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Compassion and Empathy, Roshi Joan Halifax

  • Compassion and Empathy, Roshi Joan Halifax

    Posted by paradox on June 1, 2019 at 2:17 pm

    In Roshi Joan Halifax’s book:  “Standing at the Edge: Finding Freedom Where Fear and Courage Meet”, she says: “Empathy is not compassion. Connection, resonance, and concern might not lead to action. But empathy is a component of compassion, and a world without healthy empathy, I believe is a world devoid of felt connection and puts us all in peril.”

     Compassion, says Halifax, is “the capacity to attend to the experience of others, to feel concern for others, to be able to really sense into what will serve others, and also to have the capacity to serve both directly and indirectly.” It is also impossible, Halifax continues, to have compassion without “attention and affective balance, intention and insight, and embodiment and engagement.” Compassion, unlike empathy, has drive and desire to alleviate suffering, whereas empathy is merely contemplative resonance. As such, Halifax concludes by noting that “neural networks involved with priming us for empathy and compassion are less likely in disembodied people,” and we therefore need to truly map and embody this process in order to attain full efficacy of compassion.

    Kimberly replied 8 months, 4 weeks ago 2 Members · 2 Replies
  • 2 Replies
  • Kimberly

    Member
    May 5, 2022 at 3:01 pm

    Thank you for sharing this Andrea! I appreciate Joan’s thoughts on compassion as active. Before reading this, I suppose I would have described compassion as an expansive experience that encompasses everything all at once, while also being shared with the person/Being/present company (near or far) and empathy as more a singular, directed experience towards the person/Being/present company (near or far). I like Joan’s take on this, makes sense 🙂 Thanks again.😍

  • Kimberly

    Member
    May 5, 2022 at 3:31 pm

    “Halifax concludes by noting that “neural networks involved with priming us for empathy and compassion are less likely in disembodied people,” and we therefore need to truly map and embody this process in order to attain full efficacy of compassion.”

    So interesting. Sometimes I wish there was a magic wand that goes ‘poof’ embodiment for someone else! Haha. A loved one of mine struggles with touching in on compassion and empathy, and I sometimes feel these experiences too much! So we are quite a mix, each have our own journeys! Hahaha…cheers to the middle path and lots of practice. Thanks again for posting. 🙏✨