Undoing Some Empath Bullshit

 See yourself in others.
Then whom can you hurt? What harm can you do?” ~ Buddha

One of the reasons I began the empath myth-busting task was that as I worked with people struggling how to navigate this way of being, I began to realize that their distinct experiences, fears, and the responses to the fears they’d adopted, were not unique, not occasionally similar but were damn-near identical. The latter were mostly tied to ‘I’m too literal, I can’t possibly be psychic’ and the myths one stumbles upon when googling ‘what is an empath’. Before the Fuckery became my life, I was well into writing a book demystifying all things empath-related. Since that book may not come to fruition, I’m going to bring the drafts here and expand on them as we go.

Another reason I chose to dive into it is because I’ve known since the first time I facilitated the healing work, the first day of my only class, I’ve known that it isn’t ‘just’ a ‘spiritual gift’. It, indeed, may be a gift but it is beyond spirit in that it is observable, measurable, and replicable. Similar effects on physiological and psychological systems can be reproduced by technology. If science could measure the energy that moves from my hands and the physiological response of the client I’m working with…..Actually science can, the tools and technology exist. The previous sentence should probably read ‘If science would…’  Traditional ‘energy’ medicines have been doing this same thing for a long time and have been long studied around the globe.  Does that change it’s often perceived and described spiritual or ‘Divine nature’? Nope. That’s like trying to separate daylight from the sun. It is all of that; divine and holy and inexplicable and measurable and replicable, even by objects associated with what we identify as tangible and far removed from ‘spiritual’ like electrodes or acupuncture needles. I’ll share more on that if there’s interest in it but, for now, let’s come back to the object of my attention–the empath.

For eons, the capacity for feeling the way empaths reportedly do has also been called a ‘psychic’ or ‘spiritual’ gift. It’s not. There’s magnificence to how we’re individually wired and universally interconnected but it’s not magic. Energetic, though? Absolutely!

I feel the need to state here that I’m taking us down the science-trail not to diminish the powerful, often spiritual, nature of energetic work. I’m steeped in it, led by it (or rather, it’s got me by the nose pulling me along like Toucan Sam), believe in it, and am alive because of it. I have visions of the future,  speak in ‘tongues’ in ceremony and have been prophesied. People I work with experience the Christed heart merge with theirs, out of body experiences and, as one man put it, “I just met God.” I work with Ancestors, angels, invisible animals and plants, and other beings every day. I’ve seen them, am touched by them, have great respect for and receive responsibilities from them. They are those with whom I have the most intimate relationships with. However, it is time to put to rest the fears that have led most of us away from these kinds of relationships. I want to demystify the things that frighten people into disconnection from themselves and their communities. It’s time for truths that offer new explanations and stories and room for growth of our greatest potential–our relationship with each other.

Before we explore some research together, I want to create something of a framework that begins with a story. The complaints I receive from empaths I initiate work with remind me of one traditional Buddha story. Sakyamuni was born into a royal and wealthy family who, at the time of his birth, received a prophesy that he was born to be either a great spiritual leader or a great warrior. His parents attempted to prevent the former and cultivate the latter by keeping him ‘protected’ from the larger world. He was reportedly confined within the castle walls while the lame, sick, homeless and dead were banished from within sight of those same walls. All of this to keep young Saky from being aware of and responding to those suffering around him, to be compassionate toward them. Then, like any self-respecting youngster who felt confined, he snuck out.  His initial exposure to the realities of the world from which he’d been protected, and his courage to walk away from the throne, have brought us some of the greatest teachings.

For me, the ‘feeling too much’ and ‘anxiety’ that is nearly universal to those empaths I’ve been connected to is directly connected to their deepest ownfineself, trying to sneak out. To emerge, engage, and respond. And not knowing what the fuck to do about it.

As we meander this together, through story and science, I’ll share what to do about it to make life more fluid, satisfying, sane and hearted.  One blog post at a time. Join me. Ask questions. Do the homework. Bitch about it. But be curious and invite some of the questions I offer into your own life.

If you are new to my empath myth-busting, start here:  Myths of Being an Empath, Some Empaths are just Ath-holes, Traits of an Empath and The Importance of Being an Empath.  The most recent is here: Empath Bullshit

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Compassion is Everywhere

      To take responsibility empowers you to do something about whatever it is that’s hindering you. As long as we blame, as long as we avoid or deny, we are removed from the realm of possibility and power to do something about our lives. ~ John Daido Loori

There is a prevading myth that is repeatedly memeified, attached to cute animal and ‘uplifting’ videos, and used as click-bait. It often appears as a form of spiritual angst, discomfort with perceptions of the world. It is a myth that states this is a rare earth one in which human-kind is a mass of twatwaffles and so inexperienced in or incapable of the ways of lovingkindness  there a vacuum of compassion. It is expressed by “my faith in humanity is restored” or “I wish more people were like this (referring to people)” or “I wish more humans were like this (referring to animals)” or “If only the world were more like this, then…”

Stop it.  Just stop it.

Compassion is everywhere. It exists inside and outside of you. You are the one who has the power and choice to engage with it anytime, anywhere. But it requires action.

It is not other humans responsibility to engage in the way you would prefer them to. It is yours. Yours alone. If you are not choosing to act with compassion, lovingkindness, and open-heartedly start now. When you begin that practice, you will see it everywhere because it will be returned to you tenfold.

Gandhi’s ‘Be the Change You Wish to See in This World’ wasn’t meant to be a mere ideal aspiration. It was a directive to help change your perspective on the state of humanity–by first changing your own.

Instead of wishing that things would be differently for you to see, put your rear in gear and mind in motion. Ask yourself how you show compassion to others. What did you do today or can you do tomorrow to share a loving act? What can you do to restore your own humanity? Be the human you are admiring in another? Behave like the animal you’ve humanized? Move past discussion of what consciousness looks like into what conscience is?

Selective Compassion

Carol Guzy, 2011 Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist, recently shared this with the Washington Post Magazine:

“Someone once told me it’s not imaging how you would feel in a given situation:  It’s the ability to break through your own veil of life experiences and truly see how someone else is feeling.  We’ve seen throughout history how selective compassion breeds hate and conflict. In my humble opinion if all life is not equal to the same level of kindnesss we wish for ourselves, it becomes the foundation for abuse.  And when we turn away from oppression, our silence becomes complicity.”

When I was younger (much, much) I had the notion that being Christian was all about being Christ-like.  I’ve since learned that notion was slightly misguided.  It didn’t actually take long.  Listening to congregants of the Antioch Baptist Church talk about their neighbors and the niggers quickly put a kibosh on my young ideals.  Get all dressed up, praise Jesus and, then, forget to practice what he preached.  Oops. But, a fine way to spend a Sunday morning (and evening and Wednesday night), eh?

The idea of selective compassion was brought back to the fore for me on May 12 when Michael Sam was picked in the seventh round of the NFL draft by the St. Louis Rams.  I knew that things were going to get ugly so I didn’t bother to read the sports pages, the not-sports pages, intewebz action, or other contrived controversy.  Until I read George Takei’s Kiss Seen Round the World when it made its way to my Facebook timeline.

This met my expectations of the fallout:

Sadly, many commentators acted with revulsion. Newscasters in Dallas walked off the set in disgust. Conservatives blasted the networks for even airing that moment. And let’s face it, many people cringed in their living rooms. Even some gay people, unused to seeing such affection displayed, worried, perhaps rightfully so, about the backlash.

Then, the fabulous Mr. Takei echoed my own sentiment’s here:

To say you stand for equal rights but that you don’t want to ever see or hear about moments of our intimacy is to deny us again a fundamental aspect of our humanity–the expression of that very love. And guess what? Same-sex marriage ceremonies end in a kiss, so if you’re for marriage equality in principle, you’d best be prepared for some homosexual ritual smooching in practice.

If you’re someone who finds yourself repulsed by the idea or the image of two men kissing, ask yourself why that is. Ask how someone else’s love, and how they publicly express it, actually affects your life and the enjoyment of your freedoms and liberty. The visceral negative reaction many experience comes down to what I call the “ick” factor–seeing or thinking about something to which we are unaccustomed, and reacting with an “ick.”  There are in fact lots of things in life that make people go “ick.” Broccoli, for example, is simply abhorrent to some. But “ick” is never a sound basis for public policy or law. Your own discomfort is just your own issue, and you can’t and shouldn’t make it other people’s problems.

So, of course, I shared.  An extended family member that I’ve not yet had the opportunity to meet, responded:

I consider myself a child of God therefore, this display of men embraced as man and woman I am not fond of, as well as not an image I would prefer for already confused children.

My reply that went unanswered:

So, love, my question is here is three-fold: Are the ideas of yourself as child of God and lack of fondness for the picture connected? Why do you consider this embrace between men as one of ‘as man and woman’? And, do you presume *everyone* to be a child of God; thus not just having the *right* to love, but the *expectation* to love, share love, show love, be love in His image? I really am curious about your opinion.

In a life shortened to communication by meme, people don’t seem to notice that they’re not living what they are sharing.  If another doesn’t look the way we like, smell the way we think they should, somehow affront our existence by living their own, we actively choose not to engage them–in communication or community.  I’m fortunate that in my travels I get to meet plenty of amazing people.  As I bumble about the US, I’m often quite struck by the incapacity–or, rather the choice not to–to consciously empathize particularly by empaths (those who have the capacity to energetically & emotionally feel others).  One of the things that often strikes most close to my heart is the state of the homeless.  It’s always interesting to observe how little people consider those less fortunate, often discussing with me those with only a street to call home in a derisive manner–forgetting that I, too, am homeless.  The only difference is I more options.    The following video was shared with me via Facebook a few weeks ago.  I ask that you please watch it through.  Though the language spoken by the actor is French, it is quite clear he is asking for help.

 What Would Jesus Do (WWJD) used to be a quite fashionable, at least as a fashion–bracelets and bumper stickers abounded.  I always wondered if people actually asked that question as they moved through daily life,  I’d ask you to ask that now.  And, then, I’d ask that you ask yourself what you would do in the same situation and then answer yourself honestly.  Where does your prejudice lie in this situation?  Why?

My way is to engage as best I can with everyone around me and I wish everyone would do the same.  When I say a simple hello to someone on the street who does not appear to be homeless the responses vary from avoidance to a return hello.  When I say a simple hello to someone who does appear to be homeless, the responses range from the resounding smile that says “I’m seen” or “Who you talking to, lady? Me?” to “You don’t know how you just made my day.”

My stay in San Francisco was instructive at many levels.  In addition to learning there is such a thing as comfortable airbeds, I learned that I adapt my behavior to suit others comfort level, despite being one to otherwise stir the shit pot. I actually embodied the ‘selective compassion’ by choosing not to express myself as I usually would to accommodate others’ discomfort.  In not speaking out with regard to the annoyance that the Young Men’s Christian Association would have a problem with the homeless or prostitutes showing up for healing.

Compassion, used merely when convenient, when comfortable, when it fits only within our constructs of how people should be, and fear of how other see us respond outside of those constructs  (yep, I resembled that remark), is how social justice issues don’t change:  racism, bullying, criminal justice and corrections reform, gang violence, sexual violence, food access,  water allocation, etc.

Kentucky Democratic Representative John Tilley said in PBS’ ‘Prison State’,“We need to distinguish between who we’re mad at and who we’re afraid of” in relation to the criminal justice system.  I believe that applies to how we engage in daily, compassionate activity or the lack thereof.

It’s not enough to quote the Dalai Lama, or pass compassion memes as your truth when you can’t express it for real, where the sole rubber hits the road.  Where soul meets soul on the sidewalks of life.

 

What if it really is “In Between the Stories”?

Inspired by Rumi, blog posts about hate, love and god; and 24 hours steeped in connection with all that is.

In Between Stories ~ Rumi 

Did you hear that?

It’s the man who was looking for treasure.

He wants me to finish his story.

You didn’t hear him?

Then, he must be inside me yelling, “Over Here! Come over here!”

Don’t think of him as a seeker, though.

Whatever he’s looking for, he is that himself.

How can a lover be anything other than the beloved?

Every second he’s bowing to the mirror.

If he could see for just a second one molecule

of what’s there without fantasizing about it,

he’d explode.

His imagination, and he himself,

Would vanish, with all his knowledge, obliterated

into a new birth, a perfectly clear view,

A voice that says, “I am God.”

That same voice that told angels to bow to Adam,

because they were identical to him.

It’s the voice that first said,

There is no reality but God.

There is only God. 

We humans have all sorts of habits.  Some we change.  We quit smoking.  Eat healthier, walk a little more, buy orange Christmas lights rather than white.  Our taste in music changes, our groups of friends wax and wane.  There are some things, though, we tend to hold on to for dear life.  As if they are our life.  Think about the current state of religious & political affairs to catch my drift.

There is another idea, a habit that many cling to that I want to ask about here.  Similar habits framed in a slightly different fashion, methinks. We seem to cling to the notion that there is something outside us that guides, chides, tests, taunts, aids, destroys, makes and takes.  We seem comfortable at some level, too, with using words like co-creator; phrases like Divinely-inspired. We’ll accept messages from aliens, atlanteans, metatron and michael but seem hard-pressed to consider that we are creator, we are inspired, we are our own messengers.

And, so I ask the following:

What if there is no other great orchestrator or observer?  What if there is no oversoul, higher guardian, a higher level of Godliness, an ascension to something, somewhere else? No intergalactic collective of whatever that we need to ask permission of?  Nothing or no one outside of us?

What if there is no one thing greater than each individual one of us?

What if we really hold onto the ideas and likenesses Christ, Mohammed, Abraham,  and other prophets because they chose to act as if they were God and we think we can’t or shouldn’t?

What if we really have all that power and grace?  What if we are that power and grace?

What if

We.  Are. God. ?

What if you are not an embodiment of something outside yourself?  What if you are not made in the image of something greater than you?

What if you knew you needn’t be saved or rescued?  What if you are that greatness you’ve imagined outside yourself?

What if, to know yourself & see yourself as god only took one breath? One thought? One experience?  Would you breathe and see?

Would you be able to look in the mirror and know? Would you be willing to know?

You. Are. God?

What if you saw in the mirror not just your face but all the grace, glory, peace, kindness, mercy, ferocity, love, compassion, strength, courage, and wisdom within you and all those you touch? And, those you will never know?

What if that one small thought led you to know every. single. living. thing as god as well?  Same as you but different?

Would you see your neighbor, lover, child;  prisoner, pensioner, plumber, trash collector, welfare recipient, jihadi, dog catcher and fighter as god?  Could you do that?  Could you hold them in the same regard as you do your heroes and other holy ones?  Excited for their life’s opportunities—the same as your own?

Would you do that?  Would you be willing to take that great leap in your own life to know yourself?

As. God.

Are you afraid of the greatness?  Of the responsibility for yourself? Others?  Are we afraid of that?  Are we afraid that it’s really not unknown to us?  That there is no real mystery or magic to it? That it’s really that simple?

What if we didn’t have to wait for anything?  What if each of us were already worthy and ready? Just as we are…

God.

What if it took nothing else but to just Know?

What if we really are the bees knees, all that and a bag of chips?  What if we are just singularly pretty freakin’ awesome human beings?  What if we all knew that and lived as such, recognizing that divinity in each other and every single thing?