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Emotional Sensitivity - Blessing Or Curse?
One of my personal questions over the years has been how to deal with what I have come to understand now as a high degree of emotional sensitivity. Is ist a blessing, or a curse?
It is a fact that every researcher and developer in psychology and personal development on some level seeks to find answers to their own personal questions.
One of my personal questions over the years has been how to deal with what I have come to understand now as a high degree of emotional sensitivity.
Now in the parlance of EMO, which decrees that emotions are the feedback devices of our energy body, we would not necessarily be talking about emotional sensitivity but instead, about being aware of energetic events in the environment.
If you look at it like that, it makes a lot more sense.
My problem used to be, ever since I was a small child and can remember, that I used to be literally overwhelmed by inexplicable existences and experiences that the others in my environment simply didn’t seem to notice.
I’d be freaking out and they would look at me and shake their heads. “Silvia’s going mad again – for no good reason …”
I feel a little sad with the wisdom of hindsight.
There was always a good reason for me to feel the way I did – about environments, about people, about situations.
Take a visit to the zoo, for example.
There would be all these people, having a good time, laughing at the “antics” of the caged bears and the monkeys, and I’d be virtually catatonic with sadness and depression, and sometimes with pure rage.
Everyone’s having a good time and I’m freaking out. What on earth is WRONG with me?
It’s difficult for a small child to think that actually, there’s nothing wrong with you, but what’s wrong is that everyone else isn’t feeling the same thing under the circumstances. It took me a very, very long time to get my head around the fact that I wasn’t hallucinating or mentally ill, but that what I was responding to was actually really there.
If you think about it, the ability to read energetic happenings, imprints, realities in any given environment is a huge competitive advantage in every way. And it is true that I also had experience of that aspect of my “condition” – and that set up a big conflict for me.
On the one hand, I tried to block out these things so I could too enjoy a visit to the zoo, or a family gathering where everyone was smiling on the surface but I could see the insanity boiling beneath all that, just the same.
On the other hand, I didn’t really know how to protect myself from this information, from these overwhelming fields of energy that caused me to respond with fear, with tantrums, with anger, with darkest depression or a total sense of being lost and unable to make sense of anything around me.
And then, there were the benefits and on some level, I am sure that I even practised this ability to see beyond what others can perceive and become even more sensitive to my environments.
This “emotional sensitivity” thing is a very sharp and two edged sword, indeed.
Over the years, I tried all sorts of things to keep myself reasonably stable, and the No. 1 method of choice was definitely withdrawal.
If you don’t visit a zoo, then you don’t have to deal with those occurrences and imprints and you can keep on breathing.
If you don’t’ visit a family gathering, your equilibrium remains likewise protected.
But that only goes so far; and withdrawing from life altogether and ending up in a monastery high on the hills, far from the maddening crowds always felt like a defeat to me, even though it also seemed highly attractive.
Another withdrawal is a mental form of doing it, with meditation and literally wandering off into the monasteries of the mind. This is restful and extremely welcome; and I would say if I hadn’t figured out how to do that at an early age, I would most certainly have lost my wits a long time ago.
These “mental escapes” provided an island space and time of sanctuary where one might restore oneself before having to face the overwhelming madness of the human world once more.
I think that I was also lucky in that I had the opportunity and experience to notice that my “insanity” responses was really only linked to people situations, and people-made environments.
Being in nature didn’t cause me to go mad; in the contrary. I found that things made sense there and I could function not only well, but very well. I could assess dangers and events very rationally and think clearly there.
Still, the challenge of “making it” within people made environments remained, and I stubbornly clung to the idea that there must be a way in which I can survive this, that I should be able to learn to handle these sort of things, somehow.
For a long time I made the mistake of thinking that if I could somehow switch off the emotional response system I would be fine. Turn the emotional sensitivity on and off at will, as it were.
I found this very difficult and even back then I always had the sense that there were parts of me that were resisting any attempts to make me less sensitive – as though there existed a natural drive towards even more sensitivity, like a strong tidal pull and no matter how hard you try to swim in the opposite direction, you just know you’re not going to make progress before you run out of steam, or out of will power.
It wasn’t really until we began to define and refine the underlying concepts involved in EMO that a different way of dealing with this situation altogether became apparent.
The problems of receiving the energetic information was being detached from the problem of what happens next for the first time.
I would say that before EMO, there wasn’t really any kind of adequate explanation of what an emotion is that would make sense in consciousness.
I also believe that because no-one, it seemed, had managed to come up with a good idea or definition of emotional reactions over the ages, likewise there was no way of “thinking up” a solution to these problems and all we were left with was the idea that if you stay meditating all day long, or you learn to not ever think at all, you’ll make it through somehow.
With the theory of EMO, for the first time in my life I had something that didn’t only make sense, but was logical and opened up the entire system of human response, emotion and experience to closer investigation.
I could now explain to myself and others what happened to me when I was in the presence of certain energy occurrences.
I could tell myself and others that it really did hurt, and in very specific locations in my body. I could show myself and others with my hands where that was where it hurt, and the type of pain involved was specific as to whether it would cause me to scream aloud with rage, or cry silently with my hands before my face.
For the first time since I could remember, I began to understand that I wasn’t mad, but that I was responding as an overall system in a very logical and predictable way.
Now I can’t know about you, my dear reader, whether you have ever felt like that or lived with the idea that there is seriously something wrong with you, and you have to hide that from everyone, including yourself.
For me, to re-establish a real cause and effect between the way I felt and any form of reality was a revelation. A burden lifted I had carried all my life. So much self doubt stemmed from this, so much conflict – it really is quite difficult if not just impossible to describe the sense of relief I experienced when my responses to the world began to make some sense.
By the time the millennium turned, I was in dire need of that.
My personal development efforts had increased my awareness and sensitivity to the point where not only did I begin to find it hard to even enter a shopping centre without becoming seriously overwhelmed with all that was going on around me; I found now that being in the presence of extreme suffering had the power to literally bring me to my knees.
I had a personal “Nietzsche moment” during that time. There is a tale that the philosopher saw a horse being mistreated and went insane, right there and then. I don’t doubt this tale because that’s more or less exactly what happened to me when without warning, I was presented with the results of a situation of human wrong doing upon nature.
Luckily for me, unlike Nietzsche by the time that happened, I had some 30 years of personal development under my belt, or you could say, I was a black belt in personal development and managed to get myself out of that situation.
It was then that I decided there really was something wrong with me, but not at all in the way I had previously thought. I wasn’t mad, but my energy system wasn’t able to handle these energies correctly.
These environmental energies, overwhelming or strong or powerful as they may be, are to be expected during life and it doesn’t make any sense that someone like myself should be so totally overwhelmed by that.
I came away from that experience thinking that there HAD TO BE natural pathways for these energies, for all energies, that in my case simply weren’t working as they should.
Armed with this idea, I set to work with my colleagues and we began to test this map of the human experience, namely that emotional responses indicate a breakdown in the natural systems of the energy body – and that these can be restored.
It is extraordinarily simple, when you think of it.
Our energy body responds to the energy in the environment, and if it is fit and healthy, it will simply channel the energies through. In the process of that happening, we learn things but also the energy body is nourished in a process that functions very much like nutrition – we take out what we need and the rest simply passes through and out.
The amazing thing is that THINKING plays a huge part in the process. Thought has the power to influence energy systems, even the systems of our own energy bodies.
Just the thought of, “It’s only an energy …” results in an immediate change of the experience, produces totally different feelings in an INSTANCE.
Being able to use the physical location of the pain to focus intention, as undoubtedly our systems were designed to help us do in the first place, gave me for the first time in my life something practical to work with, something to use my mind to help myself in a moment of crisis.
And of course, the “help” of focusing on the erea of disturbance is in actuality, healing one’s own energy system in the process and as a by-the-by.
That’s an amazing thing and the ground and core of the techniques set we know as EMO.
It isn’t difficult to learn to do, certainly not if you compare it to touch typing, playing the piano, learning the Bossa Nova or ice skating. All those things are a million times more difficult in comparison to learning to focus on the emotional pain response when it occurs, finding the place where things are not working and simply encouraging flow in that erea, in, through and out.
I think the reason that it is so easy to learn, and I have to make another comparison here, is because it is NATURAL and the correct way of using our mind to energy body systems.
Meditation takes YEARS to learn. Years and years and years and then it still doesn’t hold in moments of extreme disturbance. EMO on the other hand can be learned there and then, and even total beginners have some success right away. To me, there could be no better proof that we are working for once, WITH our creator given systems, rather than struggling hopelessly AGAINST them – and that’s what I call the Even Flow.
I have been using EMO on and off, and always “in the field”, for a few years now.
What I mean by that is that I don’t take time out to sit and treat things in a therapy fashion, or take a couple of hours to really work on this or that. Perhaps I should, and perhaps I’d be further along if I did that, but that’s just not the way my life works at present.
I live my days, do my work, interact with the people in my environment, go shopping, do research, chat with friends.
When something happens to upskittle me, and it is serious enough, then I’ll put the EMO process into action and only then.
The effect has been remarkable.
A week ago, I visited a zoo for the first time since I was four years old and had to be dragged out, screaming and kicking, totally incoherent.
I can’t say that this time around it was a pleasant experience, for it was not. It was insanity personified and concentrated in two acres of land.
It was difficult at times to remind myself that I was dealing, indeed, only with energies here, and not to be afraid that I would lose that sense of wrongness, to be afraid that I would end up agreeing with what was perpetrated there.
Just because it doesn’t hurt PHYSICALLY to the point of screaming any longer, doesn’t mean it doesn’t have an impact on you, or that you are not learning something in the process, or that you are in any way less aware, or that your purposes become diluted.
I would say that after my visit to the zoo, 2006, I am clearer than ever that it is wrong to display animals in that way, that it is a human aberration which I pray, in time, will be reversed, ended, once and for all.
It is an astonishing thing to open oneself up fully to something like this and take it all in and really see the gravity of it, the extend of it and STILL come out with a clarity of purpose and HOPE left that things will change for the better.
More than hope. I would say I came out of the experience with a new born desire and focus to help make the changes I can make in my lifetime, to do what I can to contribute something to the worlds of men and women, to make it better for them, and through them, for all they come into contact with.
Emotional sensitivity may seem to be an insurmountable handicap, a burden beyond anything that people who do not “suffer” from this gift will ever know or understand.
This was certainly my experience for so many years.
I have found that the structural approach of EMO works to end the conflict between on the one hand, wanting to develop more and more sensitivity, for in this sensitivity lies the ability to UNDERSTAND, to read the patterns in the environment, to find the bifurcation points where changes can be made, and in the end, to ACT upon this knowledge and understanding; and on the other hand, to remain pain free in the process of opening oneself up to EVERYTHING – even the horrors of a zoo, or a prison, or a concentration camp.
If we can look at these things and all the other things that humans have perpetrated upon themselves and upon the beings and the Earth itself and NOT break down as Nietzsche did and become insane with the horror of it all, then we have a chance to learn, and to change our ways.
That is my hope, my wish and my desire.
People who are naturally sensitive are the very first to be able to understand the validity of this assertion; it is we who KNOW from our own experiences that there is a whole world beyond what meets the naked eye, and that our emotional sensitivity is a blessing, and not a curse.
We need to foster emotional sensitivity – sensitivity to the environment, to the world, to our own actions and the repercussions of these actions.
I don’t know what the future holds and how things develop from here, but I am very glad we have EMO as a starting point for a whole new definition of human experience and emotion – something that I personally needed ever since I was a small child.
And something without which, I would not have been able to stand the sight of a female gorilla in a large tank with a plaque that stated it was born in the same year as me, in 1959.