Tag Archives: empathy

Feeling With…

“I do not ask the wounded person how he feels, I myself become the wounded person.”
― Walt Whitman, Song of Myself

 

I heard your pain
not a sob, not a scream
but a throbbing stomach clenching ball
It hurt yet I knew that to remove it
would be selfish
It would be to remove something from the
very heart of you
so I sat there
feeling it with you
Offering the solace
that you were not alone…

 

When I see someone hurting, the strongest temptation is to do something, anything that will take away their pain. In sympathy, it is so easy to say to someone “It’s alright and try to make it better somehow. That may work for pain that is merely physical but not so much when it comes to wounds of the heart or spirit. Some lessons can only be learned by going through it. It hurts to see someone hurting but can be a very selfish act to try to make them feel better without addressing what has caused the pain in the first place and what lesson they have attracted. Sometimes the best thing we can do instead is to let them know we are there hurting besides them…
Blessings, G

 

Click on images to see full-sized:

 

Forest ConquestForest Conquest by G A Rosenberg

 

Aeriel view of a Spinning PeacockAerial View of a Spinning Peacock by G A Rosenberg

Beyond Opposites

 

“Our mind is capable of passing beyond the dividing line we have drawn for it. Beyond the pairs of opposites of which the world consists, other, new insights begin.”
― Hermann Hesse

 

Where are your lines? Where are your boundaries? Where is it that you demarcate between what is something you believe in and what is not? What defines you? Have you ever blurred the line, even for a moment and pretended you believed something else, that you are someone else as so many of us define ourselves by what we believe.

I enjoy stretching myself. I talk to someone new and I try to imagine what its like to see the universe as they see it. I ask questions and learn and I find myself falling into their reality. Oh quite often I’ll find it to be a garment that doesn’t quite fit but the wearing of it has given me something precious and I can now remember what it was like. It has made a permanent impression on how I will see things from now on and when I talk to my friend from that point on (and when you have shared something as intimate as a reality, how can you not be friends?) it will be with a greater understanding of where they are coming from. Of course they may be evolving also so perhaps once again I’ll dive in and learn.
Blessings, G

 

Click on images to see full-sized

 

That Was Just A DreamThat Was Just a Dream by G A Rosenberg

 

Ra Hoor KhuitRa Hoor Khuit by G A Rosenberg

Quote of the Day – January 7 2013

“The warrior who trusts his path doesn’t need to prove the other is wrong”
— Paulo Coelho

 

I have noticed a disturbing trend lately. People, who’s opinion I value and whom I think of as amazing spiritual beings interested in self-development have problems when they encounter someone who’s on a path that’s way different then the theirs.  It’s as if by living my life a certain way I am challenging their sense of themselves. What makes this even more strange is that they see this as being a horrible thing to do and occasionally feel victimized by my stating my truth. I LOVE having my sense of self challenged and tested.  Quite often it points out my blind spots and enables me to learn. By integrating someone else’s story with mine I can learn so much and often gain a lesson in compassion. If we fully live in our story and that includes not only the possibility of change but the inevitability of it as well, then we can face another’s story with pleasure even if it is wildly different. Do we only go to movies or read books that only show people similar to ourselves or do we go to for a brief time inhabit another world.  Why would we condemn the world that we can enter through another’s eyes? Blessings, G

 

Click on image to see full-size

 

Nine of Swords
Tarot – Nine of Swords by G A Rosenberg

 

Spoked
Spoked by G A Rosenberg

Pain Shoes (Redux) – Watching It All Play Out

Watching it All Play Out

 

I wanted to understand
so I put on your pain shoes
and let you transmit your experience
direct to my being
You used words but I felt meaning
and while i tried to integrate
another’s excruciating existence
you kept on speaking
way beyond need
“I get it, I feel it”
but accustomed to ignorance
you continued…

 

If you would stop
I could rid us both
of this…
these shoes hurt my feet
and your memories my being
yet knowing this you continue
a litany of woes
the tale of everyone and anything
that you felt had done you wrong
beyond any forgiveness
I finally realized
you don’t want to lose your pain
you don’t wish understanding
and you hate me for presuming to help
How dare I try to take away what makes you real to yourself?

 

I smile sadly
as the shoes slip off….
Another mile in another’s moccasins…
Another mile in my own….

 

— G A Rosenberg

 

Click on image to see full-sized

 

Watching It All Play Out

 

Watching It All Play Out by G A Rosenberg

Quote of the Day – October 4 2012

‎”Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eye for an instant? ”
— Henry David Thoreau

 

We hunger to understand and be understood. Does one take precedence over the other? Can we listen to the heart of another without knowing our own heart? Why bother?

Well, if we lived in a vacuum away from all others perhaps we wouldn’t. Tho studies show (so I’ve been told) that a prisoner in solitary for years will befriend the insects that crawl into the cell and anthromorphise it and tell it all kinds of secrets never heard by another human.

By understanding another I can understand myself better. Just as each viewpoint on reality brings me closer to understanding the overall nature of things, each person i can grock, brings me closer to the grocking of myself.

Blessings, G

 

By the way a site I heartily recommend and one that has linked often to this site is : http://www.consciousazine.com.  (Art, and articles for the conscious minded)

 

Click on image to see full-size

 

Angel’s Reverie by G A Rosenberg

Quote of the Day – October 2 2012

“The more we know, the better we forgive. Those who feel deeply feel for all living beings.”
–Madame de Stael

 

More on empathy:

When I lived in Boston, I met a friend whom I learned quite a lot from. Things like the difference between a want and a need. In a few of the many conversations we had, he talked about various addictions he had. One to crack cocaine that he demonstrated and also his attraction to children.
He explained to me that he believed that we’re attracted to others who are the same emotional age as ourselves and that on some level he knew he was very young.
He realized it was an abuse of authority and removed himself, at least at the time I knew him, from that temptation…
Still he realized it in himself…
Understanding it from his point of view I could see it. I didn’t feel the temptation myself nor did I condone his acting on it…yet I could understand where he was coming from..

I have always felt this need to understand other’s viewpoints. I’m not sure if it reflects an incompleteness in myself or the opposite but it seems like time and time again I have been drawn into the lives of some of the most diverse people, usually befriending them and ultimately at least getting a glimpse of the world behind their eyes. This has given me insight but also has kept me often hovering around the edges examining the paths of others rather than choosing one for myself. Oh I have a life, married, kids, the works but as far as a definitive viewpoint, not so much. I rather like it that way but still get rather wistful at people with strong beliefs.

Blessings, G

 

Click on image to see full-size
 
In the Shadows by G A Rosenberg

 

Dark Flower by G A Rosenberg

Quote of the Day – October 1 2012

“If you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”
–Atticus Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird)

 

What is it you can’t stand? Who do you despise? Do you have problems with the heads of any particular governments? Can you just not abide at all the people who run the banks? Your boss? People on welfare? Bigots? Rapists? Child Molesters? When was the last time you tried to truly empathize with them? Could you walk a mile in Mitt Romney’s shoes and understand him? I don’t say agree but truly understand his viewpoint and where he’s coming from. To me this is the true epitome of empathy and if you can’t do that then there well, you still haven’t gotten it.

How can we consider ourselves compassionate if we only empathize with the people who we like and agree with. If nothing else, understanding may bring solution where not understanding  just exacerbates. Yes its difficult.  I’ve worked at this most of my life and it saddens me that more don’t do the same.  Very few people are villains in their own mind and understanding may actually make it easier to  change these viewpoints.

Blessings, G

Click on image to see full-size

 

Creation Mandala by G A Rosenberg

 

Journey Mandala by G A Rosenberg

Quote of the Day – September 30 2012

“Only by examining our personal biases can we truly grow as artists; only by cultivating empathy can we truly grow as people.”
― Jen Knox

Can we cultivate empathy without examining our personal bias? I’ve come to believe over the last several years that to ensure better and clearer communication, one must clear out the communication room specifically in this case our minds. The clearer we become about our particular perceptual filters, the more we can understand what others say to us and the more we can pick up their emotional states and being.
What does empathy mean tho. I have met many people who consider themselves empathic and they pride themselves on how well they can understand and truly feel the pain of those whom they see as victims. However that is the easy side of empathy. Much more difficult is empathizing with those we see as being the perpetrators or victimizers. Until we can do that, then we have not fully learned empathy.

When I was a junior in high school students in Iran took over the American embassy there and held fifty four Americans hostage for over a year. I remember in Current Events Class standing down all the other kids as I debated on the side of the Iranian students. A few months previously my family hosted a young persian couple who were staying in the states for awhile and they gave me an understanding of the grievances that Iranians would have with American imperialism. They felt that they had suffered under the Shah (who was backed by America). I tried hard to understand both sides and was surprised at how many people seemed to think it was one-sided

I keep running into situations that are similar. People able to empathize with people who feel the way they do without even attempting to understand the other. Occupy Wall Street might be more effective for instance if the protestors tried to see life from the point of view of the bankers, definitely vice versa. By understanding, i do not mean condone or agree with, i mean simply trying to put yourself in another’s head space.

Blessings, G

Click on images to see full-size
Tarot Trump II – The High Priestess by G A Rosenberg

 

Treatment for High Priestess Card by G A Rosenberg

Quote of the Day – September 21 2012

“If someone is able to show me that what I think or do is not right, I will happily change, for I seek the truth, by which no one was ever truly harmed. It is the person who continues in his self-deception and ignorance who is harmed.”
― Marcus Aurelius

We return to the elephant. You remember the one of which the blind men disagreed as to its exact nature.( Quote of the Day – March 26 2012)  If the blind men were to try to integrate their views of the elephant they would come to a greater understanding of its nature just as each individual view of reality we are able to integrate with our own can bring deeper understanding. I had an interesting discussion this evening about the above quote.  I want to write it as if it was instead had by the blind men.

Blind Man 1: To me this elephant is like a tree trunk. What is it like to you?

Blind Man 2: We know the elephant exists and that is enough. Our true selves know the nature of it.

Blind Man 1: That is true but how does that further our understanding here and now. If you tell me what the elephant seems like to you, perhaps by looking at both, we can gain greater understanding.

Blind Man 2: The elephant only has whatever meaning we give it.

Blind Man 3: WTF?

It’s not so much that I disagree with Blind Man 2 just that his point of view does not seem helpful in terms of living life to the highest degree of truth possible. Nor does it help promote empathy towards the experience of the other blind men. It occurs to me often that many of the problems that our world faces today comes from lack of empathy and compassion (the ability to step in another’s footsteps).

Blessings, G

Click on image to see full-size

Red-Gold Galaxy by G A Rosenberg

Blue-Red Mandala by G A Rosenberg

Quote of the Day – September 13 2012

“When you realize that eternity is right here now, that it is within your possibility to experience the eternity of your own truth and being, then you grasp the following: That which you are was never born and will never die”
― Joseph Campbell

 

Interesting thoughts on Empathy and Challenge from a friend that I wanted to share tonight:

Empathy.
Well…
what comes BEFORE empathy?

Tragedy.

Often.
Loss.
And – more importantly –
the inability to ignore the situation.

This is an advanced lesson.
For those who VALUE empathy.
For those who don’t give a shit about empathy…
A more INSPIRING lesson is often suited.
For the … cynical.
But for the optimiists
this is the lesson they really need to learn.

The cynics have been through that

now they got to start seeing it differently
Ah
let me put this another way –

“A warrior regards everything as a challenge, while an ordinary man sees everything as either a blessing or a curse.”

Those who feel cursed need to feel love.
Those who feel blessing, need to feel disaster.
This is the CATALYST form.
For speeding up the process.
The way of Tantra.
as I was taught.

Until they begin to see
both blessings
and curses
as challenges.”

— Vajra Krishna

Click on image to see full-size

Astro Room With a View by G A Rosenberg