Mindful Communication with Empathy
Prof. Dr. Irmela Neu
“mindfulness” and “empathy” have entered into sociology and the Human Sciences
“the joy we give to others returns in our own heart.”
“Mindful communication” is a way of communicating. “Empathy” is a whole attitude in Life. Both concepts are often described in more scientific texts. “Empathy” was first debated by art-critics and then by psychologists, while “Mindfulness” comes from religious texts, especially from Buddhist philosophy. To combine both, is a reverence to the traditions in East and West. “Empathy” refers to the relationship between artist and spectator; the intentions of the artist are transmitted by vibrations and energies, which the spectator catches first by intuition, then in a more cognitive way. However, this only works when the spectator is open to the message being communicated. Then, they are interconnected. This kind of relationship also exists between a patient and the therapist – with some differences, of course.
In a more general way, mindfulness and empathy mean the attention you give to the artist, the patient, the other person(s), to other dimensions in general. You are an individual and at the same time there is an interrelationship. You are actor and observer at the same time, because you open your senses and are willing to observe conscientiously. As if you are in a double role. This allows us to “come to the point” in a double sense of the word. You feel what the other person feels, wants to express, and both cooperate in the process of finding it out – finally, you come to the point – together.
As stress is becoming a severe challenge in our globalised world, the scientists of several disciplines are researching methods to rebalance the world and especially human beings; therefore, “mindfulness” and “empathy” have entered into sociology and the Human Sciences. Biologists are researching into the structure of our brain to find out if they can identify the centre of empathy, mindfulness and cooperation. The new digital world is discussing the question of how to implement it in the artificial intelligence of robots.
They all agree that empathy and mindfulness belong to the nature of life in general, in animals and human beings. It is one of the main expressions of unconditional love.
What does it mean exactly?
The most evident of natural mindful relationships exists between a mother and her baby. The whole development of the baby depends on her – not only care and devotion, but also, caresses and the emotional attention she gives to her baby. There is a deep connection between both: when the baby smiles, it automatically triggers a smile in the mother’s face – due to mirror neurons. In a more spiritual dimension, it is our deepest inner source and connection with the Cosmos which invites us to show our love, friendly feelings and interconnection. It is a real necessity to make others feel good – and myself, of course. As a refrain says: “the joy we give to others returns in our own heart.”
Shared joy is double joy.
To be mindful with empathy means to focus our concentration on what is going on, on what we are doing right now. When we wash dishes, we do this without thinking about what we did in the past or will do in the future. We are present. This means to pay our full attention to our present activity – carefully, with devotion and concentration. A mindful person observes attentively him/herself and what’s going on in his/her surroundings. Whatever he/she is doing, it becomes a conscientious act in cooperation with all senses. This kind of conversation is a mutual process, one enriches the other; it promotes us, give us the chance to open our channels to joy and the inner cosmic source, to express and grow creativity and to develop constructive ideas.
Can we learn mindful communication and empathy? – Yes, we can. Firstly, we must decide clearly: Yes, I want to learn it. Then, learn some techniques to help us, and finally, they become so internalized, that they are in our cells. Transformation and change come from the heart, from the fire of love, and it leads to a metamorphosis.
Thoughts alone do not have the power to make changes, the light frequencies of our heart are also needed to give them the power and strength of transformation. The creativity of human beings comes from the unity of our three energetic centres: the “hara” (Indian tradition), or upper “Dantien” (Chinese tradition), our vital centre with our main organs. The centre of intuition and proper intelligence; the second centre is the heart or middle Dantien. The last is the brain, third eye or higher Dantien. There is of course a subtle interconnection between them; they are interlinked by a complex system of inter-dependence. Only if they co-operate well and in harmony are we are healthy. If one of the centres predominates, the disharmony has serious consequences. To give an example: a person who lives mainly by thinking or making plans, is in danger of being disconnected from his/her heart, the centre of mindful communication and empathy.
Mindful communication comes from the heart and the powerful flow between the three centres – which plays a crucial role in the philosophy of martial arts. So, mindful communication can be learned, as we said, starting with myself on the path to discovering myself. It is of course much more than a technique; it is the expression of equilibrium in the vertical and horizontal dimensions. It is a whole way of life, a lovely process of lifelong learning. Good doses of humour which come from our heart will always help us on our path.
By discovering our deepest negative convictions and our fears, we can identify the areas which are in need of transformation. Then we can enjoy the magical aspect of life by laughing and loving, changing into luminous flowers which can grow and disseminate their beauty.
Bio: Prof. Dr. Irmela Neu, from the University of Applied Sciences, Munich/Germany, specialised in Intercultural Communication in Spain and Latin America and has been publicationed in this field. She has worked with UNESCO in the field of Education. She focusses on seminars in Mindful Communication and in body-based teachings to open our heart, combined with Mindful Communication. She holds a Black belt in the Korean martial art of Taekwondo. Her message: Life is lovely. Contact: www.Irmela-neu.de