Spiritual Individuation ( a precis )

Colours blind the eye.

Sounds deafen the ear.

Flavours numb the taste.

Thoughts weaken the mind.

Desires wither the heart.
The Master observes the world

but trusts his inner vision.

He allows things to come and go.

His heart is open as the sky.
From the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
I know many of us with a predisposition towards the spiritual life can suffer tremendously as we precariously tread our path. There is in us all, our own rendition of spirituality. A unique and innate seed that seeks expression and fulfilment through our experience of life itself. My own was through the discovery that I am empathic.
I am no expert on anyone’s life as we all are different. Each of us growing from a distinct DNA in our own individual habitat of physical, psychological and emotional environments.

However, in the hope of helping others, I wish to communicate briefly my experience thus far.
After many years of reflection, meditation and various numinous experiences in my life I found that actually I knew my truth all along, I just needed to discover it. My truth was ingrained in my heart from the very beginning. I suspect it took awhile to discover as my truth was not of my culture and thus many of my spiritual experiences were alien to me as they were to my peers.

This is where the idea of spiritual individuation came from.
The term ” individuation ” was coined by Carl Jung, a psychiatrist and psychotherapist. His theory was that in order for humans to become the best version themselves we had to allow ourselves to be authentic. That is to seek to express in ourselves and in life our intuitive true nature. The problem with this is it can often be at odds with our culture, peers the society we are born into.
Although I never used to think that being empathic was a gift ( due to its initially confusing and draining properties ) , I now know that it was indeed. One which, once understood, has been pivotal in helping me find myself and for me, my true relationship with the world around me.
So to all you fellow strugglers, whatsoever pain or challenges you may face, rest assured that you are more than you perceive yourself to be. You are more than your current problems, more than your fears for the future and more than the hurts of your past. If you can carry on pursuing your heartfelt path, in my experience, you will find peace and equanimity.

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A Conflict of Interest? 

“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”

― Jiddu Krishnamurti

Society largely considers what is normal by the agreed consensus of the majority. However there are many individuals ( myself included) who by virtue of their natural predilections and personal interpretation of the world around us will never be ‘ normal’. This is by no means saying these people aren’t valuable, quite the contrary in fact. They may have a certain quality in their perspective which can infuse us with inspiration and reflect a deep, contrasting insight into the nature of reality. 

These souls may be labeled occasionally as autistic, mentally ill, over sensitive, eccentric or simply ‘different’.  Indeed being empathic ( energetically sensitive) I feel that many of us find growing up and maturing in the outside world something of a unique challenge. 

At an early age we may discover that we are different from our peers and often our parents. 

The constant emphasis when at school and by others on the physical, percievable, allegedly concrete world felt as if most people only lived in a 2D reality. Their world seemed to have little depth, a linear monologue of an existence. 

Through many conversations that I have had with others with similar experiences it seems we have much in common when it comes to living our lives and the challenges we face. For example, having been born into a society which operates on a model that is the antithesis of what we feel to be right.  This can lead to :

  – subsequent feelings of loneliness and alienation which may lead to social withdrawal, addictive behaviors ( in order to numb our sensitivity), mental disorder or feeling that we have to wear a socially acceptable mask in order to fit in. 

If we do this however we compromise our ability to individuate and fully bloom into complete self actualization.  This may leave us feeling unfulfilled and frustrated. 

  – having to constantly assert our needs to others as most people presume that our needs must be similar to theirs ( in terms of space, down time, opportunity to be creative etc) 

  – finding oneself in constant conflict with others and institutions that prioritize materialism and egotism

  – having the desire for honest, open, loving human contact but mostly having to compromise due to the apparent lack of individuals who are unable to form relationships that do not involve some degree of attachment and / or dependence. 

 To summarise, in my opinion I feel it is important to remember:

  • Every individual has a unique history and a unique physiological / psychological make up
  • Therefore everyone has their own potential to fulfil ( whether or not it is in line with society’s expectations)
  • As a society we should encourage everyone to fulfil that potential.
  • Not to be quick to judge others and readily put people into boxed categories, for this can easily become harmful. 

Namaste 💜

Perspective…….. 

Perspective………… 
Lest we forget amidst the dusty, dark and neurotic corners of our mind there is another world not too far away. A world not concerned with money, status, strength or weakness. Neither cursed with wants, needs or desires. 
This world is just outside, but you will have to leave the dubious comfort of your human mind for a few moments. 

You will have to simply be present, undistracted, allowing all of one’s senses to be open to the gentle touch of Nature.
As I walk slowly through the meadow I can feel myself begin to relax. My mind and body leave behind the human hubbub of life.

The roads full of seemingly angry cars and lorries vying for their place, the people verbally wrestling with each others egos in order to validate themselves in a world where most cannot be seen. 
My breathing slows to a natural rhythm and my heartbeat becomes regular and unhurried. Mentally I am here, now amongst the flora and fauna of Nature. My sense of separateness dissolves and I become as one with the landscape. A simple witness to the beauty of Gaia, where no judgement or opinion is necessary. 
Because of the ‘ oneness ‘ that I feel and the open acuity of my senses, I seem preternaturally aware of the world around me. 
I am in awe as a leaf falls majestically from the foliage of a tree. A once in a lifetime gesture of grace, never to be repeated moment in time. 

The pale sunlight glistens on the barely visible, gossamer carpet of spider webs across the grass. 

The loud, reciprocated caw of crows in flight as they swoop and flock together continuing their families ancient legacy of life.

A single bee flies lazily amongst the flowers, half heartedly collecting nectar. Perhaps she realises her part in Nature’s great play is nearly over and there is no longer any urgency for her to work.
Just below the surface, I can feel the energetic thrum of life. The immense but subtle power of the universe as it both permeates and creates all that is. 

No one aspect of creation has ever been separate from one another, we are all energetic events within energetic events. An eternal cycle of seamless quantum activity gives testament to our immortality. 
How different this world seems to the one that I left a little while ago. The irony is it is made of exactly the same constituents.

The planet and the rest of the universe continue in relative peace and harmony, the only disturbance is that of the human mind and its tendency to subjectively detach and judge its experience. 

In continuing with this Cartesian appraisal of life we lose sense of our true essence and subsequently a true sense of belonging. 
Everyday we are alive it is true to say that every morning when we awake and in every moment therein, numerous opportunities await. Depending on our perspective, we can to a certain extent decide as to whether we realise them and fulfil the latent potential on offer.

Empath Problems 

Living the life of ( what is largely described as) an empath is a very challenging experience to say the very least. After all trying to exist and live a ‘normal’ human existence is frequently fraught with anxiety, stress, drama and perceived obstacles. 
So it is not surprising that those of us who share a predisposition to being energetically sensitive have more than the average person to contend with. 

Whether or not we agree with the term ’empath’ many of us indeed share similar proclivities. There are going to be variables depending on individuals however many ( including myself) experience the following :

  – a tendency to pick up on the emotional states of others ( and sometimes confuse them as our own) 

  – a tendency to pick up on Earth / Nature energies 

  – an extreme sensitivity to whatsoever is in the energetic field of our vicinity, including spirits, ghosts and paranormal entities 

  – we may take on physiological and psychological aspects of those to whom we are close to 

  – numinous spiritual occurrences, for example Advaitic, Kundalini et al episodes 

  – moving in and out of anothers dreams. 

This list certainly is not exhaustive nor exclusive but it gives us an idea of what ‘ normal’ can be like for the empathic on a day to day basis. 

Before we discover and understand our ‘ energetic sensitivity’ we are largely at the mercy of whatever situation we find ourselves in. This can leave ourselves prone to intense uncontrolled emotions, questioning our sanity as well as feelings of isolation and loneliness ( due to not being able to confide our feelings to those around us). This is when being empathic can feel like a curse. 

However it is possible to embrace these abilities and to enjoy the rich depths of insight and sensuality open to us. 

The first step is to understand what being empathic is. 

The next is to find what works for us to enable the individual to maintain balance and reign in some of these disparate energies. Some find grounding, shielding and meditation helps. 

We do though need to bear in mind that we need to be loving and compassionate to ourselves. The fact that on our journey so far we have encountered many, many challenges, possibly more than most others. And this is often without the advantage of peer support due to the uniqueness of our predilection for sensitivity. 
Namaste ( “I bow to the divine in you” – Hinduism) 

  –

Thou Art That.. 

Although to others I appear as simply yet another human being amongst millions of other human beings. The expectation from them is that I too operate and act from a similar perspective. In that I will to some extent seek personal, ego related goals. That I will endeavour to make myself secure by the acquisition of material wealth. That I will have similar external interests involving media driven activities of which I am assumed to have a shared predilection. 

This is the hard part, as I by and large do not. 

Living within a society that lives out and expects individuals to adhere to an anthropocentric ideology  is, for me, completely unnatural. 

My empathic spiritual journey has now led to perceptual changes in the way that I experience the world around me. 

I am as one with the Earth. 

My human body forms the flimsiest demarcation of my soul, for my soul too is at one with the Universe. 

Out in the forest the feeling is intensified. 

In the wilderness, the air in my lungs once expelled becomes one with the wind. The breeze then wraps itself around my human form, caressing my hair and skin. Evaporating the thin sheen of sweat on my brow, which had once been part of one of the great oceans. Although the presence of blood, bone and sinew are to be found within me, they too are only borrowed. One day, upon my passing, I will again return to the Earth from whence I came and from which I have never truly been separated. 

Even in my humanity I can sense the other. 

The autonomic consciousness of the bee as it almost preturnaturally carries out its duties to ensure the survival of his hive. 

The feral mind of the fox, raw and unencumbered by a superego seeks to satiate his hunger. 

The various parts of the dense undergrowth, clearings and landscape that give rise to their own genius loci. That speak subtly of sublime nature spirits, evocations, spiritual communion and desperate entreaties to the ‘other’ world. For in these places the veil between the worlds is barely perceptible. One can easily visit other dimensions and planes of existence simply by being present. 

I have no wish to return to my previous experience of life as a simple, egoic human. Indeed I feel that I could not if I wished to. 

So if you see me around, please feel free to say hello as I have much to discuss and desire to hear of your thoughts. You will recognise me by my eyes, they have all the elements of the Earth therein. 

Tough Love……….? 

Equanimity can be hard for most people in life but especially more so for individuals with strongly empathic traits. The reason being is that we are so sensitive to the energies of other living and none living entities that even the smallest energetic ripple from another source can on some days be enough to unbalance us. 

Our own emotions can be so amplified at times that our effect on others ( for me anyway) can be intense. I have known occasions when I have been in an highly emotive state that I have felt like an affective nuclear reactor influencing other people’s moods and cognitions around me. 

But more often than not it is the emotions of others that can so effect our day to day lives. 

Fortunately for myself through practicing meditation and mindfulness I am usually aware of the how my mind can try and fool me and send me on fools errands in seeking happiness or avoiding discomfort. 

According to Buddhist psychology emotional attachment to the sense world results from mental and physical feelings. 

When we experience pleasure, we seek more. If we do not attain more then craving can develop. 

When we experience discomfort in situations we then we seek to avoid them causing aversion. 

When we experience neutral phenomena we tend to ignore them. 

Thus what we encounter in our day to day lives can cause disturb our emotional balance. 

I wish I had been aware of this in my youth instead of being carried away by the depths of my passions to feel the great highs and lows of existence. Even the low points had addictive properties by virtue of their ability to utterly consume me into another state of profoundly sensual reality. 

As empathic individuals living in Western society however provides us with another challenge. That being trying to exist and survive in a community that promotes greed and the consumption of material things. The media, peers, friends and acquaintances are seemingly infected by ego driven lives e.g. having the latest mobile phone, wide-screen television, fashionable clothes et al. 

It is my belief that this lifestyle is much to blame for many people’s, let alone empaths, unhappiness and feelings of isolation. 

If there is one element of truth we can learn from this, as hard as it may be, it is that it is not what happens to us that can cause the most pain. It is our response. If we have developed a deeper understanding of ourselves then this can be somewhat mitigated against. 

View from an Empath 

Sitting on a wooden bench outside my local public house I stretch my aching legs and decide rest up a while from my countryside walk. 

There is a faint breeze ushering in the early dusk bringing with it a chill tincture of the night ahead. The smell of freshly mown grass adds to the subtle atmosphere of near perfect sanguinity I begin to feel. Taking a small sip from the cold beer held tenderly in my hand and placing it down upon the table I begin to relax even further. 

As I light my ( occasional) cigarette I watch my exhaled smoke form a brief swirling pattern in the air before finally dissipating in the gentle wind. With that last out breath I feel as if I have also cast out any feelings of tension that may have remained leaving myself in a pleasantly grounded state of awareness and reflection. 

Pausing, my attention moves to taking in whomsoever is in my vicinity on this calm and tranquil evening. 
  – the somewhat overdressed, heavily made up lady with her male partner sitting at a table on the opposite side of the lawn. It feels that she is constantly undermined and criticised. She seems to no longer to have the self confidence to escape after years of negativity. She is veritably trapped, feeling she deserves nothing more than what she has. 

  – the older gentleman sitting by himself in the corner, a baseball cap covering his eyes as he nurses his glass of spirit and ice. An ex military man, mumbling a soliloquy of painful memories and regrets. Rheumy eyes gaze blearily out from under his cap as the waitress delivers another in a long line  of shorts. It may not numb the pain but his mind will be disabled enough to compromise his ability to dwell on the past until sleep or unconsciousness overcome him. 

  – the young couple sitting nervously opposite one another across another bench. A fledgling relationship, both a little anxious about saying or doing the wrong thing laugh uncomfortably in conversation. Both fidgeting restlessly but desperately seeking each other’s eye contact. 

  – the young mother doting on her two year old, making entreaties for him to eat. Her partner sits there disinterested, texting on his mobile phone. His demeanor suggests his belief of that he is an ‘alpha male’. His overt masculinity she once found attractive, however now all she feels is oppressed and disregarded. 

  – a young man laughing and joking loudly with his male peers, feigning confidence and social adeptness. His insecurity given away by his frequent glances to his peers to assess to what degree he is accepted and as to whether his manner is being well received. 

Feeling a little depleted energy wise, I move my awareness to the surrounding landscape beyond the beer garden. The leaves on the trees shimmering in the slight breeze, the cattle grazing and  lowing quietly on the outlying hills, the coarse caws from a family of rooks passing overhead and the subtle coo of a nearby wood pigeon help to energetically reconvene. 

As I walk away to resume my stroll in the countryside I cannot help but wonder why it is that humans are seemingly so complicated and frequently so unhappy at times. Surely if we were living in our ‘natural state’ then you would think that our behaviour would be more sentient as it appears with fellow species here on Earth. 

I endeavour to leave such thoughts behind however, not wanting them to detract from the essential essence of Nature’s presence.