Are You an Empath?
Natural empaths are individuals who feel the emotions and physical ailments of the people around them. As children, empaths are often called “overly sensitive” because their feelings are easily hurt and they have difficulty controlling their emotions. As a defense mechanism, many empathic children quickly learn to shield themselves from absorbing other people's emotions. As empathic children become adults, it can be a challenge for them to lower their protective walls in order to form loving relationships, rather than isolating themselves from everyone around them.
Traits of a natural empathy include sensitivity, compassion, good listening skills, a need to serve as a peacemaker to others, a strong sense of caution, and a quiet, guarded disposition.
Empathy As a Healing Tool
Among healers, the gift of empathy can be a wonderful healing tool, as long as it is used cautiously. It doesn't matter whether you've had this gift since childhood. Empathetic awareness is often acquired and further developed by practitioners as they continually practice Reiki. Used as an awareness tool for intuiting illness and dis-ease, empathy can offer information relevant to those problems that challenge the recipient. Reiki practitioners who are empaths use the intuited information to assist them in their hand placements and in directing the flow of Reiki.
It is important that the practitioner be able to discern the difference between feeling the recipient's ailments and experiencing his or her own health issues. When an empathic practitioner feels general discomforts during a treatment, it's a good idea to consult with the recipient by asking her how she feels. For example, if you get a cramp in your leg or suddenly feel nauseated, ask the recipient if she is experiencing the discomfort as well. After you realize that a pain or discomfort you are experiencing doesn't belong, release it as quickly as possible. Do not continue to hold on to it.
Although empaths “feel” the pain, they do not actually take it away from others. An empath merely intuits information with regards to how the other person is feeling. In shamanic healing methods, the shaman will take the client's issues and physical problems into his or her body for transmutation and transformation. This specialized healing technique should not be used without extensive training.
Releasing Empathized Illnesses
Taking on the illness itself in order to better understand the recipient's state of health is invaluable. However, it is essential not to hold those energies in your body any longer than necessary. Acknowledge the empathized information that was offered, silently thank your spirit source for the knowledge its guidance has offered you, and ask that the discomfort be released from your body.
Allow the discomfort to fade away as you continue treating the recipient. If the “empathized feeling” does not subside and your discomfort continues, you may need to disconnect from the recipient for a few seconds by removing your hands from his body. In severe cases, you may need to discontinue the treatment altogether.
Empathic Reiki practitioners can be conflicted between wanting to intuit feelings in order to use them as a source of knowledge for treating someone and not wanting to feel the discomfort. For these individuals it is best that they shield themselves entirely from taking on illnesses. The Reiki Protection symbol, Sei He Kei, can be utilized to assist them in creating protective walls between them and the people they treat. Allowing yourself to take on others' illnesses is putting yourself at risk until you have learned how to either shield yourself or become accomplished at quickly releasing these ills and discomforts.