Okay, this is not technically a treatise; it’s more like a few paragraphs about very important ideas that confuse people (me) at times.

Many people use compassion and empathy synonymously. They are light years apart in terms of mind/body states. I think we get confused because we practice one to get to the other. We dare to look at the suffering of others (empathy) to awaken this powerful state (compassion) that we scarcely remember.

When we practice empathy as a response to witnessing another human suffering, we are relating to that person through similar feelings of suffering. In this way, we awaken our feelings to relate to the situations of another person’s suffering. Yet if we are asking people about themselves and their struggles, it means we do not know the answers.

Compassion is the answer, the response, the knowing we are trying to awaken within ourselves when we are practicing empathy with others. Compassion is the universal answer we seek to all suffering. Compassion is the posture of Jesus and Buddha and highly ascended beings (and the authentic self).

Yet Jesus and Buddha would not ask you about your suffering because they would already know the question and the answer when you arrived. They are connected to universal consciousness. (A compassionate person might ask questions as a courtesy to another, but already knows the answer.) Jesus and Buddha would tell you your prayers have already been answered because the universe is responding to your every moment with compassion.

We all practice empathy to witness the suffering we cannot see in ourselves. We practice empathy as a way to ask questions about other people’s pain that we dare not ask of ourselves. We practice empathy to awaken the thing in us that knows and sees everything—compassion.

I’ve written my very first meditation. Only six sentences—you’re welcome. Big ideas make for big shifts. This is where you turn on some good music or go outside with nature. Breathe, and be with these ideas:

Empathy is the practice of ego.

Compassion is the authentic self.


Empathy is witnessing another person’s struggle as if it were your own.

Compassion knows the struggle you are witnessing in others is your own.


Empathy is the question.

Compassion is the question and answer.