Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Psychology Of Fear

The Definition Of Fear

There are a number of definitions for Fear. Here are some of them:

1. A painful emotion or passion excited by the expectation of evil, or the apprehension of impending danger; apprehension; anxiety; solicitude; alarm; dread.

2. Apprehension of incurring, or solicitude to avoid, God's wrath; the trembling and awful reverence felt toward the Supreme Being.

3. Respectful reverence for men of authority or worth.

4. That which causes, or which is the object of, apprehension or alarm; source or occasion of terror; danger; dreadfulness.

5. To feel a painful apprehension of; to be afraid of; to consider or expect with emotion of alarm or solicitude.


The Nature Of Fear

We have all known fear, at one level or another, at some point in our lives. It's that feeling of being 'stuck' or 'safe' in our lives. It is that feeling of impotence and stagnation which assaults us, at times. It is that need to stay 'safe' within our own little world, instead of pushing and extending ourselves past our own limits.

It is that thing we cling to, like a safe harbor, when we walk into risky situations and come out having lost nothing of significance. It feels bad to lose, but it also feels secure in that nothing of significance was wagered and lost, as well.

Fear, like any other emotion, in moderation and in its proper place, is healthy. It can keep us safe and alert us to potentially dangerous situations. And yet, most of the time we cling to some level of fear that goes beyond the healthy, which holds us back and forces us to feel stagnation in our lives.

Mark Twain is quoted as saying, "Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear." This quote says quite a bit. But it does not say to walk blindly into danger, without being aware of what is going on around you. It says that you walk on, despite the fear that naturally arises within all of us. It says that fear is simply another emotion and not your master, which controls, rules, and dictates your life for you.

And while fear exists toward the huge hurdles we face in our lives, it also exists for the smaller ones. Even certain words can instill fear, if you have issues in your past that you have avoided and refused to deal with head on.

Words like manipulation, darkness, and prejudice have the power to instill fear within people, because the word alone is a reminder of something from the past. It is a connection, linked at the subconscious level, to a past event that one might not even realize is causing the issue. You might not even realize you have a problem with the issue in question.

Fear can extend further to things like prejudice where in the one who appears prejudiced has deep seated issues with something they associate with another person. And that thing doesn't have to be rational. It can be as simple as the color of their hair to as deep and personal as their religious and/or moral beliefs.

And yet, even as it extends to this, the person in question may not even be aware of what is causing them to push away from another person so hard. They may not know why they are lashing out in such an aggressive or violent way (verbally or physically).

When I was much younger, there was a certain personality type in women that I tended to push away from. I always ended up hating people who held those particular personality traits. It was easier for me to hate them, than it was to try to understand them, and understand myself and the underlying reasons I hated them.

It wasn't until much later, after quite a bit of soul searching, that I discovered a correlation to something that had happened to me in the past, in those women. They reminded me of someone else who had abused me horribly in my childhood.

It didn't justify my anger or hate. In fact it forced me to go back and reevaluate each of the encounters I had had with people with those personality traits. And it was uncomfortable to realize I had judged people, based on something they didn't do, who didn't deserve my judgment.

I can't say that all of them were nice people. But discovering my own part in the interaction shocked me into feeling ashamed and guilty for what I'd done. And realizing it made me think harder about how I treat people, even in the words I use to communicate with them. And in that bit of soul searching, I learned to forgive myself and move on.

The point here is, that we can hide (to stay safe),we can wallow in our own self pity, guilt, and shame, or we can deal with what we are running from and move on from it. And in the process take a lesson away from the encounters, since they are in the past and there is nothing more we can do about them.

I could have sat there for years and berated myself over and over again, as was my way of stripping myself of any worth for a long time, about what a horrible person I was then and must still be. I could have hidden away from the truth about what I did and the person I was then, and the issues I carried with me. But none of those things would allow me to move forward. It only ever made me feel like I was drowning in stagnant water full of filth and grime. It only ever left me feeling dirty.

The nature of fear is that it is only an emotion, like any other. Wayne Dyer is quoted as saying, "The components of anxiety, stress, fear, and anger do not exist independently of you in the world. They simply do not exist in the physical world, even though we talk about them as if they do." So if fear is simply an emotion, like any other, and it only exists within you, you have the innate ability to control it, instead of allowing it to control you.

The truest nature of fear is said best in this quote by Marianne Williamson, "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us. As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence actually liberates others. "

Empathy & Fear

Fear and empathy , do not go hand in hand. This is because when one is fearful, one is centered in the 'self' and not able to focus on others. Empathy, though, encompasses the understanding of fear, in oneself and others. In understanding it, one can help themselves and others reach beyond the fear to something more productive.

When one is afraid, there usually arises a fight or flight instinct within the person. This tends to block out all other emotions, because one is either preparing to stand their ground or run away. In this scenario, it also tends to block out the expression of empathy, when it is at its height. But understand this isn't because the person doesn't care, its just that their focus is so drawn to the thing causing the fear, that they take no notice of anything else.

Imagine, if you will, an Empath who is afraid of helping, out of fear of reprisal. Try imagining the driving need they feel to help someone who seems to be suffering. And now imagine the impotence they feel, when they can not articulate that, even when they have the right words to say and the right shoulder to cry on. How does one move forward from that, unless they step into the fray and put themselves out there, by offering help and support to others?

Now imagine an Empath who puts themselves out there so much, that there is no time left for themselves. In fact they put themselves out there to help others so much, that it literally takes a toll on them, physically and mentally. As well, they seem not to care about their own safety when it comes to helping others.

This too, is a form of fear. It is the fear and avoidance of dealing with self and our own issues. And even while it seems altruistic in nature, this is only so in one direction ~ outwardly toward others. The self, in all its shapes and forms, is basically relegated to the gutter because upon comparison, with who one is when they give like this and who one is inside, they prefer the person they are as they give, who seems to have no problems. And yet the problems still exist, even as they push them down to avoid them.

So what you've seen here are two examples of the types of fear, as Empaths, we deal with within ourselves. There are more, of course. But these are enough, I think, to make the point. So think about it. ^_^

4 Fundamental Facts About Fear

1) Fear lives in the future


Fear is always about something that might happen in the future. As far as your focus
is in the present, you cannot have fear. When fear sets in ask yourself ‘do I have any problem at this moment?’ You may find surprising relief!

2) Fear is just an emotion

Irrational Fear is an overblown imagination of what might happen in future. When you are afraid that your plane would crash, it is just an emotion not the crash itself. When you recognize this, you’ll make fear powerless

3) Fear is always about loss – loss of life, wealth, respect etc.


The fear of losing it is proportionate to the intensity of the attachment you have on it. Try practicing detached attachment and keep fear at the bay

4) Fear is present only when there is a desire

Fear arises only when there could be a conflict between what you want and what might happen. We build up expectations around life and come up with a concrete picture of how our lives SHOULD be. This rigidity forms a strong foundation for fear. If we are flexible, we can withstand the storm. When we flow with life, fears dissolve. When you find yourself in the middle of the storm, ask yourself 'Why should I resist this?' You may find your strength to let go and flow.


Steps To Treating Fear

Step 1: External control
The overall goal of psychotherapy is to foster internal control of fear. External control may be a necessary precursor, but it is the beginning, not the end. Medications sometimes help, but they should be the kind that augment internal control (anti-depressants, like Prozac, Paxil, Wellbutrin) not the kind that directly alleviate the symptoms of fear ( Alcohol, Valium, Xanax, Klonopin) Avoiding the situations in which fear occurs may help in the short run, but can quickly become more dangerous than fear.

Step 2: Taking the measure of fear
Once people understand what fear really is, they can begin to act as if it doesn’t exist. Real things have properties. They take up space and have weight. Psychological entities have properties as well. They exist in space and time with measurable intensity and duration. What makes them real is words. Fearful people are encouraged to examine their fear rather than merely reacting to it.

Step 3: Internal control
Once people understand what fear is, the next step is showing them that, through their actions, they can exert some control over it.
Relaxation and exercise
Though rather low-tech, relaxation training and regular exercise work wonders on two distinct levels. They decrease generalized arousal, thereby raising the threshold for explosions, and they move fearful people from passively accepting their disorder to doing something about it.
Desensitization
The basic behavioral procedure for fear disorders involves substituting relaxation for the fight or flight response, and using the new connection to help frightened people move progressively closer to what they fear.
Cognitive Therapy
The basic idea of this approach is: What you feel is determined by what you say to yourself inside your head. It involves extensive re-recording of the internal soundtrack of existence.

Step 4: Creating a new balance
Fear disorders often develop in people who have difficulty asking for what they do want and saying no to what they don’t want. Sometimes they let their illnesses speak for them when they should be speaking for themselves. When they do speak up, it can cause emotional explosions in the people around them, who wonder why they’re not as compliant as they used to be. It helps to have significant others involved in this phase of treatment.




A Video Guide To Fear

Krishnamurti ~ The Nature and the Eradication Of Fear Part 1


Krishnamurti ~ The Nature and the Eradication Of Fear Part 2


Krishnamurti ~ The Nature and the Eradication Of Fear Part 3


Krishnamurti ~ The Nature and the Eradication Of Fear Part 4


Krishnamurti ~ The Nature and the Eradication Of Fear Part 5


Krishnamurti ~ The Nature and the Eradication Of Fear Part 6

Saturday, September 26, 2009

An Empath Quiz: What kind of Empath are you?

This is another Empath quiz called 'What kind of Empath Are you? Give it a try: http://quizfarm.com/quizzes/quiz/EmberDust/what-kind-of-empath-are-you/



Here are my results:


































You Scored as Balanced Empath: You possess a good balance of both Emotional and Cognitive Empathy, as well as, interpersonal and intrapersonal skills. You are able to share and understand your own feelings, as well as, share in and understand another person's feelings, which is often characterized as the ability to 'place oneself in another's shoes' or 'see through another person's eyes'.

Visit http://empathcommunity.ning.com for help, support, understanding and friendship.








Balanced Empath: You possess a good balance of both Emotional and Cognitive Empathy, as well as, interpersonal and intrapersonal skills. You are able to share and understand your own feelings, as well as, share in and understand another person's feelings, which is often characterized as the ability to 'place oneself in another's shoes' or 'see through another person's eyes'.



100%






Cognitive Empath: You possess an awareness of the need to imaginatively put yourself in the place of others in order to genuinely understand them, which requires the consciousness of your egocentric tendency to identify truth with your immediate perceptions of long-standing thought or belief. This kind of Empathy allows someone insight into the inner emotional world of other people.



100%






Emotional Empath: You feel someone else's emotions physically along with the other person, as though their emotions were contagious and/or as though they were your own. This kind of Empathy makes someone well-attuned to another persons inner emotional world. It is interpersonal in nature.



96%






Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Life Lived In A Personal Hell

**Before I begin this discussion, let me just say this is not a religious discourse in any way, shape, or form. What is offered below does not advocate one particular path over another, because in the writer's view point there are many paths, none being more or less wrong or right than any other.**

We've all heard about hell in some shape or form, right? I mean how could you not, despite whatever country and/or religion you come from. Its there in some variation or another.

But when you look beyond the visual perceptions religions have cast upon Hell, what is it really? Where does it exist? And can it exist here on Earth?

Now again, you might be thinking this is a religious discussion, but its not. I'm simply using Hell as a metaphor for suffering. And every human being, despite upbringing, social status, religion, and what not, has suffered and most can understand the concept of human suffering. So please, bear with me here.

There is a saying, when one is bemoaning their fate, that says 'My life has turned into my own personal Hell!'

So through a religious context, from four different belief systems, I'm going to offer you some basic ways to help pull yourself out of that 'personal hell'.

The Christian Perspective



The Buddhist Perspective



The Wiccan Perspective



The Native American Perspective



What you may not note is that there are similarities in each of these different perspectives. And these similarities, despite religion, are extremely positive in nature. They have the potential to change lives, if one truly understands their meaning.

The biggest message, which seems all encompassing, is do no harm. Don't hurt others by lying, stealing, hurting, or practicing untoward sexual acts with them. And in the reverse, do not hurt yourself by doing these things to others, because what effects them, will effect you. Its all about respect toward others, as well as, toward yourself.

Your thoughts, choices, and actions bring about the life you lead. This can cause one to live in a perpetual hell on Earth, where slowly one loses hope and falls into desolation and depression. Or it can cause one to find a sound balance within their lives, where they are capable of moving forward with their lives, despite the setbacks which befall them.

Its all based on your perspective of yourself, the world around you, and the people you interact with. Religions, despite which one you choose, offer you basic guidelines for a better life. But you have to be the one to take the first step in changing your own perspective.

And in the end, its not necessarily about religion. Its about you and finding what works for you. What I want for you, beyond the religious beliefs you hold (which are fine, whatever they may be) is to find a path that works for you. Start simple. Look for simple truths that have meaning to you. I know its hard to incorporate into your world, but it can be done with time, patience, and vigilance. And most importantly, has as much faith in yourself, as you do your God (which ever you choose), because you are worth having faith in and believing in. But this does not say, put yourself on the level of your deity, simply work toward whatever it is you find meaning in. Make it your own.

So think about it, study it, and discover how a few simple ideas can literally change your perspective and your life. Or don't, because like always, it's ultimately up to you and the ball is in your court.

The Garden

The GardenWe all have our own little garden. It is yours, and yours alone. Every bit is untouchable by anyone other than you. You oversee every plant, every spec of soil. It is all yours. And like every garden, you start with soil. But this soil is no normal soil. It is the perfect soil. Rich in nutrients, minerals, carbon, nitrogen, etc. The Earth is rich and light, capable of supporting all kinds of plantlife. From roses to trees, to shrubs and bushes, to hops and sugar cane, the soil is truly magnificient. But what is a garden that is made of only soil? The next step requires seeds. And where do you get those seeds? Why, they are all around you. Acorns. The breeze carries spores and seeds designed to float on wind, and little animals carry seeds on their fur. Even the gardens of other people have excess seeds that are free for the taking. The seeds leave their gardens, and travel to yours. But, even as you are given all the seeds in the world, and the most magnificent soil ever to grace Earth, it is you that has to plant the seeds. This is YOUR garden, and nobody can touch it. This also means that nobody can plant your seeds for you. There is nobody you can hire, there is nobody you can go to, there is nobody that can touch your garden, but you. Each seed, however, must be planted with care. It must get attention, and a generous amount of water. Space is not a problem, as you get as much room as you require. But, you cannot plant too many seeds too close together. They will compete for space, and as a result, suffer. But just because seeds have been planted and watered does not mean that the job is over. Plants require constant attention, examination and care. Certain plants need to be trimmed, so that they can grow. Other plants need to be cut away, or moved after certain periods of time. This is an around-the-clock job, and you cannot focus just on one plant. But the most important thing, is that plants require one more resource: time. Plants do not sprout and grow instantly. They require time to properly grow and flourish.However, planting and caring for your plants are not your only tasks. Your garden requires you to be a security guard as well, removing harmful weeds or other parasitic entities. Weeds compete with your plants for space and resources, and must be dealt with. You can get in there and weed by hand, or you can purchace weed-killer. However, if you use too much weed-killer, or the wrong type, you risk killing your plants you've worked so hard on. And pulling those weeds may not work either, because you may only just get the top of the weed, while the roots are flourishing just underneath. But just because something is living in your garden, does not make it bad. Of course, creatures like mice and rodents will eat your plants, causing them harm. But other creatures, like cats, are beneficial. Cats will eat the rodents, and not your plants. Worms will make the soil more rich and light. And butterflies, well they do nothing for your garden except make it look nicer. And the most important thing to remember, is that creatures may come and go, but your garden will always be whatever you want it to be. The seeds you plant and care for are the only ones that will fourish. You can grow whatever you like. Watermelons. Fruit. Grapes. Hops. But the most important thing to remember, is that other people have gardens too. In fact, they are in plain sight. You can just look over your fence, and see what your neighbor bob is doing with his garden. And sure, you can go over and chat with him. See what he does different than you, see what works for him. And you can try these new techniuqes you picked up from bob, to see if they help your garden flourish. But then, there are some people who think they can make your garden flourish, or they know the only way to make your garden flourish. The most important thing to remember, is that they have gardens of their own, and you are only responsible for your garden, and they are only responsible for theirs. But instead of taking everything to heart, and trying to make their method work, find methods that work for you, because remember, they could be planting fake plants while you aren't looking.

Something else to watch out for, is worrying about leaving your garden, or worrying about what will happen when you leave your garden. Is there someone else out there who will care for us when we have no more soil to work in? These are not questions you should concern yourself with. We all are destined to leave our magnificient garden behind at one point or another. But worrying about what comes after our garden leaves less time for making it beautiful now. There are roses you could be planting, or trees to be watering. And sure, there are forces that happen outside of your garden. Storms, rain, hurricanes. These all pay a vital role. Some are beneficial, while others are negative. But your garden is never destroyed. The soil is never removed, or poisoned. You can always replant the plants. It just takes time and effort.

But, by far, the worst thing you can have is envy. Wanting another person's garden. Seeing their beautiful roses, and wanting some of your own. Sure, you can aquire the seeds, sure you can do the work. Sure, you can breed better, bigger, and more beautiful roses than your neighbor. But if you really stop to think about it, what have you created? You can be proud of your work, sure. But if you really stop to think, those roses cannot be eaten. If that person were to leave her garden, you would be left with what, bright roses?

But, there is also one more thing to remember: you can eat the fruit of another person's labor, but that makes you dependant on them for food. A better alternative is to aquire the seeds for growing your own fruit. Give a man a fish, and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he eats for a lifetime.

I've just given you the seeds.

Now go plant your garden.

Empath Lost ~ Empath Found

When I was much younger, I would compare my own suffering to that of others. And I was always left with one of two reactions. The first would be that no one could understand what I was going through, not really anyway because they hadn't been through the same things I had. The second was that my pain, while considerable, was nothing compared to what others had suffered.

With the first reaction, I closed myself off from everyone who might be reaching out to help me. In doing this, the assumption arose that the only thing people were offering me was pity, and I hated being pitied more than anything else, because I certainly wasn't a charity case.

And when I had the second reaction, I closed myself off to the help I could offer to others because of our shared pain, despite its differences. I could not see any value in what I had to offer, particularly if they were suffering in that moment. And I ended up feeling guilty and ashamed because I couldn't even reach out a hand to sooth their pain a little bit.

My biggest mistake wasn't having one reaction or another, believe it or not, because those were reactionary to the mistake. The mistake itself was comparing myself to others. By comparing myself to others, I found myself lacking in some way or I found others lacking in some way. And I ended up closing the door on those that were in need or that could help me when I was in need. And by my own choices and actions, I ended up reinforcing my own beliefs that I was alone and/or worthless.

It wasn't until much later in my life that I started realizing that, while on the surface one person's suffering differed greatly from another, beneath the surface suffering is suffering and pain is pain, despite the actual experiences. It brings forth the same feelings, despite its differences; shame, guilt, loneliness, depression, isolation, desolation, and a plethora of other emotions.

And if you can come to the table with that in hand, you can understand and share anyone's pain. And you can help offer them comfort and understanding, with the ultimate message being 'you are not alone'.

As well, it opened the door to allow others to help me begin to heal. Because that is not something one can normally do alone. Support, friendship and love are the things that strengthen us and empower us enough to move forward in our lives. And these are not things that should be shunned because one assumes they are being pitied.

To pity a person takes compassion. Compassion entails being able to place oneself in the other person's shoes. And there is no shame in this act, not if one is truly open to help.

I noticed that one of the things that held me back from accepting this kind of support was my pride. It would do a somersault when it heard the word charity or pity. It would cause me to feel disgusted at the mere thought that I needed this kind of support, because I was 'better' than that.

I know better than this now, though. Even if I can stand on my own, I still need support, friendship, kindness, and love. I know this because no one, no matter how much they imagine it, is completely self contained.

I was once an Empath Lost. And now, I am an Empath striving to be found. Its definitely a rocky journey. And sometimes, even I falter in my steps, fall on my rear end, and want to give up. Its ongoing and never ceasing. And its a struggle day in and day out.

But even as you walk your path alone, never think you are alone on the journey you have embarked upon. You are never alone. We are all right there with you, struggling to be heard, understood, and cherished, just like you. All you have to do is stop staring at your feet and look around you to see it.

So I will say it one more time, you are not alone ~ any of you. Think about it.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Words Within Songs

Sometimes music can be even more powerful than anything we can say or write to express how we are feeling. Listen to some of these to see and feel what I'm talking about:

Simple Plan ~ Untitled (How Can This Happen To Me...)



Timbaland ~ Apologize



Avril Lavigne ~ I Will Be



Avril Lavigne ~ Keep Holding On



Avril Lavigne ~ I'm With You


Jordin Sparks ~ Battlefield



Jesse McCartney ~ Bleeding Love



Lara Fabian ~ I Will Love Again



Linkin Park ~ In The End



Evanescence ~ My Immortal



Sarah Mclachlan ~ In The Arms Of The Angel



Sarah Mclachlan ~ Full Of Grace



Sarah Mclachlan ~ Stupid




These are only a few examples that express different emotions. Can you feel the meaning of the words in each of the songs? Can you feel the emotions? As an Empath, its not just about feeling other people's emotions. Sometimes its simply about feeling, period. It doesn't matter what the source is.

In speaking about music,it carries the emotion as much as the words in the lyrics. It carries you on a wave which heightens your emotions. And its a beautiful experience. And you don't even have to like a particular song or type of music to understand its meaning ~ to feel it.

So listen and think about it.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Darkness

“Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it.”
~~Terry Pratchett

The light causes the darkness to abate, flee, run away, and hide. That's a misnomer. Light only causes the darkness to become unseen to the human eye, but it does not eradicate it.

Within the human heart, for example, there are equal amounts of both. This is even true for light workers and light warriors. And its also true for Empaths. This is because, whatever else they might be, they are still human beings.

One can run from it. One can hide from it. One can even believe its eradicated. But if one believes that if they walk in the light, darkness can not touch them, they are mistaken. Because in this case, the darkness doesn't represent evil, as is a prevalent belief held by many. This does not say there is not real evil in the world, please understand. It only says, that in the case of the human heart, it is usually not the case.

In this case, the darkness is an emotion seen through the metaphor of the dark. That emotion is fear. And behind the darkness lays the unknown.

If you go back to the discussion on Dreams and Nightmares, what you will discover is that the darkness still haunts us, even when we run from it, even when we hide from it, and even when we fall endlessly down the rabbit hole.

But running, hiding, and falling are choices, be it in dreams or in real life. Perhaps they are not conscious choices that our rational mind makes. Perhaps running stems from issues in the past that have not been sufficiently dealt with. Perhaps hiding in something like the taint of prejudice, hides something within the person that they do not want to be discovered and can not face themselves. And perhaps falling is simply a refusal to look up and see the dark clouds parting to offer you a way to rise.

No matter what the metaphor or dream or behavior is, it all stems from the human heart and the darkness that is wrapped around it. Many call it their 'beast', or the 'demons on their closet' best left in the darkness. So they shun that part of themselves in the hopes that it will disappear. But it never does, does it?

Two quotes exemplify this:

“To be a star, you must shine your own light, follow your own path, and don't worry about the darkness, for that is when the stars shine brightest”
~~Anonymous

“When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.”
~~Charles Austin Beard

The darkness is all around us. The darkness is within us, no matter how much light we shine on it to scare it away or hide it.

The key to halting the darkness is not to run from it. It is to stand up to it with open arms and welcome it in, because the only thing that has ever been chasing after you was you. If you welcome it and integrate it into your heart, then there are no limits to what you can do with your life.

Another great quote exemplifies this point:

“The depth of darkness to which you can descend and still live is an exact measure of the height to which you can aspire to reach.”

~~Anonymous

Its all about you and who you are. And if you can not embrace all of who you are, even the not so pretty parts which are shrouded in darkness, then it will haunt you......worse than any spirit, ghost, or demon ever could.

When you finally come to the point where you can embrace all of you, you will find balance. You will find peace. And you will be able to begin a new journey, which is whatever you wish it to be, because it is the story of you.

So on that note I will leave you with a poem. I wrote it when I was going through this myself.


Child of the Shadow, Child of the Light

A small girl laid empty,
cold and alone,
within the sheltering of the shadows,
as glistening tears pierced the darkness
and shimmered.
And as they rolled down her cheeks,
and fell to the floor,
to blend seamlessly with
the crimson pool of clotted disdain
in which she sat,
her dead pan eyes looked on
into the hazy dusk of the room,
and saw nothing,
a world devoid of shape and color,
barren of life,
and flooded with desolation.


Through the gloom,
and hidden within the obscurity of the dark,
came the hollow echo of a whisper,
barely audible to the child
drenched in her own morose melancholy.
'You are not alone',
came upon a gentle breath into her ear.
And as she slowly raised her
tear stained eyes to gaze into the void,
she saw before her,
darkness transform into light,
a ray of hope smiling down upon her,
filled with a resplendent love
strong enough to luminesce the entire room,
bathing it in a glow of celestial radiance.

And as this transcending beauty
reached a gentle hand out to the child,
to help her stand,
the child realized,
with a heaving cry,
that she had not the strength
to reach out and grasp
the hand offered up to her any longer.
And upon this realization,
new tears brimmed from her eyes,
as she looked up helplessly
into the light which stood before her.

Smiling tenderly in complete understanding,
the angelic light bent down,
humbling itself before the child,
and took her into its warm embrace,
for there was no need to stand,
no need to be without support,
no need any longer to be alone.

And as she looked back upon
the scarlet pool which
stained the ground upon which
she had sat huddled in the darkness,
there still sat a child,
alone,
caught within the moments
between life and death,
and out the ashes of those tears,
arose someone new,
born of light,
born of hope,
born of love,
a transcending child of the light.


In this poem, you are the child and you are the light. Think about it. ^_^

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Scientific Approach to the Metaphors of Life

Gravity is magic.

Seriously.

Wizards are sitting, high up in their towers, snickering at you, casting spells to make things go down! That is a perfectly reasonable explanation, right? Well, it is, at least until we figured out that gravity is just two objects attracted to each other at a certain speed.

force exerted between two objects
It's math!

See, we as humans have an automatic need to solve everything. As soon as the first monkey created the question mark, we have been systematically scrutinizing everything. Who? What? When? Where? Why? How? And sure, we have made mistakes. But it was the best explanation at the time.



But as science goes, we are always figuring out new theories. The one with the fewest holes at the end is the winner(Except string theory, that little bastard, it made no sense, and yet had scientists going crazy until finally, someone found at least a little logic in it).

As is the way with all explanations and theories. We hold on to them, until a better, less holy theory comes along. All fields of science are constantly expanding, even psychology.

This is the way science works: first, you ask a question. Then, you gather information. Then you experiment. You then gather information from your experiment. If your question was answered, you're done, otherwise, you go back to step 2. That is the very basics of the scientific method.

Notice something important up there: if your question went unanswered, you aren't done. A famous quote I love goes like this: "The absence of proof is not the proof of absence." For example, let's say a rhino runs through my living room. If I weren't around to witness said rhino rampaging through my living room, and it left no trace of its being there, then upon returning to my home, I would assume that no rhinos had crossed through my house. However, if instead of leaving no trace, it peed on my carpet, upon returning to my home, I would smell the rhino pee and exclaim, "A rhino has run through my house and peed on my carpet!"


This, except on a carpet. And more rhino-ish.

In the above example, a rhino ran through my house both times. However, since it left no proof of it's path the first time, I assumed that nothing happened. The fact that there is no proof, proves nothing. This is perfectly displayed with scientific tests of telekinesis, precognition, and other psychic phenomenon. Researchers have been unable to produce scientifically reputable proof of psychic powers. But, on the other side, scientists have been unable to produce proof that humans are not capable of psychic powers.

However, just because we don't know everything, that doesn't mean we don't know anything. Psychologists have figured out how mind works, to a degree. We know the right side of your brain, the one responsible for art, creativity, music, etc, it loves metaphors. It also works nearly independent of your left brain. Your left brain, on the other hand, is responsible for math, numbers, and nearly anything that requires analytical skill. Now, this is how your brain receives sensory information. First, the information is sent to the right brain. The right brain then just lumps it all together, kinda like how an artist might just slap paint up on a wall. Sounds, colors, pressure, wind, heat, it really doesn't matter. Your right brain just collects the information, and throws it all together. As your right brain throws information together, it notices patterns. Similarities. But all the real grunt-work is done by your left brain. Your left brain has the grueling task of sorting out all the right brain's crap. It has to pick out sounds, and like a jigsaw puzzle, put the world together. Your left brain is responsible, not for seeing colors, but distinguishing objects. Keyboard. Monitor. Desk. Cup. Mouse. Spider. Keys. Husband. Rhino. etc. (Damn, it's really hard not to use programming metaphors. I'd say that it's like creating classes in C++, but I doubt anybody really knows what that means.)

Okay, I think I know how to explain it. Think about a rhino. Got it? You probably visualized it. If you didn't, you will now.


Now, just imagine it peeing. On my carpet.

Big and gray, stinky, it has a huge white horn... The left brain is responsible for telling you that. "Oh, that's a rhino. I know that because it's color, shape, and characteristics, like a horn." Your left brain would access your memories, and then give you a basic average of all the rhino's you've seen. Now, the right brain has a completely different method of doing things. If you were to see a rhino, it would just hang in the background and say "Ohh hey! That skin looks rough... kinda like leather. Probably pretty coarse. Oh, hey, it is pretty big. Probably heavy too... it looks kinda like an elephant! It even has one of those big white-stabby things too! I wonder how it would fair in a fight with an elephant?"

Now, your right brain is always doing this. With all the sensory information coming at you 24/7, your right brain is always picking out similarities, and your left brain is always telling you what's around you. However, the thing nobody tells you about your subconscious, is that it's not inaccessible, or even underneath your conscious mind, as the term 'sub'-conscious implies. No, it's working right alongside your conscious mind, like a foreign friend. You might not understand him at times, but dammit, he's always there for you. And just like a real foreign language, you never really understand what he's saying, but you get glimpses every now and then. Your subconscious mind is the same way. It speaks an entirely different language than you do. And to get what's your little foreign friend is saying, you must learn his language, the language of metaphor.



And this is why we have animal totems, dream symbol dictionaries, and nearly everything else that is symbolic and mystical. It comes from your subconscious mind's metaphors. When you see animals, your analytical brain is saying, "Spider, legs, web, trash can, car, bug caught in web, spider attacking bug, ect.", but deeper, your subconscious is noting the similarities. The way the spider builds a trap, they way bugs are caught in the trap, the way the spider is not caught, and the way all that relates to everything else. And so, upon seeing a spider, your subconscious mind might finally cough up some useful metaphor. Your foreign friend might finally say something you can understand. And this is how we get animal totems.

I think you can piece together the rest.

For a great story about left brain/right brain stuff, see Jill Bolte Taylor give a lecture on the stroke she had.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Motivation To Become An Empath

What drove you to claim the name of Empath for yourself? Did someone mention 'you might be an Empath' to you and you looked it up? Did you find a definition and/or a list of traits that fit you down to the very last day?

Have you always felt alone or perhaps distant from everyone around you, even when you were in a room full of people? Have you isolated yourself from the world? Have you felt depressed or carried a sense of being lost all your life? How about feeling different? And what about being called names like 'freak', 'weird', 'oversensitive', 'nuts', and 'mental'?

Have you been abused, used, manipulated, or suffered some kind of trauma in your life? In your personal relationships, despite what type it is, is it hard to trust others and open yourself completely out of the fear of rejection or being hurt, perhaps because of past experiences? Do you repeat abusive patterns in the people you choose to let in, be it boyfriend or friend?

Do you feel like you must give to others till it hurts in order to find any value within yourself? Does their praise and thanks sustain your sense of worth? And does the title Empath give you a sense of empowerment and belonging, like you've never felt before in your life? Does it feel like you have a home now......a purpose......and meaning for your life?

Do you have little to no self esteem or self worth? Are you passive instead of assertive? Are you a people pleaser?

On the flip side of this, do you find your greatest joy in those moments when you are helping someone? How about as you sit and listen to them talk about their problems? How about when you connect with them so deeply you want to cry right along with them, because you have the ability to share their pain and you do it?

Do all of these personal issues stop one from being what they claim, an Empath? Is this the underlying reason you do this, instead of the one that seems like a surface reason ~ altruism? Is it hitting to close to home, as you read it? Does it make you feel like a fraud?

Before you get angry and leave this discussion, let me explain something to you. Just because some or all of the above is true, doesn't make you a fraud. People are complex beings with many motivations for doing what they do ~ some personal and some altruistic. Pointing one out or highlighting it, instead of the more altruistic one, doesn't make the altruistic one any less true.

But if you are feeling the least bit guilty or ashamed right now, which you may or may not be feeling, then perhaps......just perhaps there are some emotional issues within yourself that you need to work on for your own mental health and emotional well being.

But understand, that doesn't change who you are or what you can do when you share your gifts of love and compassion with others. It does not devalue you. Only your own perception of yourself can do that.

It might be that you build your self worth on people's thanks or in the act of giving, but this does not denigrate the act of giving itself. Because giving love and showing others compassion and empathy, well.....that is a beautiful thing. And despite the hang-ups you might carry with you, you've found a productive way to express your own need by helping others in whatever capacity you choose.

But this discussion is about you and the way you view yourselves. Its about your own personal value and worth, because its there whether you realize it or not. So in essence, its about your perception of yourself.

If you run and hide, or feel shame and guilt because you have ulterior motives for what you do in offering help to others, your not perceiving your own worth. Your not seeing that it wasn't just anyone who was motivated to take time out of their day to help someone in need and show them compassion, it was you. And that very act says more about you than all the things I've described above will ever say. That is your beauty and that is your gift. And that is the place to start seeing the value of you, as a person and an Empath.

Think about it.

Nightmares & The Empath

When I was younger, I used to have this dream, which one could classify as a nightmare, where I was running down this long hallway with lots of doorways. All of the doorways were locked. But there were still places to hide, like stacked boxes covered in tarps and such. So I'd end up stopping and cowering behind those boxes, in the hopes of whatever was chasing me not finding me.

One time, I even saw what was chasing me. Have you ever seen the movie, 'The Blob'? It was a rather large pile of gelatinous goo, and yet it was a monster of some kind. And it seemed to mean business, unlike wiggly jiggly jello. And it quite literally scared me to death, at the time, because within it was a sense of drowning, like one would feel if one was falling into the ocean and could not halt themselves when they reach the water. And all they could do, even as they fought to rise to the surface, was fall deeper and deeper into the dark depths of that raging ocean as it consumes them.

I would wake up in a cold sweat, possibly screaming, and my heart racing like I had just run a triathlon. And no matter how much I went back over the dream, which was rare at the time, I could not figure out what the blob really was in the dream. Was it someone I was dating? Was it a friend who had hurt me? Was it someone in my family? Was it someone who hated me? And then I started studying dreams, psychology, and the art of linguistics.....in particular the use of metaphor. And from there, I discovered another possible answer, that had never occurred to me, which made so much sense it was scary. The blob I was running away from, was me. It was a metaphor of me and all the things within my life I was afraid to face and deal with. All of the things that seemingly left a gaping hole within my heart, aching with a need no one could fill within me.

So lets look at some of the typical dreams which can be constituted as nightmares, and see how they apply to you. And lets see if we can give you a bit more perspective on these dreams and what they might possibly mean. So lets begin with some basic definitions first, and move on from there.

But keep in mind, these are only possible meanings/interpretations, as it pertains to dreams. And ultimately, any dream interpretation must come from you, because the dream came from your own subconscious mind. Thus you are the best one to interpret it and apply it to your own life.

Definitions

Dreams are a series of images, ideas, emotions, and sensations occurring in the mind during certain stages of sleep.[1] The content and purpose of dreams are not fully understood, though they have been a topic of speculation and interest throughout recorded history. The scientific study of dreams is known as oneirology.

A Nightmare is an unpleasant dream. Nightmares cause a strong unpleasant emotional response from the sleeper, typically fear or horror. The dream may contain a situation of extreme danger, or sensations of pain, bad events, falling, drowning, being raped, becoming disabled, losing loved ones, encountering unpleasant creatures or beings, being murdered, caught, attacked, eaten, squashed, stuck or burned, becoming diseased, frozen, trapped, decrepit, or otherwise facing death. Such dreams can be related to physical causes such as a high fever or being face-down on a pillow during sleep, or psychological ones such as psychological trauma or stress in the sleeper's life, or can have no apparent cause. If a person has experienced a psychologically traumatic situation in life—for example, a person who may have been captured and tortured—the experience may come back to haunt them in their nightmares. Sleepers may waken in a state of distress and be unable to get back to sleep for some time. Eating before bed, which triggers an increase in the body's metabolism and brain activity, is another potential stimulus for nightmares.

Occasional nightmares are commonplace, but recurrent nightmares can interfere with sleep and may cause people to seek medical help. A recently proposed treatment consists of imagery rehearsal. This approach appears to reduce the effects of nightmares and other symptoms in acute stress disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.


A Metaphor is a figure of speech concisely comparing two things, saying that one is the other.

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".

Common Nightmares

Here I will offer up some of the most common types of nightmares. Read through them, if you wish, and see if you find any that you've experienced. And remember that these are only possible interpretations of such dreams. There are many more, which particularly depend on how you view each of these things and what they mean to you metaphorically.

Here you will find 3 different lists of common nightmares and/or recurring dreams. You will note some repetition in the subject matter. This is offered up to give you different perspectives on the same types of dream subjects, so that you can better determine if it has applied to your own dreams recently or in the past. I will over up links to some dream dictionaries, for a more complete list of dream metaphors and their possible meanings, at the conclusion of this essay.

Five Common Nightmares & What They Mean

Spiders
Spiders are often negative symbols in our dreams because they are seen as frightening by so much of society and often represent a controlling or ensnaring force.
For men (and some women) spiders can represent something about women or a specific woman. 'Spiders are also a very old form of life,' says Dr Lukeman. 'One of the things they represent in dreams is something very primitive and basic - something rooted in the depth of our being, such as our mother. For someone who comes from a family where the mother was unloving , a spider can be a perfect dream symbol. The evil mother becomes and evil spider. ' Spiders can also symbolise an evil male force. It could be an overbearing boss, father or lover. 'If you are in a relationship unsettling to you and you have a spider dream, think carefully about what is taking place,' says Dr Lukeman. 'Are you fooling yourself about the other person? Is he or she what he appears to be? Honor your instincts and feelings.'

Health problems
Dr Lukeman says dreams about health problems can work on different levels - but says they can often actually be an indication of real illness. 'Something in ourselves understands everything that goes on in our body,' he says. 'If you think about it something keeps our bodies ticking over and running as they should without us thinking about it,' he says. 'And this thing often knows if something is wrong with us and will try to tell us. I have had many patients who have discovered hidden health problems through their dreams.' Common symbols for health problems are dreaming of a specific ailment and primitive, evil fish at the bottom of the sea. 'This relates to the fact that the bottom of the sea often represents the depth of our consciousness,' he says. But Dr Lukeman is keen to stress that dreams about health do not always indicate actual health problems. 'Dreams about health can often simply indicate a more general concern about your life,' he says.

Running for your life
Dr Lukeman claims running is linked to the primitive days of our cavemen ancestors where life was short and dangerous and there was a real possibility of being chased by beasts of prey. 'Our brain still contains areas dominant during the earliest stages of human development,' he says. 'These parts of our brain respond instinctively to danger or stress, sounding the alarm and preparing us for flight or battle. Fear and danger trigger the instinctive response: the urge is to run, run faster than the thing that is after us.' He advises trying to identify what is 'chasing' you in real life. This could be anything that is overwhelming you in an emotional, mental or physical sense, from work to a relationship, then identifying what you can do to alter things. 'Chase dreams signal ideas of helplessness,' he says. 'Do something to regain a sense of control over your life. It could be something as simple as re-arranging your day to include time for yourself to relax. It could be as complex as leaving a bad relationship or an unfulfilling job.'

Teeth
Dreaming that your teeth are falling out is one of the most common nightmares of all. 'Teeth are used to speak and communicate, to chew food, to protect and attack (in more primitive times), to convey feelings, and have a cosmetic value in a world where good looks are valued highly,' says Dr Lukeman. For this reason teeth dreams can relate to many areas of your life: from feelings that you are not being heard or acknowledged or a feeling that you are not able to express yourself properly or a feeling that you are not in control of a situation. 'Ask yourself if you feel frustrated about the way people listen to you,' says Dr Lukeman. 'Perhaps you need to improve your communication skills. If you have the dream more than once, try to identify a pattern of similar external situations that might provide the stimulus for the dream. For example, perhaps you are not comfortable with speaking in public or making presentations at work. these can be situations that set the stage for a toothless sleep experience.'

The end of the world
There are many variations on the common end of the world dream. 'Tidal wave dreams are often about emotional issues, feelings that need expression or a sense of something coming that can disrupt your life dramatically,' says Dr Lukeman. 'One of the of the many symbolic meanings for water is emotion. An ocean of water can represent all of our unconscious desires, unexpressed thoughts and more.' Tornadoes, another common dream image, mostly represent some kind of approaching upheaval. 'I mean an inner upheaval, a 'twister' of the inner self, foreshadowing emotional turbulence, 'says Dr Lukeman. Being struck by lightning, on the other hand, signals irreversible change. 'What it means is that something has been initiated within your unconscious, something has begun,' says Dr Lukeman. 'It's a jolt of pure energy, electrifying and transforming.'


12 Universal Dreams (Nightmares)


By Virginia Linn, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Originally From: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/03341/248376.stm

Anthropologists, psychologists and dream workers have found similar themes in dreams. These so-called universal dreams transcend all generations and cultures. While not all experts agree on the same list and frequency, here's a compilation from the book, "The Universal Dream Key: The 12 most common dream themes around the world" (HarperCollins, 2001), by Patricia Garfield, based on her international survey, worldwide travel and research.

While people have many more negative dreams than positive ones, each theme has negative and positive sides.

1) Being chased or attacked

More than 80 percent of people dream they're being pursued or attacked, although who or what is attacking or doing the pursing varies from place to place. These dreams are a natural response to life stress, Garfield says.

The origin of this dream dates back to an era when humans fought off beasts or other tribal members to survive. The "monsters" of today more often are emotional beasts, she says -- fear, anxiety, anger, hatred and envy.


Flip side: Being embraced or loved.

These dreams also have early biological roots. They're driven by our genes to mate and produce children and include the sex dreams. Both men and women, it's been documented in research, experience sexual arousal during REM sleep. These dreams can supply the desired missing elements in an unsatisfying marriage, or heighten during an intense love affair.

2) Being injured, ill or dying

One myth about dreaming is that if you die in your dream, you die in life.

That's not true, of course, but dream deaths do occur. They involve deaths of famous people, your parents or children, a lover and even yourself. Garfield believes that when you dream about an accidental death of any person, that person's death symbolizes something in you that is no longer functioning.

One of the more common scenarios under this theme is of teeth falling out or crumbling.

This might have a physical origin in people gritting or grinding teeth during sleep. Freud suggested that dreams of teeth falling out are related to fears of castration, but women have this dream as often as men, Garfield says. She believes the tooth troubles in dreams are related to anger, with a dreamer acting out the clenching of his teeth. Other psychologists believe the dream reflects anxiety about appearance and how others perceive you.


Flip side: Being healed, born or reborn

Rare, but good, this dream often accompanies a new start, a new job or first day of school. Sometimes dreaming of rebirth represents your hopes for a loved one who has died.

3) Car or other vehicle trouble

Fairly common nightmare among all people and ages, whether or not the dreamers actually drive. Sometimes they have problems with an aircraft they're flying. May occur when the dreamer feels events in waking life are out of control.


Flip side: Vehicular pleasure

When your time in a car or another vehicle is delightful. This can represent freedom, or moving in the direction of your choices

4) House or property loss or damage

In these dreams, your house is damaged or destroyed by fire, water or other causes. These dreams may surface because you feel that some valuable aspect of waking life is at risk, she says.

Dreams about losing a wallet, watch or cherished piece of jewelry, such as a wedding ring, also fall into this category. Meanings vary depending on what is lost or damaged. Biologically, they may reflect a basic need to defend your territory.


Flip side: House or property improvement

You may discover new rooms in your home or dream about repairs or improvements. These dreams may occur when you feel that some valuable aspect of waking life is improving.

5) Poor test or other poor performance

You've probably dreamed of arriving for a test and found the exam has already started. Or you search fruitlessly for the room. This is a common nightmare and can occur years after you've faced the SAT. Garfield says it usually occurs when you feel you are somehow being "tested" in waking life. People continually face situations that challenge their capacity to perform well. This stems from the innate feeling that we need to achieve or compete. Some psychologists think the dreams can denote anxiety about sexual performance.


Flip side: Great test or other fine performance

This may occur when the dreamer feels that she is doing well in waking life. Not limited to exams, the dreamer may envision doing precise spins on the ice or catching a touchdown pass. Sometimes people master certain activities after they've successfully performed them in their dream.

6) Falling or drowning

Falling is one of the most common nightmares among people of all ages, and may be a reflection of feeling insecure, helpless or of having no support or solid grounding. Some people may actually fall from their beds during this dream.

Dreaming about drowning is less frequent, and often occurs when a person feels overwhelmed.

Both scenarios involve life-or-death situations and can be traced to prehistoric origins. Garfield says that dreams of falling reflect a time when our ancestors took risks when climbing trees. Falling dreams of modern day often take place from high buildings, elevators and rooftops.

Likewise, dreams of drowning go to our inborn need to breathe for survival.

People often awake to "escape'' the danger in the dreams.

A person's age and medical circumstances can influence these dreams. Toddlers and young children, as well as older people, are prone to more falls in waking life. People with heart conditions that cause fluid buildup in the lungs or those with severe colds may dream of drowning.


Flip side: Flying, swimming or dancing joyfully

Have you had that feeling of zooming through the air, feeling free, unhindered?

Flying often becomes a person's favorite dream. These can inspire the dreamer, lifting him to spiritual heights or filling him with creative notions. Pleasurable swimming may mean freely exploring your depths; dreams of dance may be a metaphor for moving freely through your life.

7) Being naked in public or inappropriately dressed

This is a common scenario that occurs at all ages, including with children. The dreams involve feelings of exposure and vulnerability, and often include an element of embarrassment or shame.

Appearing partially nude is more common than being totally naked, Garfield says. Meanings vary depending on whether this occurs at school, at work, or on an open street, and depending on what part of the body is exposed.

Wearing the wrong clothing also has various meanings. A bride being inappropriately dressed for her upcoming wedding, for example, could suggest second thoughts she has about the union.


Flip side: Being well dressed

Dreaming of being dapper or wearing a special outfit may suggest you feel good about your body or attractive, or feel good about your life.


8) Missing the boat or other transport

You rush to catch a departing bus, train, airplane or ship, only to have it leave without you. These leave you engulfed in an overwhelming feeling of frustration rather than fear. Garfield suggests that these dreams reflect feelings that you are missing out on something in waking life.


Flip side: Pleasant travel

Very infrequent dreams, but may arise when you feel content about how your life is going.

9) Machine or telephone malfunction

Moderately common, and more frequent in women. These occur when you feel anxious about making an emotional connection or when you feel you're losing touch with someone. They can relate to mechanical difficulties with your body.

Flip side: Smooth operation

These usually occur when you feel there is an improvement in emotional connection. Garfield says many of the dreamers who participated in her study during bereavement reported dreams of clear connections with their deceased loved ones. Messages they received during the dreams helped them cope with their losses.

10) Natural or man-made disasters

You're confronted with overwhelming floods, tidal waves earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tornadoes, hurricanes, bombings or chemical warfare. These dreams may depict personal problems raging out of control.

They can be among the most frightening dreams. People through the ages have sought to harness nature, which can help them survive but also destroy them.

Flip side: Natural beauty, miracles or rituals

Dreams of vibrant flowers, verdant hillsides or uplifting music can leave the dreamer rejuvenated. Color is intensified, with bright yellow-green most often mentioned by dreamers. This may illustrate new growth.

Dreams of natural beauty can inspire and invigorate.

11) Being lost or trapped

In these highly common dreams, you're lost and feeling desperate. You may be buried alive or locked in a cage. Or you dream of not being able to move; you're powerless to scream or breathe.

These dreams may occur when you feel confusion or conflict about how to act in waking life.

The images are influenced by biological roots and experience. Feeling trapped or paralyzed also mirrors what occurs to the large muscles of the body during normal REM sleep, when they're paralyzed to prevent the body from acting out the dreams.

Such dreams could reflect frustrations in waking life, such as feeling trapped in a relationship or a dead-end job.


Flip side: Discovering new spaces

You may open a door in your home to find a new room or find something new in the neighborhood. These dreams occur usually when you feel an aspect of your life if opening up.

12) Being menaced by the dead or a spirit

You feel you are being haunted or berated by someone who has died. There may be feelings of terror, guilt, resentment or abandonment. They may occur when you feel guilty or responsible for a death, or anxious about the situation. Although they are quite rare, Garfield says these can be among the most uncomfortable dreams we have.


Flip side: Being guided by the dead or a spirit

These usually occur during active grief, which can last years. Visits from a deceased loved one may give you the feeling that he or she is OK, or inspire you to change your life. There's a feeling of hopefulness and comfort.


Another List Of Common Bad or Recurring Dreams & Nightmares

· chase or attack : The pursuer usually represents a fearful aspect of our shadow, and hence an exaggerated version of a denied or inhibited portion of our own personality that would benefit us if integrated and appropriately expressed. (ideal outcome: standing our ground, facing and dialoguing with our pursuer, and eventually, acceptance and embrace)

· falling dream : Am I feeling heavy, unsupported, worried about something? How can I feel freer, lighter? Also: do I need to be more grounded? (ideal outcome: feeling safe, landing, floating or flying)

· car out of control : Is life too hectic, out of control? How could I slow down, act more peacefully and "enjoy the ride"? (ideal outcome: driving well & within speed limits, walking peacefully)

· unprepared, late for or failing an exam : Am I feeling unprepared for some upcoming event? Unconfident about my performance? Am I worrying needlessly or do I actually need more preparation in order to feel confident and do a good job? (ideal outcome: feeling assured about oneself, performing well)

· stuck in slow motion, unable to move or make any noise : Where am I feeling stuck in life, like I’m getting nowhere or unable to voice my true feelings? What can I do to change it? (ideal outcome: relaxation and acceptance, and eventually, peaceful action & self-expression)

· embarrassed to be nude or naked in public, though nobody seems to notice or mind : Where in life am I feeling unconfident, embarrassed, unskilled? This type of dream is usually pointing out, by the fact that the other characters in the dream don’t seem to notice, that we are the only one viewing our self this way, and usually mistakenly so. (ideal outcome: comfortable with oneself as is, confident)

· personal injury, dismemberment : What part of my life—not usually the physical body—have I been neglecting, mistreating, forgetting—i.e. dis-membering as opposed to remembering? (ideal outcome: healing)

· trapped, locked in : Where am I feeling trapped in life? How might I open myself up to a new perspective, and explore new courses of action? (ideal outcome: breaking out, exploration)

· drowning, threatening waves, tsunami (tidal waves) or flooding : Am I blocking, denying or feeling overwhelmed by my emotions? How might I better acknowledge, accept, and feel these feelings—which often include vulnerability? (ideal outcome: swimming, surfing, breathing underwater)

· helpless, abandoned, or crying baby, monkey, bunny or small animal : Have I been taking care of my "inner child"? Is there a creative project or relationship that I have forgotten or abandoned that needs my attention? Maybe I need to laugh more, play outdoors, express my creativity, be more spontaneous, or enjoy more personal warmth and intimacy? (ideal outcome: caring for baby or animal, playing, simply having fun)


The Nightmare & The Empath

Why am I offering a discussion on nightmares up on a blogsite for Empaths? What do dreams, and more specifically nightmares, have to do with being an Empath? Well, everyone dreams, even ones who consider themselves Empaths. And dreams are metaphors for daily turmoil, hidden trauma, repressed emotions, avoided issues, and so on. And metaphor, quite literally, is the language of the mind, and more specifically the language of Empathy, because it is emotion based. This is because dreams are expressions of emotions felt within the self, even if they are repressed or avoided. And emotion, whether it is one's own emotions or that of another person, are what Empaths are all about ~ feeling their own emotions deeply and being able to feel the emotions of others as though they were their own.

So when a nightmare, particularly a recurring nightmare, creeps into one's sleep cycle, as they often do, it is extremely important to be able to interpret its meaning and deal with the issues being raised within it. And this means understanding the use of metaphor, particularly one's own personal metaphors, or how you, specifically, associate the images in your dreams with the daily workings of your world and the issues you face.

If there is an emotion involved, like utter terror, perhaps because you are being chased, what do you associate that emotion with? Is there an experience within your past that you associate with this emotion? Perhaps you may not even realize you associate the two things ~ emotion and experience ~ or you assume you have gotten over the issue, so it is moot. Perhaps its something more current going on, which raises the issue within your subconscious mind, even if you have dealt with the past event you associate with that emotion. All the same, its worth exploring because it helps you learn about what is troubling you and to what depths its troubling you, while at the same time it helps you know yourself a little bit better.

As Empaths, who are very emotion based anyway, this can be the key to pointing to issues you need to work on due to repression, particularly if the dream is recurring and escalates in its nature. This is an issue that is holding you back and possibly tinting, and possibly tainting, your perspective while dealing with others. And if you are the type that reaches out to others to offer them help, this could cause the Empathic Process to stagnate.

Methods Of Resolution For Nightmares/Recurring Dreams

Here are some helpful methods of finding resolution to your dreams:

Recurring Dream & Nightmare Resolution Exercise: Re-scripting a dream

Select a nightmare or upsetting dream which you’ve recently had (especially if it happened this morning!) and either from the recurring dream suggestions above or on your own, re-design a different ending to the dream. Choose something which leaves you feeling empowered, free and confident, and great about the new scenario, instead of the way you felt during or after the actual dream. Before lying down to fall asleep tonight, sit in a comfortable position and relax your body and mind completely for a couple minutes. It may help you to alternately tense and relax different parts of your body, and witness instead of concentrate upon any thoughts which cross your mind. Let it all go until tomorrow. Then, once you’re calm and quiet, mentally visualize or remember the dream you’ve selected for this exercise, running through as though you were watching a video, except at the point where things begin to turn unpleasant, replace the old ending with the new empowering one you created earlier, and imagine it as vividly as you can, "making it up" as you go if you need to. Make it a special point to experience the new feelings of confidence, freedom and empowerment that your new ending gives you. Then give yourself the clear suggestion that not only are these new thought patterns now spreading into your waking life, but also that tonight or some time soon you may have just such a dream, which includes the new, more fulfilling ending. You may even suggest to yourself that you will recognize the dream as a dream, while it’s happening, in which case you can consciously direct it as you feel appropriate towards a more uplifting outcome.


Some other methods are offered in this video:



Links

Websites About Nightmares:

What Causes Your Nightmares?
Common Questions About Nightmares
Dreams & Nightmares
Nightmare Help

Dream Dictionaries:

Dream Moods
Dreams: A Dream Dictionary
Astrology.com Dream Dictionary
SmartGirl Dream Dictionary
HyperDictionary Dream Dictionary