One of the most frequent questions we are asked as Reiki Teacher Practitioners & purveyors of fine crystals, is "How can I protect myself? I’m always picking up on other people! I feel so much interference I can barely function from day to day. And the more spiritual work I do, the more I pick up!"
Many people experience subtle energy & emotional energies in their environment in ways which prevent them from being optimally functional in their daily lives.
We often hear people ask us, "How can I clear myself after…?". Fill in the blank: after an argument with a child or other loved one, after a rough day at work, after being yelled at on the highway by a road rage freak, after a clerk yelled at you while shopping, or even after simply being around someone else who is in a bad mood.
Do you ever feel overly impacted by the emotional turmoil around you at home, work or out in the world? Do you ever feel overly impacted by the moods of your loved ones?
Do you have trouble relating to the emotions you are feeling sometimes, as if they weren't your own? Do you feel that sometimes when you walk into a room, that your energy changes to reflect whatever's going on around you? Do you pick up or experience the emotions of characters on tv and movies, in the news or newspapers?
You may be what is called an empath, someone who experiences what is known as clairsentience, or the ability to pick up the emotions of others. This ability has been referred to as a 'paranormal' ability, which implies that the person with that ability is someone whose experience is 'outside' what is considered 'normal', but in fact, empathy is a perfectly normal ability which each of us may experience in varying degrees.
Empathy is defined as the ability to perceive, recognize and feel the emotions of others, even when they are not explicitly communicated. In the 1880s, German psychologist Theodore Lipps coined the term "einfuhlung" (literally, "in-feeling") to describe the emotional emotional resonance with another's feelings.
Even more simply stated, empathy is the ability to "put oneself in another's shoes." When we feel what another feels, we experience empathy.
Empathy is the forerunner of compassion, and therefore a potentially very positive experience. However there is a danger involved in the empathic experience we should all understand. When we experience what another feels as if it is our own feeling, we unconsciously identify ourselves with the other person. There is no distance between us. Thus, we open ourselves to a false experience of shared suffering.
It is very easy for empathy to cause us to mistakenly take on the burdens of another in this way. We may feel fear, anger, doubt, panic or despair when we empathize with another person, and if we lack discernment, we may lose ourselves in these vicarious emotions.
This is how we can become attached to the other person’s emotional dilemma. On a subtle level, we allow the energetic cord of light that connects us to the other person, and which carries emotional messages back and forth, to become attached or embedded into our own energy field, or aura. This can create a situation which drains you of energy. The other person may actually receive energy from you, feeling better every time you mistakenly take on their emotions.
From this point on, until we consciously remove the energetic hooks and cords that connect us to the other person, their negative emotions will unconsciously be transmitted to us through the energetic circuit that has been created. We will feel what they feel, and we will unconsciously continue to identify their emotions as our own.
This is how empathy becomes emotional attachment, and how emotional attachment leads to unconscious identification with the suffering of others.
Discernment provides an antidote to this danger. The empath must take on the burden of sorting through their emotions, and begin to see the difference between what they are picking up from others and what they are feeling in relation to their own life.
When the empath becomes conscious of the source of the emotion, aware of the person with whom they are resonating, then the emotional charge will dissipate. This is a strong signal that the empath had identified the true source of the emotion. So the cultivation of discernment is essential for the mental and emotional health of all those blessed with empathic abilities.
The development of compassion is also essential to the healthy empathic personality. When we recognize that the other person's feelings relate to their own unique experience, and when we also realize that we have had similar feelings in a similar situation, when we recognize that the other person’s feelings represent what we might call a universal human response, then the resulting feeling of sympathy triggers intimate identification with that person without the burden of unconscious identification with the other's emotions. We feel at one with that person and we consciously allow ourselves to take on their feelings as our own. Then our hearts open, and we experience what is known as compassion.
This is how the path of empathy prompts us to develop our spiritual practice, which rests upon a foundation of discernment and compassion. There is nothing mysterious, occult, paranormal or extraordinary about this process of spiritual, emotional and mental evolution.
In fact, the empathic experience, which is often referred to as extrasensory perception, is not really extraordinary at all. Empathic awareness is within the range of perceptions that most of us experience at one time or another in our lives.
It is true that empathic awareness is increased during certain expanded states of awareness, brought on by intensified emotions, such as when we fall in love, during emergencies or when we perceive threats against our loved ones. During these times, our ability to feel what the other person feels is also heightened, just as the mother’s ability to pick up on the thoughts and feelings of her child is heightened above and beyond her normal empathic abilities which she demonstrates with other people.
Mothers or not, we all have the ability to see things from another’s person’s perspective, and, to some extent, to will ourselves to feel what they feel as well. When physicians demonstrate an empathic ability to feel what the patient feels, and to make them more comfortable in a difficult situation, this empathic ability is called “bedside manner”. Of course, the physician must be sure not to fall into the “sympathy trap”. If the physician identifies consciously with the patient, then this reinforces the unconscious identification that facilitates empathic response, and the physician could, over time, be overwhelmed with the suffering of the patient, especially if the patient is in a critical condition, or in a very painful course of illness.
Thus the ability to remain objective is critical if we are to utilize our empathic abilities for our best and highest good and for the best and highest good of all those around us. If we can maintain a conscious awareness of our empathic experiences, and distinguish between our own emotions and the emotions of others, we can learn a great deal about ourselves and about all those around us. The conscious exercise of empathy will lead us to a deep and true understanding of those with whom we have contact in this world, and we will begin to develop a reputation as someone who has compassion, someone who understands others, and someone who can be trusted in difficult situations to do the right thing.
Of course, it is always difficult to maintain the conscious awareness of empathic experiences. There is no doubt that this involves the exercise of tremendous discernment over a long period of time. Discernment helps us distinguish between our own emotions and the emotions of others.
Eventually we learn to pinpoint accurately the source of what might otherwise appear to be free-floating negative emotions occluding our energy field, our minds and our hearts. Then we find we have the ability to see clearly into the hearts of others. Don’t be discouraged if you have not yet achieved this difficult balancing act in your life. It took me years to make progress toward the elusive goal of empathic equilibrium.
When I was in my twenties, I referred to myself as a "sponge" because I picked up so many of the feelings & emotions of those around me in my environment. Growing up as an empath was very difficult & often confusing, as I was unaware of why I so often felt the way that I did.
When I was very young, my mother and father were constantly telling me I was "too sensitive" and in my adolescent years, that refrain turned into an admonition to work as a volunteer in a hospital, so I could stop "feeling sorry" for myself.
This ability is what encouraged me to become what I call a 'seeker', someone who has sought symbolic meaning in the feelings, signs & events around me. I have always looked not only for personal meaning in the events in life, but also for greater meaning in the context of those events.
And more specifically, my empathic experiences drove me to seek & learn, over the course of several decades, a variety of techniques which have assisted me in exercising discernment, learning to recognize the source of emotions I pick up from others, building my auric strength & shielding myself from over empathizing with people & events in my life & in our world.
In this article, we will address some of the techniques we can perform easily with virtually no expense or fancy workshops or special initiations. Try them out for yourself! You will find you can establish a set of hygienic energy practices to assist you in becoming more consciously empathic, more compassionate, more loving, and more effective in your relationships as a result.
Modern day physics has gone to great lengths to explicate how we are all interconnected, however, many of us do not actually believe that we are each thoroughly woven together physically, emotionally & psychically. In America, the land of the cowboy, which worships at the altar of individual achievement and individual freedom, it is almost cultural heresy to speak the truth that we are all energetically connected. Those of us in the grip of rational materialist thinking would never want to admit that we could 'pick up' energy from someone else by proximity or by thinking about them or having them think about us.
Most of us find it hard to believe, that in fact, there is really no such thing as a separate individual. We are interconnected with one another at an unconscious level, as Carl Jung explained with his concept of the shared “collective unconscious”, which provides all human beings with the shared storehouse of archetypes that people our dreams, our art, our philosophies, our religious experiences, and our mythologies worldwide.
This radical concept of Unity Consciousness is at the heart of the great spiritual teachings of both the East and West, from yoga to Goddess worship to animistic shamanism to Buddhism to Greek philosophy to Christianity, which says, “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”
Most spiritual practices are designed help us to overcome the minds' quaint notion, that we are, each of us, separate -- separate from our Higher Selves, from one another or from the Intelligent Spirit which informs & Manifests our Universe.
Most spiritual practices are designed to help us become increasingly aware of the web of life, of our connections with others, and of our own unique identity, which is a reflection of the Unity within which we live our seemingly separate lives.
These spiritual traditions tell us to stay centered in our own Self, to remain connected to Source, grounded, and alert to Present Moment Awareness. It all sounds deceptively simple. Many practices in our daily lives can contribute to this heightened state of awareness.
It’s important to maintain a healthy diet which is right for you, to follow a meditation practice that will strengthen your energy field and your connection to Spirit, to replenish your inner stores of Universal Life Force Energy through physical hygiene & fresh air & exercise, and to refresh your mental attitude & willpower through the invocation of conscious intent and through exposure to Nature’s rejuvenating Source of energy, present in abundance in the air, water and land where human habitations have not completely drained the Earth of her vitality.
Each one of us is hard wired to respond to others differently, and we each have our own ways of dealing with stresses in our daily lives, with illness, and with the needs of our own emotional bodies. We each have very unique responses to all of the myriad inputs we experience on a daily basis.
Diet & nutrition is still in the dark ages and rarely addresses people as individuals during Seasonal Transitions & during their many Life Transitions in the course of their lives. It would be best if our diets reflected these transitions because they are key to beginning to address 'leaky boundaries' which are one cause of empathic overload or pollution.
Our auric boundary needs to be kept in good shape, free of hooks and cords, without tears or holes, in order for us to be able to discern what is our own emotion and separate our own feelings from the feelings of others. This is especially important for those of us who are empaths or “clairsentient”.
Staying centered sometimes can seem like a full time occupation. Ideally, one would have a daily spiritual practice, balanced by daily physical exercise, fresh air & fresh food as well as creative & emotional outlets on a regular basis to begin to experience a Centered life.
This is also the way to stay connected to Source. Spirit is immanent. We don't need to go to a Church, Synagogue or Mosque in order to pray (although there is nothing wrong with worshiping in that way). God, Goddess, Spirit, Source, The Intelligent Creator (by whatever name) is always within us, accessible & Ever Present to our existence, in fact, we are inextricably connected to Source all the time. It is only in our minds that we experience the disconnect. Meditation, chanting, breathing, and walks in unspoiled Nature, are good ways to stay connected to Source, proven to work for thousands of years by spiritual students of both East and West.
Physical hygiene is incredibly important, and not just to prevent ourselves from 'picking up bugs' which are so prevalent as the root of all of our physical illnesses. What if I were to tell you that illness is not simply a matter of picking up a bug?
Have you ever had an argument during a meal? How did you feel afterwards? Is that a regular feature of your life? And if so, how is your digestive tract? Did you ever feel that sometimes you became ill so that you could experience some quiet time to simply nurture yourself?
This could be a whole article in itself, but my point here, is not to discuss the theory of infection, but to help you consider that we may be 'infected' by more than physical ailments. Many of the things which 'infect' us are in fact not from physical origins but rather from more subtle realms. If you've ever eaten out at a restaurant & suddenly felt VERY tired, did you ever stop to wonder if the reason you became tired was because of the energy of the cook, the kitchen prep staff, the waitress? That chef may be very overtired & overworked.
If you've ever visited with a friend, who you like, and whose company you normally enjoy & then returned home, only to feel drained & exhausted, it is possible that you 'picked up' energy from that person in your astral body.
Many people are hardwired to receive impressions, emotions, thoughts & feelings of people or other aspects of their environment through simple direct exposure (ie: walking into a room, touching someone or being in proximity). Other people 'pick' things up kinesthetically, aurally, telepathically or emotively, and therefore can even experience another’s energy from a distance.
You may recall in the 1960's, the Russian government did a lot of experiments along these lines, and our own CIA has performed hundreds of what are called "distance viewing" experiments. Rupert Sheldrake, a British scientist has performed many experiments involving animals telepathically picking up on their 'owners' returning home from work, without there being any reason to know this. (See his book "Dogs Know When Their Owners are Coming Home & Other Unexplained Powers of Animals"). He has also been involved in studying human telepathy. See his article on our site entitled Gosh I was Just Thinking About You.
Whether or not you believe in telepathy, is also not the point of this article. I'd like to say to those folks who have always thought they were picking things up around them and didn’t know what to think about it, or how to address those issues that there are some simple ways to begin to address this in your life. For those others who already know that they are sensitive to the energies of the world, people & forces all around them, here are some tips for dealing with being "too sensitive".
Practical Steps to Cleanse Yourself of Unwanted Energies
Here are a few simple steps you can take, each day, or upon each occasion when you are feeling beset by the energies of other people or events out in the world.
As I mentioned in the introduction above, hygiene is VERY important in order to stay clear & centered in our own optimal energies. For those of you who are ultra sensitive, there are several things you MUST do after being in a stressful environment. The first thing to do is to wash your hands or if you are able to you are to bathe. If you are unable to bathe at the time that you are feeling overwhelmed, you may do so at the end of your day in the privacy of your home bathroom. (If you're at work, even putting your hands under running water in the bathroom, as you visualize stress leaving your body from your hands & washing down into the earth, which can cleanse & transmute the energy.)
One of the best ways to healthfully & easily clear our energy fields from unwanted influences, is to take a salt bath, or use a salt scrub in a shower. Use natural sea salt & not iodized table salt & use anywhere from ½ cup to a pound of salt in your bath. You may also use epsom salts or dead sea salts or a good land salt.
Internally, salt regulates the water balance in our bodies & can assist us in keeping our electrolytes balanced. The emotions are considered the water element within us, energetically, mythically & symbolically. Salt has the ability to flavor foods, to preserve it & to draw out liquids in cooking (which is the main way salt helps to add flavor to cooked foods).
As you probably know already, salt has the capacity to draw things out: impurities, waters & toxins. So by putting a natural salt which still has its minerals intact, into your bath, you encourage your own watery nature to let go of stored toxins. These toxins are produced through bad dietary practices and exposure to pollutants, both physical & emotional, and are the energetic residue created by arguments & anxieties, as well as by the simple act of rushing around in our busy lives.
It's good to add a bit of oil to your salt bath, even olive oil or other simple bath oil, so you do not dry your skin out too much. (If you're under 25 years of age, you don't need to worry about that unless you have dry skin). If you only have a shower, you can mix a teaspoon of oil or melted cocoa butter with a tablespoon or two of salt & then rub that onto your skin before you shower (do this messy bit in the shower itself), then turn on the water after you've covered yourself & rinse off completely. Make sure to steer clear of your eyes, genitals or open wounds of any kind.
This simple technique is AMAZINGLY effective & simple & costs very little to perform. I recommend that if you have a busy life, you do this practical step at least once a week, if not a few times a week, depending on what you are dealing with & how sensitive you are.
Of course, if you are lucky enough to live in a warm climate & have access to the ocean, this is the original salt bath par excellence!! Take a regular dip, rinse off in fresh clear water & consider yourself lucky to have the added benefits of exposure to the negative ions the Mother's Oceans generate!
Any water is good, lakes, streams, ponds, clear & clean water, of course is best. If you cannot bathe in it because of exposure to the public or to the weather, even a ritual cleansing would suffice. Dip your hand or hands into the water (make sure it's clean!) & sprinkle it over your head, wash your hands in it, dip in & spray some around your body, giving thanks & at the same time, making it your intention to clear yourself of anger, hate, misery, stress, whatever it is that is weighing you down.
Energy Breath Exercise
When you are feeling beset by the energies of others, the environment or even yourself (!!!), make sure you continue to breathe at the moment & during your reactions.
If you can't leave your office, simply plant your feet on the floor to do this exercise. If possible go to a place in nature or where you will have ground beneath your feet in order to do the following practice.
Prana, which is Universal Life Force Energy, travels on the breath. Use this breathing exercise to expel the 'detrimental' energies you are perceiving and to fill your body and aura with clean, fresh energy which will revitalize you.
Take a deep breath through the nose, pulling all the way up from the belly or diaphragm, to the count of three. Then expel the breath through your open mouth, to the count of six. Do this at least three times or in several sets of three.
After you've done several sets of open mouth breathing, you should begin to breathe with a deep inbreath & then a slow & steady outbreath through the nose, this time with your mouth closed.
Again, make sure your outbreath is twice the length of time of the inbreath. Do this second set of breathing nice & slowly again in three sets of three breaths.
If you are prone to dizziness, make sure you perform this breathing exercise while seated and go slowly. And if you get dizzy, stop doing it!
Grounding and Centering Exercise
Get into a comfortable position. Imagine you have roots growing from the bottom of your feet, or from your root chakra, into the very depths of the earth, from which you can draw sustenance & fresh energy.
Pull that fresh energy up into your belly as you breathe in through the nose, to a count of three & as you exhale, through the nose, with mouth closed, to a count of six, send those detrimental or difficult energies from inside you down through the bottom of your feet or root chakra, back down into the center of the earth, where our dear Mother Earth will be able to transmute & transform any problem energies. Your breathing should be normal and easy. If you feel stressed while doing the breathing exercise, relax and breathe at a comfortable pace for you. Keep doing this until you begin to feel calm & equilibrated again.
Keep breathing as before. On the inbreath, visualize energy from the center of the Earth being pulled up within you, entering through your feet or root chakra. At the same time visualize the clean clear energies of the Heavens pouring down into your crown chakra from above, streaming down your spine.
Imagine the starry night sky or a bright blue sky, whichever gladdens your heart, and as you inhale pull the clean clearing energies from both the center of the earth & the high heavens into your heart.
Perform this exercise until your heart is full. Then repeat and see the energy from below and from above pouring into you and meeting in the “dan tien” center (or, if a woman, into your womb).
The “dan tien” center is about two finger widths below the navel and is the place where our bodies store Universal Life Force Energy. When we are healthy and strong, this storehouse is full of “chi” or “prana” or energy. When we are sick and rundown, depressed or unhappy, this storehouse of energy becomes depleted.
Feel the energies mingling in the “dan tien” center in balanced harmony, connecting you to both earth & sky energies. Perform three sets of breathing exercises. If you like, repeat this exercise until you feel a flush of warmth in your belly. This is a sign that you have replenished your storehouse of energy.
After doing this exercise, give thanks to Mother Earth, Father Sky for offering us protection & Blessings.
Working with crystals for Protection
We often suggest that our Reiki & Past Life Regression clients wear crystal pendants to assist them in their work, whether it is a job where they feel beset by too many energies or conflicts or to assist them in doing inner work or being on their particular spiritual path. We also often recommend crystal wands and altarpieces for our clients, to help them elevate the energy in their home, or office, and in their bedroom or meditation room.
Crystals have been used since ancient times for protection, magic & to assist in daily life. Crystals have been found in tombs, in Native American burial sites & around the world in all of the places humans have lived. Today, as many of you know, crystals are not only used in technology (See Curtis' great article Using Quartz Crystals in Digital Technology, Healing & Meditation) but also to assist us in meditation & healing work. Crystals are so varied in form, appearance & uses & their beauty alone is a healing balm for many who see, hold, wear & work with them. You can read about the various kinds of crystals in our Crystalpedia.
A crystal pendant can help to protect and strengthen your auric shield, by encouraging & amplifying your own natural healing abilities. Crystals have been shown in experiments by IBM scientist and crystal healer Marcel Vogel to amplify energies.
So if you wear a crystal pendant with the intention of adding a layer of psychic protection, you will be amplifying that intention tremendously. And if you are attracted to a particular crystal, we always advise choosing that piece which is better than a choice based upon an intellectual decision.
Certain stones are good for specific kinds of protections. Citrine for example, is an excellent stone for a beginner who is just working with crystals because it is said not to need cleansing. Yes, of course, you have to clean your crystals as well as your aura! For instructions, see Curtis' article again, Using Quartz Crystals in Digital Technology, Healing & Meditation.
Citrine is an excellent stone to wear in the workplace where you are exposed to a variety of 'interfering' energies. So are Espiritu Santo Rutilated Amethyst, clear quartz & ametrine crystals. All of these stones are excellent at literally repelling detrimental energies and clearing them out of our energy fields.
A stone to remove energies which you've already picked up is smoky quartz (or amethyst or clear quartz or again, citrines). Smoky quartz is my favorite because it goes so deep so gently and removes unwanted energies. It is very soothing at the same time, which is helpful because these unwanted interfering energies can bring a host of negative & unpleasant emotions & physical sensations with them.
If you feel tired from always picking stuff up from around you, you might want to try working with or wearing rutilated quartz. Rutile is very energizing & works on the electric impulses in the body to clear junk out & bring in the required energy needed to get centered.
If you are truly balanced but need assistance in clearing out a lot of junk, try moldavite to work deep & thorough, but know, as one of our suppliers says, "moldavite is not for sissys".
If you want to clear through many layers or have things unearthed & revealed to you try working with phantom crystals & elestials. Elestials seem to work on many layers & levels at once, whereas phantoms help us access hidden &/or buried parts of ourselves.
If you are someone who would like to cultivate more of your sensitivies, crystals are excellent allies for this! Many of the so called dreaming stones are wonderful catalysts for dream work, energy work, scrying, going deeper into empathic or other psychic realms. Some of these are moonstone, phenacite, prehnite, opals, indigo quartz, aquamarine, apatite & apophyllite to name just a few!
Lay down with a crystal of your choice. If possible place a grounding stone (such as ruby, smoky quartz, clear quartz or super seven or any orange or red crystal) at your root chakra or by your feet. Place another stone at your heart chakra such as rose quartz, indigo quartz or kunzite. Place another stone on your third eye or above your crown chakra such as phenacite, danburite or clear quartz.
Make it your intention as you place the crystals, that each stone will assist you in clearing unwanted energies & then will help you in strengthening your auric shield.
Close your eyes, breathe deeply three times through the nose, exhaling with a longer out breath through the mouth. Then breathly comfortably follow your breath with your mind so that your breath is your point of focus. If you cannot stop yourself from thinking, that is ok, just look at the thoughts & realize, "oh, I'm thinking" and keep breathing. Continue to bring your attention back to your breath. Do not judge yourself for thinking, just keep trying to follow the breath. After a few minutes of this, feel yourself sinking more deeply into the ground, your back being carressed by the Earth.
Now notice you have crystals beneath your feet, or at your root chakra & thank each one in turn for assisting you in clearing unwanted energies & helping you to relax. Focus your mind on each crystal moving from your feet up your body & try to feel the energy of each one in turn.
Have no expectations & simply focus one at a time on the crystals moving from your root or feet chakra . Spend as little or as much time focusing on each stone in this way moving from your feet to your head.
Then begin to do the same thing with each stone, begining at the crown & work your way back down your body. Again, keep breathing, following the breath & focus one at a time on each crystal moving from crown to root. As you move downward, ask each crystal to assist you in strengthening your auric field.
When you have finished, lay quietly and breathe slowly and begin to imagine that you have a sheath around your physical body which is several inches out from your skin. See that sheath like a transparent skin which is intact, pliant & whole.
Look to see if any places in that sheath has holes in it. If you find holes with your internal vision, then continue the exercise again, starting at your root chakra & again work with each stone to clear on the way up the body & work with each stone to strengthen & support your auric field on the way from crown to root chakra. Again, examine your auric sheath with your inner eye and see if you have completed repairs.
This exercise may take some getting used to if you are unaccustomed to working with inner vision in this way, and it may take more than one session to 'repair' your auric field. If you are accustomed to this kind of work, you may want to bring in guides to work with you, angels or even the assistance of colors, scent or flower essences.
In conclusion, these are just a few things you have within your own power to change the way you deal with the world & experience the energies around you. There are many other wonderful tools which can assist us on this path such as flower essences, working with essential oils even creative writing or drawing. Any artistic efforts on our parts can assist us with understanding ourselves, our boundaries & our hopes & ambitions for this life. Music, dance, painting, poetry are powerful catalysts for assisting us in strengthening our auras, especially if they are performed with conscious intention.
We do not have to become victims of our own sensitivies, rather they can become part of our strengths which help to define our gifts. We can use these gifts to help ourselves, our children & families & others in simple & profound ways in our daily lives.
The next time you are at a restaurant, say a little prayer over your food before eating it, giving thanks for the abundance in your life and to the chef, perhaps offering them a bit of energy, maybe then you'll find yourself better nourished by that meal!
In closing, I give thanks to all of you reading this and hope that it can be of some small assistanc to you on your Way!