The Empathizer

There are people who can listen well. And there are others who can observe well. I knew a man once who could do both really well. More than anything else, he was a good empathizer.

When he met another person, in thought or in action he took on his behavior. He looked as the other did, he breathed in and out like him, he moved like the other, and also took on his voice. He felt how a man felt, when he expressed himself and moved in such a way, as the one he met. Then he often asked himself, how a bridge could be created which led away from this experience to another, to a much more powerful, free, and liberated existence.

This man understood many languages. He not only understood them but he spoke them too, at least when he wanted to. Sometimes he spoke the language of an offended person who kept a tear in his voice and held his left hand at his throat, who rubbed his eye after a painful word and coughed at upsetting words. Sometimes he spoke the language of a melancholic person who breathed as if drawing deep breath caused him pain, who spoke of all the things which are lacking, and who almost unnoticeably and yet persistently, shook his head from side to side. He spoke the language of an angry person whose jaw is as hard as a fist, and in between whose shoulderblades one could effortlessly crack nuts. He spoke the language of a sick person, to whom all talk of health seemed disrespectful towards his suffering, and the language of one racked with pain who, for a long time, had no longer searched for words for joy and desire, enjoyment and well-being. He knew the languages of the body, the voice and the breath, and also the ones of the organs, which indeed have their own words. From time to time the empathizer also told a story to the people who came to him. And such a story began, without fail, in the language of those with whom he spoke.While the empathizer spoke in the language of the stricken, flowing from his mouth came the air of the daring. The language of one who no longer cared became the language of one who is propelled by curiosity, and the expression of the suffering became the gesture of the calm and relaxed, who, minute by minute, forgets his pain. And the strange thing was that the people who listened to these stories changed with them. Sometimes this happened secretly and unnoticeably, and sometimes surprisingly, yet the changes had been long on the horizon. Such a story often became a bridge, widely stretched from the suffering of the people to their longed for goal. For the people around him it was a miracle – he simply called it a transformation. This transformation succeeded because the empathizer always secured the first pillar of the bridge near the cliff of their suffering – and never forgot the second pillar of the bridge on the side of desire.