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Empathy: How can one most truly and effectively relate with another?

Excerpt from a discussion with John on November 18, 2011

Q1: What is the best that one can do, if you want to touch the potential, the deeper intelligence and maturity of another and support that development, say in your child or someone you love?

John: The deeper you reach in, in moving past your self, and being in a way that is not at first suitable to your self (but is right for what you know) the more different the space you’ll be able to hold for someone who is close to you. And there is a chemistry between your space and the person who is close to you, so you are able to provide for someone in a way that they cannot necessarily accomplish on their own, so there is a chemistry of the two. The chemistry of the two comes into the other person.

That’s like what is taking place here with meetings. When you come here, when you attend meetings, that changes your chemistry, and what is affecting you isn’t just what is simply within your self. Within your self you may not be able to reach some of the things that you come into because of the change of your own chemistry in being here. Your field of possibility in your self is much greater in your being here than your not being here.

Q2: Is that what osmosis is?

John: Yes

Q2: And to really change something, what is required is my openness and willingness and permission?

John: It requires your own openness to something that you are knowing the truth of, something that as yet has nothing to do with your self. If you consult with your own thinking and feeling, you wouldn’t be responding to what it is that you are actually knowing, because it’s not suitable to your self. If there is an openness to respond to something that you are knowing and you are not limited to what your self is, that takes you past your self.

Q1: When someone that I’m relating with is pushing very strongly against a pattern in themselves, what is the best way to serve them? How can we be with a person who is in that place, to really serve them to open that?

John: You would have to reach something in that person’s heart that they are not presently coming from. As soon as that is reached, they have more from within themselves to come from, enabling them to move past the pattern.

Q1: How would you do that?

John: Through the use of empathy. Where you have empathy, you have a greater use of mind. As soon as you have empathy, you are relating from a potential within, that is greater than your present clarity of mind. Your resources are greater if you are coming from within empathy, than if you are coming from just a clarity to help someone. If the empathy reaches into the personal, then that will narrow your use of mind because then your empathy moves more and more into actually relating to your self being affected by someone else, rather than actually empathizing for what they’re in. Empathy puts you into their situation. You’re not importing your past and your issues into their difficulty. As soon as that occurs, everything narrows.

How much are you able to, in a sense, be someone else’s self? The key to that is not using your self to accomplish that. If you can be someone else’s self without using yours, then you are able to bring into someone else’s self everything that you know the truth of.

Q3: Would that be like merging, John?

John: It is a merge of sorts. It’s different than merging, in the sense that you’re not becoming lost in the merge itself. You’re still retaining what it is that you’re merging for, and that is to reach someone in what their need is.

Q4: Is that similar to or actually accomplished by consciously being what comes before the self, what is actually sort of the same in you and the other? 

John: Yes, but that can go sideways very easily. It becomes abstract. The pitfall within is projecting onto someone else something that is actually imported. It’s imported from your self, so you can think that you are moving past your self, that you are relating to something that is deeper than your self and you are projecting something of your own subconsciousness onto that person.

Q4: How do you do that, then?

John: The way I do that is, I‘ve put form to coming from knowing and not skipping any developmental process in that. As soon as a developmental process is skipped, then it’s easy to attribute meaning based on your own sincerity, where there isn’t actually meaning. So then you’re making something up and projecting something onto someone else. For you it is really meaningful, but really it has nothing to do with them.

Q4: How can I distinguish that? It is basically continuing to investigate where I’m actually coming from?

John: The best is to not go too deep too quickly in the use of your deeper resources to help someone else. If you go too deep too quickly and you circumvent what you have to deal with in your self, then you end up very narrowly reaching to someone and leaving out the most important elements that would actually help them. Instead of trying to go deeper then yourself, leave the personal out of your interaction with someone. Then there is just the vulnerability of your own heart meeting them.

Q4: I saw that a lot in spiritual techniques, where it looked to me like there’s a step missing, so it goes up and from there it goes down, reaching things in other people but actually not reaching. It’s like missing that step before. It’s simplicity actually…

John: A really heartful, dear love for someone is worth more than trying to go beyond your self and deeper than your self, and reaching into the furthest caverns within and  giving them something. Giving something of a vulnerability of heart to someone who your heart belongs to, so you are really belonging to that one, and the giving directly out of dearness, means more than everything else that seems so much deeper. As soon as you have empathy, you are able to reach a person. Then to apply that empathy to accomplish actually reaching the other, it has to be of the same stuff as the empathy.

Q3: Are we always rising up out of empathy and so we have to remind ourselves to sort of be that way? Like deepening our baseline of empathy in everything?

John: That can’t be deepened without your basically coming from what is deeper within you. The deeper your well is, the greater your real empathy can be.

Q3: So that’s the opportunity, in dealing with others, whatever it is that opens and meets and is willing to pay the price in whatever moment…

Basically, how much does what you know within mean more than your self, and then how real do you make that in your self, which is what gives you real heart.

Q5: How can we be clear that the heart is without the self?

John: The more that you involve your self in empathy, the more emotion you’ll have within the empathy. Empathy in itself is a depth of feeling. You don’t need the expression of that with emotion in your self for you to have that depth of feeling that is there with empathy. You don’t need the emotion to have the depth of feeling.

Q6: So how do you differentiate between emotion and feeling? Emotion has a momentum in it, whereas feeling is just…?

Emotion is personal; empathy is just simply a movement of heart.

Q6: So, it’s deeper, more quiet?

John: It simply is deep. It is deep, it is quiet and it does reach without your self having to be stirred up in that.

Q6: More as a kind of a cracking… it opens up.

John: The cracking, that’s a sensitive thing. As soon as there’s a cracking, that really affects your self. How much can you crack open in your heart without your pulling your self into it because it’s such a beautiful thing that’s happening.

Q6: How do you move below that?

John: If you move below that, the pitfall is becoming abstract, so then you lose the empathy that’s there. Everything is surrounded with pitfalls. If you’re not aware of the pitfalls you might be in one.

Q5: Certain times when you’re touched, if it’s coming from the deep, then how to bring it up to your self without engaging emotion each time you touch someone?

John: If you don’t know how to move the empathy, that can create an ache in your heart for someone. If you try and move the empathy, that takes you out of the ache in your heart towards someone and it puts you into a personal emotion towards someone, so that now your empathy is more about your self than the other person. It requires a fine discernment in knowing what you’re doing. When someone has empathy for you and they move but they’re milking their experience of empathy, it is not necessarily a pleasant thing for you. So something in you is touched by them and the other part of you is wanting to turn away from what their empathy is because it’s mixed. The more mixed it is, the less it reaches you. Anything can be milked. If you clearly love the truth within more than your self, you won’t milk anything. If you love your self more than the truth, you won’t be able to not milk everything.

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