Empathy and Plants

Posted Jan. 11, 2021, 9:58 a.m. by Lieutenant Junior Grade Sharah Fayth (Chief Science Officer) (Jennifer Ward)

Posted by Ensign Tabris Asam (Engineering Officer) in Empathy and Plants


Sharah shook her head. “Nope. I studied with Vulcans. And though their logic does have a certain appeal it’s counter productive to what you are doing. You are focusing on logic and a lack of emotion, while trying to feel and accept others emotions.” Sharah listened to his description of what he felt. “That’s very good Tabris, that is exactly what’s in this room. I think maybe you should try some meditation. But don’t focus on logic and facts, simply concentrate on knowing your own emotions and then let them go. It’s hard but it’s a good place to start and if you feel someone else recognize it and let it slip away. Don’t try to hold onto it.”
Lt. jg Fayth, CSO

Tabris rubbed his temples and said, “This is all very hard to wrap my head around I have to say.” He smiled a little as he tried to center himself, “Ok, so don’t think of logic and lack of emotion. Got it.” He said as he focused inward on what he was thinking. There was so much though floating around in his head and Sharah would be sure to pick up on it as he sat there, an almost meta-analysis of himself was unique to say the least in this regard. “Ok so I can’t focus on someone in particular? I don’t seem to be getting anything when I do that, it feels like I’m in a soup of emotions and feelings.”

Tabris Asam, Eng

Sharah kept her voice very light so that he could hear her but not jar him from his meta analysis. And Tabris was an engineer at heart so maybe a little technical application was in order. “Soup. I like that. Okay so each emotion would be a different ingredient. Start with your own. What are you feeling? Frustration might be red pepper, happiness a carrot, anger a tomato, etc. Assign each of your own feelings to an ingredient.”

What am I feeling… the words echoed in his mind as he felt overwhelmed by red peppers and ham. Ham was confusion, and he didn’t know why ham was his first choice but he would roll with it. There was something else too but it was hard to pick out. It was a subtle flavor, a sprinkle of smoked paprika he thought as the self doubt crept into his mind only balanced by carrots of happiness for finally doing what he could to figure out his empathy.

Sharah was not trying to listen, she never did, but guide him to figure it out on his own. She recognized the emotions she felt and they would compare notes after.

She let him do this for several minutes. “Now pick one and see if you can feel it in the room.”. Now Sharah dug deep into her own reserves, recalling when Andrew, her brother, had come home from the Academy to visit. She had been ecstatically happy for him to be home. She held onto that feeling and its intensity. If Tabris was tuned into his empathy enough he would also feel the intense fear that had followed that moment, though that wasn’t her intension to ‘test’ him. Also around the room were feelings of frustration, pride, love, and determination.
Lt jg Fayth, CSO

Tabris nodded and said ,”I’ll focus on those carrots.” He said softly as he tried to mentally picture and focus on the carrot. The sweetness, the color, the texture, using it as a rock to see if he could ‘feel’ carrots around the room. He did his best not to reach out and to let the carrots come to him. He felt the flash of orange from Sharah before it turned to something else, a potato of fear that hit him like a wave and he reeled a bit. There were other things, he did feel the red pepper but the rest seemed to be just a strange mixture of flavors and textures he couldn’t identify. “This soup analogy is working but hard to keep track of.”

Tabris Asam, Eng

Sharah knew that feeling, and he might pick up on a sense of bittersweet or sadness. “Don’t keep track. Recognize it as your own or not your own, what feeling it is and let it pass by. You simply want to identify the ingredient, name it and move on.” She let him continue until he was ready to stop. He would know if he was overwhelmed or okay. When he was done she asked him again what he had sensed in the room.
Lt jg Fayth, CSO

Tabris took a breath, working to just let his mind act like a scanner, simply identifying what was in front of it but not focusing on it. “Carrot. Potato. Coriander. Red Pepper. Curry.” He stopped and took another breath, letting his head hang slightly as he thought. “I don’t even know what a few of those are, but that was the ‘flavor’ I guess I tasted? Oh this is really overwhelming isn’t it to begin with.”

Tabris, Eng

“It can be,” Sharah agreed. “Alright, I think that’s enough for today. I want you to put your mind back the way it was before we started. Kind of like rearranging a room back to the way it was. Or if we go with this soup idea, put the soup in a container and put it away. That way you won’t be feeling anyone else.”

When he was done Sharah gave him another cup of the tea. “At the end there you were picking out several things. You identify them with taste. Which makes sense. Taste and smell are the two strongest senses in the body to help recall memories. So it is possible that those flavors you are tasting are actually associated with a memory of a particular emotion. It’s an interesting idea, the way the mind works is compli…” Sharah stopped and looked a little embarrassed. “I’m sorry Tabris, you didn’t need all that. You aren’t here for a medical lesson. I guess sometimes I miss being in sickbay.”

“So what I would like you to do, is think about those flavors and what emotion they might be. You don’t need to tell me now. You can go home and think about it. It might take awhile to identify some of the more subtle words used to describe the different emotions we are capable of. On your own you might try some meditation that focuses on YOUR feelings and what flavor you might associate with them. It will help you identify what you are feeling from others later.”
Lt. jg Fayth, CSO

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