Empathy in support groups

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helloworld
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Empathy in support groups

Post by helloworld » Thu Sep 13, 2018 1:28 am

Does empathy arise from the ego saying "I know how bad your hurt feels," and, if so, if we choose to dis-identify from that ego, does that mean we can no longer empathize?

I participated in a sexual assault support group two years ago that was healing, at a time when I was very identified with my pain. I am currently participating in an alumni support group at the same organization, and thus far, I hear similar sharings from two years ago, but not through emotional, passionate, and empathetic ears, and instead through a lens of what I can describe as detachment or apathy.

If I now see the illusory nature of much of my own pain regarding my narrative, which leads to seeing the illusory nature of pain in others, what is my role in this support group? I feel I can no longer genuinely say "I feel that way too, but isn't life beautiful anyway?" and instead have taken on the internal response of "Wake up! This isn't real!" toward other participants, which is invalidating and isolating if said out loud.

Do I need to give up empathizing and relating in this way to others in order to fully let go of my own suffering? Something in me wants to relate and is sad that it no longer can.

Maybe I need to learn how to relate on the level of Being and not just on the level of the pain-body. If that is the case, how can I do that in this environment?

I am grateful for the existence of this community.
Love and warmth.

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Sighclone
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Re: Empathy in support groups

Post by Sighclone » Thu Sep 13, 2018 1:49 am

Welcome helloworld!

In my opinion you have progressed spiritually to a point where you have a perspective on your experiences, including your emotions surrounding those experiences that is not available to nor experienced by others in your group. In the nondual community we refer to that as "The Witness." It is a "place" you can rest in to view and experience all the by-products and elements of ego and painbody, from a 'distance,' and it is an important step, not discussed enough. So, I'm validating your sense in the group of the unreality of their pain (and continued suffering after the events), but it is only unreal if you have another perspective. That is not true for them, and you will appear snooty and insensitive to announce it.

You have joined a nonduality forum. Who knows how advanced or interested the others in your group are on that path? My suggestion is just to be there with them, tilt your head slightly, look in their eyes, and let love flow from and into you. They do not need more than that, unless one of them, privately comes to you and asks more spiritual questions - then you can gently approach nonduality, etc.

Thanks for joining,

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

helloworld
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Re: Empathy in support groups

Post by helloworld » Thu Sep 13, 2018 2:11 am

Andy,

Thank you for the warm welcome!

This is a beautiful suggestion. I appreciate your perspective.

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turiya
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Re: Empathy in support groups

Post by turiya » Thu Sep 13, 2018 4:37 am

helloworld wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 1:28 am
If I now see the illusory nature of much of my own pain regarding my narrative, which leads to seeing the illusory nature of pain in others, what is my role in this support group?
Your role is to be compassionate vs. empathetic. (And you don't have to try to do this... Compassion arises naturally out of Presence. So just be Present. :wink: )

Here's a link that explains compassion vs. empathy (just reading the first 3 paragraphs is good enough, imo):

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog ... er-empathy

Hope this helps.
“We ourselves are not an illusory part of Reality; rather are we Reality itself illusorily conceived.” - Wei Wu Wei

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Sighclone
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Re: Empathy in support groups

Post by Sighclone » Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:24 pm

Thanks, turiya- hugely helpful distinction that I will use going forward!

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

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turiya
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Re: Empathy in support groups

Post by turiya » Fri Sep 14, 2018 2:45 am

:D
_/|\_
“We ourselves are not an illusory part of Reality; rather are we Reality itself illusorily conceived.” - Wei Wu Wei

helloworld
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Re: Empathy in support groups

Post by helloworld » Fri Sep 21, 2018 3:39 pm

Thank you, turiya :)

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