Our pattern-making minds make predictions about how best to survive in the world. So deep wounds from our past can influence our minds to make life long generalizations that harden into core beliefs about groups of people. Read on for a demonstration of how empathy can shift these wounds and thus the core beliefs.
Understanding how our brains operate in relation to power, privilege and status is important if we wish to build a world that works for all. This article gives an overview of the brain tendencies we have in relationship to groups, and provides remedies to counteract the automatic labor-saving devices of our human brains (which often prevent us from seeing the fullness of others, and our own, humanity).
When something happens that we don't like no amount of resentment nor magical thinking will make it disappear. Instead, we can mourn to dissolve our own resistance, resentment, and numbness of resignation. Mourning can allow us to feel pain with acceptance, and without needing to be okay with what happened. Acceptance can bring us to a place where even all the anguish in the world is fully, part of life.
There's reactive anger - the sudden outbursts of words, temper or action that create a nervous system response in another. And then there's the anger that's a reaction to someone's anger -- a nervous system startle-response. Instead of either of these, we can learn to heal with empathy, look for unequal power dynamics, take responsibility to make repairs, and shift into the clean, life-serving, fully expressed anger and love.
We can cultivate spiritual clarity through bringing attention to our intentions, mourning, gratitude, and the dynamic flow of feelings and needs. This can bring more autonomy, choice and liberate the energy of connection and contribution. We can also awaken our hearts to see the reality that our well-being is mutually interdependent. Read on for more.
After acknowledging the impact others have on us, you can ask yourself "What am I telling myself?" and "If that’s true, what am I afraid will happen?". The more present, gentle and compassionate you can be with the underlying feelings, the faster you can move through your trigger. Then you're more likely to respond in ways that feel, kind, responsible, intelligent and aligned for you.
Sometimes we want to avoid placing our love and trust in someone, to protect our hearts and our life energies. And so there are deeper questions that we can use to check whether we're in relationship with someone who doesn't have capacity to be in relationship with us (eg. “Do I have a sense of mattering in this relationship?”). Read on for more questions we use to assess our empathy and efforts in relationships.
Living in this ceaselessly demanding world, how do we recover from emotional exhaustion? The hopelessness of not being met in the world can leave us wrung out like an old mop. Our heart rate plummets, our blood pressure and respiration drop, and energy and information processing start slogging along. Instead, we can build the bridge of empathy for greater rejuvenation.
Our world is facing stressful times. And the more stress you experience, the less resourced you can become. But consider that you're not messed up, but rather, the challenges you bear is a response to manufactured environments and culture that are more hostile than they are kind towards our human souls and bodies. And so, let’s be clear. Let’s be discerning. Let’s be compassionate. Let’s pay attention.