To have deep empathy for the suffering of another being certainly requires a high degree of consciousness but represents only one side of compassion.
○ True compassion goes beyond empathy or sympathy. It does not happen until sadness merges with joy, the joy of Being beyond form, the joy of eternal life
I'm still unclear of the differences between compassion and empathy. I would be sincerely grateful if anybody could elucidate what he means.
Great musing samesong. The differences for me is that Empathy is the recognition, and the allowing oneself to view and accept a thing from another's perspective. The key with empathy in consciousness is recognising not just the experience that another is experiencing, but also being conscious that it is the 'other' that is experiencing it within their own awareness, capacity & willingness.
So the acceptance for us, the employing the high degree of consciousness
is not of the circumstance, it is acceptance of their view, their awareness, capacity & willingness in that experience or circumstance.
The important part in recognising that it is their view, their awareness, capacity, willingness is so we don't overwhelm into being disrespectful in terms of boundaries and whose choices are impending leading to making judgements or making enemy, obstacle, means to an end of any of it. It entails our own awareness, capacity & willingness to suspend our perspective for that of another's.
In consciousness ET says one is in a modality of either acceptance, enjoyment or enthusiasm. In egoic modality we make enemy, obstacle or means to an end of a thing, situation or person. Keeping this in mind one can see when one is experiencing true empathy in consciousness. If one falls to blaming, judgements, etc we've moved out of conscious modalities into unconscious ones. That can be tricky in the face of suffering, but it creates more suffering for ourselves and others when we do.
Some people confuse empathy with sympathy - but they too are 'different' empathy is willing to allow that perspective of an experience within our own cognition, sympathy stands apart from it. In a way, empathy says I'm with you, I understand/accept your suffering, sympathy says I see you're suffering and I feel sorry for you, but I don't really want to understand/share it from the inside. This is not without care for the person suffering, but because one is not sharing the available perspectives, in unconsciousness sympathy can quickly lead to pity, and pity creates more separation of the perspectives. In a way empathy says 'me too' (opens to it), sympathy says 'you, not me' (recognise/accepts the sorrow of the situation, but closes to another's experience of it), pity builds a wall of separation so they are touched even less.
What does he mean by compassion going beyond empathy and sympathy?
Dalai Lama defines Compassion as wishing that oneself and others be free from suffering.
For me, Compassion is like the rocket fuel that boots and all embraces the 'reality' of suffering while having the intention of easing it through raising our awareness, capacity & willingness consciously. Often it's not the physical 'what is' experience that is creating the suffering, it's the perspective about it. Pain and sorrow are a given, a natural part of our experiences, for the most part they are transitory and they move us into greater awareness, capacity & willingness to be conscious. If we respond making enemy, obstacle, means to an end of a person, thing or experience we feed the suffering, even if we are doing that with good intention on the part of another who is suffering in their experience.
Compassion sits with - the pain, the sorrows, the frustrations when our capacity is overwhelmed, the mis-takes when our awareness is blinkered, and the fear that inhibits our willingness.
It still says, me too.
I'll answer the other question in the following post.