Our last workshop in a series of six and the individual workshops have evolved into a deeper focus of practice and understanding empathy. The areas that came up for exploring included self-empathy, empathy in relationships and group empathy. The purpose was to support group members to recognize their own stories inside their mind that did not allow them to be present with what was actually happening in their relationship. How we have done this it by developing skills for learning to recognize and identify their thoughts and behavior as a result of their thinking.
The last exercise involved having a volunteer demonstrate a process while sharing a personal life event and transforming what they had been telling themselves about it into a connection that included the rest of body functions, outside of the frontal lobe of their brain!
At the beginning of the practice this participant shared their resistance at connecting to another person in their life. In the process ego dropped away as the mind stories became silent and what was real began to emerge. As the stories of their mind became less interesting , what was real was their new self-connection to what was being experienced in the moment. When the participant connected to what was real in them they expressed how they had a growing awareness of what was going on for the other person that went beyond their original resistance.
You couldn’t ask for more! The beauty that was visible in the participant and those in the group supporting this persons process was tangible through relaxed faces and the feelings of a group connection. Through the practice other participants began to recognizing their own stories and habits in experiencing how they supported the process. Did they become present to what they were hearing or did it stimulate their own stories or need to fix it by coming up with solutions. If so, all these participants witnessed how this breaks the emphatic connection and experienced the effects of disconnection of it becoming about them and their ego mind and no longer the person going through the exercise.
Beautiful! The participants having a practice of learning a language of connection demonstrated the ability to go beyond the disruption and carry the process back to the original speaker while holding empathy for the interrupter’s!
This brings up the question – Is empathy the absence (quieting) of ego?
For more information on these workshops with Renee Lindstrom go to relationships link