Empathy Meditation with Sam Gilliam’s Day Tripper

Being black is a very important point of tension and self-discovery. To have a sense of self-acceptance we blacks have to throw off this dichotomy that has been forced on us by the white experience. For some there is a need to do this frontally and objectively. There are some who believe there is no threat. I think there is a need to live universally.

Sam Gilliam
An abstract artwork depicts a dream-like collection of colors that meld and flow together creating a sense of texture on the canvas.
Sam Gilliam, Day Tripper, 1971, Carnegie Museum of Art, © Sam Gilliam

Engage with this guided meditation focused on empathy paired with Sam Gilliam’s Day Tripper. Follow along with the audio or text below.

Step-by-Step Meditation on Empathy

Listen to empathy meditation:

  1. Take a few moments to look at the painting noting the various colors that meld and flow in and out of one another.
  2. Consider the energy and feeling each color evokes within you. Do you feel excitement, anger, hope, or peace as you move from one color to the next?
  3. Close your eyes and begin to imagine the endless spectrum of colors in the world. Imagine each life experience as having its own color.
  4. Move from one imagined experience to another and notice what colors arise in your mind.
  5. Observe and acknowledge any sensations in the body as you imagine each experience and associated color. Do you feel tension or release in different moments?
  6. Now envision walking with another person in their experience. You may or may not know them. Acknowledge the sensations as you walk together sharing empathy for each other’s path.
  7. Breathe compassion into each breath and each shared experience.