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December 06 2012

Thirty Days Of Intent - Mastering Empathy

Category:  Thirty Days Of Intent

In this episode on 30 DAYS OF INTENT, Iman and Natalie meet with Diana Castle for an acting lesson and empathy workshop. Diana teaches theater through her original method, THE IMAGINED LIFE™, which emphasizes the role of empathy in creating and portraying dramatic roles. We interviewed Diana on the importance of empathy, on stage and in the world.
The Chopra Well: You are an acting instructor and also teach empathy skills. How are empathy and acting related?

Diana Castle: Acting is all too often thought of and even encouraged to be a narcissistic profession – and yes, there are plenty of cultural narcissists today. However the truth in the art of acting is to be found in the heart of empathy. A great actor is that human being who is willing to exchange his or her personal interpretive framework for an alternative interpretive framework, or as Atticus Finch said in To Kill A Mockingbird, to walk a mile in another person’s shoes.

We learn and experience more about ourselves from accepting other people’s stories as a possibility for us. Accepting the human story as our own, I call “living from the I AM.” When we accept every part as a part of us, we learn to live a more integrated, whole-hearted life. The art of acting is living from imagined possibility and so is the art of empathy.

CW: Why is empathy so important – not just for acting, but for life in general?

DC: There would be less fighting with each other and more dialogue, education and cultural exchange. As we widen our empathetic embrace, we widen our experience of the world. That’s what happens when we go see a movie or a play or read a book that affects us emotionally.

The individual strings of our independent identity are only parts reflecting the whole. If we lose our capacity to put ourselves into other peoples shoes, we lose our capacity to experience what is the truth of our inter-relatedness and interdependence. When we lose that, we lose our connection to the fact that if we try to destroy others we only destroy ourselves. This includes our environment which is a reflection of our empathetic embrace as well.

CW: Is it hard to practice empathy? As you say, the world would be a very different place if everyone lived intentionally and empathetically. What gets in our way?

DC: Our Ego. Our Ego is vital of course for discerning: “I’m in here and you’re out there.” However, neuroscience now teaches us that if you lose your arm and have phantom limb pain and someone sits in front of you, mirroring you, and gets their arm massaged, your phantom limb gets relief!

Shakespeare’s advice to the players in Hamlet when he encourages them to “hold the mirror up to nature” should now be thought of as holding the “mirror neurons” up to nature! This is the amazing truth of life. What happens to you actually is happening to me.

Read more about Mastering Empathy!

The Mastering Empathy video is the courtesy of TheChopraWell!

Top comments

  • <3 xxx

    Gabrielle Ellem // 2012-12-06 20:04:18 // //
  • Imaginations can Give seed to reality. It is a quantum physical fact.

    David M. Gonzalez // 2012-12-06 20:06:42 // //



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  • I cried like a baby watching this. Which tells me that it pushed my buttons and that I should probably take notice of that. Thank you.

    Patricia // 2013-01-17 02:57:21 // //
  • Big Thank You for all, good health and long life and Happy New Year 2013 Sendy

    Sendy // 2012-12-19 20:41:53 // //
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    Pallikaranai Kingsly // 2012-12-06 22:30:23 // //
  • Yes

    Rhondda Shaw // 2012-12-06 21:30:09 // //
  • Believe that anything is possible.

    Law of Attraction Marketing // 2012-12-06 20:51:11 // //
  • Will you marry me? There are no others...

    Martha Mason // 2012-12-06 20:14:52 // //

    David M. Gonzalez // 2012-12-06 20:11:06 // //
  • Imaginations can Give seed to reality. It is a quantum physical fact.

    David M. Gonzalez // 2012-12-06 20:06:42 // //
  • <3 xxx

    Gabrielle Ellem // 2012-12-06 20:04:18 // //
  • Then why are you watching in the first place?

    // 2012-11-30 20:44:20 // //
  • You guys made me get up and drive to dunkin donuts...Donut time!

    // 2012-11-29 04:02:12 // //
  • i don`t like 30 day intent

    // 2012-11-28 19:37:22 // //
  • Thank you so much for your comment. That is definitely our aim - to inspire, to share information and wisdom and love. And there has been so much amazing input from our audience members, like yourself! We`d love for everyone to share their favorite videos with friends and family, as well!

    // 2012-11-28 19:33:58 // //
  • Wonderful! So so glad this video touched you. Blessings :)

    // 2012-11-28 19:30:23 // //
  • thank you v much DoRayMeFa (cool name)! now i recall listening on NPR about a really good Obama impersonator, it must be him.

    // 2012-11-28 15:29:54 // //
  • This is the best 5-10 mins of vid i`ve experienced in a long time. Thank you. you can count 1 of the 100 million inspired. I AM inspired. Namaste!

    Njeri Thelwell
    // 2012-11-28 11:40:21 // //
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    // 2012-11-28 04:02:46 // //
  • TheKuesher: Iman is an actor and well-known YouTube personality (account: Alphacat) who is famous for his Obama impersonations. Natalie is a professional soccer player. I don`t know how they were chosen.

    // 2012-11-28 03:26:15 // //
  • Misc. impressions: I`m having some difficulty pulling the concepts together: empathy, imagination, and one`s "must." I would think that Iman`s acting experience would help him personally, in his ability to get into a character and understand others. I`ve heard of people who were extremely shy, but who could readily act or sing on stage before thousands--are they assuming an alter ego different from one`s self, or getting in touch with someone who was inside one`s self all along?

    // 2012-11-28 03:17:24 // //
  • great teachings. who are the 2 ppl? i don`t watch tv. Are these random ppl which are chosen? Or are they famous in some way? The soccer player girl and him? Thank you .xoxo

    // 2012-11-28 01:07:11 // //
  • Just watching this clip was a profound experience ...its a funny thing how and 8 min clip here on youtube can change ones whole outlook!Thank you for your contribution ..I really look forward to whats happening on The Chopra Well Channel I feel it assists in transforming the world one 8 minute clip at a time

    Madam Vonkook
    // 2012-11-27 23:12:28 // //
  • love this show

    // 2012-11-27 22:33:17 // //