I was reading more of Goleman’s research on empathy and compassion and reading about various experiments that show supposedly intelligent, caring people can easily walk around and over sick and distressed people without offering help.
The next day I was driving through Guildford and saw a guy eating from a rubbish bin and thought, “That is so sad!” There were people all around eating/shopping etc in the trendy precinct.
I drove on feeling sad for the guy and then it hit me-I was doing the exact same thing Goleman had referred to-ignoring-too uncomfortable to really acknowledge what was happening and confront it.
So-a big U-turn later I pulled up in Guildford and hurried towards the man who was by now laying on a bench with everyone walking past, ignoring him! I walked with trepidation up to him-he stuck his hand out and this somehow made it easier-he knew what he needed and I knew what to give-transaction complete-he leapt up and took off towards a cafe to get some food. For me this was a seminal moment and somehow this changed me-I want to stay awake.