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Friday, July 8, 2016

How to grow empathy:

Try Mysticism

The true mystic is always both humble and compassionate, for she knows that she does not know.”
Richard Rohr

Sometimes, I wish I had a time machine. I would fly forward in time about twenty years and see how things turned out. I do this with books. When the story gets to a crisis point and I think someone I like is going to die, or that the ending will be dire, I skip ahead to the last chapter to make sure things come out all right. Of course, we can't do that with life. We have to live each moment, and wait to see what happens—sometimes, that's excruciating. Like now, for instance.

Priest, Richard Rohr, says we must learn to live with lack of closure, lack of resolution, and do so with a good attitude and a positive spirit. We truly don't know what's happening, and we don't really want to know why it's happening. We certainly don't want to look at the spiritual implications of constant war and riots and injustice. In fact, the lack of spiritual curiosity is one of the most dominant characteristics of this time.

What would be helpful, I think, would be for each of us to spend at least one day in the shoes of one whom we judge. It would be instructive for me as a white woman to spend even one day as a black woman, or as a Muslim woman, or a Hindu woman. I think my empathy factor would go up. In To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee wrote: “You never really know a man until you understand his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

None of us can know the future, but all of us can do our part to make it better. We can give love a shot. We can grow some empathy. We can try out humility and compassion. In short, we can become mystics to one another.

                                                                   In the Spirit,

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