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Author Topic: Ideas Worthy of Discussion  (Read 3212 times)

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Sympathy, Empathy and Compassion ???
« Reply #15 on: December 31, 2013, 10:46:59 AM »
Tue 31 Dec 2013, 5:32 pm

Hi All,

The terms sympathy, empathy and compassion share similar meanings, as in my little ""WordWeb" dictionary"

Sympathy : Sharing the feelings of others (especially feelings of sorrow or anguish)

Empathy  :  Understanding and entering into another's feelings

Compassion : A deep awareness of and sympathy for another's suffering

But are often used with very different connotations.  Sympathy is often regarded as negative in modern psychology, as being indulgent of sentimentality and not hard-minded about taking responsibility for ones issues and their solutions.  I suppose everyone is familiar with the common saying that you can find "sympathy" in the dictionary half-way between "shit" and "syphilis."  Definitely, not a good reputation!

Empathy is the preferred, "healthy" version of sympathy; suggesting being able to feel into and relate to another's emotions without pity and without getting caught up in them.

Compassion is regarded as deeper and, often, more noble and spiritual, as in the "Compassionate Buddha."

Without the benefit of further research, these are my off-the-cuff connotations.  Perhaps you share them?  Or perhaps not? Do you regard these three terms/processes as essentially the same with nuanced meanings, or as different processes entirely?  Do you agree with the sentiment that you can find find "sympathy" in the dictionary half-way between "shit" and "syphilis?

Love to hear your ideas!


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Walking on grass is the real miracle!
« Reply #16 on: May 29, 2014, 12:13:50 AM »
Thu 29 May 2014, 6:55 am

Good Morning ForumMates!

Long time no see!

This morning, listening to one of Bernie Clark's  http://www.YinYoga.com  mindful living meditations, he related the following koan by a zen master,

   "The miracle is not to walk on water.  The real miracle is to walk on grass."

It reminded me of something I heard a long time ago. When asked by some students how they could help him in his work,  Mr. Gurdjieff replied in his typically earthy way and thick accent,  

   "When you go to bathroom, flush toilet!"

Vulgarity aside, I realized that these "koans" are saying the same thing.

In what sense are these koans the same, and what important life-lesson are they telling us?