Empathy

A man is sitting in the streets in Aubagne, a small village in the Southern part of France. It is somebody whose face seems to be always angry and he does not change the expression when he receives a little bit of money from the people that walk by. He is consequent in his expression.

It is my son’s birthday and we bought a small bracelet in a nice shop in the same town. A bracelet, as a symbol for his father, who died two years ago. The both of us started to believe that having a visual symbol, gives meaning to both life and death of a beloved one.

We passed the always angry looking man and I came up with the idea to buy him a present from the bakery, to celebrate my son’s birthday. My son first did not want to buy him something, and he asked me why we should give to somebody who always looks angry. I smiled and I told him: “Let us join with him the pleasure of your birthday. I am so glad that you came to this physical body. I was and I am still so grateful knowing you. I like to share this love with everybody, as well as with people that look angry”.

We bought a delicious cake in the bakery and walked back to hand it over to the man, but unfortunately he was not there anymore. We searched for him but we could not find him. We both agreed that the pleasure to give and to celebrate was our greatest gift, it was neither affected by any response, nor by the presence of the man.

While writing this post my thoughts are back to the man, who lives as long as I know in the streets. I feel deep compassion and empathy. All of us human beings have this capacity to feel empathy. It is a feeling from the heart, the expression of true love, not effected by what somebody represents. The heart is such a remarkable and intelligent instrument and how important it is to make a heart connection with our thoughts and mind. Research shows us that certain parts of the brain are affected and stimulated when we feel empathy.

Science has evidence that our hearts are connected and resonate with the vibrations and energies of the environment. New experiments suggest that the heart is much more than a (technical) pump, only responsible for the bloodstream. Our hearts react when we observe suffering and pain of others. Our hearts respond while observing violence, aggression and fear of others. Could it be that so many people suffer from heart attacks since we observe violence, aggression, pain, and suffering of others on a continuous basis?

If this might be true, and more and more evidence is showing this, we only need to listen to our hearts.: to be aware of what our heart is telling us. By listening to the heart, we can resonate loving feelings to others. We do not need to wait for others to start. By answering to our true feelings, we can respond to violence, by being in peace. By being connected to our own heart, we can overflow the world with deep compassion and true love.

Talking about peace and love is in many parts of the world something you do in private and is not done in general, especially not in the world of Business. In Business we more often try to believe that our analytic, isolated mind is superior. We separate ourselves (ratio) from our heart since we started to believe that our minds are much more effective and efficient. But what do we call effective and efficient? Shareholders value only? Return on investment only? Short term (financial) results? Continuous Competition?

What when we can not separate our mind, thoughts, from the rest of our body? What are the consequences of false hypotheses and assumptions? Are we really willing to pay the price of these (wrong) mindsets? What about poverty, starvation, humiliation, aggression, child labour, abuse and other cruelties?

Mexico


It could be that our ratio can deal with all of these but what about our hearts? Is this the reason that people in many organizations and corporations like to avoid to talk about love, compassion, empathy and peace? Could it be that the decisions made by the so called corporations could be completely different if we would not ban compassion? Is this what we fear most in Business?

Is it allowed to ask these questions in Business Schools? Is there space and time to have dialogues about these subjects and can we find them, as important issues and courses, in the curriculum and in the pedagogy? Let us hope so!

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