I can’t breathe; something seems to be sitting right on my solar plexus and sucking the juices out of it. It seems almost nauseating. At the same time, my thoughts are obsessed, keep circling around a client that I’m going to work with later this week.
I’ve done an “energy scan” on this person before, and felt a similarly oppressive, depressing, despondent, clouded energy. In fact, when looking for the state of their energy body, initially I didn’t see anything – except a white, thick, milky fog covering up almost everything, the entire torso at least. The fog at the same time seemed to be solid – pretending to be fine and vague, but actually being hard and obstinate, like a shield or shell that is keeping this person’s energy separate from the outside world.
There seemed to be a general disorganisation, but also heaviness, slowness, confusion, diffusion about their system. Apart from the fog, the second major feature that attracted my attention (actually it was the first chronologically) was a thick, tarry, sticky, heavy, gooey black mass at the front and base of the neck. When I “touched” it (with my attention and hands), not only did it “stick” to me; it also started an “upload” of a rapid stream of painful, old, vulnerable emotional content (the general flavour being one of humiliation, self-rejection and soul-squashing).
The third impression (the only thing I really got to feel about their energy body underneath that shell) was a stagnated, unhealthy feeling in the digestive tract.
I felt completely crappy and disconnected myself before the official end of the session. I mentioned my observations to the client and found out they had a history of tumours and surgery in the “black” tarry location. The client didn’t really make sense of the fog. However, I feel that from their voice on the phone I could tell what it was: depression. A serious one. I also learnt later that the client was bulimic.
* * *
When I put all this together, I basically freaked out.
I have myself suffered from an eating disorder for about ten years (knowing the suffering it carries and how much it takes to get out), and I know what depression feels like. I also felt the disorganised character of that clients energy, and it seemed unbearable to me.
When I learnt she is bulimic, I felt like I need to help her now. I need to tell her absolutely everything I have learnt about dealing with eating disorders from a nutritional, psychological and spiritual perspective now. I need to somehow do an instant brain data transfer.
Also, I need to get that white, heavy, suffocating thing (that almost felt like a creature with its own will) off her now. Cause it’s unbearable, it’s like living death. I can’t stand it. How can she even survive that?
I couldn’t find peace. I recommended that she see a psychotherapist specialising in eating disorders, which she refuses to do (and instead is checking out every other method, energy healing included).
Over the following days I realised that my energy is occupied by her. As if it’s an emergency. As if I can’t find rest before this thing is resolved, immediately, soon. I even found myself offering her an earlier appointment because I just wanted to be through with part of the healing as soon as possible to gain at least some peace of mind.
At this point (at the very latest), I realised that something is wrong here. I feel drained, can’t relax, and keep thinking about that person. I can feel that’s wrong. But why is it happening and how can I stop it?
* * *
Battling with this for day or two, trying to dissociate from it, being unable to, still feeling the pressure on my solar plexus, being unable to breathe, feeling sick – trying various esoteric methods like “cord-cutting” and cleansing my energy field and getting the heck out of her energy field, etc. to no effect – my thoughts returned to the source.
I remembered the first Noble Truth of Buddhism, namely that life is suffering (or, due to its nature being change, it inevitably includes some). I’m not a Buddhist scholar and in no place to offer an exegesis, but my understanding of this truth has been that (obviously) not every single thing in life is suffering, but that suffering is an essential, non-accidental part of life. It isn’t a crack in the matrix; it isn’t a “mistake” that needs to be fixed immediately; it isn’t an unacceptable, unforgivable, irredeemable error. Instead, it is somehow organically, intrinsically part of the process that we call life.
This is of course a philosophical point that one can argue about endlessly. For most of my life, I didn’t accept this truth – I treated all suffering that I encountered as a “mistake”, as a grave error, as something that “shouldn’t” be there, as something that I can’t accept. I can’t accept being around it while it’s there. I can’t focus on doing other things while I can see it – because it shouldn’t be there, in some very absolute sense. So I have to either pretend it’s not there, or do whatever I can to make it go away.
As an empath, my intuitive response is taking on the energy of the suffering person, trying to deal with their issues for them.
That is of course the shortest path to burnout and insanity, given the quantity of suffering that is real in this world, and given the sensitivity of an empath to detect even its subtler forms (e.g. hidden traumas in the people walking by).
* * *
Reflecting on my issue with this particular client, I realised that I have been untrue to the first Noble Truth. For some reason, the mere existence of her form of suffering, in her (not even – any longer – in me) is unacceptable to me. The mere thought that it exists and continues existing is unbearable to me.
However, the truth is that I am not God (unless perhaps in a pantheistic sense, in the sense that everything and everyone is). I am not here to decide what should and what shouldn’t exist; what’s allowed to arise and what’s to be wiped out at all costs now. Because I can’t bear to look at it.
I understood that my resistance to the mere existence of a particular form of suffering is the source of my own psychic (and physical, a faint shortness of breath and nausea) suffering here.
But it exists. And if I try to wipe out every form of suffering that I happen to see (including with my psychic senses) and that drives me crazy, I will drive myself crazy much faster and without an ethical basis for it (again, assuming I have judgment as to what should and shouldn’t be).
Again, I don’t mean this in a sense that one shouldn’t help people – of course where possible and wanted that’s desirable. I’m talking about absolutely rejecting the mere existence of something so deeply that it becomes paralysing and requires one to either reject or fight reality.
So my meditation for this week is witnessing this particular type of suffering, without rejection and fear. Accepting the fact that it exists and that it may exist for a certain time. And that I can still live my life while it exists, next to me so to speak – it being only one of the myriad unfathomable and mysterious things that exist.
This is hard – it requires metabolising some amount of my own pain, and dealing – again, yet another time – with the fundamental question that the Buddha (and many other others I am sure) spent his life researching, what is suffering, why is it here, and what are we to do about it?
But this question has to be dealt with from a place of acknowledging reality as it exists and being able to exist with it; being able to shake its hand with dignity at least for the brief moment that it exists.