Sunday, September 13, 2015

"others' sorrow as your own"

the price to pay for empathy

one of my meditations counsels me
that to be a lover of God
one can feel others’ sorrow as one’s own,

there’s a price to pay for empathy,
for each empathic leap
can leave us without protective walls,
and the raging sea of another’s sorrow
can beat and beat against the sureness
that we can hope is the self with which we live,

for me, the beach is a scary place,
for there the ocean is so much greater than us,
and easily something can cause it to rise enough
to overwhelm the tenuous fragility of our selves.

by Henry H. Walker
September 11, ‘15

(for the meditation, you can Google "they are the real lovers of God who feel others' sorrow as their own"),
Mahatma Gandhi’s favorite hymn from his own Hindu tradition, representing the highest ideal of the community to which he was born. This is a free rendering from the Gujarati of Narsinha Mehta (1414– 1481) by Eknath Easwaran.

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