By Lisa Campion
The day I realized that I was an Empath was a life changing one for me. I went to visit a psychic healer friend of mine and I walked in her door exhausted and slumped at her kitchen table.
“Yuck!” was her greeting to me. “Where have you been?”
“The hospital,” I said somewhat indignantly. “Visiting a sick friend on the ICU ward.” I had a crashing headache and felt queasy. “Do you have any aspirin?”
“Very commendable,” she said, breaking out her smudge stick, “but did you have to bring all the gunk from the ICU ward in with you? I just cleared my house this morning too! You don’t need aspirin, you just need to clear yourself. You are such a strong Empath, you soaked up all the stuff like a sponge!”
This was the first time I had heard the concept of being an Empath. My friend cleared my aura with sage, made me a cup of tea and explained the whole thing to me.
Empaths are the psychic sponges of the world, soaking up all the psychic and emotional static that other people give off. Being an Empath is one of the most common and most challenging of all the psychic gifts. Life for the unshielded and unknowing Empath can be pretty tough. The good news is that with a little knowledge and training, an Empath can improve their quality of life quite dramatically.
Here is a checklist to see if you are an Empath.
- Do you feel what other people are feeling as if it is happening to you?
- Do you feel overwhelmed in crowded places like the movies, the Mall, airports or hospitals?
- Are you prone to anxiety and/or depression?
- Do you prefer to be alone, out in nature, or around animals than around people?
- Do you feel “sucked dry” by the people in your life?
- Do you have trouble with boundaries and saying no to people?
- Were you very sensitive to other people’s emotions when you were a child?
- Can you feel the presence of spirits around you?
- Do you feel like most of the “stuff” you are carrying around isn’t yours?
- Are you drawn to helping, healing and care giving?
If this sounds like you, then you are probably an Empath. Here is a classic example of an empathic experience.
Imagine arriving at a party. You were feeling great when you arrived, but after a few minutes you start to feel horrible. You may feel suddenly very sad or depressed. Or you may feel something in your body that you didn’t before, like a headache or a pain somewhere. After a while the depression and sadness becomes overwhelming. Your friends might think you are nuts as you decide to leave the party early. Then someone in the room says something like, “I’m so depressed, I lost my job today and I can’t get rid of this killer headache.” And you realize (if you are lucky) that the pain and sadness you were feeling was not yours at all, but someone else’s that you were picking up all along.
What is an Empath?
The psychological quality of empathy is the ability to put yourself in another person’s shoes and feel what they are feeling. Most people have the capacity to feel empathy, it’s a normal human emotion. The kind of empathy I am referring to is different and far more intense. It is the picking up of other people’s thoughts and feelings and is one of the psychic gifts.
Non-empathic people have a nice solid barrier layer to their aura, like a shell. This naturally filters out energy and gives the non-emapth of feeling of safety and separation. This kind of aura is much like the semi-permeable membrane of a cell, letting in supportive energy and filtering out non-supportive energy. Non-empaths automatically have a sense of “this is me, in here and everything on the other side of my aura is not me.”
Empaths miss this, since they have no definitive layer on their aura, which is more like a sponge then a shell. Empaths tend to have very big auras too, so an Empath picks up and absorbs the psychic static, thoughts and feelings from everyone around them, even everyone is a big room.
Because Empaths are very sensitive to their surrounding and to other people’s feelings, they can become easily overwhelmed in highly stimulated environments. For example, a trip to the Mall may easily overwhelm an Empath. Being surrounded by a lot of other people, visual stimulation and being in a psychically stressed place can push an Empath into overload. A psychically stressed environment is a place a lot of people congregate. This can be anyplace where other people’s energy and feelings hang around and never gets cleared away. Here are some psychically challenging places for Empaths.
- Hospitals and nursing homes
- Police stations, court houses and jails
- Crowded places like malls, airports and cities
- Hotels, bars, restaurants and clubs
- Movie theatres and amusement parks
- Cemeteries and funeral homes
- Crowed, noisy shops and stores, especially the “Superstores”
Another good example of this is a hotel room. Think about all the life that happens in a hotel room, good and bad. The energetic imprint of all the people that occupied that room may still be hanging around. Additionally, all the feelings they had and the dramatic events that took place in that room leave a residue that an Empathic person can easily pick up on.
All this psychic stimulation will quickly put an Empath into overload. Their sponge is full! Once an Empath hits overload, they will feel a tremendous energy loss and become very tired. As the psychic senses shut down, the Empath will feel disconnected, floaty, spacey or in extreme cases, actual dissociation. (Feeling like you are outside your body or completely disconnected from your body….) Empaths may also feel cranky and irritable or pop out a good-sized headache when overloaded.
A half an hour in Wal-Mart may leave an Empath feeling limp, cranky, spacey and reaching for the Tylenol.
Empaths learn very early in their lives to pop out of their bodies when overloaded. It becomes an energy habit that is difficult to break. It’s a powerful and effective defensive measure, but has unwelcome side effects. (It’s hard to really enjoy life when you are not in your body!) That is why learning to ground is so essential. It is important for Empaths to learn to get back in their bodies and stay there!
The truly ironic thing here is that Empaths are very caring, compassionate and big-hearted people. Most are drawn to the helping and care giving fields, which puts them right in the psychically stressed environments that are the most damaging to them. Many Empaths find that they can’t work effectively in these arenas until they learn proper shielding techniques.
Identity Issues and Boundaries
Empaths often have trouble distinguishing the difference between themselves and the rest of the world. Because Empath don’t have strong energetic boundaries around or inside them, they often feel like whatever is happening in the outside world is happening to them.
Seeing a sad story on the news will reduce an Empath to tears because it feels like it is happening to them, even though they know cognitively that it isn’t. Empaths have a sense of merging with other people and the outside world. They don’t know where they end and someone else begins.
Because Empaths often struggle with feeling like they don’t know who they are in their own right, it can be easy for an Empath to be emotionally dominated by a stronger personality. In fact, Empaths (especially when they are young) often pick very strong personalities types as partners since they tend to feel safer and more secure with someone who “really knows who they are.” (Since Empaths often don’t know who THEY are….)
Empaths struggle with boundary issues in all kinds of relationships and often feel walked over by their friends and family. Empaths have a very difficult time saying no to someone who is having emotional difficulties or is needy. These kinds of people will literally (and usually unconsciously) suck on the energy of the unshielded Empath and leave the Empath with that sucked-dry feeling.
I have noticed that children who grow up in very hostile environments (Either abuse or neglect) or have parents that are very unpredictable can develop Empathy as a defensive strategy. Children who have a high degree of psychic ability will become hyperaware of other people’s emotions in an attempt to determine if that particular situation is safe or not, especially with a parent who has mood swings and is unpredictable with their emotions.
For example… Say Daddy is kind and loving sometimes, but when he is angry (or when is he drinking) he is hurtful in someway to the child. The child will learn very quickly to get a strong and accurate energetic read from Daddy’s emotions to know if Daddy is “safe” today or not.
This skill is an effective adaptive strategy to help us navigate the sometimes hostile and unpredictable terrains of our childhood. It is learned when the child is very young, during the preverbal stage and is solidly cemented into the being of the child by the time they are two years old. Children that young can’t make sense of their parent’s moodiness, but they sure can feel it!
It’s as if the Empathic child has radar or antenna always extended to “feel out” the environment to determine if it is safe or not. Empathic children are often equally sensitive to their physical environments and this gives them a strong ability to sense spiritual energy.
Entering new environments may be difficult, because as the child enters a new environment, out comes the radar and antennas and the child may feel the presence of a spirit or a ghost.
Empathic children can almost always sense funky, weird or unhealthy energy whether it is coming from a live person or a dead one.
Developing a Shield
For Empaths to find themselves and some peace in the world, it is vital that they learn shielding techniques. The first place to start is the with their own energy field. The aura is the energy field that surrounds and permeates our physical bodies. You may or may not be able to see or feel your own aura, but even if you can’t sense it, it is still there. Having a strong and healthy aura is key for an Empath.
There are many meditations and visualizations that help strengthen the aura. Here are a few ones that you can try on for size. Remember that you are in charge of your aura and it will respond to your will and your thoughts. That is why visualizations work!
Imagine a solid bubble around you, extending out about 1-2 feet away from your body. If your aura seems extended too far away from your body, pull it in closer. Make the outer edge of the bubble hard, like glass or crystal. Tell your aura to let in only energy that is supportive to you and to keep out non-supportive energy.
Imagine that your aura has a zipper running from the ground to the top of your head. Zip up your aura to strengthen and close it up.
Shields on Full-
You can imagine that your aura is like a force field or a shield around you. In your imagination, turn the force field on to its highest degree.
If none of these resonate with you, see if you can find an image that works for you. Many things can help keep your aura strong. Living a healthy life is the first step. Learning to manage and regulate your aura through mediations and visualizations is very helpful in establishing good aura hygiene. These kinds of visualizations needs to be done on a regular basis to have any long-term effect. They must become an energy habit.
Techniques for Clearing
Clearing means consciously dumping any negative energy or psychic static that you have picked up just by being out in the world. After you have practiced strengthening your aura with the above exercises, the next step is to make clearing yourself a daily habit. Here are some ways to do that.
This means using an aromatic herb like Sage or Sweetgrass to clear your aura. You can buy a sage bundle in any new age bookstore or health food store. You burn the sage and use the smoke to clear yourself by passing the smoke through your aura. The smoke releases negative energy from your system. Great to do for your physical environment too…
Salt Water Baths-
Bathing in sea or Epsom salts is very clearing to the aura and is often the most powerful way to clear yourself. Lay in the water while it is running, soak for as long as you want and then let the water drain out while you are still in the tub. Imagine all the negative energy draining out of the tub with the water.
Be in Nature-
Walking in the woods, being by the ocean, sitting on a rock or against a tree will help clear you too.
This is a visualization that works for many people. Imagine that you have roots extending down into the ground from your feet and the bottom of your spine. Use your breath to flush any extra or unwanted energy down the roots and into the ground. You can also use water imagery here too. Imagine you are standing under a waterfall and the water is washing you clean. Try this in the shower!
The Golden Hoop-
Imagine a golden hoop, like a hoola hoop. Inside the hoop there is a very fine golden mesh. Start with the hoop at the top of your head and move the hoop down over your body and through your aura, the mesh will collect any negativity, density or static. The hoop disappears into the ground, taking with it all the negativity you had in you.
Grounding comes down to three qualities.
- Being in your body
- Being firmly in the here and now in your mind
- Being energetically attached to the earth.
This can be really challenging for Empaths who tend to pop out of their bodies when they get overloaded and also to jump out of themselves and get pulled into other people’s experiences.
Empaths need to ground spiritual and psychic energy through their bodies and down into the ground, like a lightening rod. Often psychic energy gets stuck in the head and it doesn’t move down through the whole body, and that adds to the spacey feeling. If it’s “negative” energy then the Empath is going to feel pretty funky. To ground you can:
- Use strengthening and clearing visualizations
- Be outside in nature, especially sitting or laying on a rock or the ground.
- Walk around or get some exercise
- Do some deep, from the belly breathing
- Eat something or drink a glass of water
- Rub your hands together, or the souls of your feet on the ground
- Do something ordinary, like housework.
When Empaths learn to create and live by new energy habits including grounding, clearing and protecting themselves, they can get a whole new lease on life. It can feel like a new you when you stop carrying around the burden of other people’s stuff and claim you’re your energy back for yourself. At this point you’ll be truly free to be in the world on your terms and the curse of Empathy will become a gift.