Why Would Meditation Make Us More Willing to Act Compassionately?
At this point, we don’t know exactly why meditation is increasing compassion. My suspicion is that it’s one of two mechanisms.
The first has to do with its ability to increase attention. The world is full of distracting stimuli—the game on your iPhone, the replay of a date last night running through your head, and the like—that often prevent us from truly recognizing what’s going on around us. Meditation has been shown to enhance attentional processes, and so it might just be that the people who had been meditating were more likely to notice that the other person was in pain.
Another possibility, and the one that I favor, is that one goal of meditation is to break down categories. It’s meant to help individuals realize that everyone is linked and similar in some ways.