Here’s a little lesson on empathy, from the movie 13 Going on 30.
“While his brain was probed by the fMRI, Mingyur (a Buddhist monk) followed the instruction to engage compassion. Once again the minds of everyone watching in the control room felt as though they had stopped. The reason: Mingyur’s brain circuitry for empathy rose to an activity level 700 to 800 times greater than it had been in the rest period just before.”
“Such an extreme increase befuddles science; the intensity with which those states were activated in Mingyur’s brain far exceeds any that had ever been seen in ‘normal’ people. The closest resemblance is for epileptic seizures, but those episodes last brief seconds, not for a full minute. And besides, brains are controlled by seizures, in contrast to Mingyur’s display of intentionally controlling his brain activity.”
~ from a story about brainwave tests of a monk in 2002
At one point when I was recovering from a surgery I wasn’t feeling very well, so I ended up watching a lot of movies, including 13 Going on 30. I was struck not only by the humor of this particular scene in the movie, but also the empathy. When I worked as a manager, I always appreciated it when employees could see my situation from time to time. It shows a certain maturity that is rare to find in employees.
If you seem to value other people’s opinions over yours, this is another good article from mindful.org: How to Avoid the Empathy Trap.