Empathy is the most vital ingredient to foster human connection. When we are connected with ourselves and others, the universe sings to us. Human society in this modern world has grown sick with disconnection. Division and cruelty have spread like a pandemic in our lost, cold world. When we look at the rampant addictions, loneliness, and isolation prevalent everywhere in our culture, it is clear that a strong connection with self and others is sorely needed. The nuclear family is disconnected. People are marginalized due to the way we relate with race, religion, gender and sexual preference, disabilities, politics, religion, and every other difference named and unnamed. Our world is increasingly fractured.
Connection is the medicine most needed for our times. When we are connected with others, we have friends surrounding us. Connection is what we all crave and connection is what makes us feel safe, loved, and understood. When we have empathy for someone else, we feel connected with them and they feel connected with us. When we can understand them it opens up the doorway to truly bridge worlds.
Empathy is a vital skill and a human value that should be treasured among the greatest values to ever exist in humanity. Empathy is meant to take its place alongside love, truth, faith, heart-centered living, and joy as the sacred virtues that will save the soul of humanity. After we teach empathy in our schools, our homes, and our workplace, empathy will be as commonplace as breathing and only then will we embody our full human potential. What the world needs now is an Empathy Revolution that permeates every aspect of our society.
A Way Of Knowing
Empathy is a way of knowing or a sense organ of perceiving another through feeling. We can know both ourselves and others through feeling. This goes against the conditioning that truth is unknowable and that it’s best to use our minds to make models of reality, rather than depend on our feelings.
The Key, Salvation, and Bridge to the Land of Our Dreams
Empathy is the key, the salvation, and the bridge to everything we’ve ever dreamed. When we practice empathy as a society, and turn toward our own and each other’s suffering, we can return to the paradise that this earth once was and is meant to be again. Until we embody empathy as a species, we will remain in darkness and continue to perpetuate suffering. Please join me in practicing empathy every day. If we practice empathy until it becomes as natural as breathing, we can turn the tides for humanity! Open your Heart! Do empathy in every communication from now on.
Empathy is a Practice
When we make empathy a practice in everyday life then we truly incorporate it in every conversation and connection. I like to see empathy as a game. The rules of the game are: 1) How can I understand this person even more deeply? 2) What can I use to get to the very heart of who they are?
I feel, I listen, and I see. I open my heart to the other, and let everything about them touch me. I make my body a sense organ, and open my perceptions to allow for them to touch me.
One great and simple way to practice empathy is to simply listen to the person’s words and let them take you into this person’s world. How do they see or experience life from their words? How do they use their attention to structure reality? We can learn so much from each person we talk with when we put ourselves in their shoes.
From the model of the five senses, we primarily use our sense of touch, sound and sight to organize reality.
Representational systems are the way we represent reality in feelings, words, or pictures. Smell and taste senses are used, but usually they are not how we frame reality.
- Feel the person first. Put yourself in their shoes and get a sense of the interaction, feeling for their being. Simply open your heart to the other and sense where they are, with an open hearted feeling for them.
- Listen to the words. Listen to them and hear where the flow of the person’s heart and mind are taking them. Use their words to help understand them. Their words will show you how they frame their experience, where their awareness and attention goes toward describing the experience, and generally gives you a lot of information. Follow their thoughts completely. Even if you disagree with their thoughts, let them go to their conclusion so you can see them as accurately as possible.
- See the person. What is your vision of who the person is?
When we feel a person, we know them from the inside. When you hear a person, you know what’s on their heart and mind. When you see a person, you get a sense of who they are holistically. When we turn to seeing the other too quickly, it’s easy to project onto them and only see ourselves reflected in them. Instead of projecting on them, by feeling them, we are seeing them clearly as they are. In this case we are seeing with the heart. We are seeing them through the “eyes” of love and we are consciously open to who they are as a human being. This goes way beyond any idea we have about them.
When somebody judges someone else, they’re really, on some level, casting a judgment on themselves. Anytime we see another with cruelty, we are simply acting out our own cruelty to ourselves onto the other.
The Empathy Game
Here’s a simple way to practice empathy:
- Get together with another person and practice your sense of feeling with them.
- Open your heart and let them in energetically. Ask yourself, “How can I tune into this person more deeply?”
- Listen to their words and use that as a way of noticing who they are. (If they are non-verbal or preverbal, notice their sounds and let this take you to a similar place as the words.)
- How does their awareness sculpt reality? (What do they notice? What do they not notice? How do they perceive?)
- Ask yourself, “What can I use to get to the very heart of who they are?
- What is it like to be them? (How is it similar to you? How is it different from you?)
- How would you have to perceive life to be expressing this way about your experience of it?
Empathy is like a skeleton key. Empathy can open any door, melt any heart, and resurrect any love. Empathy is the bridge which fosters connection inside us and between all of us.
If you want to learn more about our approach to empathy and living from the heart then see our courses. We have other articles about empathy and a book coming soon. There’s also one on one work that can help open your heart and foster deeper empathic awareness.
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