One way to overcome inertia
On Attention and Empathy
In November I came across an essay from Simone Weil on the relationship between prayer, attention, empathy, and academic study, and when I say “came across” , I don’t mean I just stumbled onto it and moved on. I tripped, headlong, into a connection-vortex that marked my journal with scribbles and arrows and filled my voice memos with ramblings made while driving. I wrote about it all in an essay for The Cultivating Project.
Paying attention seems to be the biggest work of my life right now, and that can be messy. Ideas have to cross over each other. You can’t keep ideas neatly separated if you want them to connect, and let me shout from the rooftop that you need A PLACE to store the connections. Get a notebook. Use your apps. The God of wonders is flashing His brilliance while we putter around with our heads down, looking for hearts and thumbs.
The energy for attention ebbs and flows, but this week my essay was published at The Cultivating Project and I am again reminded of the work of empathy and attention.
To empty myself of every other distraction and to truly give attention to someone else is empathy, and empathy lets me enter into relationships with wonder, allowing others to be a surprise. Empathy does not require that I understand, experientially, what another is going through. It only requires that I can give attention to someone besides myself, and offer them “the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Cor. 1:4).
Click here to read the whole essay at The Cultivating Project. Meanwhile, keep paying attention, friends.
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