Excerpt About Empathy
Empathy is generally seen as the ability to know another’s point of view, the ability to relate to what your friend is saying, feeling, or thinking because you have had the experience and can call it up in your memory. It stimulates the sense of knowing from your own experience, which you can then apply to how another person might be feeling. But empathy can go very, very deep, much deeper than this psychological way of knowing the other’s experience. We can actually feel where someone is without having had their experience, because our consciousness is ultimately one ocean. A wave in the ocean is not separate from the other waves. We can feel the waves of others and the particular states of those around us as our sensitivity develops. It has been confirmed through neuroscientific experiments that with empathy we can actually experience another person’s pain through the activity of mirroring neurons. Here, we are discussing empathy in a larger sphere, as including all states and feelings of the other, not just their pain.