Empathy and knowing its limits

What a sad day. My heart goes out to those affected by the earthquake in Japan. I hope the rest of the world takes this opportunity to show just how amazing and supportive the human family can be (and keeps on donating to Pakistan, which will not be recovering from its disaster for quite some time).

So in a situation like this, how is a person supposed to feel, given a belief that everyone is reincarnated again and again, doing things in their lives in order to have experiences and work through karma? I’m a little iffy on this, obviously. I mean, I feel sad for all the people affected, and for their families and loved ones. I feel sad for the displaced and the injured. I think that because on some level I realize that we’re all connected, and empathy is a part of that understanding. But it’s easy to think that this was what needed to happen in their lives because it didn’t happen to me or anyone I know.

Would it be different if it were my family? Absolutely. I’m certain that if it happened to people more directly connected to me, I would not be able to view it as dispassionately.

And although this is also something I think about a lot (it’s easier when life is good or at the very least uneventful), I have a feeling that it’s a little beyond my knowledge at the moment.

My knowledge and the vast amount that I still have to learn is a pretty visual thing. So here’s a handy photo for the sake of metaphor:

(Photo from flickr.)

That lake is deep and vast. God is somewhere up at the top of the mountain, hidden from view (but not out of earshot). I’m just starting to wade into the lake, and I’ve got a long journey ahead of me.

Thank goodness I know how to swim.


About HappyGoth

By day, I'm a graphic designer. By night, I'm a knitter. I'm doing my part to keep Hotlanta stylish. I imagine that if you don't already understand the title of the blog, you're probably confused and perhaps slightly annoyed, but never fear - I do have a reason (and it's a good one). Having gone to hear Stephanie Pearl McPhee, and then having been inspired to blog about knitting, I found myself wondering what to call the blog. I recalled a conversation I had with Mouse and the Chicken Goddess about why it is a Bad Idea to anger knitters - this conversation was following SPM, aka the Yarn Harlot telling the assembled throng about Those Who Do Not Understand Knitting and Therefore Belittle It Much to the Chagrin of Others, or TWDNUKTBMCO, which is not the acronym she used but is the one I'm using because I forgot hers - that is, we are numerous and we all have very pointy sticks, easily transforming into an angry mob. Therefore, knitters = angry mob.
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2 Responses to Empathy and knowing its limits

  1. Aamba says:

    I think God is the mountain, and the lake, and all of it. God is right next to you, and in you. 🙂

    I don’t have an answer about tragedy, it’s something that I’m still pondering too.

  2. HappyGoth says:

    At the moment, it feels like I have to do a lot of swimming. Maybe at some point in the middle of the lake you realize, wait, I have a life vest, and nowhere to be in such a hurry…

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