Service February 6, 2010

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Connection with the Holy.

Please join us for our first SolSeed Service.

Saturday, February 6, 2010
11 am Service.
12:30 pm Potluck. Please bring a drink, dessert, or side dish (e.g. salsa) to share. Shelley & Brandon will provide Haystacks (aka American Taco)
Sanders' home, 1824 SE Oak St, Portland OR 97214

Core/seed topic: Empathy

Order of Service

Lighting of the Chalice

Opening Words

All: Our world is one world, and we are one people.
Reader: We gather this day in celebration of life and spirit.
All: The human heart can hold both joy and sorrow.
Reader: This day let us hold one another and all that is sacred.

Song: "Spirit of Life" from Singing the Living Tradition, p. 123

Poem: "Spring and Fall" by Gerard Manley Hopkins, read by Shelley Sanders

Empathy Presentation and Discussion with Mark Hansen

Song: "Lean on Me" by Bill Withers, performed by Steve and Judy Sibelman


Only your compassion and your loving kindness are invincible, and without limit.
-Thich Nhat Hanh

Song: "Our World is One World" from Singing the Living Tradition, p. 134


Closing Words

Reader: So with a boundless heart should one cherish all living beings.
All: So may it be.
Reader: Blessed be.

Notes from the empathy discussion

  • Empathy can only exist after a child can see him/herself as separate from his/her mother
  • Levels of empathy
    • First level: "That person hurts, therefore I must hurt"
      • Requires that you have had the same experience you're witnessing someone else have
    • Second level: "I have no idea what you must be feeling"
      • Trying to understand/relate to an experience someone else is having that we have never had
    • Third level: Putting aside one's own feelings and "living into" another person's feelings
  • Compassion is a product of suffering, but suffering can lead to jadedness instead
  • Stories help build a repertoire of experiences to identify with, even though we're just reading about how characters feel in those situations
  • There is a darker side to empathy
    • You can understand/relate to the experiences of an enemy
    • This can help you figure out what would hurt that enemy most
  • Is empathy nature or nurture?
    • Neither/both: we're born with a certain amount, but can learn more
      • Similar to communication styles, where you have a naturally dominant style but can learn the others
  • Some people express "empathy" for starving people in poor countries whom they will never meet, while failing to empathize well with those immediately around them
    • Avoids letting the other have empathy for you in return, which can be dangerous?
  • Developmentally, trust comes before empathy
    • Einstein quote (?): "The most important question anyone can ask is, 'Do we live in a safe universe?'"
    • People who are abused as children learn not to trust the world, and this makes empathy very difficult for them
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