In Sweet Company

In Sweet Company

Hardwired for Compassion

… we grow in our understanding of God as we come to understand our own stories more fully. — Rabbi Laura Geller, IN SWEET COMPANY: CONVERSATIONS WITH EXTRAORDINARY WOMEN ABOUT LIVING A SPIRITUAL LIFE

Recently a small group of kindred spirits gathered together at our house to celebrate the successful conclusion of a project we had worked on for many long hours. Candles muted the dining room in soft light. The food was beyond beyond. We told stories. We laughed a lot. It was a beautiful evening, an evening to remember.

A few days later, still carrying our closeness in my heart, I happened to watch a documentary that set out to prove that—despite our affinity for acquisition and competition—human beings are actually hardwired for cooperation. According to scientists, philosophers, and poets interviewed in the film, compassion and collaboration may well be embedded in our DNA.


The film looked at this idea from several perspectives: Scientists working with mirror neurons described how the same area in our brain lights up whether we perform an action or watch another perform that same action; that is, our brains have an “empathetic” and an imitative response to the actions of others. Scientists studying the body’s chemical response to compassion and cooperation reported a measureable increase in the surge of feel good chemicals (endorphins) released into our blood stream when we are happy or inspired. And that feeling of being “all choked up” or the prideful swelling in our chest that occurs when we witness the heroic or caring acts of others, is the vegas nerve’s natural biological response to altruism.


Beyond our physiological responses to compassion and cooperation, the film also explores the effects of our thoughts and actions on others—the idea that we live in a participatory universe. A discussion about quantum entanglement—what Einstein first called “spooky action at a distance”—demonstrated how electrons and molecules previously connected with each other “cooperate”—that they spin in the same direction, at the same rate, at the same time long after they have separated from each other, even when they are separated by great distance. Another scientist spoke about experiments with 65 random number generators installed around the world, computers that continually spit out an arbitrary sequence of numbers or symbols. When events like 9/11 or the earthquake in Japan occurred, when the mind of the world   became aware of—perhaps, concerned about—an epoch-making event, the generators no longer behaved randomly; they produced a sequential pattern.


All these studies are, of course, open to interpretation. Yet, two things impressed me about the reporting: That all of this action within and without us takes place unconsciously, without our knowing; and that several days after our little dinner party, when I was still feeling the happy effects of our entanglement, I (randomly?) came across a resource that scientifically affirmed the lasting goodness I carried in my heart. Imagine what would happen if we actively, consciously participated in this process! It gives a whole new meaning to being “in sweet company.”

Check out the film at  Your thoughts?

Comments Post the First Comment »
post a comment

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to and may be used by in accordance with the agreements.

Previous Posts

In Sweet Company
Writing to an invisible audience, sweeping your heart out into a boundless Universe not knowing who is listening to it beat or whether the thump will be embraced or cast aside, is a courageous act. Fortunately for me, at some point during the ...

posted 11:49:59am Aug. 29, 2012 | read full post »

More Blogs To Enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting In Sweet Company. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy: Red Letters with Tom Davis Recent prayer post on Prayables Most Recent Inspiration ...

posted 2:07:03pm Aug. 02, 2012 | read full post »

Daddy's Girl
“... for me, spiritual practice is making the bed, defrosting dinner, and so on. It’s not magical or removed; it’s about how I discover and reveal myself as I do things that are ordinary.” -- Miriam Polster, IN SWEET COMPANY: ...

posted 5:35:03pm Jun. 06, 2012 | read full post »

Courting the Divine Mother
“Getting in touch with [this feminine, receptive side of our nature] can be a life-transforming experience because what we’re really talking about when we talk about receptivity is how we can be open to growing and evolving into more ...

posted 12:03:32pm May. 09, 2012 | read full post »

Books Are Our Friends
“God is not someone who allows things to happen or not happen. The real question I need to ask [ is ] how can God help me find the strength to deal with what happens? By reframing the question, I opened myself up to other possibilities.” -- ...

posted 11:27:05am Apr. 12, 2012 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.