Last night I was asked about the emotion in my eyes in an empathy coaching session the previous day. I couldn’t remember the specific incident, however, I knew the depth of caring alive in me from witnessing the results of some very destructive communication and manipulative behaviour to get ones needs met at any cost.
It brought back a memory of being in an empathy healing session with Dr. Marshall Rosenberg, author and creator of Nonviolent Communication. As our session deepened I observed a pool of pain in his eyes that could only be a result of his pain for humanity. In Buddhist teaching this eye contact was much different. The reflection in Buddhist Rinpoches that I have experienced are compassionate without the depth of pain Marshall’s had.
Considering this, I am comparing that Marshall’s empathy program is unencumbered and simple. It takes one inward towards the root cause of the experience and to one’s integrity while the Buddhist practice and talks are based upon; learning mindful meditation, spiritual dogma, faith, devotion and a focus on examples using storytelling of the past to pass knowledge and discernment on. I have found with Marshall’s integration you can focus your attention and go to the center, while in Buddhism integration isn’t so direct. I believe all Rinpoches have compassion and I know their devotion to humanity is tremendous. Each day they give reverence to those who crossed their path that day before retiring.
From this above personal experience I believe empathy is intimate, vulnerable, connected to the immediate experience and identifies the individual needs while compassion is a fuller experience and not directly connected to the immediate needs. I experience empathy to lead to compassion.
Renee Lindstrom, GCFP,
Authored Achieving your Goals 31 Day Program, Sleep Sweet Sleep, Kid’s Peace Bus Calendar of Values Educational Program & InTouch with Your Values Self-Actualization Program.Feldenkrais® Practitioner since 2007, Communication & Empathy Coach since 2004, Art of Placement since 2000, Labyrinths of Victoria since 2012, #yyj Peace Week Grassroots Calendar Founder, Vice-Chair of World Children’s Summit on Peace & Nature in 2015