"What happens to another happens to you," observed German theologian and mystic Meister Eckhart. You will find this theme running throughout the world's religions — for instance, when the Buddha advises us to "See yourself in others: Then whom can you hurt?" and in Sri Sarada Devi's words, "No one is a stranger, my child; the whole world is your own.”

This theme of empathy is increasingly recognized beyond religious arenas. Science shows how magnificently interwoven the cosmos is, each part depending on the others for well-being. When we empathize with another human, creature, or even tree, we tap into those intrinsic connections. Even our own genealogies prove fascinatingly complex, showing that we are more closely related to each other than we ever realized before. When we understand how another person feels, we have glimpsed that relatedness.

In this topic, we have gathered together articles, books, films, quotes, and spiritual practices that show the depth of wisdom that's emerging from research as well as personal experiences of empathy. It turns out that even with all its positive effects upon our interactions with others, empathy can also unintentionally encourage unhelpful identifications. So we hope you will take your time, read carefully through this material, and comprehend the nuances. You will also see what hope for the world empathy offers!