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The Empath


Empathy- noun. 1. The intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another. 2. The imaginative ascribing to an object, as a natural object or work of art, feelings or attitudes present in oneself: By means empathy, a great painting becomes a mirror of the self.

This is the definition given by Dictionary.com, but it couldn’t be a more sterile definition. Unlike sympathy, which is feeling compassion for what another person is experiencing, empathy is the opposite. I believe it is defined in this manner, because it is something that is difficult to understand and the majority of people never fully experience true empathy.
Empath’s are put in the category of the “psychic realm” or “unearthly mystical abilities”, something you read about in supernatural stories. Like the “Clairvoyant” or “Telepath”, that one special person out of thousands with this incredible gift; quiet and misunderstood, but by the end of the story has saved the town and enlightened a community. Ahhhh, fiction can be fun, but the reality is, you probably know several empath’s this very moment, or, are one yourself.

An empath is someone who has the ability to literally experience what another person is experiencing. It’s not just a “feeling”, this person senses so deeply the emotions of another, and it’s as if the event has actually happened to them. If it’s a loss or grief, the empath will experience these emotions as if it is their own personal loss. An empath is a person who can walk into a room full of people and immediately be overwhelmed by a rush of several different emotions or moods within minutes of entering the room, and then once they leave the environment, return to a state of emotional control. When a person isn’t aware of this ability, they often feel like they are losing their mind or maybe need to be on medication because they think something is wrong; when the truth of the matter is they are in touch with a part of their humanity that not all are able to connect with. There are many, many people with empathic gifts and it is reflected in how they live their lives; some are obvious, but others are not, they live their lives with a quiet subtlety as to not attract attention to themselves. It’s almost like on a subconscious level they are aware of their ability, but do not want recognition for it. An empath not only senses others emotions deeply, but can also physically experience another’s pain, and often times without realizing it, takes it with them.

As we evolve these abilities, or gifts if you will, we get stronger. Our Souls have a purpose in this world and we are born with the tools we need to help us on our journey. Sometimes we choose not to use these tools, or maybe we are unable to see them as tools or gifts, but for those of us who do see them and choose to use them and grow them, it is incredible. The gift of the empath is not an easy gift and often times may seem like a burden, because once you have acknowledged it, there’s really no turning back. Even if you decide it is too painful to feel so much and you cut yourself off from those emotions, you still feel for the world. What makes this ability a “Gift” is the profound understanding of what makes us human, our emotions, ALL of them, joy, anger, sorrow, jealousy, ego, vanity; the good, bad and the ugly. With understanding comes enlightenment, and once you achieve that you can pass it on to others. Most of the empaths that I know are creative people, humbled by their gifts and talents; not the kind of people who feel they should “teach” or “enlighten” the world. However, it is inevitable that they do this, because this is their purpose, their calling; and this is where Spirit steps in and helps them through their creative talents.

For the longest time I just wrote for myself, and I would spend days sometimes doing nothing else, because I was feeling so much, or I was inspired. One day, I decided to show a few poems to a couple people and the reaction floored me; I got an emotional response from a woman I worked with, she had to walk away. I wasn’t sure what to say, but later she pulled me aside and told me, that was exactly what she needed to read/hear at that moment and she thanked me. Now the poem she read had nothing to do with her, I wrote it from an experience in my life, but how I wrote it, the words I chose, impacted her life; and I realized that was my purpose and I embraced my gift. Not all empathic gifts result in artistic talents like writing, singing, dance, art; there are other creative talents that most people dismiss as “artistic”. Things like cooking, woodworking, metal working, design of all kinds, flowers, anything that causes one to stop in all the hustle and chaos of the day, to take a second look is artistic. And never say “I’m not artistic or creative”, because maybe your definition of those words is limited or incorrect. Everyone “creates”, some people just don’t realize that they do.

I teach an Intuitive Creative Writing class, and with every class I have several people who tell me they are not sure why they are there, because they don’t write and have never wanted to write, but something made them curious; but I can tell they have a skeptical attitude and think it’s going to be a waste of time, and I’m okay with that, because I know why they are there. By the end of the class they are emotional, inspired and have created some of the most beautiful writings I have ever read. I am using my gifts to awaken their gifts and show them just one outlet for all the “life” they have lived, and now need to “Experience” on a different level.

We, as a species, the Human race, are at a critical phase in our evolution. There is a clear division between our ability to “feel” and our craving for our “desires”, and what we are willing to do to get those things. It is a time to embrace a deeper consciousness, to look inside our pain and fears and find understanding and peace in the things that make us hurt. It’s Ok to sit quietly inside the darkness and let it tell you its secrets; because if your heart is truly open the darkness will show you its light. Embrace the empath within and let it transcend you. Blessed Be!! 

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Meditate Like a Monk

Did that title grab your attention? It grabbed mine. It’s a line from an advertisement to sell a 21 day meditation program that promises to “have you meditating like a monk” with one simple technique. I couldn’t resist. I admit it; I bought it. Like so many of you, I’ve been studying, practicing and sometimes teaching mediation, Qigong, Kriya Yoga, Shamanism, hypnosis and other metaphysical practices for almost 20 years. I know a multitude of techniques for exploring altered states, but I don’t think I would make that claim. I had to know the technique. (I won’t tell you how much I paid, but let’s just say that the any teacher that charges that price doesn’t have problems with prosperity consciousness, and my intuition says he also has pretty high self-esteem. Just saying.)

So, drum roll please, the technique is a common mantra technique, very similar to the technique used in CSM, Clinically Standardized Meditation. And as the name makes abundantly clear, it is both clinical and standardized. CSM was developed by Patricia Carrington, who conducted studies in meditation at Princeton University. TM was being studied and Carrington noted that the cost of instruction with TM was prohibitive for most, so she developed a modified, secular, stripped down version of a classical Indian form of Mantra meditation. Both the program I purchased and CSM, even recommend the same schedule of practicing twice a day, for 20 minutes each time. The expensive program called this the 72/20 technique, because there are 72 sets of 20 minutes in a day. And now that you know this “technique” 40 minutes out of your day should be easier to find. (That is a good reframe.)

So much for thinking a man doing yoga (basic Sun Salutation) in front an extraordinarily exquisite white mansion and sparkling pool (with simple earthen pottery and always a Buddha statue) might know a magic metaphysical meditation technique that I had not yet found.     

So, the real question…was I meditating like a monk? No, of course not; I still had thoughts. And as this very savvy, low key, online meditation teacher confessed: “I’ve meditated for over 20 years and I still have thoughts.”
He went on to educate his students that monks don’t have thoughts in meditation because they live very stress free lives in the solitude of monasteries. There they can meditate for hours (and hours) a day. When you and I meditate, we are going to release built energy (muggles call it “stress”) as our body and mind relaxes and regenerates. One way that energy is released is through our thoughts.

This prompted me to conduct my own (very informal and nonscientific) survey. I started asking people who say they meditate, but don’t meditate regularly, “Why don’t you have a regular practice?’ Overwhelmingly, the most common answer was some version of: “I couldn’t stop my thoughts and get to a still mind.”

So maybe this little reminder, this one simple piece of education, that is too often misunderstood, was worth the price of the entire course.  Let’s face it, IT IS  impossible to meditate if ever time you have a thought you think you are failing.

So spread the word:
“Don’t expect your mind to have no thoughts during meditation. You are not a monk!”  

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In honor of National Breast Awareness Month in October click below for an article by Angel Marlowe

Decisions that Create Healthy Breasts and Lower Cancer Risk