Lessons on Lessening Suffering in the Gulf

Pelicans and turtles frozen in oil, businesses lost, lives changed forever. The gulf oil spill defies comprehension — emotions too much to bear and horrifying images burned in our memories. How in the world do we lift ourselves up from this one?

Perhaps the answer is to not try just yet, but to stay stuck in the emotional oil for a bit. What we resist persists, and we humans must face and feel this tragedy if we are truly going to overcome it and prevent the next one.

It’s easier to go into action with earthquakes, floods and other natural disasters. We don’t have to feel the pain of responsibility because we believe it’s Mother Nature’s fault. But this crisis is human-made, making it far more difficult to digest. And for so many of us, knowing that wildlife are affected makes it unbearable.

Why does animal suffering elicit such strong gut reactions for us? Could it be that animals represent the highest state of innocence, just as newborn humans do? All animals, domestic and wild, are here to help humanity. They give of themselves completely and unconditionally. It is their true essence.

Most of us feel helpless as we follow the daily frustrating oil spill drama. We wish we could do more than donate money and monitor the situation. We admire the amazing volunteers, some already at work cleaning beaches and washing birds, with many more assistants waiting in the wings. Yet it just doesn’t feel like enough. The comfort doesn’t come.

There is an energetic and spiritual way that we can help. All of us can influence this disaster in a significant, positive way from our own homes — even if we are a thousand miles away. We can use our emotions and energy field to aid the people and animals in need. By having the courage to share in their suffering, we actually lessen it.

This may seem foreign and difficult for most of you, but you can do it. Everyone has the instinctive ability to assist in the healing of others; it is one of our greatest human traits. Every hug you’ve ever given had positive reverberations. Those who meditate or practice energy medicine will have an easier time, but all of us can participate.

1. Sit quietly and think about the oil spill. Let all difficult emotions surface. Breathe deeply into your abdomen, and allow the uncomfortable feelings to build. Picture them as a haze in front of you.

2. While the negative energy haze is still present, shift your attention to the area over your heart. This is your heart energy center (chakra). Connect to the peaceful feeling in that center by continuing to focus on it. If you are not able to feel the positive nature of this energy center, all you have to do is decide to connect with it. It’s just fine if you aren’t processing it as a feeling.

3. Once you are connected to your heart center, see yourself walking right into the hazy cloud of negativity. In essence, you are sharing in the suffering, and bringing a positive energy to it. Those of you who can feel the energy will sense an immediate shift in the cloud. It will dissipate into a peaceful calm.

For those of you who have tried this — congratulations — you have just become an energy practitioner. Doing this exercise once to twice a day will help! Oh, by the way, this technique works well for all difficulties in our lives. Face them, open your heart, and walk right into their midst. As always, when coming to the aid of those who are suffering, we learn to help ourselves.

Can you comment on what you felt with this exercise? Sharing will give us all hope.


Juliet Defarge
judith sanders5 years ago

@Susan W. "All animals, domestic and wild, are here to help humanity."
Sounds like someone failed Biology 101.

I'm with Janet T on this, getting off our praying, meditating a$$es and making sure we have the green science and legislation to prevent more ecological disasters is the way to deal with fear and grief.

K s Goh
KS Goh6 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Lika S.
Lika P7 years ago

Condense trips. Take more walks. I wish I could do more to help, but I'm already doing everything I can and afford.

Abo Ahmed r.
Abo r7 years ago


Malinda Pelkey
malinda Pelkey7 years ago

Great advice

Monica D.
Monica D7 years ago

We should use less oil. Think globally, act locally.

Beng Kiat Low
low beng kiat7 years ago


johan l.
paul l7 years ago

If B for once in their existence, would put profits on the back-burner, maybe we can see some real effort in stopping the oil flow. I just do not believe that they have exhausted all possibilities and they won't if they keep on trying to minimise their own losses!
Do not for one moment believe that these oil-barons are worried about the loss of sea-life!

Susan Wagner
Susan Wagner7 years ago

Per the comments on this section of the article: All animals, domestic and wild, are here to help humanity. They give of themselves completely and unconditionally. It is their true essence.

I'm not talking about humans having domination over animals. I'm referring to their spiritual nature. Animals willingly give of themselves for us. They are our teachers, and they help us to heal. That's why they are such gifts.

Animal suffering is a reflection of human suffering. One of the most important ways we can help end animal abuse is to be kinder to our fellow humans.

Janet T.
Janet T7 years ago

Instead of feeling paralyzed by this tragedy, work for good in your own community. Help animals locally, clean up a creek locally, comfort a sad person locally...keep moving forward. All good action adds to the whole.