“Think not that happiness is found by following a road leading away from it”. (ACIM)
All suffering is based on the illusion that separation from Love is possible, which it is not. But the belief that it is possible to live without acknowledging Love as one’s Source causes great suffering. At the root of suffering is the guilt that one turned away from extending Love to look, through the part of mind that believes it can survive on its own as a separate-from-Love entity, elsewhere. Looking at this turning away without the intention to let it go compounds the sense of guilt and unhappiness. To be released, what is noticed must be surrendered.
In comparison to perfectly being in receipt of Love, looking “elsewhere” will bring about the manifest experience of duality and ultimately the loneliness of hell. One leaves the Knowledge of Perfect Love and is subject to the ups and downs of believing anything but Love is possible.
In God’s Creation, only Love is possible and Love is all God extends and acknowledges. Nothing else is recognized as worthy of His Son, so nothing else is recognized as real. The Son knows this just as the Father does, even as he believes himself to be subject to the flesh. He knows, but he forgets, and believes unnecessarily that he must suffer for it.
True empathy does not compound the belief in suffering, it looks past it. To truly empathize with another is to identify with the one shared Self; or the Son, and to therefore Love “another” as God does, as God Loves His own Self. To identify with the suffering of another is to make their suffering seem real, to compound it, to join in the occlusion of Love vs relax as the extension of it. To identify with the Truth of what a brother is is to be healed of all illusion. True empathy frees and heals both parties from falsehood; false empathy keeps track of illusions, and keeps each party pitted in them.
Is it even possible to empathize with others as today’s definition of empathy would dictate? Is it possible to “walk a mile in another’s shoes?” It actually isn’t possible because one can only imagine what it might be like “to be elsewhere”, “to suffer”, “to walk away from mutual loving Source”. One cannot even know what suffering actually is, because one is only imagining yet another way to perceive what isn’t Love. As innate Love is simply acknowledged in mind vs left by the idea of death, all suffering ends.
There are endless ways to perceive what isn’t Love – and obviously none of them heal. Why would one want to share the idea of suffering with self or others, why would one want to stay enmeshed in webs of imagined suffering? To heal is to identify with the light of Love, not to imagine staying huddling and shivering together in a perceptual darkness. Even darkness leads but to the morning, where the darkness disappears in the light of day, and prior suffering is traded for hope. It seems healthier, to say the least, to bypass the huddling and shivering and go straight to mutual hope, all of which lies in recognizing the shared Identity of the One Son.
Atheists may try to empathize without including God’s Love, but the effort stops at the pride of “making a sacrifice for another” (i.e. sacrifice made in time, energy, kudos, text, spoken words etc., paid to the alleged suffering of another) and is absolutely limited to temporary, shifting, mental paradigms that have no innate worth because the effort to hold them in mind, while perhaps backed by good intentions, lacks the courage to include Truth. God is Love and He Loves His Son; atheism itself is denial of Love. An atheistic attempt to empathize is to bring more suffering to the Sonship, because it compounds the holding of suffering in mind with no solution but more suffering.
I used to behave like an empath engaged in the shared suffering of others – “misery loves company” as the saying goes. And I went through hell one too many times “by association”. True empathy is identification with Allness as the One Beloved Son, forever sustained by God, which cancels out the idea of suffering altogether, by allowing for only Self-Love.