I recently posted a new blog entryabout what I'd like to do here. I invite those of you that are interested to participate.
This is the first exercise, and it's about cultivating compassion for a total stranger. Here's the procedure:
- Choose a person, that you do not personally know, who has committedan act that horrifies you. You might choose a war criminal or a mass murderer, or some other public person,like Michael Vick or Tiger Woods. If looking at this person's picture gives you the chills or makes you angry, that's the right person for you.
- Your task is to write an unemotional, unbiased account of this person's life, centering on the aspects that may have led to the behavior(s) that you consider to be horrifying. Write this in your journal oruse a private blog entry. You can even write it on a piece of scratch paper and toss it in the recycling bin when you're done.
- At this point, we are going to be using traditional research sources (by which I mean the internet,of course). Check for news articles, scholarly research that might be found on sites with .edu in their names, or just go straight to Wikipedia.
- Keep it short, maybe about two or three paragraphs' worth of information. Just jot down the main points. Maybe you discover a mental illness, or abuse in childhood, or whatever. We're not justifying bad behavior here, we're just looking for potential related factors. We're getting inside the person's head a little, trying to understand what his/her lifemay have beenlike from the inside, before the hurtful behavior started. Although it's not the focus of this particular exercise, if you receive empathic or intuitive impressions during this process, feel free to note those as well.
- Write oneparagraph, directly to the person. Tell the person that you don't think that he/she is a bad person. You do very much disliketheir behavior, however. You wish that they had dealt with their situation differently. Something like that.
- Finally, if you feel like it, post something here about what it felt like to you to do this exercise. Was it difficult? Have you ever done something like this before? Was there something that you learned during the process that surprised you?
I'll post the next exercise on Sunday.
updated by @amaya: 07/02/17 03:10:26PM