When one is close to another person, it can be difficult not to feel what that person is experiencing at some level. At least this is the case with those of us that are extraordinarily empathetic. In some cases, I cannot relate to certain individuals at all….but when I do…I *really* do. I seem to have the innate ability to understand the conditions of others from their perspectives. I am able to place myself in their shoes and seem to feel what they are feeling.
Being what is called by some, an “empath” is characterized by feeling affected by other people’s energies. Those of us that fall into this category are said to have an innate ability to intuitively feel and perceive others. Whether or not this is true, or if we are simply psychologically sensitive to others, is debatable. I tend to be a scientifically minded person, so I struggle with these feelings. Is this phenomenon spiritual…or is it scientific? or both? Research has uncovered the existence of “mirror neurons,” in the brain which react to emotions expressed by others and then reproduce them….so there you have it…but that sounds rather cold. Doesn’t it? It feels like so much more than that.
My close friend and I have the uncanny ability to pick up on one another’s feelings, even though we are thousands of miles apart from one another. That said, my own life has been good in recent times, but his has not, and my heart has felt every instant of his pain. It has not been easy, but I remind myself that this is not about me. I just engage in some spiritual hand holding and try to be as supportive as I can.
I operate on two levels during times like these. I remain functional…busy…on task…but when I sit back and close my eyes, I know exactly what he is experiencing. He often marvels when I send him a text asking if he is in chaos, reminding him to remain calm, telling him that I know he is in pain. He does the same with me, at times. It is pretty remarkable.
As one that is particularly empathetic, I can say that the experience is considerably more than just being “highly sensitive”. It can go beyond that into what seems like an other-worldly, spiritual realm, and this is why attributing it to science alone is so difficult.
Those of us that experience this can seem to perceive physical sensitivities, much as the husband of the pregnant wife can sometimes experience sympathetic labor pains, or the amputee can experience the sensation of a lost limb. We are also skilled at reading the motivations and intentions of the other people we are close to. It is amazing.
This degree of feeling empathy is not a trait that is learned, nor is it experienced with everyone. I only experience these things with people that I am particularly close to or with those whose causes and motivations are that with which I closely resonate and relate.
There are some people that cause me to feel only darkness….They seem to emit an energy that I cannot tolerate…a mean-spirited pettiness. Sometimes, they even put the label “religion” on their evil motivations. These people wouldn’t know real religion if it came up and bit them on the ass.
I try to remain open to process other people’s feelings and energy,so long as they are not emitting negativity and anger. When we “click” I can take on the emotions of the other person. People such as myself, that possess the quality that I am describing, sometimes experience unexplained chronic fatigue, environmental sensitivities, or unexplained aches and pains. In psychological terms, this can simply be explained as sympathetic sensitivities. In spiritual terms, they are something else altogether. I think I lie somewhere in the middle between spirituality and science.
Over the past week, I have spent a good deal of time outdoors walking in the rain, cleaning out the gutters, doing urban hiking with the puppy. I have been concentrating on my friend’s situation, sending prayers and love, healing energy. We have spoken, but it hasn’t been necessary. We simply “know.” When I find myself drained, I rest….and when I rest, I can feel it even stronger. This is as well as I can explain it….and I am not at liberty to say more….but what I am experiencing lends new meaning to the term, “I am there in spirit…”