Empathy and collaboration
The seventh component of spiritual health is attunement to the interdependent web and the cardinal sin # 7 is individualism and attachment to the ego. The spiritual practice to mitigate individualism and attachment to the ego is empathy and collaboration.
The ability to put oneself in someone else’s shoes is the skill of empathy. Empathy is different from sympathy. The empathizer does not feel the same way the perceived person feels, but rather stays in one’s own shoes but can imagine what the other person might think, feel, and prefer. It is this empathy that contributes to the ability to effectively and efficiently collaborate.
This ability to empathize and collaborate requires that the person can be objective, nonjudgmental, and see things in the perspective of the big picture. This takes self awareness, self discipline, mindfulness, and the ability to use one’s personality in a purposeful way for the mutual welfare of the whole.
This ability to understand another’s point of view and the good of the whole requires good listening, and “reading” skills of other people’s thoughts, feelings, and preferences as well as the well being of the whole of which they are a part.
This skill of empathizing and collaborating is based on knowledge, understanding, and wisdom which comes from the individual being a lifelong learner motivated by curiosity and open mindedness.
This practice involves daily study and deliberate practice of using the knowledge obtained through study in improving one’s functioning. One of these traditional practices is called “lectio divina” which is usually thought of as reading religious or spiritual texts. More commonly known in Christian circles as “bible study.” It is the understanding developed from lectio divina which allows a person to be more empathetic and collaborative and develop a greater appreciation of the interdependent web of which we all are a part.