The development of empathy is the one skill that greatly aids any individual on their spiritual path. Empathy is the deepest of skills. It allows a person to experience and feel the emotions and feelings of another, whether it be a person or an animal (or in some cases even plants, and all the natural world), or at least feel pity for another being.
Spiritual progression comes to a grinding halt without empathy. Before being able to empathize deeply with someone else, beliefs are perhaps based on ideas and thought structures, driven from books or holy book The energy generated through beliefs can carry an individual a long way, through the power of thought alone.
But there comes a time, when a person’s own reality, and the highly subjective nature of it, becomes more and more apparent, and this is also a time when empathy can start to develop truly.
It is time of real reckoning.
Perhaps everything really isn’t as it seems.
Out of empathy comes true compassion. Because empathy envelops that which is under observation, it is also resonant with a sense of oneness - and this sense of oneness is the destination that all beings are striving toward, whether they realise it or not.
Throughout history, books and holy books have been written (and re-written!) to suite the motives of certain people, where placing ideals and beliefs are paramount.
But where are those beliefs without consciousness? How is it possible to believe anything at all, without the reflective nature of consciousness?
The key lies in consciousness, and it is consciousness that permits certain understandings, and empathy is one of these abilities that expand when an individual lets go of precious beliefs and ideas.
With the advent of empathy, a whole range of behaviours, once taken for granted, suddenly look limited in scope and somewhat distasteful.
If empathy was truly in place across the world and in all humanity, many bad things wouldn’t be happening right now, whether it be to humans, animals, or the Earth in general.
(For the psychological approach to empathy, look at this hub http://hubpages.com/hub/Empathy-in-practice as it covers the work by Karl Rogers, who enshrined certain principles for therapeutic practice, including empathy).