’ll never be in a situation where you have to use these tips, but they might just come in handy to help you handle a dog attack. In this Business Insider video, a former Navy SEAL tells you what you need to know to protect yourself.

First, be very clear that the dog is really about to attack you. Use a shirt, jacket, or a purse to draw the dog’s attention from other vital body parts. If the dog pounces, most of us might reflexively put our arms in front of us to shield us from the dog. But Clint Emerson warns that you should bare only the outer part of the forearm and, if possible, wrap a shirt around your forearm for added protection. We want to protect the major arteries on the ulna and radial side at all costs.

If you need to fight back, Emerson advises literally punching the dog in the nose. The reason is, it’s a big target for you to hit. As he explains, when you’re under the threat and heightened stress of being attacked, it’s all you can manage to focus on “big movements by you to big targets on the dog.” The dog’s rib cage is also a sensitive area.

For more survival and safety tips on dog attacks, you can check out our article.

A Navy SEAL explains what to do if you’re attacked by a dog | Business Insider

http://lifehacker.com/what-to-do-if-youre-attacked-by-a-dog-according-to-a-f-1793233937

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Kitten Meditation

Kitten Meditation
Photo by Carolina Barría Kemp | https://tricy.cl/2l8ylQS

Thai Forest monk Ajahn Brahm invites us to start meditating by choosing something easy to love in this excerpt from his book

By Ajahn Brahm

I continue to visualize my imaginary friend, picturing it as abandoned, hungry, and very afraid. In its short span of life it has known only rejection, violence, and loneliness. I imagine its bones sticking out from its emaciated body, its fur soiled with grime and some blood, and its body rigid with terror. I consider that if I don’t care for this vulnerable little being then no one will, and it will die such a horrible, lonely, terrified death. I feel that kitten’s pain fully, in all its forms, and my heart opens up, releasing a flood of compassion. I will care for that little kitten. I will protect it and feed it.I imagine myself looking deeply into its anxious eyes, trying to melt its apprehension with the metta flowing through my own eyes. I reach out to it slowly, reassuringly, never losing eye contact. Gently, I pick up that little kitten and bring it to my chest. I remove the kitten’s cold with the warmth from my own body, I take away its fear with the softness of my embrace, and I feel the kitten’s trust grow. I speak to the kitten on my chest:

“Little being, never feel alone again. Never feel so afraid. I will always look after you, be your protector and friend. I love you, little kitten. Wherever you go, whatever you do, my heart will always welcome you. I give you my limitless lovingkindness always.”

When I do this, I feel my kitten become warm, relax, and finally purr.

This is but an outline of how I begin my meditation on metta. I usually take much more time. I use my imagination and inner speech to paint a picture in my mind, to create a scenario where the first flames of metta can arise.

At the end of the mental exercise, my eyes still closed, I focus the attention on the region around my heart and feel the first warm glow of the emotion of kindfulness…

more…

https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/kitten-meditation/

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Undersea: Rachel Carson’s Lyrical and Revolutionary 1937 Masterpiece Inviting Humans to Explore Earth from the Perspective of Other Creatures

Art by Rambharos Jha from Waterlife

“Against this cosmic background the lifespan of a particular plant or animal appears, not as drama complete in itself, but only as a brief interlude in a panorama of endless change.”

Pioneering biologist and writer Rachel Carson (May 27, 1907–April 14, 1964) catalyzed the modern environmental movement with the groundbreaking publication of Silent Spring in 1962, but the spark for this slow-burning revolution was kindled a quarter century earlier, while 28-year-old Carson was working for what would later become the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. When she was tasked with writing a brochure for the Fisheries Bureau, summarizing their annual research findings, Carson transmuted the science into poetry and turned in something so exquisitely lyrical that her supervisor told her they simply couldn’t publish it as their standard government report. But he encouraged her to submit it to The Atlantic Monthly as an essay. She did. It was enthusiastically accepted and published in the September 1937 issue as the trailblazing masterpiece “Undersea” under the byline R.L. Carson — a choice reflective of Carson’s era-calibrated fear that her writing wouldn’t be taken as seriously if her gender was known. Ironically, of the twenty-one contributors in that issue of the magazine, Carson’s name is the only one widely recognized today.

The essay became the backbone of Carson’s first book, Under the Sea-Wind, which remained her favorite piece of writing, and was later included in the excellent Lost Woods: The Discovered Writing of Rachel Carson (public library).

Rachel Carson

Creatively, “Undersea” was unlike anything ever published before — Carson brought a strong literary aesthetic to science, which over the next two decades would establish her as the most celebrated science writer of her time. Conceptually, it accomplished something even Darwin hadn’t — it invited the reader to step beyond our reflexive human hubris and empathically explore this Pale Blue Dot from the vantage point of the innumerable other creatures with which we share it. Decades before philosopher Thomas Nagel wrote his iconic essay “What Is it Like to Be a Bat?” and nearly a century before Sy Montgomery’s beautiful inquiry into the soul of an octopus, Carson considered the experience of other consciousnesses. What the nature writer Henry Beston, one of Carson’s great heroes, brought to the land, she brought first to the sea, then to all of Earth — intensely lyrical prose undergirded by a lively reverence for nature and a sympathetic curiosity about the reality of other living beings.

Long before scientists like pioneering oceanographer Sylvia “Her Deepness” Earleplunged into the depths of the ocean, Carson shepherds the human imagination to the mysterious wonderland thriving below the surface of the seas that envelop Earth:

Who has known the ocean? Neither you nor I, with our earth-bound senses, know the foam and surge of the tide that beats over the crab hiding under the seaweed of his tide-pool home; or the lilt of the long, slow swells of mid-ocean, where shoals of wandering fish prey and are preyed upon, and the dolphin breaks the waves to breathe the upper atmosphere. Nor can we know the vicissitudes of life on the ocean floor, where sunlight, filtering through a hundred feet of water, makes but a fleeting, bluish twilight, in which dwell sponge and mollusk and starfish and coral, where swarms of diminutive fish twinkle through the dusk like a silver rain of meteors, and eels lie in wait among the rocks. Even less is it given to man to descend those six incomprehensible miles into the recesses of the abyss, where reign utter silence and unvarying cold and eternal night.

To sense this world of waters known to the creatures of the sea we must shed our human perceptions of length and breadth and time and place, and enter vicariously into a universe of all-pervading water.

North Pacific Giant Octopus by photographer Mark Laita from his project Sea

After a tour of some of the ocean’s most unusual and dazzling creatures, Carson considers the glorious and inevitable interconnectedness of the natural world, no different from the “inescapable network of mutuality” which Martin Luther King so passionately championed in the human world. She writes:

The ocean is a place of paradoxes. It is the home of the great white shark, two thousand pound killer of the seas. And of the hundred foot blue whale, the largest animal that ever lived. It is also the home of living things so small that your two hands may scoop up as many of them as there are stars in the Milky Way. And it is becoming of the flowering of astronomical numbers of these diminutive plants known as diatoms, that the surface waters of the ocean are in reality boundless pastures.

Every marine animal, from the smallest to the sharks and whales is ultimately dependent for its food upon these microscopic entities of the vegetable life of the ocean. Within their fragile walls, the sea performs a vital alchemy that utilizes the sterile chemical elements dissolved in the water and welds them with the torch of sunlight into the stuff of life. Only through the little-understood synthesis of proteins, fats and carbohydrates by myriad plant “producers” is the mineral wealth of the sea made available to the animal “consumers” that browse as they float with the currents. Drifting endlessly, midway between the sea of air above and the depths of the abyss below, these strange creatures and the marine inflorescence that sustains them are called “plankton” — the wanderers…

more…

https://www.brainpickings.org/

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Growing Human Kidneys in Rats Sparks Ethical Debate

Rats implanted with human kidneys from aborted fetuses lived up to four months after transplant.

Credit: Eugene Gu et al

By Tanya Lewis, Staff Writer

Researchers say they have developed a new technique that will get more kidneys to people who need transplants, but the method is sure to be controversial: The research shows that it is feasible to remove a kidney from an aborted human fetus, and implant the organ into a rat, where the kidney can grow to a larger size.

It’s possible that further work could find a way to grow kidneys large enough that they could be transplanted into a person, the researchers said, although much more research is needed to determine whether this could be done.

“Our long-term goal is to grow human organs in animals, to end the human donor shortage,” said study co-author Eugene Gu, a medical student at Duke University and the founder and CEO of Ganogen, Inc., a biotech company in Redwood City, California. [The 9 Most Interesting Transplants]

Such organs could also be used to test drugs before human trials are started, which would help avoid the risks associated with using untested compounds in people, Gu added.

The new findings will be published tomorrow (Jan. 22) in the American Journal of Transplantation.

But the research raises a number of ethical questions, including whether it is acceptable to use human fetal organs in research, or to transplant human organs into animals. If the research moves forward, it must be determined that the organs were obtained with proper consent, and that the research was conducted with adequate oversight, experts said.

Human-rat transplants

More than 123,000 people in the United States currently need an organ transplant, and about 21 people die each day waiting for one, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Previously, other scientists had attempted to grow immature human kidneys in the abdomens of mice, but the new research “is definitely the first time an actual whole human organ has been grown in an animal, and has sustained the life of that animal,” Gu told Live Science.

In the new study, Gu and his colleagues obtained human fetal kidneys from Stem Express, a Placerville, California-based company that supplies researchers with tissue from deceased adults and fetuses. The people who donated the fetal tissues gave consent for the kidneys to be used in research, and the scientists were completely separated from the donation process, Gu said.

The researchers transplanted the fetal kidneys into adult rats that lacked an immune system (so as to avoid tissue rejection), and connected the animals’ blood vessels to the organs using a challenging procedure that involved tiny stitches, about three to four times smaller than the width of a human hair.

One of the main reasons that previous attempts to transplant fetal organs into animals have failed is due to a difference in the blood pressure between human fetuses and adult animals. In most adult animals, including rats, the average blood pressure is about three times higher than it is in human fetuses. If a fetal organ is transplanted without adjusting the pressure, “the organ basically hemorrhages everywhere,” Gu said.

To get around that problem, Gu’s team developed a device, called an arterial flow regulator, which they fitted around the rats’ blood vessels to decrease the pressure of the blood flowing into the fetal kidneys.

About a month after the researchers transplanted the fetal kidneys into the rats, the scientists surgically removed the animals’ own kidneys. The rats that received the transplanted kidneys survived an average of four months after transplant, and one even survived for 10 months, Gu said. By comparison, a control group of rats that did not receive a transplanted kidney lived for only three to four days after having their kidneys removed, the researchers said.

Kidney growth in a rat host

Kidney growth in a rat host

Credit: Eugene Gu et al

In addition to kidneys, the researchers have also transplanted human fetal hearts into rats, Gu said. The work is still in progress, but the researchers said it may also be possible to use the method with other organs. “This technology is applicable not just to the kidney, but to every kind of [blood-supplied] organ in the body,” Gu said.

more…

http://www.livescience.com/49503-human-kidneys-grown-in-rats.html?cmpid=558958

 

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Wolves losing their natural fear of humans? Several attacks reported in 2016 across Canada

© wikipedia
Public perception of wolves has fluctuated enormously over time. In antiquity, wolves were widely beloved.

“Apollo takes pleasure in the wolf,” said historian Aelian in about 200 A.D.

“That is why, at Delphi (in Greece), a bronze wolf statue is set up.”

Over time, the image of the wolf has become somewhat tarnished. In North America, public opinion is split between those who admire wolves and those who despise them. There does not seem to be any middle ground, no compromise.

Historically, negative public opinion has been galvanized by Aesop fables, such as “The boy who cried wolf” and “The wolf and the lamb.” In Grimms’ Fairy Tales, a wolf eats Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother and then tries to ambush Little Red herself.

In “The wolf and seven young kids,” a wolf kills and eats seven young goats, but they are liberated alive from the wolf’s stomach by a resourceful mother goat.

In “The Three Little Pigs,” a wolf kills and eats two pigs, but the third captures the wolf and kills it in boiling water.

Wolf-admirers stress the animal’s good qualities, but there is a dark side to wolf behaviour and it seems to be worsening. Wolves are becoming habituated to humans, losing their natural fear. The result has been an intensifying frequency of wolf attacks on humans.

On Dec. 7, 2016, a wolf aggressively stalked a man at Mount Norquay, Alberta after killing his dog. On Oct. 8, 2016, 26-year-old Andrew Morgan was attacked by a wolf near Canmore, Alberta. On August 29, a young worker was attacked at the Cigar Lake Mine in Saskatchewan.

In June, 2016, officers shot a wolf at Banff National Park because it was harassing park visitors.

Unprovoked wolf attacks on humans are increasing. In 2015, wolves attacked two families on snowmobiles at Labrador City. In 2013, a pack of wolves attacked Michelle Prosser at Merritt, B.C. and William Hollan was attacked by wolves while cycling in the Yukon.

Ontario wolf attacks include: a three-year-old girl attacked in 2010 in Lake Superior Provincial Park, Patricia Wyman killed by wolves in Haliburton in 1996, three men killed by a wolf pack near Thunder Bay in 1922, and two women killed near Perth in 1856, while looking for cattle.

A 2002 study confirms there have been 80 confirmed wolf attacks on people in North America in the past 100 years, including 39 by healthy aggressive wolves, 29 cases of unprovoked predatory attack and 12 instances of attacks by rabid wolves.

Wildlife biologists suggest that outdoor enthusiasts use extreme caution in areas known to be inhabited by wolves, especially in winter when natural food is scarce. Wolves naturally prefer to hunt quarry that are larger than themselves.

Source: Orillia Today

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Major Shifts in Consciousness Observed Throughout the Animal Kingdom

by Christina Sarich, Staff Writer, Waking Times

Humans have long thought themselves to be the smartest animals on the planet, but evidence continues to reveal that even with little shared DNA – animals are catching up, and perhaps even surpassing our own evolutionary intelligence.

Some philosophical perspectives suggest that this anthropomorphic egocentrism is misplaced, since all creatures, not just people have ‘mind,’ which is capable of evolving toward higher levels of consciousness. We share a quarter of our DNA, after all, with a single grain of rice, but there is something even more intelligent in our design, and many believe it permeates everything.

The Buddhists and Taoists regularly call for us to be mindful of all sentient beings, while the suppositions of panpsychism, the view that mind (psyche) is everywhere (pan), reaches back into ancient Greece and the teachings of Miletus and Plato.

Terrence McKenna supposes that the Universal psyche has been given an extra push overtime. He theorizes that animals moved to grasslands as the North African jungles receded after the ice age. These animals grazed on whatever they could find, including psilocybin-containing mushrooms growing in the dung of ungulate herds. McKenna suggests that the psychedelics in the animals’ diets helped to create synesthesia, and then language, followed by additional higher-intelligence skill sets.

McKenna argues that when mushrooms disappeared from their diets another 12, 000 years later due to climate change, animals simply regressed back to less intelligent primates.

Mainstream science says that it is only subtle refinements in our brain’s architecture that allows us to be “smarter” than most other animals. While dogs can’t yet compose music, birds do it every day. Perhaps the expression is not as complex as a violin concerto, but even the most rarefied composer has looked to nature for musical inspiration, if not immaculate intelligence.

No matter what drives our evolution, though, there is clear evidence that it is changing – obviously in people – but perhaps more subtlety in animals from a number of species.

Footage of animals learning to use tools provides evidence of this evolutionary shift happening to all of us on earth, not just the human race, but there are other indications of intelligence as well. We all seem to be awakening together.

If consciousness is truly primordial and all things are just “minds in a world of mind” it would explain some of the fascinating behaviors of animals in recent times.

Researchers at Lund University in Sweden have caught New Calendonian crows carrying two items at once using a stick – a feat normally only seen in the human race. First one crow slipped a wooden stick into a metal nut and flew away, and just a few days later another crow conducted a similar behavior, carrying a large wooden ball with a stick.

Octopuses exhibit amazing abilities, including short and long-term memory. They’ve even been known to sneak aboard fishing vessels and pry open crabs caught be fishermen – no tools needed. They are also such great escape artists, they can squeeze through openings no bigger than their eyeballs.

Scientists also have documented monkeys called Serra da Capivara capuchins making stone “tools” that bear a striking resemblance to early human implementations for digging, cutting meat, or opening nuts. The sharp rock “tools” made when the moneys bang one rock on top of another are so similar to ancient tools made by early humans, that archeologists are having to rethink giving credit to previous human civilizations.

Chimps in Bakoun, Guinea recently stunned scientists when they were found using long twigs like fishing poles, dragging the rods in water to scoop up algae that they could then eat. The footage is an affront to the notion that people are the only intelligent creatures with an ability to consciously evolve.

Even bees are exhibiting more complex behaviors. Researchers at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) have discovered that bumblebees can learn how to carry out complex instructions, and then pass that knowledge along to other bees in the hive.

Scientists set up an experiment with three artificial flowers containing sugar-water and attached pieces of string to each flower. They were then placed inside a clear, Plexiglas panel with just the strings poking out. Researchers were curious to see if the bees could problem-solve and get the ‘nectar’ from the fake flowers.

Out of a control group of 110 bees, only two figured out how to pull the strings to get to the nectar. They did this with no training. A second group was then ‘trained’ by gradually moving the flowers out of reach gradually. This group did much better. 23 out of 40 learned to pull the strings to get the reward.

Amazingly, when a new group of bees was introduced to the problem, 60 percent were able to pick up the new skill simply by observing the other ‘trained’ bees access the reward…

more…

About the Author
Christina Sarich is a staff writer for Waking Times. She is a writer, musician, yogi, and humanitarian with an expansive repertoire. Her thousands of articles can be found all over the Internet, and her insights also appear in magazines as diverse as Weston A. Price, NexusAtlantis Rising, and the Cuyamungue Institute, among others. She was recently a featured author in the Journal, “Wise Traditions in Food, Farming, and Healing Arts,” and her commentary on healing, ascension, and human potential inform a large body of the alternative news lexicon. She has been invited to appear on numerous radio shows, including Health Conspiracy Radio, Dr. Gregory Smith’s Show, and dozens more. The second edition of her book, Pharma Sutra, will be released soon.
This article (Major Shifts in Consciousness Being Observed Throughout the Animal Kingdom) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Christina Sarich and WakingTimes.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this copyright statement. Please contact WakingTimes@gmail.com for more info.

http://www.wakingtimes.com/2017/01/03/major-shifts-consciousness-observed-throughout-animal-kingdom/

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