Empathic Enlightenment.....interesting term, don't you think? Anyone who is familiar with the Occult and the New Age movement has heard terms like spiritual awakening, enlightenment, and ascension, whether it is from a Buddhist perspective or a more broad based ideal. So lets look at it from the Empathic perspective, and see what might possibly be going on within you.
An Empath is a person who has an acute or highly developed sense of empathy. Empathy is the capability to share your feelings and understand another's emotion and feelings and is often characterized as the ability to "put oneself into another's shoes".
One definition of Enlightenment says: Enlightenment broadly means wisdom or understanding enabling clarity of perception. However, the English word covers two concepts which can be quite distinct: religious or spiritual enlightenment and secular or intellectual enlightenment. This can cause confusion, since those who claim intellectual enlightenment often reject spiritual concepts altogether.
In religious use, enlightenment is most closely associated with South and East Asian religious experience, being used to translate words such as (in Buddhism) nirvana, bodhi or satori, or (in Hinduism) moksha. The concept also has parallels in the Abrahamic religions (in the Kabbalah tradition in Judaism, in Christian mysticism or Gnosticism, and in the Sufi fitra tradition of Islam).
Another website defines Enlightenment, from the Buddhist & Hindu perspectives as: Buddhism & Hinduism. A blessed state in which the individual transcends desire and suffering and attains Nirvana.
Another website defines Enlightenment as: the beatitude that transcends the cycle of reincarnation; characterized by the extinction of desire and suffering and individual consciousness.
While yet another defines Enlightenment as: a concept in spirituality, philosophy and psychology related to achieving clarity of perception, reason and knowledge.
Spiritual Awakening is defined as: a subjective experience where an individual reports contact with a transcendent reality, an encounter or union with the divine.
How does one attain Enlightenment or Spiritual Awakening, from an Empathic standpoint? Is it necessary, to be a healthy Empath? Are there psychological and physiological ramifications to seeking this type of path?
The road to enlightenment begins with one small step. And its the most important step, as well as, the hardest. Put simply, the road to enlightenment begins with a simple change in perspective. A shift in perspective that entails going from being a victim of your life, to the creator of it.
Now this isn't a self help discussion and this topic may not apply to everyone. If this is the case, there is no harm or judgment within this discussion as to your own personal path, because there is no right or wrong way to walk your path. It is simply a personal journey. And each of them are unique and beautiful in their own right.
This is offered up to help you broaden your perception and understand some of what your going through. So understand, this discussion is about you and not those you reach out to help with your beautiful gift of Empathy and compassion. So lets start with the 52 Symptoms of Spiritual Awakening and progress from there.
Enlightenment & The Empath
Spiritual awakening, or the journey to Enlightenment, begins with one step, as was mentioned in the explanation for this discussion. That first step is a shift in perspective.
An example of this would be one who has seen themselves as a perpetual victim all of their lives. The shift in perspective occurs when one stops seeing themselves as a victim, and begins to first view themselves as a survivor, who has been strengthened by the suffering they have gone through in their lives. It takes the person from feeling weak and worthless to a state of empowerment and strength.
Empaths, who are highly attuned to the emotional energy of those around them, are particularly susceptible to this. They tend to feel isolated, shunned, overwhelmed, and a victim of the world around them. They are afraid, because of their own personal negative experiences with others, to show the world who they truly are. This stems out of the fear of being labeled as one of the 'weird', the 'freaky', the 'crazy', and the 'mentally ill'.
And because they are so attuned to the outside world, they rarely go within themselves to analyze themselves. In fact, quite a few make it a point to avoid it at all costs. This is expressed in the avoidance of mirrors and pictures, selflessness to the point of martyrdom, and addictive behaviors which allow them to forget their problems for a while.
But once one is open to the idea, that as they are now, they are beautiful and unique individuals worth knowing and loving, by themselves as well as others, the gateway opens to move beyond what one is now, to something more than the limits they have placed upon themselves. This does not degrade or denigrate what one is in the now. It simply says that each and everyone of us, can be more than what we are now. And that is the beginning of true spiritual awakening.
For most Empaths, this is extremely hard to overcome and comprehend. Why? Because they are, as I said before, so focused on the outside world and seeking validation from those around them, that they do not take the time to do the soul searching which is necessary to reach this point.
Have I affronted you with this explanation? Do you, as an Empath, want to rail against me and scream 'That's not me!!!'? Or does it inspire you to look closer at yourself, to the root causes of the issues which hold you back in your life? Things which leave you feeling lonely, stagnant, impotent, and/or with a sense of constantly drowning. Either reaction is fine, because it makes you think. And thinking upon this issue raises questions you might not have asked otherwise. And seeking the answers to those questions brings understanding. And understanding brings forth wisdom and clarity of perception, which is Enlightenment.
Enlightenment isn't just a Buddhist or a Hindu concept of transcending desires and obliterating ego. Its whatever ideal you strive for, work toward, and reach for. And its not about the ultimate goal of attaining Enlightenment. Its about the journey, the self exploration, and the beautiful and painful things one encounters upon that journey, which help one strengthen and grow within themselves.
Enlightenment in its most basic form, in the case of the Empath, is simply removing the filter of Perspective Blindness which so many people have and utilize when they interact with others, particularly in an Empathic capacity. It allows one to work with and help others without personal judgments. It allows one to find the innate value within each and every person, despite things we might not agree with, believe in, or fully comprehend. In essence, it allows one to stand on equal footing with one and all, and offer love, support, and care for everyone, despite gender, age, sexual preference, religious affiliations, political affiliations, etc.
An excellent example of an Empath, who is a Wounded Healer, who is hindered and/or held back, by past personal experiences in their lives, is the use of certain words and the images they evoke within that person. Some offer compassion upon hearing such words. While others shut down and push away from it (to the point of lashing out at times).
The word Manipulation evokes memories, , within the the Wounded Healer and/or Empath, of being used and abused by another person. The word Abuse evokes personal memories of such occurrences. The word Psychic Vampire evokes fear of the unknown, because vampires denote something dark and evil, while the term psychic means that they might prey upon you to rob you of your energy. The word Different evokes feelings of dread, isolation, fear, loneliness, and sadness within the Wounded Healer/Empath.
The point is, like the experiences themselves which are being repressed and avoided, these words, and words like them, hinder one's own personal growth and development. And this happens because of the negative connotations we attach to these words due to memories of the past, which the Empath is attempting to repress, hide, and/or avoid.
And when one can see the words, beyond their own experiences, as nothing more than words, then the fear associated with these terms dissolves. And one is left with a word and nothing more.
The Psychological Ramifications Of Seeking Enlightenment
Once one is on the path to Enlightenment, one will discover that repressed issues will rise up on their own, demanding to be dealt with. And it is easy to run away from them, when it happens. Or to get distracted by getting lost within the past.
But to grow and develop, not just as it pertains to Enlightenment, being an Empath and/or a Wounded Healer, one must stop running and face what is coming toward you head on.
This can take a severe toll upon the psyche of one who is upon this journey. It can send one into depression or what is known as the Dark Night Of The Soul. It can cause one to doubt their journey, their purpose, and their beliefs. It can also cause one to wonder if they were mistaken about what they have been working toward all along. But again, this is distraction that must be faced head on in order to move forward.
So whether its about being simply a healthy person or a healthy Empath, it must first begin with you, because its your journey and only you have the ability to take the first step toward achieving that state of health, as opposed to the state of feeling like you are constantly drowning.
Empathic Enlightenment is, quite simply put, about you and the road you walk, whatever that may be. Its about facing what holds you back and overcoming it. Its about letting go of the things, from words to experiences, which hinder your progress. Its about you, and you alone. So think about it. ^_^