Life is an ongoing process of deepening our empathy. Understanding how others feel based on how they see the world. Being aware of what simply is, without the need to label it, and remembering that the soul cannot bring forth aliveness in an environment of judgment.
It’s a neverending compassion meditation. A challenge to the parts of ourselves that judge. And it’s hard. Because our default is myopia. We can’t imagine others could feel any differently than us. We would prefer that they come to the same conclusions we did. We have already made up our minds about what we think other people need. And we believe others are wrong when their behavior does not support our identity or fit our paradigm of how to live.
Which is too bad. Because we can’t learn anything if we’re in the judgment business. We’re too busy breathing our own exhaust.
The secret is learning to step back from our judgments. Stopping ourselves mid sentence and thinking, wait, who am I to make a moral judgment about this person? In fact, here’s my favorite empathy deepening question of all time.
How is it possible that this person could think or behave in this way, and under what circumstances would it make perfect sense to do so?
That’s when the real learning begins. The moment we tear ourselves away from the safe harbor of our own limited worldview and charge headlong into someone else’s experience. Even if that brings the disconcerting experience of having to reevaluate our own notions.
The point is, what is judged cannot be joined, and what cannot be joined cannot be understood. If you want to connect deeply with the people around you, learn to challenge the parts of yourself that judge.
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How are you using compassion to soften and enrich the ground of everyday encounters?
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That Guy with the Nametag
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