Thursday, December 9, 2010
Empaths or Just Plain Nuts
We are energetic beings. We are surrounded by energy with assorted realms of vibrations. I believe that. I also believe that some of us are empaths; we feel the energy of others very deeply--almost too much. We feel weighed down by all the collective pain that envelopes us.
Not everyone is an empath--in fact, things become easier in this material life when we feel next to nothing. When I was a college student, I could literally program my reactions to various stimuli so that my studies would remain intact. I was hell-bent on becoming the world's greatest academic. Self-discipline meant very little emotional interaction.
But feelings don't go away. They go underground. Refusing to feel is a swipe against acknowledging pain. Those feelings will find you. Suddenly you go from functional to dysfunctional. You don't know what went wrong. You can't read. You don't want to be around people. You can't concentrate. You start crying for no reason. It's as though many layers of skin simply melted away. Now you are feeling everything--from your pain to the pain of strangers. You are overwhelmed.
What am I describing? I call it awakening. You begin to see that life is very complicated. Bad things happen for no apparent reason; life becomes unfair to the good while the bad triumph. You notice that some folks are sad around the holidays. You see the rich get bonuses while the working poor get laid off from their jobs. Just like Bruce Almighty, you begin to hear the prayers of everyone--begging, pleading, asking God to take away this terrible burden. As the Buddha teaches, life is suffering.
When I feel like this, it's hard to leave the house. I don't know where these emotions originate, but they plague me---is it that I am miserable or am I in touch with misery itself? I've seen other people go through these experiences. They wonder if they are losing their mind.
Our society would have us chase those feelings away with Prozac. Some may turn to illegal substances or the corner bar. Why are we so afraid of emotion? Does every emotion cause pain? Isn't joy as real as suffering?
My husband used to tell me that he cried almost every day for the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. I thought he was exaggerating. Now I know he was telling the literal truth. He knows what it is like to be a soldier, and he puts himself in their place. He takes a metaphysical bullet for them.
People tell me that I'm too sensitive. But I'm okay with that. I would rather know that I am fully alive. So much of what our society deems as happiness is just the absence of suffering. It is not life itself, but our perceptions that become an illusion. It's the old Jedi "point of view". Look what it did to Anakin. But look again at what it did for his son, Luke.
As bad as it may be, I encourage all of us to "search our feelings". I often wonder how many bi-polar diagnoses serve as a label for those who are starting to understand the truth within life. If we are existence, consciousness and bliss, then we are subject to all sorts of moods. Which of us is more sick, the empath or the society that wants to wipe all unpleasant emotions away?