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Old 04-12-2005, 11:27 PM   #1
Yokaze
 
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Dojo: Five Dragons
Location: Sonoma State University
Join Date: Sep 2004
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Empathy...

This thread actually has nothing to do with Aikido, only spiritualism. I hope you don't mind. (sorry Jun!)

Today, just before 3, I felt this sense of despair fill me up. Like a huge weight settled on my shoulders, making it hard to focus or breathe. This felt like the kind of consuming depression that can lead to days of idleness in bed. I think you know what I mean.

I could not, for the life of me, figure out why I was feeling like that. I had no real reason to be depressed.

I got online and on AIM, and IM'ed a friend of mine. My first words were "Are you okay?"

She said she didn't know, and I realized I had hit the mark. She asked me if she read the e-mail she sent me at 3:15, and i hadn't. When I did, I found out that she was stressed out and depressed beyond measure.

I had no idea that she would have felt like that, yet I felt it as though the emotions were mine.

What can this mean? I knew that this kind of empathy existed, but I never knew it was so LITERAL. Me and her have been getting closer lately... but I'm not so sure I'm quite comfortable with the notion that I may confuse her emotions with mine more often.

Any ideas or input would be appreciated... I didn't know where else to go.

"The only true victory is victory over oneself."

Rob Cunningham
3rd Kyu

Icon courtesy of Norbert Knoll http://www.aikido-verein-hannover.de
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Old 04-13-2005, 07:49 AM   #2
ruthmc
Dojo: Wokingham Aikido
Location: Reading, UK
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Re: Empathy...

Quote:
Rob Cunningham wrote:
I had no idea that she would have felt like that, yet I felt it as though the emotions were mine.

What can this mean? I knew that this kind of empathy existed, but I never knew it was so LITERAL. Me and her have been getting closer lately... but I'm not so sure I'm quite comfortable with the notion that I may confuse her emotions with mine more often.

Any ideas or input would be appreciated... I didn't know where else to go.
Hi Rob,

Congratulations on finding your gift for empathy! Now you just have to learn how to manage it Check out this website for information: http://www.roserosetree.com/ (Don't be put off by the women's intuition bit!). I attended a talk given by Rose in London recently which was very useful. Here's something from it that you can try - take 3 deep breaths, then say "Anything which does not belong to me, please leave immediately". This will enable you to release any emotions you have picked up from other people which are not your own.

Empathy is great, but you need to be able to switch it on and off, and there are ways of doing this.

Hope this helps,
All the best,

Ruth
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Old 04-13-2005, 08:45 AM   #3
SeiserL
 
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Re: Empathy...

Musubi is connection. IMHO, there is an energy transfer. Empathy is a double edged sword. Learn to make the distinction so you can sense other's problems without taking them on or feeling like you can solve them.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 04-13-2005, 11:32 AM   #4
John Boswell
 
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Re: Empathy...

Hey Rob,

I think Lynn is on to something when he brings up Musubi : Connection. Empathy is very real. I never read books on it or studied it beyond my own realization of it.

It is important to distinguish between your own feelings and that of others. I have always had a nack for reading people like a book. I know when they are decieving me or telling me the truth (for the most part). It is possible to be tricked, but not often by a stranger.

If you've encountered this "gift," then I would suggest embracing it. Ignoring it and pretending it does not exist will only complicate things. You may not have all the answers for it and would like some... but then you may find "solutions" that you just plain don't want to look at. Well, that decision is yours to make.

There are many people in the world that will try to sell you something or get you to enroll in a group that you later don't care for. LISTEN TO YOUR HEART. You know what is right and wrong for yourself, above and beyond what anyone else can tell you.

To this day, my mother still has dreams that will wake her in the middle of the night and compel her to call a distant friend. She's right most of the time. I was off doing my own thing in Austin when she had a dream of me getting married in Midland. Had she told me at the time of the dream, I probably would have rejected it and her for some time. But eventually, I moved back home and settled in, got married and then she told me.

It's a very interesting phenomenon.

Relax. Take it as it comes. Write your thoughts down in a journal and review them from time to time. But whatever you do, don't fight it. Listen to your heart and be true to yourself.

Good luck with it!

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Old 04-14-2005, 04:29 AM   #5
Zoli Elo
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Re: Empathy...

Best of luck...

(What you experienced is sometimes called a shared mental model and more exactly a focal point.)
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Old 04-15-2005, 01:20 AM   #6
Yokaze
 
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Re: Empathy...

It's funny, because this has happened several times between the time I posted this and now. When we're together, it's like our emotions echo and amplify each other. It's an incredible feeling.

Yet it's only with her that I feel this connection. With other people, I have a hard time even reading their moods through body language and voice inflection.

I see this as less of a "gift" and more of a personal connection with a specific person. I will, however, do more research on the subject.

Thanks, as always, for the replies!

"The only true victory is victory over oneself."

Rob Cunningham
3rd Kyu

Icon courtesy of Norbert Knoll http://www.aikido-verein-hannover.de
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Old 04-15-2005, 10:25 AM   #7
John Boswell
 
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Re: Empathy...

It's funny, Rob. I grew up with a friend in school... who had a sister that was so distant. Everyone treated her badly and called her names... and these were her brother's friends! I was the only one (that I saw) that would just say "Hi" instead of calling her some foul name.

Anyhow, years go by and through time, conversation and living closer to one another, she and I began dating... on a secretive level. We never called it dating, we just "went out." This went on and I learned about her on so many different levels. She was a far greater person that I ever knew or gave her credit for. Sure, she made good grades in school, but that was all I knew till we dated. After months had gone by, we started finishing each other's sentences or I'd suggest eating somewhere that she was just thinking about. Things like this became so common place between us, we got to the point of just looking at one another... laughing and then doing what we had been thinking... without ever saying a word.

Life went on and we went our seperate ways. I lost touch with her and searched for years, but never found her. So, I got on with life, found my current wife, married and I'm living a pretty good life. I always wondered if she went back to school, persued her dream of working with animals, got married and found peace?

Well, two days ago, her brother... my long lost friend, sent me an e-mail. The following day, I found her. Everything I could have hoped for her has in fact come true. She found peace, is persuing her doctorate, in engaged to be married and life is going on. I was very happy for her... she deserves the best.

She will always have a special place in my heart, but I can't undo what is done. And I'm sure it all worked out for the best. But the empathy was strong and is still there. It's a very interesting thing.

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