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Go on, yawn!

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I want you to count how many times you yawn before you get to the end of this post.

Weird, isn’t it. That you can start to yawn just at the mention of it, or the thought of it, or the sound of it or an image of someone or something else yawning.

It’s the why of it that fascinates me.

I yawned six times just finding the picture for this post. And it’s not that it bored me. Far from it. I love this stuff. The inner workings of the human psyche.

Fact is it seems I yawned because I have developed my ability to have empathy for other beings.

In another stellar bit of research they took a bunch of psychologists and a bunch of engineers. Then they had a person yawn 10 times in front of both groups. Then they recorded how many times each group yawned in response. Needless to say the psychologists won hands down… reason being, it seems they have a greater sense of empathy. Given their choice of profession that’s no surprise.

But why is this important for us?

Because empathy, that closeness to others, is so fundamental to the development of compassion. And compassion is love made visible. It’s about moving out of judgement and walking a mile in another’s shoes. Understanding that they might be struggling in ways we can’t even imagine. And when we are compassionate toward others, regardless of whether or not they are in pain, we give ourselves the opportunity to experience things we would otherwise have not had the chance to. Being compassionate, enriches not only the lives of others, but our lives too.

As the Dalai Lama says:

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.

How many times have you yawned?

About Paul Blackburn

An internationally acclaimed author and leader in the human potential movement, Paul has instructed seminars for groups ranging in size from 6 to 600 and as a guest speaker has spoken to audiences of more than six thousand. He has taught in Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain and the US. Paul has appeared on talk back radio and television shows including Getaway; A Current Affair and The Midday Show. Paul has a tremendous educational message. He knows how to teach and motivate people to be more effective in every aspect of their lives. Due to his reputation as a world class presenter, the Adult Education Faculty of the Australian National University conducted a study of one of Paul's public seminars with a view to gain greater insights into their own teaching strategies. Paul has survived aggressive cancer, and successfully built four businesses, a strong marriage and a loving family. According to his wife Mary, Paul's strive for improving himself and helping others comes from "his love of life and his incredible love for his family in particular but people in general". She says he is committed to making a difference in the world, whatever it takes. And he does. Paul has a great ability to spark interest and inspire people from all walks of life. In the words of one of his students: "It is not possible to participate in one of Paul's seminars and resist change. Paul has the ability to inspire even the most negative person to change their life for the better." Time with Paul Blackburn may be all it takes to get a shift in thinking big enough to cause a life changing experience. His down-to-earth style is your guarantee that you will be hearing no nonsense, workable solutions to the difficult questions in life.

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