Here's a thought-provoking question from a reader of my blog:
"I, too, have been studying Abraham's teachings. Have you ever heard them comment on Empaths or Highly Sensitive People and overwhelm? Well being abounds for all, but what if you are feeling stuff that isn't yours? Do you have any thoughts about that? Am searching for some guidance for empaths
I love this question because I, too, am an empath. My sensitivity doesn't necessarily concern other people, though. I seem to be an empath with regard to the earth in certain ways, as I can "feel" it when a significant earthquake is about to occur anywhere around the planet. I'm often amazed that other people don't feel what I'm feeling before earthquakes. When it became apparent to me years ago that other people did not feel what I felt, I kept my trap shut about this sensitivity. When I did confide in someone, they would most likely tell me that it was a remarkable "gift."
But it didn't feel like a "gift," because I didn't like the intense agitation I felt before an earthquake, even though I felt delightful calm after it was over. At any rate, when I discovered the teachings of Abraham-Hicks some eight years ago, I knew that if I ever had a question to ask them, it would concern this empathetic tendency.
Well, I'd like to say that I went to an Abraham workshop, was chosen for the hot seat, and asked them to explain this puzzling phenomenon. However, I've been to only two workshops ever, and frankly, I found I really didn't want to weird Abraham out by asking about this.
Ha! Nobody could actually weird Abraham out. I just said that to see if you were awake. What's weirder, in a conventional sense, than they are? Plus, they say they've seen everything human, so I don't suppose they'd come up empty-handed as far as answers go. But frankly, I've never asked about this or heard them address it.
So, I'll fly by the seat of my pants here (cheaper than flying Continental), knowing that the answer straight from the horse's mouth will probably turn up on the next Abraham CD of the month.
As I immersed myself in the Abe teachings, I realized that there was an all-important question to ask myself about being an empath: "Do you like it?" My immediate answer was "No." So I then knew that being an empath was "contrast" for me in Abraham terminology. I knew that I wanted the opposite: I wanted to feel ordinary when earthquakes occur.
So, I gave up thinking about being an empath in any way that I could. When I noticed myself "picking up" on events in the earth's crust, I would shrug it off, simply offering up a prayer for those affected. I stopped reporting upcoming events to any online Richter scale scholars. I stopped wondering why I had this ability or where it came from. I stopped feeling frustrated or perplexed about it. I turned my attention away from this little mystery of life in any way I could.
The Earth doesn't seem to care that I don't want to feel its pain. It has never once tried to make me feel bad about it, except for that one time a neighborhood house disappeared in a Florida sinkhole. And actually, I don't think that was really about me.
Now, it may be easier to move beyond being an earth empath than being a people empath, for people often appreciate others feeling their emotional pain. "Misery loves company," as the saying goes. In addition, the quality of feeling what others feel is encouraged and applauded in our culture. It is considered to be a valuable, unselfish trait. But since we now know from Abraham that "nothing good comes from feeling bad," we realize that sharing in someone else's negative emotions doesn't help them, and it certainly doesn't help us.
So, I would say to the person who asked this question -- and to various friends I've had over the years who would pick up on people's unhappy energy and would become nauseated, needing to hastily exit a room: Take your focus off of this tendency. Shrug it off while deliberately choosing good-feeling thoughts in all arenas of life. As you thus become a little happier, and a little happier, and a little happier still, you will not have experiential access to the downer energy of others. (Now, you might have access to others' feel-good energy, but who could complain about that?)
As I've taken this sort of approach, I've found that I have far fewer sensitive episodes. In fact, Mark recently asked me if I knew about a certain significant earthquake that occurred in another country, and with amazement I replied, "No, that one sneaked by me!" (Actually I said, "...snuck by me," but that's probably lousy English.)
I was so pleased that I'd brought myself to a consistently sufficiently happy vibration that I'm less of a match to feeling others' pain. Even that of Mother Nature, of Mother Earth. You're on your own, baby. And I think you can handle it just fine.
Was Van Gogh an empath? Maybe, on starry, starry nights.