Brian Swimme, founder of the Center for the Story of the Universe (what a name, yes?!), and author of The Universe is a Green Dragon, speaks of compassion as being a genetic mutation, allowing humans with a compassionate bond to better survive. First, the care or compassionate bond between mother and child evolved, then between siblings, then between kin groups.
He relates this compassion to gravitational attraction, which was essential to the beginning of the universe, the formation of the stars. This comprehensive compassion that pervades the universe is now beginning to surface within the consciousness of humanity. To extend this awareness, he recommends simply, to pay attention. He likes to use the phrase "the power of gawking," and references Chief Seattle who said, "if the animals were not here, we would die of loneliness."
Upon seeing the first deaths from the current Gulf oil tragedy, the giant turtles being tenderly inserted into small black body bags, the size of the turtles, how I ache for us all with this great loss.