I posted an article on my blog about the role of the empathic brain network in spiritual development.
Research has shown that because of the structure of the brain, analytical thinking and empathic thinking are mutually exclusive.
The analytical network has a tendency to produce callous thinking. This is believed to by why some economic and political policies fail because they ignore human realities. The policy makers were out of balance, thinking only analytically and not empathically.
If you are not sure what it feels like to have the empathic network active, try metta mediation, or samatha meditation, or jhana meditation, or relaxation exercises. When your empathic network is active, you may experience a pleasant relaxed mood with feelings of compassion, forgiveness, goodwill, humility, and connectedness.
I recommend meditating with the empathic network active. Analytical thinking is good for many things and I think both networks should be developed to be in balance. But I think it is more likely that the relief from suffering, the insights, and the realizations people are seeking from meditation are more likely to come from the empathic network than the analytical network. And having the empathic network active has a soothing, healing, influence on the mind.
But what if you could reassign neurons away from the network that produces suffering and "the story of me" and reassign them to producing feelings of compassion, forgiveness, goodwill, and humility? This is possible because of neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity refers to the brain's ability to rewire itself, assigning neurons to pathways that are used more often and reassigning neurons away from pathways that are used less often.