In this time of increasing divisiveness and natural disasters, many people are left wondering what the meaning of it all is. They may feel hopeless and wonder what they could possibly do to make a difference. I think, at this point, we need to think about true human value. What is true human value? What are we and our actions worth? What distinguishes human beings from other animals or from intelligent robots? Where can we find our true value?
One thing that separates human beings from robots is that humans have emotions. It’s thought that robots may someday have emotions too. However, the experts say that when it comes to emotional maturity, even when they have emotions, robots will have a long way to go to become like humans.
Animals already have emotions. So what makes human beings different? Unlike animals or robots, human beings have sensibilities. Emotions and sensibilities may seem similar, but they are totally different. Emotions are your own ability to feel things, but sensibilities are a keen awareness and ability to sense, not just the way you feel, but the way others feel. It’s essentially a form of empathy and compassion; you can also call it emotional maturity. Sensibilities are emotions with discernment, perceptiveness, awareness, and insight.
Human beings have the ability to be aware of their emotions, how they affect others, and how other people’s emotions affect them. We can also sense the difference between our emotions and our true selves. Sensibilities are also your ability to communicate what you’re feeling to others. For example, if you feel grateful, then you can make other people feel grateful as well.
Emotions alone are more self-centered. They can consume your senses. When you’re in a rage, it’s really hard to get out of that frame of mind. You are completely immersed in the emotion of rage. Then it’s hard to read how another person is feeling. But when it comes to sensibilities, you can look past the emotion and maintain your capacity for empathy.
Getting stuck in your own emotions and finding it hard to empathize with the people around you is a warning light that you’ve lost your sensibilities. What happens then is that you tend to blame everybody else around you for the challenges you face. You lose gratitude in your heart, and you just get angry. But if you’re sensible of other people’s emotions, then when another person is in pain, you feel their pain as if it were your own. If you can feel another person’s pain, then you wouldn’t be able to hurt them. When you’re swimming in your emotions, that’s hard to do.
To turn down your emotions and regain your sensibilities, meditations such as energy ball visualization make it easy. Tap your fingertips together and then shake your hands vigorously for a minute or two to stimulate them. Then, with your back straight, hold your palms in front of your chest, facing each other, a few inches apart. Keep your arms away from your body. Imagine a golden energy ball between your palms. Inhale and pull your palms apart, seeing the energy ball grow. As you exhale, shrink the energy ball by bringing your palms closer together. Repeat this motion, expanding and contracting your energy ball as you feel the sensations in your hands. The sensations you feel are manifestations of energy in your hands.
When you try to feel the energy ball, it’s hard to think, I’m really pissed off with that guy; I can’t stand her; or what’s wrong with that person? While you’re focusing on energy, your brain waves change into the frequency of empathy and compassion–sensibilities. With meditations such as this one, you can just shake off your emotions and go from your emotional intelligence, or just being emotional, to having emotional maturity or having sensibilities.
The shift from emotional intelligence to empathic intelligence is so easy once you experience it. Until we try it, when we’re submerged in your emotions, it may not seem so easy to let them go. Just like learning to drive or swim, we need to do it and practice it before we can get the hang of it. Then, it’s easy. Knowledge does not have strength, but practice and training gives us strength and power. With practice, we can maintain our empathy and emotional maturity.
The reason we need to have sensibilities as we live our everyday lives is because that’s when we can go beyond our emotions, and that’s when we have the power to control our emotions. We can then make better decisions, not only for ourselves, but for our society and the planet as well.
There’s so much information available nowadays that people lose touch with their own importance and value, and that’s why they don’t work on their own self-development. They don’t grow and use their sensibilities. But, now is the time to empathize with each other, to have compassion for one another, and to acknowledge and recognize each person’s value. So instead of letting ourselves be controlled by our emotions and letting our environment determine our emotions, we can be sensible of our environment. Then we will have the power to design our environment the way we want it to be.
That power or authority, doesn’t come from heaven or the earth. It comes from the people. That means each individual person, every single person really matters. It’s only when enough people understand and honor their value as caretakers of themselves, the people around them, and the earth, that we will begin to make a difference and effect real change.