An Empathetic Soul

Posted by Phillip Gordon on Thursday, January 21, 2010
I think we all have an understanding to some degree of what empathy means.  I will be bold enough to say we comprehend that it refers to the ability to feel for another, feel what they are feeling.  As I scour the many definitions, one in particular jumped out at me.  It is from the Chambers 11th edition.  It defines empathy in its first case as: “ The power of entering another’s personality and imaginatively experiencing his or her experiences”.  Now there are two things here that drew my attention. The first was the use of the word imaginatively.   The second was the idea that we can experience another’s experiences.

Our contemporary relationship to imagination is one more akin to fantasy, things fantastical, not real.  It is shoved into the land of childish thinking, not practical in the real everyday world of problem solving and discord.  Yet imagination itself is a muscle we can employ as a tool not only to conjure but also to understand, to know deeply the world around us.  It is how we use our imaginations that matters, not imagination itself. ‘Imagine how that feels’, immediately awakens the mind and body to transfer our state into another, to literarily take on and become another state.  Are we really having that experience; one could argue not.  Yet if we are experiencing something comparable to the original state, surely that experience no matter how removed, is ours, belongs to us for that moment.  We are having it.  One could argue that it is not the exact experience, we are not in a war torn country, you are not the victim of brutality, and you do not live under a bridge.  True, if you are not you are not.  None the less, it is this innate ability we have to use our minds in a way that allows us to feel to a certain degree and therefore understand another’s experience.  What we do with that information is another thing.  If we are compassionate beings we are able to be with another’s experience as it is, for what it is, without judgement or the need to reconfigure it in any way. 

If we consider imagination as simply and mental task that requires attention and focus as we consciously apply it, we are cutting ourselves off from this ability being innate.  We will end up employing it like the intellect, simply applying it when we think it would be most useful.  To be empathetic requires one to be open at all times, present to life, to the life of other’s and feel with them and for them.  Know them. 



Tags: soul "personal development" mystic 
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About Me


Phillip C Gordon I am an Alchemist, falling into the fires of transformation over and over as I realise the gold that I am. I choose to serve all humanity to that end, to raise the consciousness of humanity, one by one if that be the case. I am a writer, a speaker, an actor and fool.

An Empathetic Soul

Posted by Phillip Gordon on Thursday, January 21, 2010
I think we all have an understanding to some degree of what empathy means.  I will be bold enough to say we comprehend that it refers to the ability to feel for another, feel what they are feeling.  As I scour the many definitions, one in particular jumped out at me.  It is from the Chambers 11th edition.  It defines empathy in its first case as: “ The power of entering another’s personality and imaginatively experiencing his or her experiences”.  Now there are two things here that drew my attention. The first was the use of the word imaginatively.   The second was the idea that we can experience another’s experiences.

Our contemporary relationship to imagination is one more akin to fantasy, things fantastical, not real.  It is shoved into the land of childish thinking, not practical in the real everyday world of problem solving and discord.  Yet imagination itself is a muscle we can employ as a tool not only to conjure but also to understand, to know deeply the world around us.  It is how we use our imaginations that matters, not imagination itself. ‘Imagine how that feels’, immediately awakens the mind and body to transfer our state into another, to literarily take on and become another state.  Are we really having that experience; one could argue not.  Yet if we are experiencing something comparable to the original state, surely that experience no matter how removed, is ours, belongs to us for that moment.  We are having it.  One could argue that it is not the exact experience, we are not in a war torn country, you are not the victim of brutality, and you do not live under a bridge.  True, if you are not you are not.  None the less, it is this innate ability we have to use our minds in a way that allows us to feel to a certain degree and therefore understand another’s experience.  What we do with that information is another thing.  If we are compassionate beings we are able to be with another’s experience as it is, for what it is, without judgement or the need to reconfigure it in any way. 

If we consider imagination as simply and mental task that requires attention and focus as we consciously apply it, we are cutting ourselves off from this ability being innate.  We will end up employing it like the intellect, simply applying it when we think it would be most useful.  To be empathetic requires one to be open at all times, present to life, to the life of other’s and feel with them and for them.  Know them. 



Tags: soul "personal development" mystic 
blog comments powered by Disqus