Since I started mentoring empaths I’ve had to piece together my theories about our ability to feel and transmute emotional energy, as well as create a framework for why I believe opening up our hearts, allowing ourselves to become MORE sensitive, and approaching our empathic lives from a place of empowerment, rather than “protection” is the more logical (and holistic) way to live.
Here’s my thought:
If we take a broader view of the human story as it continues to unfold, we can begin to see how the empath in us was born.
What is Empathy?
Empathy is synonymous with the heart because it represents our ability to FEEL this human experience of contrast (and gain a concept of “the other”). It can also be seen as the feminine quality of human consciousness or the experiencing of “bearing and receiving.”
Empathy can be understood as the expression and experience BETWEEN contrast. As we know, the complexity and function of emotion is not black and white. That’s why we need the heart. Our hearts have the ability to DISCERN what our emotions tell us; the mind simply judges.
The complexity of emotions:
Let’s say a young girl is caught between the fighting of her parents. She hears her father insult her mother, her mother insult her father, and because she is the most vulnerable “feeler” in the room, she is receiving all this energy PERSONALLY, as if it is direct toward her and is about her. She sees her parents as an extension of herself, and therefore the drama that unfolds is experienced in her reality as a message about her.
The parents may not see the reality of their child, because in their mind they know they are talking to each other, about each other. If the situation is approached from the mind alone, it’s quite simple: the argument was not about the little girl and therefore the parents don’t feel obligated to acknowledge her reality of the situation.
Therefore, the young girl’s experience is invalidated and unexplained. Her intimate world of “feeling” is not the reality of the people around her, and therefore goes unnoticed. And when our internal reality finds no meaning, catharsis, or connection in the external world, we feel isolated and separate from others – we quite literally live in our own experience and the meaning we give that experience determines the lesson we will take away, and how we will be shaped by it.
The meaning the little girl gives the fight will most likely be quite different than the meaning the parents have. But her reality is JUST as real. This unexplained and confusing experience has now begun a “tantric” cycle with this young girl, as her heart will continue to attract similar situations into her experience until she makes sense of what happened and corrects any beliefs she may have taken on about herself that are not in alignment with her inner truth.
The little girl’s heart must heal from this experience, and it does this by “feeling” its way back into alignment with its true resonance. “Logic” at this point is irrelevant, because she is making the most logical conclusion she has available to her, based on her level of understanding of the world.
The Heart’s Electromagnetic field
Here are some important things to understand about the heart:
* The heart generates the largest electromagnetic field in the body. The electrical field is about 60 times greater in amplitude than our brain waves and approximately 5,000 times greater magnetically.
*HeartMath studies show this powerful electromagnetic field can be detected and measured several feet away from a person’s body and between two individuals in close proximity.
* The heart’s electromagnetic field contains certain information or coding, which researchers are trying to understand, that is transmitted throughout and outside of the body. One of the most significant findings of HMI’s research related to this field is that intentionally generated positive emotions can change this information/coding. (http://wearechange.org/heartmath-part-1/)
If you look at the toroidal field around the heart (shown in picture above), we can see the heart is literally the center of our electromagnetic field (auric field) and because it’s electromagnetic energy is affected by EMOTION, it’s no wonder many empaths can feel their entire body responding to overwhelming emotions or chaotic energy. Controversy, positive energy can affect our entire experience of our reality in a positive way.
A whole, open, trusting heart is the most powerful energy on earth. It’s capable of sustaining our life force and our energy. Yet, we live in a world of contrast, and this contrast often breaks our hearts. And when our hearts are broken, we are cut off from the most powerful navigation system we have because we learn to distrust the experience of FEELING.
When we distrust feeling, we turn to the mind. And as the saying goes:
“The mind is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master.”
The problem with allowing the mind to lead, is it does not have the ability to discern (understand through the wisdom of experience). Discernment is the heart’s job. The mind views the world in black and white: right and wrong, yes and no – it is a way of navigating through judgement, rather than discernment.
And the problem with allowing the mind to be the sole navigator, is we go to war with ourselves. Because the mind alone does not have the discernment to FEEL when it is destroying itself.
Set on a crusade for RIGHT, our mind takes on the task of destroying anything that doesn’t fit into its “idea” of perfection. Yet, it can only determine what is right and wrong based on programs it receives externally from itself (TV, parents, society, etc.).
Although the mind thinks its protecting the ego, it is actually self-sabotaging its human experience, because the mind (without a connection to the heart) does not have the ability to see itself in “the other” and does not have the ability to discern the complexity and nuance of emotion. Therefore, it’s incapable of truly knowing what a person needs.
The Shadow Side of the Empath
The Sociopath (or psychic Vampire) is the Shadow side of an empath. It’s what we become when our minds work independently from the heart — when we go to war with our hearts and attempt to live from a place of logic, rather than logic AND feeling. And the dark side of the empath is the most dangerous villain we will ever confront (all the more reason to integrate our shadow, eh?!).
Side note: I think the reason many empaths are often drawn to sociopaths is because we are trying to understand the part of us that is so unfeeling/unsympathetic TOWARD OURSELVES – the part of our mind’s creation that sabotages us.
In order for us to transcend the cycle of self-sabotage, we must reconnect to our heart’s navigation, and because we’ve been at war with ourselves, we must relearn the language and story of our hearts.
But how do we do this?
The Hearts tells the Unfolding Story of Human Consciousness
Thankfully, our hearts have been telling a crucial and revealing story for over 2000 years. And the dynamics of its story contain three primary roles: the Aggressor, the Victim, and the Savior.
The Aggressor/Victim/Savior paradigm is where the heart’s emotions are created, processed, and released. It’s a reality where our heart plays out the details of its story, as many times as it needs, in order to understand itself and become whole again.
Our human consciousness has evolved through the dynamics of this unfolding drama.
In order for a broken heart to find its way back to itself, we live out STORIES or experiences that remind us of who we really are.
It’s important to note that in order for this paradigm to function, the victim is needed.
The “victim” role is crucial for the Aggressor or Savior. The Aggressor and Savior use the Victim to show (to varying degrees) what our “God self” (or higher perspective) does and does not resonate with in regards to relating to our humanity. In a sense, the person playing the victim role allows our consciousness to see what we are, and what we aren’t.
Empathy is CRUCIAL in a “Aggressor/Victim/Savior” paradigm, because the only way OUT of this drama, is by recognizing our participation in ALL roles.
This is why it is easy for an empath to feel the aggressor’s pain, even when they may be the one at the brunt of the wrath. Or why it’s natural to identify with the savior, because we know the experience of feeling helpless or powerless is very real.
All of us have, at one time in our lives, played each role.
If we didn’t have the ability to recognize ourselves in each role, we would be caught in a never-ending battle against ourselves, because an aspect of us exists in ALL roles. Through living out these stories, we are telling the story of our human evolution, we are living the experience of the release and restoration of our hearts.
And the key to transcending this paradigm is EMPATHY.
If we never recognize that the one we are at war with is OURSELVES, we’ll never learn to harmonize with our shadow side and reconnect to our power (the heart). When we are disconnected from the heart, our power is untamed and uncontrolled. As we’ve seen, the heart is the most powerful magnetic field in the body – this means we quite literally PULL events and situations to us. When our hearts shut down, we attract situations to us unconsciously, and life can feel confusing and chaotic.
I’ll post more about the heart’s journey back to itself next week.
In the meantime, if you want to go deeper, check-out some of my recent videos and excerpts from the Empath Mentoring group.
How to Heal PTSD (pt 1)
How to Heal PTSD (pt 2)
Resources for empaths