As we’re in the energy age, it should be no surprise that there is a major rise in the presence of energy healing. You’ll now find all sorts of different energy modalities. Even a bit of it in formal medical settings. Energy is the flow that gives rise to the forms of our experience. Thus, being able to heal energetically can correct causal issues that effect both quality of life and spiritual progress.
What that arena has tended to be missing is good energy reading skills or literacy. For example, it’s not uncommon for energy healers to be taught to feel a patients energy for resistance, then flow energy into that area. And while that can indeed bring some relief, does it heal the source of the resistance? Or will that resistance simply rise again? What if the healer could read your energy like a book? What if they could see the actual source and heal it specifically? The difference is significant.
I’ve thus been suggesting lately to start with energetic literacy, then add energy healing. However, I now realize that’s flawed – at least for some people. Empaths.
If you’re an empath, the first thing you need is empathic skills so you can manage your gifts effectively. Otherwise, you pick up other people’s junk all the time. Especially if you’re directly reading their troubles. Help yourself before you try helping others.
“If you are wired as an empath, you have been serving humanity as a healer for your whole life.” – Rose Rosetree. The question is – have you been doing that effectively and consciously or at cost to yourself?
About 1 in 20 people (5%) are born an empath, although it varies which gifts they have. Rose mentions the skill can be seen in the womb. All empaths are Highly Sensitive People (HSP) but only about 1 in 4 HSP’s are empaths.
“An empath has at least one lifelong gift for directly experiencing what it is like to be someone else.” It’s split-second, spontaneous “reads” of those around us and/or the environment. And it may even be a vivid rush we’re attracted to. But unskilled, we pick up their fear, anxiety, and pain in the process.
This is not subtle senses, though it may be accompanied by them. It’s also quite distinct from psychic or other 6th sense intuitive gifts. And it’s unrelated to mental disorders. But it is related to Oneness and what I’ve called the 7th sense.
Funny thing though – you may not even realize you’re an empath. It’s something you’re born with and thus, like our relationship with food, we develop early habits around it that soon become largely sub-conscious. But just because we’ve learned to ignore the signals consciously does not even slightly mean that we’re not walking around connecting with other people’s energy and junk, all the time.
And thus we have the curse of the unskilled empath rather than the gift of the skilled one. We wonder why we have so much baggage to process all the time, not realizing it’s not even ours. We’re walking around with our antennas out, picking up all the static.
While I don’t often use myself as an example on this blog because my process has been somewhat non-standard, in this case I’m apparently pretty typical.
At a health conference some years ago, I heard a talk by Judith Orloff. I found it quite insightful and a short quiz she gave made it clear I was an empath. This was quite outside my self-conception. In fact, if anything I considered myself the opposite. (laughs) However, Judith only talked about it from her own experience as an emotional empath and described it in ways I didn’t relate to. She also popularized ideas like “energy vampires” that are a little misleading. So there it sat. Interesting but no real application.
About 7 years later, I discovered Rose Rosetree’s work. I got Become the Most Important Person in the Room – Your 30-Day Plan for Empath Empowerment . [UPDATE – This has since been replaced by an “Empath Empowerment” series, though I think I liked the first better.]
As the sub-title suggests, for 30 days you spend a very few minutes each day doing a series of very easy exercises to become familiar with your gifts and learn to turn them down or off. Off means you’re not walking around collecting others junk. If you wonder about the title, it comes from the fact that most empaths have the habit of diminishing themselves. This to support others or as an unskilled way to avoid energy connections. It doesn’t work. You may also have come to see that habit as a personal defect with a different cause. Empaths also tend to live in the upper chakras and thus easily turn “invisible” (little grounded presence). Grounding is a much more effective adjustment.
In the book, Rose quickly gets to a simple quiz that gets more specific than the above. It outlines the following types. You may have one or several:
Physical, Medical, Emotional, Intellectual, Astral, Spiritual, Molecular, Plant, Animal, Crystal (Mineral), Mechanical, & Environmental.
These gifts can come in 3 Styles:
– Oneness – direct experience of that aspect of another (Frieda’s emotional pain, for example) but it’s very personal so seems to be “mine”.
– Intuitive – direct experience but it’s clear it’s not yours. We know Joe has a headache, for example.
– Informational – combined mixture of the above.
Rose distinguishes ‘Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual’ into ‘Intuition and Oneness’ types because they’re more distinct. Some people have both. The rest are the Informational/ Combined style.
Gifts like crystal and plant empath may be more obvious because we’ll be less inclined to repress them compared to say, a physical empath, where we feel others aches and pains. But like any other skill, if it’s not been developed we may not recognize it or that our experience is different from most others. This can thus be a self-conception buster.
She describes the book as life-changing. For an empath, that’s an understatement. At a number of points in the book, I had one of those combination light-bulb and doh! moments where life experiences were seen in a completely different light. Not to mention discovering that old defects or burdens were actually gifts (once skilled).
It’s like a built-in radio scanner constantly scanning if those around are OK or safe or similar. But this background noise muddies all experience. Plus we unintentionally take on some energetic debris in the process. If we happen to have a Oneness style gift, we also experience the noise as our own rather than someone else’s. This further confuses life and weakens our sense of self. The priority is thus gaining skills and learning to turn off the scanner most of the time.
I’ve been a little astonished. I consider myself decently self-perceptive so it was rather a surprise to see how oblivious I’d been about this. But again, we typically learn to suppress this stuff early on. When it’s both innate and sub-conscious, we may not realize it’s not the experience of most people. But to notice I was actually sub-consciously “reading” people and things constantly was a revelation. Learning to turn that down was unexpectedly easy, but it does take a bit of practice to change the habits.
This is not about creating “boundaries” or developing social skills as we may have been directed in the past. There is a lot of nonsense out there on the topic, like saying anyone can become an empath. Anyone can become empathetic but that’s different. Or silly ideas about controlling it.
Putting this in the larger context of this site, it’s useful to make the distinction between spiritual development and empathic gifts. During the Unity Consciousness stage of development, we become what we experience. Everything is being merged into Oneness, so there can be various experiences of being a plant or animal, for example. But this is your focus of consciousness experiencing through that form. It is a shift within consciousness.
In an empath merge, it is an energetic level merge and read. We could call it a form of energetic oneness rather than of consciousness itself.
Spiritual development can enhance our existing gifts and may bring new ones on-line. But our skills are quite distinct from enlightenment itself. They function on different levels. Becoming enlightened will not give you automatic knowledge of how to fix a carburetor or pole-vault. Nor will it bring you skills with your existing gifts. These all have to be developed. This is why I’ve been talking about these subjects.
The most fun with developing a skill? When we begin to get good at it, they become much more powerful and effective. Same with empath gifts. We can consciously turn them on, do a constructive read, then turn them off again and go on with our lives, unburdened and self-contained. No more energy co-dependence needed too.
Life can sure be full of surprises.
PS: to be clear, this dynamic hasn’t been personal for some time. But it was adding unnecessary noise to the surface levels of life in far more ways than I realized.
[Update – I broadly updated this article to reflect newer understanding]