interesting experience


Reaction score
Greetings everyone,

I was reading an explanation of the word "namaste" and it made me think of an experience I had once. I was hoping someone here might have an insight into what it means, if anything.

I was waiting in the corridor of a hospital for a friend who had gone to visit a patient. On my right there was an open door, and I could see an elderly lady in her bed, looking at me. I felt some sorry for her because she seemed so lonely. I went in the room and said hello, but couldn't think of any words to start a conversation, so I held her hand. As I was holding her hand and looking at her, I was overwhelmed by a powerful feeling that I was this woman. Not that I was like her, or that I would be like her someday, but that I was her, and she was me, and I was looking at myself. It was very strange and hard to describe. It made me uncomfortable, because there was so much pain and loneliness there, and so I held her hand only a few minutes. It was very difficult to go because the lady didn't want me to leave.

Is that a common experience, and is there a word for it in your tradition? In my tradition (Islam) there is no reference to this kind of thing, and being that it was a strange and deeply personal experience, I've only ever asked one other, who regarded it as just some kind of psychological hiccup.

Certainly an interesting experience. I'm afraid I would personally use a rather vague and generalised - but still very meaningful term - of "empathy".

To some "empathy" is nothing more than feeling associated to the feelings of others. However, to myself, this is merely the thin edge of the wedge of a far deeper spiritual experience - that of ceasing to view yourself as a separate individual, but instead as an active and wider interconnected part of this process of life, in a way that is overwhelmingly meaningful, beyond simple rationalisation, and ultimately, highly spiritual.

Funny, I posted something that, in many ways perhaps could be deemed as similar in notion here.
That feeling, all the time.

I have that feeling all the time. And I have to control myself from giving in to that feeling; for otherwise I can't enjoy life anymore, seeing the sea of sorrows and distress surrounding my life's ambience everywhere.

Call it empathy, sympathy, compassion, and what the thesaurus can come up with. That's what it is exactly.

Take a guy like Buddha and Jesus Christ -- maybe not so much Mohammed (but then he was certainly not different from Buddha and Christ in terms of compassion with fellowmen in their miseries, so include also Mohammed), they are overhelmed with the sufferings of others from the socalled evil of human existence. So they founded religions.

In that department you can also include Marx, but not Hitler. What about Bush? I think that guy is a self-unknowing hypocrite although the instrument unknowing of history, whatever the cruel chain of events that be which we call history. But then I for one maintain that we can control history to move in the direction of more life and better life for everyone.

Susma Rio Sep