Six Seconds CEO Josh Freedman is interviewed on KSCO about spiritual and personal dimensions of empathy in a divided world.
What does it take to rise above the news headlines and stay focused on our own optimism? In this hour-long radio interview with thought and spiritual leaders, Josh Freedman, CEO of Six Seconds, joins Reverend Deborah Johnson of Inner Light Ministries and Bill Saragosa, Native American spiritual leader and retired substance abuse counselor for an in-depth conversation about bringing more empathy to the world.
Reverend Deborah Johnson says the troubled times we live in are a chance to get out of denial and face whatever is going on deep within us. She enjoins us to make sure our intentions, goals, and values are all going in the same directions (noble goal). “I hope we will stand on whatever it is that is our highest and best values.”
Josh Freedman describes the feeling of overwhelm characterizing the past year that swings between inspiration and wanting to tune out. “We have to talk about the level of stress in our time, this generalized sense of disconnection and things falling apart, which makes us feel uncomfortable.” Discomfort can be information, too that can lead to greater clarity if we don’t let it hijack our emotions. Constant stress is unhealthy, but we have some control over how much we allow it to rule us.
“It’s just not sustainable”, says Reverend Johnson. “We have to make changes. There are ways we approach our stressors that are not sustainable.We have to have a way to keep ourselves going on a continuous basis that keeps us moving. That oxygen is that place where we take in sustenance. “
Stress: Reminding us we Need to Connect to One Another
Josh adds, “Some new research this year, the discovery is that when people are stressed, one of the neuro-hormones that is secreted is oxytocin. That is traditionally associated with hugging and nursing mothers. It is the hormone of connection and feel a sense of contentment. But what happens in that stress is there is an emotional nudge to connect with each other. I see emotions as power, and what is that power and how can we use that? It’s something that all of have.”
Reclaiming the Definition of Power
Reverend Deborah reflects on how the definition of power and powerlessness has changed overtime. “Power used to symbolize the giving of life, of birth, of creation, but now we associate power as the taking of life, of destruction. Even if you look at a commercial, something has to explode or break, even a bubblegum commercial. Power can be creative and life-giving. We have to re-imagine what power looks like. Power is the ability to do good things for others (and the world). When we see that we can have some effect it’s tremendously powerful. “
Building Empathy in Your Own Life
Josh joins in, “In Six Seconds’ “State of the Heart” report, EQ is declining and empathy is going down. The Americas is going down the fastest. In this context of division and struggle over power and our disconnection from ourselves and each other. This pause is getting absorbed by all this noise.”
The conversation then tuns to empathy and how to build it. Reverend Deborah says, “Empathy is a capacity to be aware of what others’ feelings are, even if you don’t agree with them.. The technologies are working against us. We’ve taken the commune out of communication. I can be in a waiting area in an airport, and it can be completely silent because everyone is on their phones. In a household, nobody is talking or connecting with anyone else in the household. We have to be diligent about offering situations for people to connect and talk to each other. Without that direct engagement, one-on-one, I don’t know how we’re really going to develop empathy. “
Josh concludes “One of the most powerful things we can do is listen with compassion.”