Exchanging Self For Other

Our discursive mind tells us that we don’t know what it’s like to be them. They have fancy cars, they live in fancy houses, they have fancy jobs.

But deep down we’re all the same, we want love, our bodies slowly fall apart, we feel good when our lives have purpose and we feel lost when they don’t. We tend to find ways to numb the pain of living instead of taking the risk to be alive. The only thing that’s different is the language we use to describe these things and the models we use to think about them. For some the models are spiritual for others they are monetary, but deep down we’re all the same.

Which is why we’re able to exchange ourselves for others. We simply slip beneath the waves of the discursive mind and pop our heads up inside the worlds of someone else. We feel into what it looks like inside their heads. We imagine going to an office every day and coming home and feeling empty the whole time. We imagine working to keep elderly people alive and wonder if we’re really helping or just prolonging the inevitable. We imagine sitting at home watching TV wishing you could be working but making excuses because you’re afraid.

If we want to get more intimate we can talk to the people we want to talk to. We can uncover their language, their desires, the way they see the world. Or we can simply go out into the world and put ourselves in their bodies. Feel the ache of a bad knee, feel the fullness of a round belly, look through eyes so tired.

It can help us in business for sure. This is in some ways the very foundation of leadership, marketing, and sales, but before all that, it starts with compassion, with empathy, with the ancient spiritual practice of exchanging self for other.

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