Thursday, April 16, 2009


. The force of compassion is one of the strongest in the universe. It heals us, it connects us, it makes us truly human. The transformative power of compassion is widely underestimated.
. There is a difference between empathy and compassion. Empathy is a natural capacity, with which we are (hopefully) born. It is a cousin of sympathy - you send a sympathy card to show that your own feelings are in sympathy with someone else's. Empathy means you can feel what another person is feeling. True compassion is more than just a natural quality, it is a human capacity. In compassion you can deeply understand another's experience, but with complete awareness. You not only resonate with someone, you really get it. You hear them as if there was nothing else to listen to; you are so totally present you can give the person 100% of your focus and attention. And you can do it without coming up short yourself.
. What happens when you see or hear a person this deeply? How does the inner person react to this kind of meeting? It feels damn good. You feel accepted, heard, seen, valued even. And what's more, you want to be that person they're seeing.
. I called a friend after a nasty fight with a significant other. "Oh my god! That sucks!" she yelled into the phone. "For Pete's sake!" I felt better, immediately. There is nothing better than a good friend! And then she went on: "I don't know, what do you think, John?" and in her tone I could feel that she didn't want me to do anything; like dump this maniac for instance, but was simply concerned. I could feel her pure, disinterested concern. And that's when I felt myself starting to wake up. I began to actually grasp the feelings I was experiencing and to see what they were trying to tell me about my situation. I could sense my own inner self emerging just a bit more.

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