At the point when anger and lust are generated, reality has become obscured; instead, we see extreme badness or extreme goodness, evoking twisted, unrealistic actions. — His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama
In Aspire: Discovering Your Purpose Through the Power of Words, Professor Arthur Watkins told author, Kevin Hall that the word empathy “springs from the soil.” He explained, “Pathy comes from path, and em is in. Empathy is walking the path of another.”
Professor Watkins went on to say that communication is a close cousin of empathy. “Communication comes from the Latin communicare, which means to share in common.”
If you don’t get on another’s path, if you don’t go where he or she has gone, you can’t truly understand what that person is experiencing. — Kevin Hall
A year and a half ago, I completely changed my focus on this blog. I needed to focus on positives after a person who previously did a TED Talk on empathy became defensive and angry instead of showing empathy to my family. He did not walk our path so he did not see the holes in our hearts. Therefore, I totally understand the statement in Hall’s book:
It’s remarkable just how much can go wrong when the all-important ingredients of empathy and common ground aren’t firmly established.
I’m far from achieving the spiritual level of the Dalai Lama, but I did manage to stay calm during my conversation with the above mentioned individual. Still, I understand that it would be easy to let my response to the situation be anger too, and at times I have been angry. That is why I’ve focused on inner peace and supporting my loved ones privately instead.
I know that like the morning glories in my first picture, we are all connected, so I do talk about our experiences off-line when asked. Yet, I also respect the wishes of my loved one, and that is why I no longer blog about the details of our experiences. I know many of you are unable to walk our path and honestly, I hope you never have to do so.
Likewise, I have trouble walking the path of those who injured us, but I am trying to at least acknowledge that a failure to communicate contributed to the failures. And, part of the failures are mine.
I’ve been reading and studying, How to Be Compassionate: A Handbook for Creating Inner Peace and a Happier World by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Below are some of my favorite quotes from the book:
- Just as smart public policy aims to educate people so that they can take care of their own lives, so it is with the practice of altruism: the most effective way to help others is by teaching them what to adopt in their future practice and what to discard from their current behavior.
- With anger, all actions are swift. When we face problems with sincere concern for others, success may take longer, but it will be more durable.
- Whether we believe in God or karma (the power of actions and their effects), strong ethical values are the foundation of society, and must be the underpinning of our daily lives.
- Another benefit of adversity is that hard times can build determination and inner strength. Through them we can also come to appreciate the uselessness of anger. We can even learn to nurture a deep caring and respect for troublemakers, because by creating trying circumstances, they provide us with invaluable opportunities to practice tolerance and patience.
- Trying circumstances help you develop inner strength and the courage to face difficulty without emotional breakdown. Who teaches this? Not your friend, but your enemy.
This post was inspired by Kozo’s Bloggers for Peace Challenge.
Be sure to read other Bloggers for Peace Posts at:
B4Peace: A Tiger And His Boy Teach Empathy.
Empathy and Visiting Other Lands.