Norman Fischer

‘Some people think that meditation makes an already self-concerned person hyper self-aware, thereby increasing causes for worry and upset. There might be some truth to this. But, mostly, meditation practice has the opposite effect: it makes much more vivid the feeling that you are living in a world with other people whose lives, hearts, needs, and pains matter as much as yours do. Meditation increases empathy. It makes you quite loath to hurt anyone—you see that hurting someone is the same as hurting yourself. In fact it is worse. You would rather hurt yourself than hurt someone else. If you hurt yourself, you can deal with it, somehow. But if you hurt someone else, you can’t necessarily help them deal with it. They are stuck with the effects of what you have done to them. And so are you. You have to live with it. Morality comes out of this sensitivity and empathy. Kindness toward others and one’s self is what morality is fundamentally about. Not a set of rules.’ (from Lion’s Roar)

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