Sameness of feeling helps awaken you mystically.
Where are your body’s sympathetic centers?
The Mystic is able to know the lives and experiences of other people.
What a treasure, your expanding heart!
Welcome to you — and your expanding Heart!
We are making one of life’s most satisfying and important expeditions through the stages of the Heart.
Within your Mystic Heart abide illimitable wonders.
Mystical awareness comes to one who expands the heart, the sense of self. The key to heart expansion is the development of mystical sympathy, sameness of feeling.
There is nothing sweeter than to be sympathized with.
—George Santayana, THE LIFE OF REASON: REASON IN COMMON SENSE (1905-06)
In our previous meeting we discussed how expansion and mystical sympathy are greatly facilitated through practices of 1) good will; 2) placing yourself in another person’s “shoes”; and 3) appreciation and love. These contribute mightily to sympathy, or sameness of feeling — the expansion of your heart to deeply feel the feelings of another.
When your heart is bound, you cannot give and receive love, feel compassion, enjoy life, relate to others intimately, nor share your life with another living soul. The heart desperately needs to develop sameness of feeling or our lives remain empty.
If you have experienced the expansions of the Sixth through Eighth Mysteries, you will now make steady and swift progress toward mystical awareness. Please remember this progression: Natural sympathy leads to mystical sympathy. Mystical sympathy, in time, blossoms into an even more exquisite state of well being and exaltation called universal sympathy.
Mystical sympathy rises from your heart’s natural sympathy. Your heart is very good at expanding. It was never meant to be a prisoner of self-centeredness. It wants to rush out, to be connected with the Infinite and all living beings. Your heart greatly enjoys moments of natural sympathy.
Your natural sympathy reveals itself on many important occasions in your life. Two of the main ways you can make contact with your marvelous reservoirs of natural sympathy are:
We’ll consider Major Life Events and the Arts in this element, and your Sympathetic Centers in the Technique element.
Remember, natural sympathy is a great asset because it potently assists mystical awakening.
Natural Sympathy — Through Life Events
Major life events often bring us together in sameness of feeling. At a funeral we feel our own grief but we can also reach out with our hearts and sense the pain of others in their loss. We can feel their sorrows and cry with them.
Also, we can gather around the birthing mother and be filled with the mother’s awe and utter joy in the new life which has come into being through her. You, too, can rejoice in her indescribable delight.
Worldwide, almost all of us can enjoy closeness with one another through sameness of feeling as we watch an infant grow. We are thrilled and happy in seeing an infant smile back, crawl, stand, walk, and speak first words. As family members, friends, or even as strangers, we can naturally extend our hearts and feel connected with the new little person and adoring Mom and Dad.
No matter how bound our hearts, we naturally extend deep emotions and feel accord with others during tragedies and disasters — hurricanes, floods, collapsed mine shafts, and avalanches, for example. We put aside our preoccupations and care deeply about one another.
Also, most of us experience natural sympathy in the arts.
Natural Sympathy — Through The Arts
The arts are essential to mystical awareness because they also expand the heart and bestow sameness of feeling. Wouldn’t we be empty people living in gruesome societies without art? Art expands hearts and helps us connect with one another.
In your quest for mystical sympathy and spiritual awareness, enjoy the miracle of music, drama, literature, dance, painting, sculpture, photography — appreciate each and all of the arts! If you come before an art form which appeals to you — a painting or a piece of music, for example — let the art fill your awareness and try to feel what the artist was feeling. Sense what the painter or composer wished to communicate. Also, enjoy great plays and movies. Identify with the main characters and let your sympathetic experience of a drama’s “character-in-conflict” uplift and ennoble you. Let the drama expand your Heart.
Great artists speak powerfully and profoundly. They make it easy for you to have some degree of sameness of feeling with the artists’ sensitive and often mystical hearts.
Further, your participation in creating art expands the heart. If you are so absorbed that you forget yourself and the outer world as you practice your art form, you are experiencing heart expansion and mystical dimensions. Art is a way to, and beyond, our selves.
Whether “receiving” or “sending” art, it’s helpful at first to select the kind of art you like and feel comfortable with. Choose art which opens rather than contracts the heart. While great artists at times wish to wake us up by bringing terror and ugliness to our attention — and while their endeavors are often heroic and of value to humankind — we are striving here to encourage the heart to come forth confidently rather than hide itself cynically.
Again, mystically speaking, the beauty of art is that it helps you to experience sameness of feeling and this expands your heart. What a contribution to human relationships and understanding art is! Take time to enjoy your beloved forms of art. Few endeavors on earth perform as great a service. Art is so generous: all you need to do is enjoy it! Let art serve you on your mystical journey.
Natural Sympathy — Through the Sympathetic Centers
In discovering and developing your natural sympathy, you will be delighted to find that you also have centers of awareness within you which greatly enable and enhance sameness of feeling. In becoming conscious of these centers and their operation, you can accelerate your mystical development. You can also become more and more alive; you’ll live at a richer, more fascinating level.
These centers are dynamos of sympathy. Likely, you’ll begin to notice that in your outpourings of natural, spontaneous sympathy, one or more of these centers is particularly active: gonads, kidneys and adrenal glands, pit of the stomach, heart and chest, back of the neck, forehead, and along the spine.
Again, our purpose in considering these sympathetic centers is to become cognizant of their activities in our daily lives. Our goal is greater awareness of them and how they can quicken mystical sympathy.
Here, then, are the main centers which increase sameness of feeling, natural sympathy and, in time, mystical sympathy:
A — The Gonads
When something menacing or terrible happens to another person, we will often experience a distinct tension and unease in our testicles or ovaries, which are two sets of the endocrine glands in our anatomy, called gonads. For example, if we should witness someone falling from a bridge or nearly being run over by a truck, we will suddenly become aware of these sympathetic centers cringing inside us in an expression of spontaneous fear and terror, even though we are not personally endangered.
B — The Kidneys and Adrenal Glands
When you learn that a tragedy has happened and people are in deep sorrow, you may feel an ache and a heaviness in the area of your kidneys. You may feel like your kidneys are crying. They feel heavy and full of excess water. In times of others’ great sorrow, you will likely feel natural sympathy and suddenly be aware of a quality of mournfulness in your kidneys.
C — Pit of the Stomach (the Navel Area)
You will often feel the anxiety of others in your own guts. You may suddenly feel nervous, threatened, and fearful for no apparent reason when an anxious person comes into your room or into your thoughts. He or she may not show any outward signs of consternation but you may, nevertheless, spontaneously sympathize with him or her from a sensation of tension or apprehension in the pit of your stomach.
On the other hand, you may sense more vitality and energy in your navel area when finding sameness of feeling with someone who is particularly vigorous or brave.
D — Heart and Chest
Often your heart area and the front of your chest can sense when other people are troubled and feeling burdened — even when they come to mind from thousands of miles away.
But, the heart and front of your chest also reveal sameness of feeling with happy people. Then your chest area feels expansive, airy and light. You can sense the joy and peace of people around you; you may even sense the happy hearts of loved ones far away.
E — Back of the Neck
Tension in the back of your neck and a shuddering feeling often brings you into awareness that someone in your association is fearing impending doom.
Or, similarly, at other times, a sudden tension in the back of your neck often reveals a sympathetic sense that someone is being dominated by others. Perhaps in this instance you are also feeling, in your own being, a primal fear that someone wants to dominate you too.
F — Forehead
Often your forehead reveals spontaneous sameness of feeling with other people. A feeling of pressure in your forehead often brings an awareness that others are experiencing worry, confusion, and even headaches.
At other times, a sense of serenity and clarity suddenly comes to mind when you experience natural sympathy with a person who is in a state of harmony, confidence, and insight.
G — Along the Spine
You often experience sameness of feeling through the shivers and thrills in your spine. It’s hard to generalize about any of these sympathetic centers, and especially the spine. Still, the spine often brings sameness of feeling with others in very subtle ways. You may often sense others’ feelings about life: their heaviness, their lightness of being, and also which parts of their bodies they are most bothered by, engrossed with, or rooted in.
Bear In Mind
At this early level of mystical development you are seeking to become familiar with your spiritual faculties and to use them with more understanding. It’s easy to fool yourself at first. You may assume that your experiences at these centers are true connections with the feelings of others. You may be right — you may be completely wrong. For one thing, you may experience your centers much differently than mentioned above. Or, your interpretations of your experiences may be erroneous.
Each person needs to study and develop an appreciative understanding of his or her sympathetic centers through patient practice, self-study, and growing consciousness of others.
But, these centers within you constantly react to other people and do provide you a means of growing more aware of the people in your life. These centers can initiate heart expansions which free each of us to understand and appreciate one another much more consciously.
We now conclude the Ninth Mystery, encouraging you to value and enjoy your already existing capacities of natural sympathy. Especially, appreciate and take the help of: 1) shared life events; 2) the arts; and 3) your sympathetic centers.
Whenever you feel deep sympathy
For another person
Your heart transcends its limitations.
Art enlarges experience by admitting us to the inner life of others.
—Walter Lippmann, THE GOLDEN RULE AND AFTER, A Preface to Politics (1914)
Art Makes Visible
Art does not reproduce the visible; rather, it makes visible.
—Paul Klee, THE INWARD VISION (1959)
The Only Domain
The only domain where the divine is visible is that of art, whatever name we choose to call it.
—Andre Malraux, LES METAMORPHOSES DES DIEUX (1957)
Hi! and welcome to our Key Points and Contemplation.
I regret I have an irresistible urge to share two more quotes. They’re so startlingly inspiring. I hope you’ll agree because here they are:
The grandeur of man lies in song, not in thought.
—Francois Mauriac “sang” this in THE POET’S PRIDE in Second Thoughts (1961) Tr. Adrienne Foulke.
And there’s something Zola said which tickles me:
If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, I will answer you: “I am here to live out loud.” (1866)
Isn’t that a treasure? Are you an artist, too? Have you come here to live out loud? What fun.
Thank you for indulging me. I feel better now. Five quotes. I promise I’ll watch this tendency.
Let’s review the Ninth Mystery.
The Infinite has sympathy for you. Whenever you are troubled or sad, turn your mind and feelings toward the Infinite One. You will find love, comfort, strength and renewal.
Contemplate the Infinite’s sympathy for you.
What great love within me
Empowers my natural sympathy?
Opening yourself to the arts would be helpful. It’s up to you whether you wish to develop in any of them. However, the arts definitely help the heart to expand.
Usually not. But, yes, at a high mystical level you can help reduce the pain of others at times. However, early in the mystical journey your sensitivity to the joys and pains of others definitely helps your heart to expand — and this accelerates your mystical awakening.
To answer your question directly, your sympathetic feelings expand your heart and this, in time, mystically awakens you.
But, remember, this isn’t boot camp. This is a voluntary, joyous adventure! If you’re not amazed and encouraged by your ability to feel the beauty and burdens of others, you may not be ready for this excursion. Live the life you’d like to live.
It’s a sign of mystical and spiritual attunement, but I’d love to hear from a neurologist about the physiological factors which are also involved and what triggers them.
What a beautiful question. Congratulations on your healthy marriage. May I answer your question and also include those who are not as happy in their relationships?
So often marriage partners suffer — and complain about — the lack of understanding and reciprocation in their relationship. Sympathy, sameness of feeling, makes it possible for mates to know, understand, and greatly love one another.
While true sympathy is natural and ongoing, you can greatly increase the “sympathy quotient” in your marriage by practicing sameness of feeling with one another, on alternating days.
For example, the husband strives to realize sameness of feeling on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays each week for several months. At noon and in the evening he checks with his wife to see how well he is doing in sensing her feelings.
Then, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, the wife reciprocates and checks twice a day with her husband as she strives to enjoy sameness of feeling with him.
Sundays are rest days, or days of spontaneous, unpracticed, deep sympathy.
Your goal, after a few months, is a comfortable, ongoing, deeply loving partnership — a spiritually alive and spectacularly close marriage.
It’s so disappointing to be a drowning person when the lifeguard who comes forth to save you is too weak to do the job — and drowns along with you. Very disappointing.
Mysticism involves developing your natural sympathy into a level of awareness which comforts, heals, transforms, and brings light into dark places.
As to shielding (or clearing) yourself from the wounds and woes of others, I humbly suggest: Expand your heart, don’t contract it. Sense your own soul. Sense Infinite Spirit. Don’t fixate on the pain. Center your awareness on the Love and Good you serve.
Mysticism is an ongoing relationship with Spirit — not with pain and sorrow. But sympathy with the hurts and distresses of others helps awaken you to Spirit. It expands your heart.
In developing your natural sympathy, you will discover centers of awareness within you which will enhance and accelerate your mystical development.
These sympathetic centers are the gonads, kidneys and adrenal glands, pit of the stomach, heart and chest, back of the neck, forehead, and along the spine.
Your experiences at these centers may be true connections with the feelings of others.
Heart expansions can be initiated and appreciation for others can consciously grow.
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