We have often heard that “there is no separate self” or that “the illusion of separateness is gives birth to our suffering”. Certainly the judgement we all too often “bestow" on one another creates a “you vs. me” approach to life that is the beginning of all forms of abuse within ourselves, between one another and beyond.
The World of an Empath
While the above is true, I often find people struggling with all the pain and suffering they feel and see around them. Often, these are very sensitive people. People who walk through a room and sense how everyone is feeling. They often see through the ubiquitous smiles people place on their faces. Their empathic abilities can’t be fooled. They can sense the pain. They see it, they feel it, they respond to it and certainly - they can’t ignore it.
They see these same stirrings in themselves. They sense the apparent superficiality of much of what we seem to place so much value on. Even when such an empathic person clearly does something impressive, they may ask themselves, “Does it really matter? Does anything I do really matter? I still sense the pain and suffering in myself and others. Am I fooling myself even now? Am I becoming one of the plastic happy faces that I so often see around me?”
This is the world of an Empath. They feel the pain and suffering of others so greatly that it confuses and leaves them no peace. There is no place to go to develop a place of safety within them. There is no respite from the constant swirling of our human circumstance. Every brief moment of joy is seemingly inevitably followed by yet another challenge ... more pain ... more suffering ... no peace.
Empaths and the Role of the Subconscious Mind
For Empaths, their Oneness Between and Beyond can overwhelm their Oneness Within. It is in the development of Oneness Within that we develop the spaciousness that can exist before we think, feel or react to anything in our lives. Information is constantly flowing into our minds as separate rivers of perception flowing into our integrating mind centers. These rivers mix together entering our awareness free form until we first respond, by placing words on the experience. Subconscious Mind experiences and the much smaller Conscious Mind must label or put into words the experience in order to respond to it. A beautiful sunset is beautiful until someone says, “Isn’t it a little cold out here?”
So how does an Empath develop the ability to see and sense all that goes on in their life and not respond to it - at all? How can they, under these circumstances, just be? It may even seem a bit sociopathic to practice being in the presence of human suffering and not respond to it. How would one practice this - before someone knew how to get there?
Here, I believe, is where our “sense of self” comes in. Biologically we do have a sense of self. Our interoceptive neurons exist and process information for our Subconscious Mind. While Subconscious Mind has other sources of information, this mental circuit allows our Subconscious Mind to sense what is. The Subconscious Mind is preverbal and spacious in its ability to process information, nearly endless, and effortless.
Before our Conscious Mind knows, Subconscious Mind already knows. Subconscious Mind decides what we should think about, feel about and say next. It is within this circuit alone that we can enjoy the realization that, as Steven Ford discovered, “I’m not what I think and feel”.
The Value of Higher Awareness
We are much more than we know. We are connected to a higher awareness and through this higher awareness to everyone and everything else. To reach this awareness we must reach for our Oneness Within. Only with this spacious awareness of this place within us, before we think, feel or respond…can we be with others just as they are ... and just be.