I have a question for you. Why is it most often the empaths who end up getting labelled as sick or ill in our culture and dysfunctional families? Why is it the ugly duckling or the rejected one often carries the best potential for fuller self realisation? And why are so many of us struggling so much at this time on the planet? Could it be that we are feeling what the earth is going through with the onslaught of technology that has rapidly escalated since the mid 17th century.
Descartes cry from that time was the maxiu `I think there for I am.` But how far can thought alone get us, most especially if it is divorced from deeper feelings, emotional sensitivity and soufulness? Technology and mechanisation in our culture has not been all bad, but there was a profound legacy of splitting and damage that began to open up with the onslaught of industrialisation and mechanisation and mankind’s attempts to exert power and control over nature in what Jungian analyst Edward Whitmont has called the heroic egoic age (where we split from a spirituality grounded in matter more prevalent in Goddess centred spirituality cultures).
Our split from the feminine out of balance with masculine energies and forces is one that has been intensifying for some time and is leading to an ecological crisis that maybe being felt by the most sensitive amongst us, for are we not all just cells in the being of mother earth and nature?
Expressing the wound to our soul that occurs when human beings emotional processes and soulful connection to nature began to be downplayed and the human body psyche and spirit began to be viewed or related to as objects or machines. English novelist D H Lawrence wrote : “I am not a mechanism, as assembly of different sections, and it is not because the mechanism is not working correctly that I am ill, rather I am ill because I suffer wounds to the soul. ” And the wounds to the soul are often, I believe our pathway to healing.
As if by synchronicity I was just guided to the Women for Sobriety page on Facebook this afternoon when I came across the following quote :
How interesting because just today I was thinking how my own wounds led me to addiction and then to addiction recovery and then therapy and then at the lowest point where another painful relationship breakdown led me to blogging. Here on WordPress I find like minded souls also on their own recovery pathway, many of them empaths struggling with diagnoses and labels and battling the modern day malaises of anxiety, despair and depression on a planet undergoing an intense crisis.
What if we as the sensitive cells in this body of earth are being called to awaken and draw attention to what is out of balance? What if our pathologies are not really that but sane responses to an insane situation? What if we as empaths or sensitives are just more unable than others to live on a planet where the split with and disconnected from nature is running rife?
In her one of her books addiction and co-dependency write Anne Wilson Schaef has said that indigenous people consider addicts and others in sobriety or struggling mentally and emotionally a present as less able to shut down in this kind of damaged culture, more likely to be suffering from wounds and disconnections that are a path to healing and awakening. It is an idea that has been forming more and more for me lately and I came across a very early comment on one of my first blogs by fellow blogger Ursula of An Upturned Soul which spoke of how she believed the wound of narcissism to lie at the root of our damaged collective culture.
We shut down our feelings in narcissism and begin to see them as pathological when really they are only pathological when we fail to develop emotional literacy and empathy for others. Those not shown necessary empathy in childhood seem to struggle the most with what psychologist Robert Johnson and others have called the wounded feminine feeling function of being human.
My belief is that we all come into this world fully alive in our bodies but without a healthy functioning sense of ego self, developing a healthy grounded relationship to our body and our feelings in our body as well as our soul and spirit depends up on conditions of receptivity and love that we meet in childhood and as babies. Some spiritual traditions deny the ego but without a healthy functioning ego we cannot form as individuals to the point where we can chose to surrender selfishness (often labelled as egotism) as we mature and extend ourselves into the realities of others who may differ from us. If we are told to shut down our sensitivities are taught to deny them then we just begin to excise essential parts of ourselves that are deep feeling and attuned to collective geophysical shifts.
We need to find a way to celebrate and express our differences for with this comes wisdom, insight and greater tolerance. The high degree of intolerance between nations and religions leads to fundamentalism and terrorism, but these may also be backlashes against imperialism as well. Super powers can and do over run other cultures and ways of being and try to eradicate them. Imperialism and colonialism saw those nation’s belief in their own superiority enact abuse on other nations and cultures who later backlashed against such impositions. The roots of conflicts are complex but they are there and they will never be resolved if we don’t learn ways of negotiating for and accepting differences as well as working sensitively to understand the roots of the past which have led to division, hatred, persecution and fear.
Another issue is that empaths can lack empathy for narcissists at times. I know I have at times. Recently I have been listening to some very interesting interviews with true crime writers by Australian personality John Safran and the one that aired two days ago was with the writer Ann Rule who wrote a biography on serial killer Ted Bundy a few years ago. It made really interesting listening for the perspective it gave into the killer and his possible motivations as well as the relationship the developed between Bundy and Ann Rule at a difficult time in her own life, which led her to explorations and association with Bundy.
As empaths we can show the way forward by being open to deeper levels of life and experience, even painful ones. We can use our intelligence to explore our hidden feelings and wounds. Our knowing of and attempts to heal our personal wounds may point to wounds in the culture at large in need of healing or attention. It is just a thought I have been having lately and I would be very open to your own view. Embracing our vulnerabilities and seeing that as a kind of strength too is very important so we can leave a sense of victimhood behind and become more grounded in our true authenticity and power which damaged cultural forces can steal from us. We can become more realistic about our strengths and weaknesses and more embracing of those of others and in this way we can move towards a more fully embodied and grounded sense of our value and power as empaths open to realities that need to be understood and addressed.