It seems no matter how much training and practice I have put in to being an objective observer of this world, remaining emotionally detached from the ongoing violence that plagues our world, my body has something else to say. When collective attention is directed at another of the many violent events of our world, I feel it. No amount of spiritual practice or discipline seems to change that. I feel the violence in every cell of my physical body, and it hurts. It hurts both physically and emotionally as the collective emotions around said-events creep into my being. As my mind is saying, “another day another shooting” (how sad is it that for many of us it has come to this!) my body is collapsing in on itself – writhing in the collective pain of disappointment, fear, sorrow, and an increasing feelings of powerlessness and hopelessness.
Being a human barometer is hard.
Empathy is the ability to put ourselves in the shoes of another so that we can understand their struggle, their suffering, and their pain. Being an empath places us in those shoes whether we choose to be there or not. Being an empath allows us to literally feel the physical sensations and emotions of another. Being an empath is like having a body that is constantly testing the “pressure” of our world. Like a barometer, we cannot turn ourselves “off.” We are always “on” feeling what is happening in our world, or what is about to happen. We might not know what it is we are feeling…but believe me
WE ARE FEELING IT!
As a Capricorn who has mastered the fine art of detachment, who is doggedly self-sufficient and (on good days) believes I can accomplish anything, I keep forgetting the debilitating reality of being an empath. When the barometer that I am reads “high pressure” I simply cannot function. My ego tries to push through it so I can do “the work” I have been programmed to believe I need to be doing to “survive” in this world and to be “a productive member of society.” The harder I push against the high pressure reading, the sicker I become, reminding me of the Buddhist saying, “What we resist will persist.” UGH!
Being an empath is hard!
So what is one to do? As the past week has reminded me, there is NOTHING I can do. Instead, I am invited to surrender. To just be. To sit in the yuck. To feel it. To dive deep into it. To bring it into my prayers and to surround whatever it is I’m feeling with love. I find I really have not other choice. I can’t turn the barometer off and I cannot turn away from the pain of our world. What I can do is remember that as I am allowing myself to be with the pain that the world may not be able to be with on its own, in some small way the pain is being healed and the path cleared for humanity to begin making a different choice – even if it kills me.
What are your experiences of being an empath? How have you come to understand this gift and its calling?