[Today, we've got another fantastic guest post from Lady Awesomesauce herself, Mary Carol Moran. I don't know about you, but I think her posts just keep getting better and better!]
This Fall I began the study of Reiki, which involves those quantum leaps of vibration that Melody sometimes cautions us about. Soon, in the midst of feeling basically happy most of the time, I began having unusual experiences. Actually, I had always had emotional experiences, but I began understanding them differently.
One day in a group mediation after yoga, I felt a great anger toward my daughters. Before long, my mind rebelled. This just wasn’t me! I have a great relationship with both my kids, and was looking forward to their arrival for Christmas. But I still felt all this anger and anxiety boiling inside me, seemingly connected to my children.
A few minutes later, one woman left, and my anger seeped away. Talking later with the yoga teacher, I learned that this woman had a very troubled relationship with her daughter.
This was my first conscious experience of directly feeling the emotion of another person as if it were my own. For awhile there, I would have sworn that I hated my daughters! It took an example this dramatic to convince me that sometimes the emotions I feel are not my own.
Okay, I think I just came out of the closet as an empath. Whew! Who knew? Sixty years of being told I was too emotional, that I needed better boundaries… Does this sound familiar to any of you? Truth is, when you’re an empath, it’s really hard (for years for me, impossible) to distinguish between your own emotions and someone else’s. That’s because when you ‘take in’ another person’s negative emotion, you feel everything: stomach churning, dread, anxious heart pounding, deadening sadness… The emotion feels 100%, totally, completely, authentically real.
Okay, now we get to you! The confessional part was necessary for the rest to make sense, but I promise your turn is now. My “AHA!” moment came a couple of weeks ago, and Melody asked me to process what I felt and maybe write it up. Without having worked out all the details, the essence of this post is:
What if ALL suffering is like the suffering I take on as an empath?
What if NONE OF IT is real?
You might argue, I stubbed my toe and it hurts. That’s real. But if you take an aspirin, the pain will fade away. If you fall asleep, pretty much for sure you won’t be aware of your toe hurting. The suffering is a state of consciousness. It only FEELS real at the time.
As further evidence, sometimes negative emotions have fallen away from me as fast as a blink, literally. Once, when I reached a hand toward the ceiling, nausea and exhaustion (deep sadness absorbed from a friend whose father had died) vanished. One second I was about to throw up, the next second – I was fine! And believe me, the nausea had FELT real, but it wasn’t.
How does any of this help? Imagine for a moment that Melody is right (not just Melody, but she’s our fearless leader!) – our natural state is to be happy. Anything other than happy is a deviation from our natural consciousness, our true vibration. If I’m feeling anxious because I just found out that my truck needs a rebuilt transmission (oops, true), is that really a whole lot different from my feeling anxious because I’ve picked it up from another person whose dog is sick? As an empath, I can’t tell the difference. It feels exactly the same. And maybe, just maybe, it really is all the same. I don’t need to take on the anxiety of my truck any more than I need to take on the anxiety of a random person who passes by on the sidewalk.
Maybe this is what Buddha was talking about when he said, “The essence of life is suffering” [paraphrased]. Buddhist scholars insist that happiness is transitory, but – whoa, little old me going against all those scholars – what if Buddha actually meant that our experience of physical life involves suffering only because we buy into it. Nirvana, heaven, happiness: all are right here if we let go of buying into the suffering.
Going way out on a limb, maybe that’s one reason why empaths exist, to demonstrate with fireworks and drum rolls that suffering is a state of mind, and an unnecessary one at that.
In the last few months, I’ve come to realize quicker and quicker when I’m picking up someone else’s vibration. At times, the realization is enough for the emotion to vanish. Other times, despite consciously knowing that I’m NOT anxious, or NOT sad, I still have the pounding heart or the near-tears.
And that’s the challenge that I’d like to leave you with. Maybe talking together, we can share ways to release vibration-lowering negative emotions. For me, releasing another person’s emotion out of my heart is part of the journey of releasing my own lower vibrations, my own resistances, helped along greatly by the realization that none of it is actually real or necessary.
So, please share how you deal with resistance. Once you figure out that something is lowering your vibration, how do you melt the blockage away and get back to your happy, shiny puppy place? If you too are an empath, how do you distinguish and how do you release?
Thank you to everyone for taking the time to read and comment, and to Melody for offering the space to share. Hugs and peace to all!
Read more of Mary Carol’s articles about living a Healthy Life at alabamahealthylife.blogspot.com