Below is an article written by dear Dharma friend. Enjoy.
The one thing the majority of humans crave, whether they know it or not, is understanding. How can I understand the other person? What am I assuming about their reality? What beliefs do I hold that distort my view of their suffering?
Each living being is in their own samsaric nightmare. No one can experience the very personal world of another, and all that encompasses.
When a person experiences intense suffering their needs and wants vary. What we need when we are suffering is very different than what someone else needs when they are suffering. We might mistakenly believe our suffering is like their suffering and provide evidence to support our experience which a person can relate to but it is still worlds apart and very different.
True healing can take place through a genuine exchange of self and other through a profound empathy. This transcends mistaken appearance and conception. When we do this we heal the ‘other’, the part of our mind that appears as other. We have a compassion not for other, but for self because self is seen as all others. Their suffering is our suffering.
Our mind creates separation. We have abandoned ‘others’ in sake of self-cherishing. Abandonment is what all living beings experience in varying degrees. It is a mistakenly perceived distance or lack of connection from others. On a deeper level, we have abandoned our self.
Sometimes, the best way of helping another person is finding out what they need and want. Some people want to draw you into an argument to assert their self. Some people want you to give them the answers. Some people just want you so they can push you away. Some people just want to vent. The appearing gross wants and needs are rarely what the person wants or needs. The underlying stuff is more accurate.
But of course, we think we know what is best. We don’t. Even if we have all the dharma answers, we are still a million miles off.
1. ‘Be’ in their shoes
2. What do ‘I’ as other, specifically want or need?