Monday 10 | 10| 2016

Outsider and Insider Views

When describing a phenomenon, we generally do it from one of two points of view; the insider’s view and the outsider’s view. The insider’s view, when looking at the compassion space relationship which directly promotes a shift into well being, is the view of a participant who has experienced this shift with a healer. There is little published from the perspective of the participant, as an insider. There is quite a bit more material about the experience from the practitioner’s point of view. In Chapters 2 and 3 in the Healing Relationship the two descriptions (participant’s and practitioner’s) are compared and found to contain very similar elements. But it is important to note that the writer of these chapters is describing the accounts given by the participants from the insider’s view as he was also part of the participant’s transformative experience, a guide and a witness to the event. The result is a compilation of descriptions that reflect both insider’s view and the outsider’s view, although certainly leaning toward the former. This is an important point because this dual perspective helps close the gap on the information lost to the “is that all there is” part of the communication process (see blog 5). With this dual perspective there is more mutuality in the communication process because the event was a shared one. There is a greater degree of fit between the story teller and the person writing down the account, given this insider view tempered with the compilation of experiences to reflect humanity. The early qualitative research was the focus of this writer’s Doctoral work at Syracuse University and added to a helping relationship description within the Healing Relationship. The result is a set of characteristics that describe this special experience. The hypothesis is that practitioners, who are skilled in the “art of healing”, will be familiar with these characteristics, and these features will show up in how the practitioner describes helping others. We did some initial probing into this hypothesis with a questionnaire – we actually designed two, using the first (with a sample size around 500) to fine tune the second. The second is still collecting data and is called the Compassion Measurement Tool. The analysis of this data (Compassion Data Research) should improve our understanding of compassionate people, and in doing so, give us a better description of the term compassion as applied to the statement “that person is very compassionate”. When we say a person is compassionate what do we mean? When we know that then we have a description of the compassion construct that is used by society. Then we can build a measurement tool to help not only measure compassion, but help us teach it. This is the outsider view of data and the description it provides is enhanced by the insider view. Understanding this ‘between” stance that the mystic takes can be illustrated using a small community model. Historically the mystic/healer/shaman has been responsible for both the well being of the tribe/community and also the well being of the individual. When the mystic is sitting in the compassion space helping the individual discover a return to well being s/he is connected to that individual’s journey in that moment. Here the mystic gains an insider’s view. At the same time the mystic is connected to the well being (or lack thereof) of the community, and the individual’s role in this communal well being. This can be considered an outsider’s view, from the prospective of the 1 to 1 participant – practitioner encounter being a separate phenomenon. But the individual is not separate from the community and both the insider and outsider view can be seen as contributing to the compassion flow moment experience. The outsider view can add a sense of objectivity and the insider view helps teach others about the experience that s/he has known in depth. It is not just something the professor read in a text book. The teacher has a deep personal history with the subject and can thus provide a rich story for his students. In addition, there are students who will experience the shift to well being, with the teacher as mystic/guide – not just read about, but directly experience it! This writer has helped people from all walks of life across a wide range of both settings and cultures. Some were students but many were people simply met during the course of travelling on the journey. Out there are hundreds of people who have had encounters with this mystic. It is they who will speak to the veracity of the story, its personal meaning for each of them. It is also they who urged me, prodded me gently, to continue teaching using this website. Understood in the process of teaching is the hope that learning will happen. When it comes to the shift to well being experience, and its probable link to the art of healing, the student may learn by reading all there is to know, perhaps learns a bit more from classroom discussion, and maybe builds some bridges to personal experience which resonate with what is being learned. But, using my personal experience and what I have read about the training of mystic healers, the best teaching approach it to screen for those who are ready and then to invite them to the compassion space flow moment experience, as an educational process. For those who have such an experience, the teacher then follow-up, with the insider’s view, as guide, as witness. It is possible to do this within a group that is reading all the material contained here on this website provide people are in NO WAY PRESSURED to accept the invitation. The invitation must be accepted freely and wisely. The insider view is important in closing down that gap of misunderstanding about the nature of this special healing relationship, but there are many ways to get to that experience. The mystic/healer can serve as guide because s/he was there, with you, as you had the experience and thus is most qualified in helping you to discern its meaning and to find your way back to the healing process. To understand the dynamic nature of this special relationship this writer has found that an apprenticeship type of training, over several years, is probably the best approach to helping pass on the art of healing in connection to the compassion space flow moment. The problem is that we often have no way of measuring whether our teaching efforts were successful other than collecting testimonials. Yes, there are a variety of measurement tools out there for empathy and compassion but none of them get at the root elements of the compassion space and its ties to helping people with their suffering. The CMT is designed differently, with an insider’s view, and hopes to eventually provide a useful measure (Research Data Page) to be used pre- and post-compassion training in an effort to establish how the students benefited from such trainings (something more than testimonials or inadequate measurement tools). The compassion space training and the CMT are both built upon a more detailed definition of the term compassion. In research we like to have the construct (in this case compassion) we are studying to match with how society uses that construct. The initial survey data asked people to give us their compassion definitions, and more definitions were analysed in a book by David Breaux who filled the pages with over 3000. Results from this early data led to the development of the “Basic Assumptions about Compassion” (more can be read about these in the Philosophy of Compassion). This is the construct definition of compassion used in the writings contained on this website. It is one infused with the views of both the insider and the outsider, from the liminal stance of the mystic who always has one foot in and one foot out – a little like lucid dreaming. .
next next previous previous Continue to All Past Blogs Continue to All Past Blogs
Seeking the Soul of Life

A quest of compassion and finding our “true self”

in the midst of a hectic world