Thomas Merton on love & empathy

“To love another as a person we must begin by granting him his own autonomy and identity as a person. We have to love him for what he is in himself, and not for what he is to us. We have to love him for his own good, not for the good we get out of him. And this is impossible unless we are capable of a love which ‘transforms’ us, so to speak, into the other person, making us able to see things as he sees them, love what he loves, experience the deeper realities of his own life as if they were our own. Without sacrifice, such a transformation is utterly impossible. But unless we are capable of this kind of transformation ‘into the other’ while remaining ourselves, we are not yet capable of a fully human existence.”

Thomas Merton

Thanks to Brent Potter on Facebook for this wonderful quotation, which captures the essence of person-centred relationship and the offering of the core conditions. So fundamental, so profound – and so little seen or taught or valued in our culture, so that most of us are starved for this quality of love, and the intimacy to which it is the gateway.

It interests the writer how those who think and feel deeply, and journey deep into awareness and growth (Thomas Merton, Carl Rogers) – in whatever tradition and from whatever perspective in terms of spirituality, art, science etc – appear to reach the same conclusions. Feels hopeful.

Palace Gate Counselling Service, Exeter

Counselling Exeter since 1994

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This entry was posted in Brent Potter, communication, congruence, core conditions, cultural questions, empathy, encounter, human condition, identity, interconnection & belonging, love, presence, relationship, self, therapeutic growth, therapeutic relationship, Thomas Merton, transformation, unconditional positive regard and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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