(This is one of a series of excerpted and updated Posts from my old, no longer active, blog A Glitch In Time. The original version of this appeared in May of 2014. This is the second time I have edited and updated it for publication. I find that each time, not only does it change a bit to echo the shifts in Self I have undergone, but to reflect the changing attitudes of popular culture regarding Spirituality.
Though I wear many hats these days as business owner, website administrator, mother (grandmother) and homemaker, Who I Am outside of and over all else, is a Being on a Path of Seeking and sometimes discovery. While mundane aspects of daily life are necessary and often overshadow most other pursuits, my true Passion is somewhat larger.
I made a commitment many years ago to Follow the Path of Heart, to serve All-That-Is and this beautiful Planet we call home. I was called, and only one answer was possible. So, I try to share that what constitutes my true Lifestyle, and some of the trials, tribulations and Joys that entails. I don’t claim to know it all, or even a fraction of what the spiritual path involves, but my own experience may prove helpful or informative to some. )
One of my little jokes with Self (and some few who are very close to me) is that I really have not been myself lately. I could apologize, or make excuses, but since I really have not been, in large part, much myself not only just lately, but at most times for the past two decades or more, I don’t bother.
I am an Empath. I am not talking about being a person with an empathic nature or making some trendy effort at bonding with our (my?) fellow spiritual aspirants. It is a genetic trait as I understand it at this point, rare, of varying degree from one individual to another, and quite difficult to analyze or quantify. I was not aware that I was an Empath until I was in my late thirties. Before that, I thought I was crazy for a long time, and then as my spiritual path unfolded just lumped in in with other phenomena I experienced.
It’s not something that I have often spoken of with many others. And when I do, most folks either misunderstand what I am talking about, or just think I am crazy (exactly!!!). That’s okay! From a certain viewpoint, that cannot help but be the case. It’s very difficult to be in your right mind when as often as not you are feeling or experiencing what is going on inside of someone else. When I finally knew why my experience of life was colored by this constant emotional input, it was a revelation in many ways. It was very frightening also.
There was barely an internet back when I learned I was an empath, and certainly no readily available information about it. over the last few years I have noticed, and been made aware, that there are a large number of articles about Empathy showing up on the internet. I have read some of them. Some are good, but too many are full of Bullsh… or Bologni, or something. Like so many aspects of subjects that get lumped under the umbrella of spirituality or metaphysics, there is some massive sugar-coating going on out there, and huge amounts of misinformation in general.
Being an Empath is not a spiritual trait, though being empathic and compassionate are. I have also seen a number of articles concerning the psychology of the Empathic individual. Repeat above sentiments! According to information provided by my guidance, it has been and remains an inherited trait, a genetic predisposition which seems on the increase along with a number of other changes in the function of the human mind, all of which are outside the subject of this post. There is a great deal of genetic research along these lines being done and available to those who look also.
I would also note here, that there is more than a fine line between being Empathically Sensitive or predisposed, and being an actual Empath. According to articles I have found, somewhere around 20 percent of the population share this predisposition. A much smaller percentage are actually functioning (or dysfunctioning, according to the individual’s ability to handle this trait) Empaths. I know a very small handful of other Empaths. Several are related to me, and one a long time friend Even among those I am familiar with in my own family, the degree of empathic sensitivity varies greatly from one individual to the next.
Trying Not to Drown
It is true, from what I’ve read and my own experience, that a good percentage of Empaths end up following various spiritual paths, that they are attracted to pursuits which help to balance and secure a bit of peace for the practitioner. I am nearly certain that a big part of that is the attraction to a belief system or discipline that can help to explain or at least to somewhat ameliorate the oftentimes overwhelming weight of the Empath’s experience.
Conversely, a good many of these people also end up in the mental health system as patients or in extreme cases, institutionalized. Drug and alcohol abuse are very common among these gifted beings. Years ago, I encountered a quote of Scottish psychiatrist R.D. Laing (from the book The Politics of Experience and The Bird of Paradise) that summed up so much of my own experience, and that I resonated with so strongly that I have never forgot it.
Mystics and schizophrenics find themselves in the same ocean, but the mystics swim whereas the schizophrenics drown.R.D. Laing
The Politics of Experience and The Bird of Paradise
I cannot begin to tell how very often I have feared that I was indeed drowning in a sea of disturbing emotions. Before being called (I will use this word, because it better describes what happened to me than anything else.) to follow a spiritual path, I felt completely lost, as though I were irretrievably broken and beyond help. Since the Empathic experience is completely subjective, I can only relate my own observations on this trait. However, I have often wondered how many people who have been diagnosed with schizophrenia and other emotional disorders are actually Empaths.
From my earliest memories, I was bombarded with emotional content that I was not, especially as a child, equipped to understand or process. I never felt myself to be a child, and strongly resented that I was treated so. While I was fairly outgoing and social, though given to extremes of behavior (tantrums, sulking, etc.), at home, I became extremely introverted in more public venues. An Empathic child, I believe, either learns very early to start building defenses and barricades around themselves emotionally, or soon become lost in the chaos of conflicting feelings and emotions they encounter every day.
As I said, I can only relay my own experiences. Perhaps some people have a native talent for controlling what and how much of other people’s emotions they are exposed to, and can separate what is their own from that of others. For myself, I gradually learned to limit the assault to my senses that life was—to constantly guard myself— but groups or crowds of people still made me cower, and inevitably the defenses slipped from time to time. When that happened, I would lose most emotional control, and the immensity of what I would “feel” would leave me utterly unable to function for hours afterward. Sleeping and dreaming were also times when my control would slip. I experienced horrific nightmares so profoundly disturbing and outside of my own realm of experiences that I was certain that it could only be an indication of madness.
I was in my thirties before my spiritual explorations led to a place where I was comfortable enough with myself to allow the Voices in my head free expression. I do not particularly like the word Channel, but neither have I ever considered myself a Medium or anything of that sort. However, I suppose that I am those things. I have had a number of etheric Spirit Guides or Teachers, and I am quite certain that they saved my life. As far as I know, those with the Empath trait also very often have other “psychic” talents. At any rate, for me it was contact with these beings, who have been called Ascended Masters among other things, that finally helped clarify a great deal of my experience for me. I was told, among many other things, that I was an Empath, and taught to exercise a much more precise control over the trait. Along the way, I was also taught to use my particular talents for Healing.
Little did I know twenty years ago that being an Empath would become a badge of distinctiveness—a sought after prize in the spiritual lottery. Articles with enticing titles like 10 Signs That You are An Empath or 20 Traits of an Empath seem to lead every supposedly sensitive being to believe that she/he is one of these special people. (The number at the beginning of the title not only lets us know that it is one of these lists so revered by humankind, but also that the author is trying to score SEO points with Google, etc.) To my mind, being an Empath is many things, but special, in the way most people want it to be, it is not. Nor is it a crutch, an excuse, or carte blanche to be socially obnoxious. Feel free to read on if you wish to learn more about my experience and take on being an Empath.
(As this original post was a long one, and with edits and additions, becoming even longer, I am going to continue it in a second part next week. I feel that this nation, and this planet, are reaching a critical point. Healing is progressing, but in the meanwhile, Chaos and Upheaval, on a planetary scale are proliferating. There is a great need for Awakening among the Earth’s population, and a need for those destined to be Healers among the already Awakening, to step forward.)
Some Closing Thoughts
I wanted to mention that the photos with the I Feel For You quote at the beginning and end of this post were taken by me during the
Great American Eclipse on August 21, 2017 . We live in Florida, so not close to totality, but with all the buzz it generated and the Energetic Patterns that accompanied it, I took a camera out, and since I had no glasses or protection, pointed it in the direction I knew the sun should be. Well yeah, I deleted a few photos of branches and clouds, but I had several that were very interesting. Upon studying them closely, I realized that the sun appeared not just as a star, but in a configuration called Merkabah by esoterists. That particular configuration has great significance to me, so I was intrigued. I will discuss this more in future posts also.
Blessings to All! Till next time…