A Lesson in Empathy

A Lesson in Empathy

Modeled after A Lesson in Music
For a writing class

Sit down and clear your mind. Imagine. Empathize.
Close your eyes; be with silence. Calm the self.
Hear the voice in the deepest of the seas.
Journey to new worlds that you haven’t been
Enter into men’s souls; uncover your self.

Sit down and clear your mind. Imagine. Empathize.
Listen to the gongs and hymns, to the amens and horns
To the various footsteps and different devotions
To the clanging of coins that you long for all day
Touch the concrete that becomes your bed at night
Be with the darkness that becomes your light.

Sit down and clear your mind. Imagine. Empathize.
Try to breathe in the thickness of the trees
As sweat, saliva, blood and mud drip.
Listen to the roars of guns and shrieks of commands
Wait for the moment as the burst of flame engulfs your being
Shrapnel pierces, punctures, penetrates, and perforates.

Sit down and clear your mind. Imagine. Empathize.
Hold your child as he whispers to your ear,
Of kites and sunshine, of fireflies and raindrops.
Watch as his eyes lose the world, his body shakes, chills and coughs.
Wail. Murmur to the heavens. Plead to the gods.
With one last kiss, all of hope and beauty are consumed.

Sit down and clear your mind. Imagine. Empathize.
Use a different lens, see your milieu from another point of view
Fathom the misery, desolation, and despair.
Grasp the havoc of humanity.
Cross your threshold; embrace your mystic gaze,
Face your horrors and sorrows.

Now.
Open your eyes to the truth.

15 June 2012 | Antipolo City

Writing Process Notes:
The exercise asked us to do a vignette on laying down process. Empathy has been something close to my heart as it was taught to us in my years in theater and have been a valuable virtue in my life. To be able to portray a role or understand the other, one has to enter the character’s life – be consumed by his internal struggles and external pressures, his triumphs and sacrifices, his dreams and nightmares.

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