Empathy Meditation With A Partner

Photo by Jake Dela Concepcion on Unsplash

I would like to share an interesting meditation for you to try with 2 people so find another person, partner, family member, loved one or even stranger and prepare yourself for some intense connection. 

While staying at home many of us have found ourselves in close quarters with our loved ones.  My hope is that is has been a positive experience, viewed as an opportunity to reconnect, appreciate what we have and enjoy the absence of external distractions and if that is the case why not elevate the situation more with this meditation that will bring you intimately closer to whoever you chose to do it with.  If you are feeling frustrated and starting to pick on the people around you because you need a break or because loved ones just have a tendency to drive you crazy, this, I assure you will reignite a flame or remind you how lucky you are to have a friend, family member or loved one to share this time with.  It might even make you laugh or cry.  We are all in different situations in these times some more complex than others so don’t forget you can do this with a complete stranger or someone you don’t know that well.  Although I have not tried this over FaceTime, Messenger, Skype or Zoom all are great options to give it a go.  If you chose to do this in person with someone you are not isolating with please do so in compliance with the CDC guidelines for social distancing.  These guidelines are subject to change, check with the CDC social distancing webpage by clicking here before you get started.

This meditation is 100% centered around empathy, let’s just call it what it is, an empathy meditation with a partner.  My version is an adaptation of Angie Fraley’s version, founder of Om2Yoga.  I cannot recall the source of the meditation, if she adapted it from elsewhere or if was her brainchild.  Either way, the first time I did this meditation I was in her teacher training program, we did it early on before we really knew the other students.  Afterwards both my partner and I laughed and cried and had an amazing embrace where we saw each other in a light we would have never been able to without the time we had just spent trying to become the others witness.  Powerful stuff!

This meditation will increase your capacity to feel and experience empathy (the ability to understand and share the feelings of another) in its purest form.  At times it might make you feel bashful or uncomfortable so it is up to you to get the most out of it and  stick with it through the whole thing and in doing so will show the person you do it with that you respect them.  By trying to become a witness to their experiences you have a an opportunity to experience the world from their view. Often times in yoga we call ourselves the witness when we become a neutral observer of the mind, in this mediation we have the opportunity to be the witness for someone else.

And here we go…!

Either listen to the audio or have someone moderate based on the narration.

Empathy Meditation

Audio of Empathy Meditation
  • Find a partner you want to connect with (a husband, wife, sibling, parent, partner, acquaintance, or stranger are all good options).
  • Find a quiet place and sit down in a comfortable position facing each other approximately 3-4 ft apart.  Allow your hands to rest on your knees with your palms facing up as a symbol or receiving.
  • Gently close your eyes.  From this point forward you will not exchange any words with your partner.
  • Settle into the space by bringing awareness to the breath and letting go of thoughts as they enter.
  • Take a moment to consider your emotional state.
  • Allow every part of you to become present and engaged, start at the top of the head and work your way down to the feet, while moving through the body also acknowledge how you feel physically first then bring that area to the present then allow it to relax.
  • Inhale and draw your shoulders up to your ears on the exhale allow them to roll down and align with your spine.
  • Take 3 long, slow and deep breathes. On each inhale allow the chest and abdomen to expand filling up completely and, on the exhale, allow them to soften.
  • Gently open the eyes and take a soft gaze to the area of the floor about 1 foot in front of you.   
  • Take a moment to consider your ability to be receptive, make a conscious effort to be open, to receiving energy from others. 
  • Keeping the gaze soft slowly look up to find your partner and make eye contact.  
  • Take a moment to study your partners face, notice their hair, the warmth in their eyes, their mouth, their ears.  Do this for at least 30 seconds.
  • Send this person thoughts of safety and security.  Assure them you mean no harm and that you are open to receiving from them.
  • Try to imagine who they are as a person.  Are they gentle and they firm, are they loving and caring are they timid?  Do this for at least 30 seconds.
  • Try to imagine what their interests are.  Even though you may know what they are interested in try to imagine their perspective and why they like those interest and the emotions they experience when they do these things.  if you do not know their interests try to imagine what they might be. Do this for at least 30 seconds.
  • Imagine what brings this person happiness and what gives them their greatest joys.  Imagine what joy feels like to them. Do this for at least 30 seconds.
  • Imagine this person’s sadness and greatest sorrows.  How do they feel in these times and how do they experience these emotions? Do this for at least 30 seconds.
  • Imagine how this person feels when they feel as though they have failed at something or are in despair. Do this for at least 30 seconds.
  • Imagine this persons greatest accomplishments and how they feel when they have been achieved. Do this for at least 30 seconds.
  • Send this person warmth.  Allow this warmth you send to wash over them, assure this person what you just experienced is sacred and special and thank them for letting you in.
  • While maintaining eye contact take one inhale and exhale together as partners.  Take one more inhale and on the exhale close your eyes.  
  • Take a moment to reflect on your partners emotions.
  • Take a moment to reflect on your emotions.
  • Take 3 deep breaths.
  • Gently open your eyes.
  • Give your partner a warm physical embrace and thank them. If social distancing refrain from this part pretty please.

The first time I did this meditation it had a significant impact on me that I am fortunate to still benefit from today. It gives you a glimpse into someone else’s life and grants you a perspective you may have never considered before. If this mediation has an impact on you take what you have learned to influence decisions you make in the future that may impact those around you.

Whether you are bored, curious or seeking more interesting ways to connect with the people you are cooped up in these unusual times give it a try and if you do it please tell me how it went by sending me a message or leaving a comment.

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