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teaching empathy through mindfulness, resetting normal and the 9/11 memorial

Humans are softwired for sociability, attachment, affection, companionship, there is a drive to belong…through mirror neurons in the human brain.  This is how humans learn how to relate to one another.

It appears that this is also something observed or understood to be part of the dolphin, dog, elephant, and primate brains too. If you ever watched, Chimpanzee by Disney (2012) you observed this phenomenon in action as you followed Oscar’s development in his chimpanzee community.  In this film there were outside group’s attacks that landed Oscar an orphan…none of the other females would take him in…finally he started to follow around the alpha male who ultimately took him under his care and showed him how to live in the society…the act of the highest member of the group caretaking over the lowest status member of the group was unheard and unseen in previous observations of chimpanzees over the last forty years.

This change in behavior gives me a sense of possibility for consciousness elevation for the human species.  If humans can respond to stress without aggression toward each other, without in-group and out-group fighting, the planet and the species that populate it might have a chance.

This is a big IF, so far with our big brains we have just figured out how to manipulate others rather than actually uplevel…but there have been a few who understood the importance of turning the other cheek, rising above, seeing self in other…the larger than life main characters in some of the spiritual stories like Buddha, Sri Krishna, and Jesus…and there have been human leaders, male, Sitting Bull, Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Mandela, the Dalai Lama and female, Eva Peron, Augn San Suu Kyi, Malala Yousafzai, Betty Williams, and Mother Theresa.

Today I watched the 9/11 memorial museum opening speeches, and what struck me was the focus from the speakers on how we are all connected and how it was that  idea that drove the many heroic actions that saved many lives on the tragic day o f september 11, 2001.  That message is the kind of message that rights and resets a course that is spinning off.  It could positively affect the population of the world.  In order to rise above aggression, connection and  collaboration are required.  It is necessary for the attacked to discern a way to respond that does not escalate a situation. This is active not passive.

There is a quote that states, you cannot simultaneously prepare for war and peace at the same time.  This relates to the mindset required for each as being very different.

How to respond to attack is the most important aspect in a fight.  When the parties are in sync with each other and connected, the attackee need not be defensive but rather work to discern the underlying cause of the attack and seek to right that issue. Thereby the fight can be deflected, deflated and redefined.

When the parties are not in sync with each other how the attackee responds is of the utmost importance.  This requires a mindful, multidimensional response.  It is in this arena that governments get stymied, they must defend while working toward peace…which is a difficult process. Still it is important to remember those mirror neurons, to remember that humans are all of the same species and it is the cultural differences which separate humans from each other creating in-groups and out-groups.  Drilling down to discern where and how the groups are related is the key, to focus on connection and reset relationships from this space.

If the focus of the government was to teach mindful meditation, to focus on increasing critical thinking, to encourage debate of the difficult issues without hatefulness, to support spiritual practices especially those that are inclusive, to align with the underdog without divisively turning against the overdog…then a real shift in temperament and consciousness would follow.  There would be an eruption of empathy, connection, kindness, and collaboration.

The following video sets up a way of seeing the human species as all connected to one another and humans intimately connected to other species and the natural planet.  It allows for a conversation to raise the consciousness of the planet.

 The empathic civilization

Since these mirror neurons are in you and your peers, your children, and your enemies, you can begin today to reset how you are responding to difficult situations.  This matters to those who matter to you and for those with whom you have influence.  Just do it. Practice mindfulness, meditation, and verbal aikido, (11.28.12 blog).  Be willing to discover what is underneath the defensiveness, anger and attack.  Look for a way to connect and practice peace-building to reset normal, reset your level of consciousness and elevate the  consciousness of your community. May you find peace in your lifetime Namaste, Shalom, in love and light, bg

You can find out more in  Turning NO to ON:  The Art of Parenting with Mindfulness, (Gineris 2011); Turning ME to WE:  The Art of Partnering with Mindfulness, (Gineris 2013).front cover.me2we

and discover where you are in the MAAPS section.  This will help you to manage your insecurities and understand how and why you developed your insecurity driver (Money, Achievement, Attachment,Power, Structure)in love and light, bg