Sensitivity, Extreme Empathy and Psi Phenomena

It was 2am when a Facebook Messenger notification showed up on my laptop screen. It was M., one of the very first people from whom I learned about Spirituality. Back then I didn’t know I would go from an atheist to someone who has her own connection with God, Source, Cosmic Energy, whatever you really prefer to call it. I didn’t know I would find out that the way I perceive reality is indeed peculiar. I didn’t know I would find a niche (three, actually) within Psychology that describes many of those peculiar experiences and I also didn’t know I would find so many references in Buddhism, Hinduism, and even Alchemy that back up the existence of a very subtle energy field which connects us all. Since a very young age, I have always had this thought: there is nothing new to be found, everything is already explained in very, very old texts. The more I grow and the more I explore, the more I confirm that thought. The fun and exciting part of wandering around libraries and hanging out with old, dusty books is exactly this: finding valuable information about our human experience that no one or very few people teach in the so called “Western World”. Those old, dusty books have reassured me that there is nothing wrong or abnormal with the way I (and many of you, I believe) perceive or feel.

So after a long while without talking, M. sent me a message asking for help. I think I can say we were once very good friends, at least up to the moment I realised I couldn’t accept our one-way relationship direction anymore. It is again one of those cases in which I failed to establish boundaries and state my own needs. Maybe one day I stop believing she will become aware of her own behaviour and I will let her know how I feel, but I haven’t found the right time to do it yet. For now I just keep a healthy distance and I take my time to get to her messages. The call for help wasn’t much different from previous ones. She wanted me to “see trough” someone. I lost count of the number of times I have “seen through” people for her. Boys she had a crush on, boys who had a crush on her but she wouldn’t reciprocate, girls she hated and girls she envied. I don’t know when this all started, but I have done it for more than four years. I have seen through, I have foreseen, and I have felt people only by looking to their picture. This is the part some of you will think “WOW that’s super cool” while the rest of you will think “she is definitely nuts”. Either way, let me tell you beforehand: it hasn’t been very cool to perceive reality differently and if I’m nuts, then there is a huge collective hysteria that the world needs to wake up to.

Parallel to the emotional purge I have been battling myself with, one of the reasons I have been so sick, I believe, is my resistance or attempt to fit in. I have been always proud to be a black sheep, but the truth is that there is a part of me which have always desired to fit in. I’m afraid of my true colours and I often don’t know how to manage the information I get beyond the typical five human senses. Maybe this post will be a shoot in my own foot, but maybe a step that will move me further to my truth too. Maybe some of you do see reality differently and maybe some of you do feel like an alien from time to time. Maybe some of you don’t really understand why you were born this way and maybe some of you will find comfort while also realising that there is nothing wrong with the way you – we – are.

I used to say I was going to England with a secret research agenda. I guess I lost sight of that because I tried to fit in. My interest in mindfulness was in its capacity to increase our level of awareness and therefore expand our human consciousness. When we expand our consciousness, we do start to tap into much subtler energy fields. I think I was lucky or smart to understand that the so called “mindful experience” was something beautiful I used to have as a child. It’s a “peak experience” as “uncle” (Abraham) Maslow would say or tapping into the “flow” as Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi would add, an experience in which there is this pure state of becoming one with time and space. As I said, nothing is new, everything has been already explained. Take Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras and you will be astonished with how you can merge what is said in there with what Cognitive Psychology, for instances, has described in regards to the more superficial function of the mind. Psychology hasn’t dived deep enough though to back up the more extraordinary functions of our mind. To the exception of a couple Psychology “branches”, such functions are ridiculed by the mainstream – as so have been empaths.

What I’m trying to tell you is that there is a link between being extremely sensitive, an empath, and the development of psi phenomena (e.g. extrasensory perception, precognition) and the expansion of consciousness. I’m not telling you this from a wohu-hu, hippie worldview. I’m telling you this based on the dots I have been connecting in my personal journey and data already reported in the fields of Transpersonal Psychology, Consciousness Psychology, and Parapsychology, but which you can also find in very old, dusty books of ancient knowledge such as the Tibetan Book of the Dead. Now you know I have spent a lot of time with weird books instead of researching and writing my boring traditional and academic dissertations. And as I have told you, if I’m nuts, I believe there is then a profound collective hysteria that goes way back in time. The fact we face today is that we are doomed to either keep embracing reality as a power struggle or as an opportunity to open ourselves to more refined states of consciousness that promote worldwide peace and wellbeing. I think the second one is a different alternative to be tested and much needed.

If this gauged your interest, you may want to consult the work of the psychiatrist Judith Orloff. I realise I have always used the same method with my clients, which has zero acceptance in the academic and practise worlds I have found myself immersed in the last ten years of my life. If there is a reason to finish this painful Psychology PhD must be this: to be a voice that makes extra-sensitive people feel less weird and more “at home” in a society that is very unwilling to explore the unknown potential of human consciousness.

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