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Empathy Featured

Empathy

There are two meanings to the word empathy. The most common use, one you will see over and over again in books and on websites, is show on the picture to to left. It's the "I can sort of imagine how you must be feeling" meaning of the word. This is not the kind of empathy we are talking about. When we talk about empathy as a meta-intuitive gift, we mean the in-your-face, "I'm feeling exactly what you're feeling as if it were my own!"

 

 

 

 

 

Empathy is walking into a supermarket and getting teary eyed because someone in Isle 2 just lost their baby. It's walking past a physical therapy centre and almost falling over because your knee just gave out as you walked past the guy in cruches. It's having a headache because your roommate has a headache, feeling exhausted because your 2 year old is past his bedtime and really wanting to pounce something because your cat has just spotted a red dot. It's up close and personal and it's all the time. There isn't an off switch.

Like most meta-intuitive gifts, empathy can and often will grow over the course of a lifetime. People who don't have it naturally typically develop at least some over the course of their meta-intuitive process. As empathy grows, people either learn to develop the strength and skill to handle it effectively, or it causes them so much trouble that they try to shut it down. But there isn't an off switch! Shutting down your empathy generally just means that you refuse to pay attention to it anymore, while you continue to pick up on other people's feelings and thoughts and pile them up inside. With some training and some simple meta-intuitive exercises, empathy becomes entirely managable.

Types of Empathy

The gift - and despite the description above, it really is a gift! - comes in several different flavours. You don't have to be a Senser to have empathy. People can have any of these kinds of empathy or a combination of them, to any degree.

First of all, we distinguish between the direction in which the empathy occurs.

  • Receptive empathy
  • Projective empathy

 

Second, we distinguish between the level at which the empathy occurs.

  • Physical empathy
  • Emotional empathy
  • Mental empathy

It's Not Your Feeling

This is one of the most important phrases people with empathy get to learn and use: it's not your feeling. That headache you're feeling all day at work? That's your office mate's, there is no amount of asperine you can take that'll get rid of it. That sudden desire to sleep with someone, and the accompanying thought that it'd be a great idea to take that boy across the room home with you? That's his feeling, and his thoughts. The pain in your lower back you feel every time you visit your parents but no where else? That's your dad's, he's just being tough and hasn't told you about it. The disgust you feel every time you see that fat neighbour of yours, and the feeling that's she's just such a worthless person? May very well be hers, not yours.

An easy way to check if a feeling is yours is to think of (or look at) the person who might be sourcing it. If it gets stronger when you think of them, it's probably their feeling. If you're not sure whose it might be, have a look around the room. It takes some practise, but you can actually figure out whose feeling it is pretty quickly this way. And if you don't know ... that's ok too. That happens a lot, especially when your radius of empathy gets big enough that you're feeling the emotions of half your city block. The solution is always the same. Don't take it personal, it's not your feeling. Don't take asperin if it's not your headache. Notice the feeling, and ground it. If it's still there or keeps coming back, taking some greater distance to the person often makes a big difference already. At Elfpath, we also use a wonderful tool called the bubble belt, that isolates you from your environment, to let people check if they were picking up on somebody else, or if it's their own feeling.

 

What To Do

  •  Awareness, and as a sub-set, introspection.
    • Building baseline
    • Building habit
  • Grounding
  • Healthy foods
  • Exercise
  • Sleep routines
  • Distance

 

If you have natural empathy that is out of control, causing you trouble or if you just want to know how to use it better, please ask us about it and we'll give you advice on your personal situation for free.

 

Transcript of the audio

 (recorded 2013-10-25 by Angel. You can find the audio at the bottom of this page.)

 

"So, let's talk about empathy.

Because it is one of the most common gifts. One of the most misunderstood. And one of the most potentially dangerous at least to your emotional and psychological well-being. It is my personal theory, so take that at whatever value you give it, that all humans are empathic. 100%. Some ignore it. Some are only a little bit empathic. Some have got their chanels so blocked up, so knotted up that they don't notice it.

Everybody Has It

Many of you think "Ah, I don't have to worry about empathy because I'm not a Senser." Empathy is not a Senser gift. Empathy is like vision, or hearing. Just about everybody's got it. Now a Senser may learn to use it much more effective, to shape it and use it to pick up some of the more subtle things you were talking about. However, everybody's got it. There are those who don't, just like there are those who are colorblind, or completely blind. And there are those who have lived a messy enough life that it has faded over the years. So there will be a subset of humanity that doesn't have it.  

 It is rather a survival instinct when one lives in a group, and humans have been living in groups for 200.000 - 1.000.000, depending on how you measure humans. And so empathy is an instinctive part. It's simply part of the package, everybody's got it. Now for most people, it's a little like noticing the ringing in your ears, that when you sit down in a quiet room you might notice,  "Ah that thing's back in my ears again." But most of the time you don't notice. You sit in a lecture, you don't even notice it. You talk to somebody, you don't even notice it because you're only paying attention to the sounds. It's only when you're really quiet that you can notice it's there. That's how it is at the moent for most people.

 But for far more than you think, it's much stronger than that. Empathy is touching every moment of your life. Let's call this my introduction, or "Why you should be paying attention". Not just for Sensers anymore! It is true that there are Sensers who are not empathic, and there are Shapers who are very empathic. This  is effectively just another sense like hearing or seeing. It has nothing to do with Senser or Shaper or  Source. I want you to understand that everybody's got it.

 Now onto the details.

Physical, Emotional and Mental Empathy

First off, what is it? Because I bet most of you don't know. You'll say "Empathy, well sometimes you feel  somebody's feelings." In this lifetime, you're likely to experience empathy on at least three levels.  Obviously, emotional empathy. You know that. Most of you have at least a little experience with that.  Somebody is in a bad mood, everybody feels it. Somebody is grumpy, fussy, everybody feels it.

But there are at least three levels of empathy you're likely to experience. The middle one is emotional. 

The bottom one is physical. Somebody comes in with a headache, and you're thinking "Why do I have a  headache!" And you take an asperin, and it won't go away. You give them an asperin, and suddenly your  headache goes away. Most of you have experience with this. For those of you who have had lovers, roommates  or friends you are very close to, you're more likely to have had this experience. I call it physical empathy, or more generally physical receptive empahty. And then feeling somebody's feelings is emotional  receptive empathy.

And there's a third level, what you guys think of as the mind, the mental empathy. This  is not reading someone's mind. Reading means books, and everything nice and neat and logical. It doesn't work like that. If someone is dizzy or has a headache, that is physical empathy. If someone is sad or  excited, that's emotional empathy. But if they're perplexed about a thing, or they're just feeling frustrated because they're stuck, or they're trying to figure out a problem at work or with a friend or at  school. While there are emotions attached to those things, they are fundamentally thinking things, and you  can actually, with mental receptive empathy, feel those things. They won't be feelings like emotions, but  you'll pick it up. If somebody is confused, you'll pick up their confused.

So there are at least three levels you are likely to experience empathy on, it's not just emotions. If you think of it as just emotions, it can blindside you. "Why am I feeling drunk?" Well I'm walking past a bar. Physical empathy.  If you become aware that there are three separate levels, you can begin to tune into and pay attention to three separate levels, and ground three separate levels.

Receptive and Projective Empathy

There is receptive empathy and projective empathy. Receptive empathy is obvious, you feel other people's stuff. Projective empathy, you make them feel yours. A good motivational speaker can use projective empathy. They don't just feel the excitement, they project it out into the room. And if you ever study motivational speaking or public speaking, they talk about projecting. "Project that excitement, make people feel it!" The terms are directly out of projective empathy, but they don't realise it's meta-intuitive. Why, I don't know. Religion blindness.

 You can, when you have a headache, point it at someone and make them feel it. Not everybody can, but those who have the gift. Doing this is not smart. It hurts them, it will in the long run hurt you, it is very dark side, so I don't recommend using this for destructive or manipulative purposes, but many people will. Many carsalesmen and such have a kind of projective mental or emotional empathy. "Oh, you really want to buy this car. "Eh, I'd like to have car", and after a few minutes, you're thinking "Oh I really want to buy this car!" And you get home and wonder "Why did I do that?" A lot of good sales people do this, a lot of good business people. If your boss has ever called you in and said "Here's a good idea, and you said "Nah, I'm not doing that." But after a few minutes of "Look at this, and consider this, and here's this great possibility", you're going "Yeah, this is a good idea!" It's likely they're using a mental projective empathy. They're taking their ideas and poking them into you.

 Now I encourage everybody to play with these things, however I encourage you to be very cautious with the projective empathies. If you're feeling giggly and you go sit down in the middle of some crowd and just practise projective empathy and you see if you can make people around you start giggling, you're not hurting anybody. But if you're feeling grumpy and you decide "I'm going to make everybody else grumpy!" ...  this way lies more trouble than you can imagine. There are so many reasons, I don't recommend it. Same caveat as ever, if you're going to use them, use them in the light, don't mess with the shadow. Just dangerous in more ways than you can imagine. Don't play with those things. 

What you'll find, many of you may, when you were in deep pensive state or maybe when you're stoned, have  seen something sitting on the table and thought "Oh I can move that with my mind!" But I'm guessing most of  you haven't been able to do it. It's a little the same with projective empathy. "Oh I can make people feel  this!" But you may not be able to. Many people don't have this gift. Each one of those gifts take a little more energy, because you are taking and projecting outward, and you're world has been lacking in energy for a long time, so your species has kind of let this gift drop by the wayside. A few years, a hundred, two hundred, five hundred years, it'll be much more common. But because you've been without excessive energy, not a lot of people have it. If you do have it, it's good to be aware of it, because without realising it, you could be grumping and fussing and suddenly everbody in the room or everybody in the house house is hurting. And you're not aware of it. You don't realise how much damage you're doing. So if you do have the gift, become aware of it. It's got powerful use and is potentially difficult on the people around you.

 

Interactions Between Levels Of Empathy

So. Empathy, three levels, two directions, not just feeling someone's feelings. If you have more than one of these levels, you will find that they interact.

You drink a bear, it'll make you belch. You eat really smelly food, it will make your breath smell bad. So if you eat really smelly food AND drink beer, you get really smelly belches. If you're just eating the smelly food, it wouldn't be a problem unless someone came and sniffed you. If you were just drinking beer, well, you're just making some funny noises. But you do them both together, and everyone around you is walking away!

 It's a little like that. These will interact. The physical senstations and the emotional sensations will start to link, or the emotional will link with the social, the mental things. If you have more than one, you will find that they interlink. For the sake of the Sources: pulling up an energy and radiating it is not projective empathy. That is a Source tool. Empathy is biological, it's inherent, it's like having big feet or needing glasses. It's not a tool that can be acquired. 

Why It Matters

Now why am I wasting all this time talking about it, you ask. Yes, I hear you asking that. Because as one of you pointed out earlier, empathy is a thing you can't shut off. Sourcing and filling a room or grounding, you can shut off. Empathy you cannot stop. It's always there. While you're sleeping, or while you're dreaming. Anything, anywhere, anytime, empathy's working. You can't help it.

 So you just sat in this spot that he was in a moment ago. While he was here, you were picking up some of his feelings. The moment you sat there, you immediately started feeling those feelings. Because in sitting there, he left those feelings in the space, and you empathically picked the up. And I could point it out, but you would say "I'm a Shaper, I don't do that!" So instead, I sit down here and do a 45 minute talk on what empathy is and why it matters.

People walk down the street, they leave a cloud of emotion behind them. People sit in a sofa or in a public place, they leave emotions behind them. People write a blog or make a video, they put emotion into it. People cook food, they put emotion into it. People put their energies into everything, and since most people are totally unaware, they don't know that they're doing it. As an empath, you walk around - I have heard it called emotional sponge, and while I don't like that term, there is something to it. It's like walking through a swamp and dragging a sponge behind you. It's just picking up everything! Until it's full and then it's just a mess. You take a moment and ground it and wring it out, it just starts picking up more.

Emotion and the other levels that go with it are always always there. There are very rare cases where you won't feel this. You get out in a below zero temperature after a snowfall, you'll find there's very little emotion in the air. You get far enough away from people, there's a lot less of the empathy. But it's rare cases. For the most part, it's there all the time, you're surrounded by it and it's a little like being in a room with five thousand people who are all farting. You just keep picking up the smells and you can't tell who is what and what it means, you just go "Oh god, this is too much! You know, I need a gas mask." But there is no gas mask for empathy.

 

What To Do About It

Briefly, what to do about it. The first and foremost tool, the most important tool in your toolbox is always awareness. That's why I'm talking about it. To make you a little more aware. Always awareness. As a subset of that awareness, there's self-knowledge. That is, you need to know who you are. It's the kind of thing you do by meditating for half an hour a day, just sitting quietly and soaking up the energy and feeling what's going on inside and watching your thoughts chase their tails round and round like insane little monkies. And doing this a little while every day - I mean, you're home, you want to turn on the television or play a video game or talk to your friends on the computer, but actually making a little time every day to do some quiet introspection allows you to build up a sense of who you are when other people aren't all over you.

Why does that matter? Because you have emotions, you have physical feelings, you have thoughts. Empathy, I didn't say and I probably ought to have earlier, empathy is not like a Senser looking at someone and saying "Hm, you're feeling sad." Empathy is "Oh! I feel sad! Where did that come from? Oh, I'm picking it up from you." But you can never tell. Never. If it's physical, if it's emotional, if it's mental, you can't tell that it's not yours. It simply isn't possible. When you get good enough with emotions to begin to detect energy signatures and attach them to every emotion, you can do it. But for of you that's a long way in the future. It takes a degree of subtlty. You can't tell. You're just suddenly feeling something. You don't now why. This is why the introspection is so important. Two reasons here. The one is that you develop a baseline. "I'm like this, most of the time. Sometimes I have a little of this, and sometimes I have a little of that, but for the most part I'm like this all the time." And so when you notice yourself being something other than that, the awareness and the subset of that the self-awareness, lets you say hey, that's not something I susually do, why am I doing that?

The young man here was stoned last night, and I walked into the room and I felt this feeling, "I really want to squeeze her boobs!" And I looked and said "Oh it's yours. No I don't. HE does." But it's not like I get a little flashing label, a little gold outline, a little pop-up balloon saying "Hey, it's somebody else who wants to squeeze her boobs." I just suddenly feel the thing. "Oh!" But because I know myself well enough, I've spend a lot of time in introspection, I can say, this isn't one of mine. And so then I can start looking, am I picking this emotion up from someone else?

I said there are two reasons that introspection matters. One is baseline. You get to know who you are. The other is that it becomes somewhat of an unconscious habit. Introspection literally means to look inward. So when you look inward often enough, it kind of becomes a habit. You're walking down the street and you pick up someone's anger, your shoulders start to come up, your hands start to make fists. If you dont notice, you just keeping walking down the street thinking "Why am I grumpy? Rawrrr." ut if you're used to introspection, you'll notice your shoulders start to come up. "wait a minute. They don't usually do that. Why do I want to hit somebody? So this is the second reasons. If the introspection becomes a habit, you're more likely to notice when something's up.

So the first tool in your toolbox is awareness. And as a subset of that, self-awareness. And the next tool is grounding. And it can seem like an impossible task, because if you're in a room full of people with emotions, you're going to feel all of their emotions if you're empathic. And the physical stuff and their social stuff. And you ground it and you immediately start filling up again. And you ground it, and you start filling up again. It seems like an impossible task. But what happens after a time is you develop the habit of staying grounded. And then as you pick this stuff up you're letting it go. And as long as you're around other people, as long as there are other people in the world, you're still going to pick up some. You are never going to be completely yourself. Humans aren ot isolated creaturs. but by staying grounded you let a lot of it go.

So awareness, and grounding. At the risk of sounding a little old and fuddy-duddy, avoiding certain foods. Things with lots of salt like chips. Things with lots of sugar like soda. Things with lots of fat, french fries. These things will kind of clog up your senses a little bit, and then when you pick this stuff up it's harder to ground it. Salt makes you retain it, the sugar blurs the lines, the far kind of clogs you up and its tougher to let things go. So eating a bit healthier can make a big difference. I don't know if you want to hear that, but eating healthy on purpose can make a huge difference to those who are significantly empathic.

Also, and most of you don't want to hear this, but exercise. I mean, every day. At least go for a walk or something. And three times a week at least, go for a run or go to the gym and work out on a rowing machine. Something to get your cardiovascular circulating so that you're pouring sweat and gasping for air. And what happens is your energy gets more used to circulating. When you're exercising vigorously, you're circulating more. And so when you do start picking a lot of stuff up and you start taking in more than you can ground, you back up and you turn into a mess. But if you are eating reasonably well and exercising regularly, you can process much more and handle it much better. So I recommend those two things. Even though it sounds a bit old fasioned or something. I do recommend it.

Sleep. Empathy is a thing of the guts. When you're sleeping, you're much more in the guts and so you tend to pick up a lot more. If you're sleeping with another person, you're going to pick up their stuff. There is no choice. You may find yourself waking up lethargic or feeling awful or wondering what the heck you've done. You ay find yourself feeling all kinds of excited and nervous. Whatever that person has as their base state, you're likely to pick it up. And it's not just having sex with someone. Sleeping in the same room will cause emotions to flow back and forth and you pick them up. So sleeping is an important state when it comes to handling emotions and specifically empathy. The first thing you should do when you get up in the morning - and I've written up a process at one point for how to wake up - but the first thing you should do is sit up so you don't fall back asleep. You fall back asleep and lay there going blaaaah, you'll just turn into a wreck. You sit up, you stomp your feet a little bit, you breathe a little bit, you stretch a little bit, and you make an effort to clear everything out. Whether it is emotions fro bad freams or childhood stuff you remembered while you were sleeping or just stuff you picked up. Waking up is an important time. If you're clearing that, you're setting the tone for the day. Also, just before you go to sleep its a good idea to do the same. Most of you live busy lives and have lots of stuff going on, and during the day you pick up a lot of garbage. Grounding that before you sleep can let you sleep easier and better.

When it's really really strong, sometimes the only thing you can do is walk away. Somebody who is just radiating a lot of anger and no matter how much you ground you're still getting overwhelmed, someties you walk away. And people who respect you will become ok with that. You get to a point where you say "Look, im overwhelmed, I need a minute" and you walk away. And people who don't respect you for it aren't people you should be hanging out with. Anybody that controlling, you don't need in your life. So distance can be very helpful. I'll explain in a moment why distance is helpful.

Also, water, earth and air can be helpful, and most of you will have a preference for one of those.

If you're feeling a lot of emotion and you put your hands under some running water and just imagine all that emotion running out your arms, and out your hands and being carried away by the water, it'll often make a huge difference. Emotion is strongly connected to water so water works well. And when you're truly completely overwhelmed, you get in the shower. You just surround yourself with water and you imagine that water running through all of you and carrying away the excess emotion. So water can be a very important tool. When it gets to be too much.

More earth focussed may find that walking in the woods or leaning on a tree can help. Strong earth focussed people, they want their hands in the dirt. It's why some people love to garden. When they're gardening, that is very very grounding. Just like shoving your hands under running water, they're shoving their hands in the earth and all that stuff is gone, so for those people: gardening can be awesome. Actually getting your hands in the dirt and touching things. For those who aren't earth people, it won't make a big difference.

And air. For those who are more the air types, you'll find that breathing makes a difference. Emotions don't just soak in the things, they sort of hang out in the air around you. So right now, if you take a really deep breath, you take in more emotion, more of what's around you, and some of it's going to be, you know, blah. So as far as letting excess emotion go when you get to an overwhelm point, find some place outside or stand by an open window. If you can, go find trees or plants because they're doing their best to make the air better. And just breathe. And I don't mean normally breathe ... I mean phhhhhhh! And with every breath, bring in as much air as you can and imagine all those emotions just pffffffaaa when you breathe out. Just like you would with the water or the earth. Air can be very good for letting this stuff go.

 

How Empathy Happens

Now I could talk far more on this, because it's something I've dealt with since infancy, probably earlier, but I will say one more point, at least one more, and that is how empathy happens, how it gets stronger, how you pick stuff up.

Ambient

If you sit down where someone was sitting, and they've soaked stuff into that spot, you'll pick it up. It's in the space. If you breathe in the air, even if it is just walking down the street, you'll pick it up. It's why cities will generally have a feeling, every big city has its own feeling, because people start picking it up and feeling it and radiating it, and more and more it homogenizes across the city. So London is a hopelessly depressed old lady vapire. New York city is this huge vibrant energy "do do do, go go go" kind of feeling. And the cities themselves will have an energy. So, ambient, either walkinng through a space or touching a thing, you pick up emotion. Consumption. Drinking drinks or eating foods that someone has prepared, you're going to pick up some of their stuff. But see, these are passive ways.

Focus

There are also more active ways. I challenge all of you right now to pay attention to your emotion for a moment and then think of somebody. Anybody. Preferably someone with really strong emotion. And you'll find that you start to feel it. It doesn't matter if they are halfway across the world, they can be in China. Or if you're in China, think of being in the Netherlands. And all you have to do is think about that person, and suddenly you'll pick up more. Makes sense, right? When you think about them, you're linking to them.

Now what may not be obvious is when they think about you, you're linking to them. So you could be sitting here minding your own business and suddenly, "Blaaargh, I feel terrible!" It could be somebody who is feeling terrible and thinking about you! "I feel terrible, I wish I could talk to so and so, they'd help."

So they're busy thinking about you and focussing on you and feeling all this stuff, and they're making the link, and your empathy is all the sudden going "Ahhhh what is it?? Why does it feel so aweful!"

Alright, so that focus makes a big difference. And it's not just people. You focus on a spot that has a lot of energy, you tune into that energy. You can actually focus on an abstract, an idea, to which people have tied a lot of energy, and you'll tune into that energy. So by focus, you can tune in and make the empathy stronger. The Sources have an advantage here in that they know how to make bubbles really well so when they're feeling overwhelmed and want to know if it's theirs, they can make a really strong bubble and try to keep everybody out. But even so, you can't live in a bubble. It's not healthy. And even if you do have a bubble, some emotion is still likely to get through.

Pre-Existing Links

So, ambience, focus, pre-existing links. Just about every one of you will have links to your parents. Not just one, they weave all these complex ties to you that live your whole life. And as you get far enough along you start noticing them and say "I don't want to be chained to somebody!" And you start breaking those links and setting yourself free. And when you do, you'll find that something in them goes "Oh no!" and tries to reestablish the link, so you may have to break it several times. But most of you will have links to your parents. I've worked with different meta-folks over the years who insist that you make a link to everybody you ever have sex with. I'll toss it out there as a possibility. That it's very likely you have links right now to everybody you've ever had sex with. For soe of you that may be a small number, for some of you that may be a big number, but those links mean that every tie they feel anything, you feel some of it. It's like taking two big beakers of wateersand putting a hose between them at the bottom. Anytime you dump soething into one, it's going to kind of trickle into the other. You start draining the water out of one, ti's going to flow fro the other to fill it back up, and suddenly you're tired because all your energy is flowing into somebody else. So those kind of links can exist and can be very unhealthy.

Active

So, ambient, focussed, pre-existing links and then active. As opposed to ambient, ambient is just in the air. Active is being around someone who's feeling a thing. Now I challenge you, not right now but at some point, to find someone with a strong feeling, and get closer to them, and watch the feeling increase, and then move further away. You'll find that all of you have kind of a certain space around you. You don't just go out to the skin and stop. You come out a little further. Different people will have a different sized of space. Soe people keep a very tiny little energy space, some people come out and fill a room. And it's not constant. When you're happy and excited, and in a good mood, you feel expansive. You expand. When you're grumpy or scared, you'll kind of pull inward. But the moment that your space, the space aroundn you, crosses someody elses space, stuff is circulating. So I challenge you to play with this, find someone who is feeling a strong emotion, and move a little closer to them, and feel it change. Move a little further away until it stops. Move a little closer, and figure out where it is your bubbles are meeting.

These are the most common ways that empathy will cause you to feel things. Ambient, focussed, pre-existing links and active. Now I want you to understand, just kind of in conclusion, I will give you a oconclusion but im kind of just leading up to it. I want you to understand, that what I'm saying probably sounds pretty horrible! Everybody youve ever hung out with, suddenly you're linked to them and picking up all their garbage and every time you're around people you're picking up all their stuff and getting overwhelmed and there's nothing you can do but ground and it keeps coming in, and so many people out there are grumpy and fussy and stupid and their guts are out of control. It sounds like I'm giving you a prison sentence here.

The Bigger Picture

Imagine that it's sometime back in the evolution of your species, and everybody still lives in the trees, and somebody says hey look, you can come down from the trees! You find its cool, because you can find more things to eat down there and you can sneak up on people and go "Boo!", and whatever it is that people do when they come down from the trees. But at the same time, maybe you step in taper poop, that doesn't happen in the trees! Or at least you get mud between your toes and that kind of sucks. Something may chase you that you hadn't expected because it never happneed in the trees. There are all kinds of things that can make life more difficult for the first ones coming out of the trees.

But if your species hadn't done this, there would still just be little groups of hairy, big-headed humans living in trees and somebody else would be trying to evolve and become the dominant species. Maybe dolphins, though I don't think they're serious enough to handle it. Maybe octopusses.

It was necessary to come out and expand outward into the world, and to start building cities and discovering paper and writing and the internet and to build up enough polation density that the current awakening could happen. It was necessary. And empathy is a little like that. At first you may think, "Oh, I just stepped in taper poop!" But if you can see it - and it's tough for you to so, I know - but if you can see not just in times of your prescence, right now, in this moment, but in terms of humanity... in the not too distant future everybody will have empathy and everybody will know it.

When your parents are gighting the kid will say, "Mom, dad! (or "Mom, mom!") why are you fighting!" and then they'll actually have to talk about it instead of just burying it. Because it's affecting the children. And when the children are hurt and scared, the parents will notice and be able to help. And when you're confused at work or at school or something, your boss or teacher will notice. They'll feel it and say "Oh you didnt get that, let me explain it differently." And in your relationships, people will say "Oh I was working late last night," and you will immediately feel, "Uh, that doesnt feel right to me". You feel it because it doesn't feel right to them. And your relationships will become more honest. They'll also become more intimate.

Most of you, and any of you who study people, have probably heard "You can never really know anybody". You live your whole life and you can learn about people and talk to them, but you never really know anybody. And that's nonsense. As soon as you start developing sufficient empathy, you can know anybody. You simply hang out with them and pick up what they're feeling and integrate it and understand it, and you can build a very solid view of the person. But right now, most of the people in your species say its not possible. Think of the kind of intimacy you can have when you know all about somebody, when you know their secrets, when you know their dreams, when you know their fears and what makes them happy and what scares them. Think how much better your relationships can be when you find out "Oh i've been doing this and they dont like it," or "Oh, I could do this simple thing and they'd be so much happier!" Think how much happier you would be if the people around you had this. They could give you exactly what you needed.

So in a not too distant future, probably not your lifetimes, everybody will have this, and they'll have it from infancy, and it will make your world a much kinder and more aware place. A much more real place. Right now, once again, your a transition generation, you're just coming down from the trees, you have to deal with taper poop.

In Conclusion

In conclusion. Empathy is not a thing of Sensers. Empathy is an inborn gift, like eyesight. Almost everybody's got it. Some have so little that they hardly notice, soe have so much they can hardly function, but most people fall in the middle where they just pick up stuff from people around. The odds are good each of you has it: the receptive empathy. Far fewer will have projective empathy. Now, what you receive is not just emotions, it's physical, emotional and social. And when you learn to use it, you can tell much more about a person, like their hopes and dreams and fears.

"So what do I do about it!" You don't do anything about it. Imagine you spent your whole life blind and suddenly you could see. You'd have no patterns in your visual cortex, you'd have no pattern mapping, everything you saw would be this huge blur of chaotic stuff and no way to understand it. You'd actually have to work on it to start building up ideas. "Oh, that's a tree and that's a policeman, not the other way around". That sort of thing. And it's like that with the empathy, you're going to have to work to build some familiarity with it. And I want you to remember, all of you, it is affecting you right now and likely to affect you every moment for as long as you live.

And so rather than mourning it or fighting it, begin to really look inside and get to know yourself, to really introspect, to become as aware as possible of what you're receiving and what you're sending. Become as aware as possible. Because once you've tamed this, it becomes a really cool part of your life.

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