A Great Short Video on the Meaning and Necessity of Empathy

As opposed to ESP which is the ability to pick up information “out there” that is not available to the five senses (such a correctly determining what shirt a person will wear tomorrow,) intuition is based on the ability to understand what is going on with another person in a broader and deeper holistic fashion such as picking up on their emotions, viewpoint, history, experiences, etc.  Empathy is an extenuation of intuition in that because one is intuitive, one can put oneself in the shoes of the other person and “know” what that person is going through.  One can feel compassion for that person and will feel more compelled to help that person.  It is a quality that all people in the helping professions need and one we all could develop.

Our culture does a great job in teaching kids to be competitive but does little to teach empathy.  It is no wonder why there is so much behavior manifested that is based on struggling against one another rather than working together to help one another.

I highly recommend you see this short video on the meaning and necessity of empathy at this link: lifehac.kr/C2ePfNa

 

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Luke 10: Choices of an Empathetic, Intuitive Heart

Story of Martha and Mary

Jesus With Martha and Mary — Tintoretto

Luke 10 is about preparing and sending the disciples out in the world to heal and to preach. The stories told within Luke 10 illustrate the values based choices necessary for someone called to participate in Jesus’ mission. The Parable of the Good Samaritan defines what it means to love my neighbor and the Story of Martha and Mary shows what it means to sit in the presence of divine wisdom. Both involve choices that come from an open, empathetic and intuitive heart.

Treating the Stranger as Oneself

In the Parable of the Good Samaritan, the Samaritan (who was thought to be inferior in class and moral values to the Jews) is ironically the one who treats a stranger beaten and robbed as he would want to be treated—quite unlike the priest and the Levite. The Samaritan is the one who is operating from a moral perspective which recognizes that this is a human being just like himself. Since he wouldn’t want to be left hurt and penniless by the wayside, he simply makes the choice to help the man. This is empathy in action. It shows a heart open to the needs of others.

To Do or to Be Still and Receptive: The Better Choice

The Story of Martha and Mary clearly describes the state of mind of each one of us at any given moment. One part of us is busy, running about taking care of errands, serving others and the performing the tasks of everyday life. This is the doing part of ourselves that make us feel like we have “to do” something in any situation, and often make us feel good when we have done something. The other part of us—which wants to sit quietly, patiently and attentively to hear what comes from silence— however, is often ignored and disparaged in our action-oriented society as being lazy or useless, “navel gazing” with no productive outcome. Jesus makes clear this latter choice to sit in the presence of divine wisdom is the better choice. It is a reminder to us to put aside the busyness of the day and sit in intuitive reflection, open to what comes in the silence.

Luke 7: The Empathetic Power of the Open Intuitive Heart

Empathy

Energy of the Empathetic Heart

Veronese

Christ and Centurion – Paolo Veronese Courtesy Wikipedia

Luke 7 contains stories that show intuitive understanding at work in the world and show where it is not, and what happens as a result. As the Master, Jesus Himself was capable of a great deal of intuitive love. His empathy, which is the driving force of intuition, picks up on the devastated state of the Widow and compels Him to bring her son back to life.

Consider the stories of the Centurion and the Woman who washes Jesus’ feet. How did they get the insight that Jesus could help them? Luke doesn’t tell us. Theologians would probably say it was the gift given in time of need. This defines intuition exactly—a gift of understanding and awareness given when needed, either for one’s own self or to help another. This gift comes from a source beyond the capabilities of the waking mind and rational thought and it comes when the heart is in the right place: open, caring and loving.

Empathy Sees Into the Heart of the Matter

The Centurion and Woman who washed Jesus’ feet were remarkable but very different people sharing two things in common: somehow they knew that Jesus had miraculous power to help them and their hearts were in the right place.
In the case of the Centurion, from his line of work he understood the nature of authority and command. When an order was given by one authorized to give it, the order was done. But that doesn’t explain how he knew that Jesus had authority like no other, so much so that he didn’t feel qualified to see him anymore than he would feel qualified to stand before the emperor of Rome. However, he was a good man who helped build the synagogue. He had a sick slave he cared a deal about and wanted to help. It may have been the open goodness of own his heart that empathized with Jesus, recognizing in Jesus a commanding goodness that was able to help in a way that he himself would help if he had the power and authority to act in such a way.

In the case of the Woman who washes Jesus’ feet, again we are not told how she knew Jesus was someone in whom she could trust her whole being. We only knew she sensed her sins were forgiven by Jesus’ love and understanding and responded accordingly with great love and gratitude. Her actions show her uninhibited expressions of love, unlike the closed, tight actions of the Pharisee that hosted Jesus. Hers was a heart that was utterly open to love. Perhaps the Woman empathized with the power of Jesus, seeing in Jesus someone who loved and forgave as she was capable of doing.

The Superficiality of Judgment Replacing Empathy

Where empathy is absent, casting judgment based on superficial input rules the day as in the case of the Pharisee who only saw the Woman washing Jesus’ feet as a sinner. It is not surprising then that this Pharisee also did not open his heart warmly to Jesus as his guest. By his own heart not being open, he could not see into the heart of the Woman or the heart of Jesus and acted much like the Pharisees who refused to accept John because this prophet was not dressed in silks and living in a palace.