The power of empathy

I’m sure like me you’ve noticed the increased number of heart-rending stories that fill our internet and news channels these days. Whether on a global scale in the myriad war torn areas where civilians are living in unimaginable conditions, to the seemingly relentless stream of children being murdered in the UK and elsewhere. Or the number of people living on the streets and those caring for family members with disabling or life threatening conditions. The examples of human suffering are endless.

Whether we are conscious of it or not, we are being triggered into opening our hearts – the very epitome of ‘heart-rending’. We are being asked to find within us empathy and compassion for others not by becoming overwhelmed or stuck in a fog of stasis and pain but by examining every single moment of our own lives and choosing to act from a space of love and kindness.

Speaking personally I can’t say I find this an easy task. I know I’m a loving and caring person – I can see and feel that part of me clearly when I look. I know am able to sense others challenges, emotions and feelings to some degree. I also know that there are layers of ‘hurts’, habits and ‘stories’ that sit within my subconscious or perhaps my unconscious that can block the flow of empathy and compassion. It doesn’t really matter why they are there. What matters is whether I (and we) can move beyond the history/’herstory’ and bit by bit create a better version of myself in every moment.

And it’s not about holding back on the bigger actions to help others in need – these must of course continue as we seek to find a better balance between peoples across the world and their ‘lot in life’.  But those bigger actions will happen more naturally, in greater number and with longer lasting impact, if we live each and every day from a place of empathy and compassion.

Taking a moment of peaceful reflection each day to connect with and ‘activate’ our heart qualities and allowing ourselves to fully experience the empathy, knowing that we are strong enough to hold the impact of it and loving enough to act from that place in our relationships and interactions both with ourselves and others. Each small act or step that we take toward empathy and compassion opens the collective heart of Humanity and bit by bit we create a loving ‘field’ within which great things can and will happen.

Lorraine Flower