An Empath is a person who was born with unique variations in the central nervous system. This means how the brain is configured and how the nervous system works in the body. This has not yet been studied and quantified by science. Instead it is being brought forth by individuals who are becoming self-aware of these qualities and who explore this experience through creative and intuitive outlets.
A high degree of overall sensitivity is the general indicator for this type of person. All of the sensory organs of an Empath have low thresholds thereby resulting in unusual sensitivity to light, smell, and sound (as well as other subtler senses). Although underlying sensitivity is the unifying factor behind all Empaths, how this sensitivity is "managed" or "funneled" varies from person to person.
An Empath also possesses a very sensitive emotional nature, that is typically difficult to self-manage. Books have been written on "highly sensitive people" and those materials are relevant to this topic. However, being highly sensitive is only one part of the formula for Empaths.
As a result of the interaction between an extremely sensitive neural network and the concurrent emotional nature of a person with this profile, Empaths are highly intuitive. The word intuition needs to be better understood when used in communications but I will save that for a later article.
A better understanding of intuition leads to a better understanding of what actually constitutes an Empath. For now, I only want to say that Empaths are highly intuitive which means they tend to do things by feeling, by sensing, by reacting to proprioceptive queues, and by following "hunches, gut-feelings," etc. This includes critical decision making, reacting, and acting upon influences in their own lives predominately from intuitive queues. This process can lead to better or worse results depending upon the development of the Empath.
Empaths are driven by their own intuitive natures. This can be for good or bad. There is no virtue implied in the term "Empath." After nine years of studying Empaths online, and thirty in general, I have found that the majority who step forward suffer from some form of mental distress or disorder. This does not mean that the majority of Empaths suffer from mental "illness", instead it implies that the majority of Empaths encountered in my research profess to some sort of "struggle" with their own uniqueness. Since my training is in mental health counseling, I found this to be fascinating and made this area a special part of my research. My model does not supplant the medical model of mental illness but does suggest that "excess wiring" (so to speak) and "diverse thresholds" may require other interventions beyond medical treatment. I firmly believe in adhering to the standards we have established in all medical and psychological fields of science. Yet this belief does not inhibit my desire to explore and discover through, what I call, the "panheuristic" process.
Empaths are driven by deep intuitive connections that are largely unconscious, as if sitting on top of a vast oil reserve in the ground and being a conduit (oil well) for this massive amount of energy. Most of what an Empath senses or "knows" cannot be verified immediately which creates a terrible psychic conflict for the person. The over abundance of real and imagined stimuli are frequently overwhelming. Sorting out the two is even more so. That is why I am a major advocate of structured training!
Imagine having vast amounts of information floating around in your head but no direct way to access it or express No way to sort it out or use it in any clearly defined way. Most of what it is cannot be proven immediately but does get proven over time. (I am skipping over a great deal of points here, just to make a point).
The stress of taking in the emotions of other people, of sensing information on a continual basis, of being a "human sponge", of being driven by deep inner forces that are not understood, all create a "torture chamber" of sorts within the average Empath. This does not have to be as melodramatic as I make it sound, but please understand - it frequently is for the subject.
I refer to this state in the Book of Storms as the "unbonded" Empath. Before figuring out who you are, you must figure out what you are, and reconcile the two. It's called the Book of STORMS for a reason! Learning about your internal storms, the nature of "storms", and how to "manage your own inner weather" are all par for the course. Empaths identify with many forms of nature and frequently feel affinity towards storms. Obviously, it is a powerful personal smbol for me. I have always felt "connected" to storms. As a metaphor, storms offer an unending supply of creative insight.
Many Empaths suffer from anxiety due to an overload of incoming stimuli and intuitive information. Some suffer from depression due to being overwhelmed with all the "storms" going on inside. It is not uncommon for an Empath to tell me that he or she has been diagnosed as "bipolar/manic-depressive." Now, that does not mean that if you were diagnosed as bipolar that you are automatically an Empath - it just means there is a possibility that we are quick to put medical labels on things without fully investigating them.
The interesting questions that arise are: Are Empaths more susceptible to mental illness? OR Is the mental illness/distress the result of being an unbonded Empath? Which comes first? This research still goes on. I have met plenty of well adjusted Empaths - yet will still find that they seek some sort of comfort somewhere, either in mild medication or counseling, something to soothe those internal storms.
The professional fields of Psychology & Psychiatry do not yet recognize these factors and continue to leave all the issues "clumped" together, undifferentiated. I originally planned this work for a doctoral thesis but will not be pursuing that in this lifetime now. Instead, I am putting it into a user friendly format in hope that an emerging self-awareness among Empaths will take place, creating a positive wave of change for the planet. Anytime the "collective mind" of the human race can change towards the better and grow, good can happen on new scales. Yes, I am an idealist. We frequently are.
Now, for a more popular explanation! An Empath is a type of "psychic", but instead of reading the "future" or viewing remote objects, the Empath specializes in reading people. I only mention all this because there is now a huge overlap/confusion between the two words. The "free for all" mentality of the new age movement seized upon the Empath term after we flooded it on the internet, so everyone , everywhere threw in what they had or knew to the concept. I suggest using the word Empath as a hybrid form of psychic, more of a realistic/grounded version of our potential for extra sensory perception. An Empath is sensitive to the visible as well as the invisible. An Empath reads body language, tone of voice, body movements, the words people choose when they speak, the words they avoid, the logic they use; and the hidden things that only an Empath can sense inside another person. A fully developed Empath reads on what could be considered a 360 degree scope. I have this entire 360 scope mapped out in great detail in a teaching model I call the PHI Model of Consciousness or P.H.I. P.H.I. stands for "panheuristic intelligence" which is ultimately what I am advocating. My research has been inspired by the work of Dr. Timothy Leary and the many brilliant souls who elaborated on his work. It is also inspired by the profound teachings of the Buddha, from the very core and heart of what I believe the Dharma to be.
Empaths are extremely powerful people. It's often overwhelming and quite lonely at times having this gift that requires so much energy, focus, discipline and fortitude but taking your time, realizing what you truly need and pursuing those goals helps to alleviate the empathic symptoms of sadness and collective consciousness woes, post your questions and experiences and for those looking to learn more about how to work with their ability of Empathy instead of it being all consuming Psychic Bella offers classes in Psychic & Spiritual development to attune you with your higher and most loving self.