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Empathy & a Simple Practice to Develop it

Posted Mar 17 2011 1:35pm

Empathy is a very important element in Emotional Intelligence and within your ability to communicate successfully with others – blossoming out of a practice of truly listening (without analyzing another’s words or looking to provide a prescription), you can most liken empathy as providing a shoulder to lean on or better yet a “presence” for that person in need.

We so often get caught up in todays society to fix another’s problems that we forget at times to simply be with the person in a space of silence and contemplation, allowing for curiosity, creativity, and intuition to lead the way – rather then judgement.

When you provide presence to your friend, family or loved one you enter the possibility to transcend words, letting the silence and the moment to do the talking. And, as you develop this ability for empathy, compassion and unconditional love starts to make its way to the surface.

Here is a simple practice to heighten your awareness to the incredible amount of judgement and analysis that is constantly happening around us – it is a practice on listening and contemplation when placed within a setting of conversation.

By taking your time to answer, truly listening in silent watchfulness the message of the other and choosing your words carefully – you provide the space for empathy to blossom within you.

Weekly Practice – Listening & Contemplation

In any situation that you find yourself bring your attention to speaking only the essential as if you were passing a written note. Choose only 10 words to speak your message.

Listen intently to receive the full message of what is being said; being aware of your surroundings, the person’s body talk and their words.

Do not shy away from a pause as you contemplate, before you provide your message.

10 minutes everyday. At any time, any situation.

Just watching people’s dialogues it is amazing the amount of misunderstanding and lack of empathy that exists all around us. You are saying one thing, something else is understood.

It was once said “The world would be a more silent and peaceful place if people were only saying five percent of what they are saying now although that five percent will cover absolutely everything that is essential.”

The reason “The Message” was chosen is because it symbolizes something more than the long letter we usually produce. By being telegraphic you provide yourself the opportunity to truly listen to what is being said, allowing empathy to rise and contemplation to have its chance to take place.

This awareness of the opportunity to be silent and composed, will create unique sensations within you; feelings of comfort, courage, maybe even discomfort…

Because reacting, analyzing, judging is something that has become a habit for us this practice is made to bring awareness to this habit.

By being aware of how hard it is to break habits, we can steadily start chipping away at them to be more open, malleable – to be a chameleon to any situation, in intuition and creativity.

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