As I write this, I’m sitting in the Admiral’s Club of American Airlines, waiting for a flight to California. I’m flying business class today, on miles, and I’m struck by the difference between the experience I’m having right now—complimentary coffee and food and a comfortable place to sit—compared to what it’s like when I fly economy. What this brings into my awareness is how easy it could be to overlook the quality of life being lived by people who don’t have the economic privilege I do. I find myself wondering how I would cultivate a deepened empathic awareness of people in need if my everyday life were regularly as generous and comfortable as the situation I’m in at the moment.
I remember reading some recent research that suggested that the more money people have the lower their scores on tests of empathy. Sitting here this morning, I can understand how that could happen. So, the question I have deals with any and all areas of privilege, be that economic privilege, racial privilege, gender privilege, ethnic privilege, religious privilege, or any other kind of privilege that comes automatically to certain classes of people. How do we expand our awareness to include those who don’t have access to whatever kinds of privilege we may take for granted and not even recognize as privilege? Read More “713th Week: Cultivating Empathy”
Sitting in Central Park the other morning, I did my usual thing of being there from the perspective of my heart intelligence and perception. I find that whenever I shift into my heart space as the center from which I perceive and interpret my world, I inevitably experience a deeper sense of connection, relatedness, oneness, and care for whatever I may encounter along the way. I have written many times about the importance of cultivating heart awareness, and of the benefits of doing practices such as HeartMath’s Inner Balance and the Buddhist heart-centered practice of Tonglen. The older I get, and the more involved I become with these kinds of practices, the more I value the benefits of shifting from head to heart perception. Read More “679th Week: Shifting into Your Heart’s Perspective”