Through media reports, we are often indirect witnesses to cruelty to the most helpless and vulnerable, particularly animals and children. Sometimes we wish we didn’t have to carry this knowledge because it pains us, over and over again when it slips into our mind and heart. But you can turn your own helplessness in the face of cruelty into empowerment and action for both you and the victim.
This morning, I read about horrific animal cruelty by eight employees on a dairy farm in B.C., one of the largest in Canada. Not the way I like to start my day but happy, at least, that the BCSPCA’s investigation into the matter resulted in charges being laid and, hopefully, the end of the mistreatment for those cows.
When we read about cruelty to the most helpless and vulnerable, like animals or children, we are faced with our own helplessness in 1) not being able to stop all cruelty from happening, and 2) having to face and experience that pain over and over again as our mind replays the information in our heart. We end up also being a victim to the cruelty and the pain.
To manage this pain, we often resort to anger and statements like “They should be (insert cruelty here) to see how it feels.” Or we wallow so deeply in the pain the victims must have felt that we can’t handle it and bury it deep inside us. I can still clearly see a photo I saw in a newspaper when I was about 13 years old of dogs piled up in a small cage in a market in India. Those sad eyes haunted me for over thirty years.
Two years ago, I decided that I needed to let go of that photo and all the pain it represented, mine and the dogs’. I visualized that photo falling into the earth and being accepted by the earth, like arms folding over it to protect it. The earth willingly receives all of our pain and suffering and transforms it into empowerment. I imagined a bright gold light around those dogs to heal them, then a radiant white light to cleanse them. I did the same for myself and for the people who caught and caged them. Finally, I visualized large gold and white circles around all animals everywhere who are inhumanely caged and the people who did it to them.
This morning, I did the same. I sent the image and the thought of the cruelty to the cows into the bosom of the earth and allowed the earth to transform that pain into empowerment. I visualized the brightest golden light (to heal) and most radiant white light (to cleanse) around the cows, in the barn, around myself, around the eight men involved, and around all the people hurt by their actions.
Helplessness and pain were transformed into empowerment and action. Will that action help the cows and all the people involved? I believe it does make a small difference because the energy of our thoughts and feelings can be consciously directed (I’m sure at least once you’ve tangibly felt someone’s anger directed at you). It doesn’t matter when the events happened; studies in particle physics have shown that our decisions in this moment can affect actions that have already occurred.
Will taking action help me? Definitely. I’ve let go of the pain and suffering of the dogs and the cows — but I haven’t forgotten about them and what their story represents. I turned my anger towards the people involved — a negative feeling that hurts me as much as its target and just adds more fuel to their fire — into healing and cleansing.