by Tony Harrington
Empathy: (n) The ability to understand and share the feelings of another
Empath: (n) An individual able to assume the feelings of other individuals through a psychic link
Traversing the world of psychic phenomenon is confusing, laborious, and often wrought with speculation and “what-if” scenarios. Those who do not believe that it is possible to foresee events, glimpse into the past, or communicate with those who have crossed over are quick to dismiss any claim of psychic ability or phenomena.
However, even the most die-hard skeptics are quick to concede that they themselves have picked up on uneasy feelings upon entering a house. They have felt an overwhelming sense of sorrow at sites of great tragedy, and felt joy in arenas of pleasure such as hospital delivery rooms, and old family homes.
These feelings are hard to quantify if the person in question happens to know the history of the location at which they are overcome with an emotion. It is when the individual has no hindsight with regard to the location and become overwhelmed with feelings that are appropriate to events that have unfolded there that one has to stop and consider that we, as a species, are more intricately connected to one another and our environment than we might suspect.
It has been said that emotions are contagious. Have you ever seen a group of people laughing hysterically at an event to which you were not privy, only to find yourself starting to smile and laugh with them even though you have no idea what triggered the initial laughter?
Have you ever looked at a stranger who is forlorn and crying only to find yourself inexplicably saddened?
It has happened to everyone, because we are empathetic by nature. It is engrained in us and is a throwback to our early survival instincts. We are a pack species, we look for leaders to guide us, we nest with one another, and we emote openly. When we put out an intense emotion we leave an imprint on those around us and that emotion is absorbed.
In this modern era of social networking, empathy for our fellow human has escalated. We are quick to anger when friends post of a misfortune, we rally a prayer vigil when we receive word of a sick or dying child, and we feel a collective outrage when an establishment openly admits to views considered contrary to political correctness.
Some say that the internet has distanced us from our fellow humans but many disagree. It has connected us to them in ways we have never imagined possible. We are now receiving a steady stream of consciousness from those we interact with daily. We do not get a reprieve from their emotions and thoughts when we step away from them, we can now see what our friends, family, and enemies are feeling at any given moment.
This heightened level of social awareness may have opened a psychic floodgate and more and more individuals are experiencing empathy phenomena without knowing there is a name for it.
People who visit the site of Ground Zero in New York still break down and cry; many report that they cannot control it. Visitors report feeling an overwhelming sense of anguish, fear, and sadness, even the most controlled have reported these sensations and have been taken by surprise at their outpouring of uncontrolled emotion.
It is more than just being aware of what happened there, it is the overwhelming wave of emotion that overcomes a person and disables their ability to control what they are feeling. That is when we know that we have tapped into the collective conscience of those around us and tapped into the imprinted emotion of those that came before.
These emotions linger in the air like an unseen current and we as humans act as an antenna, we draw in the signals and those signals alter our chemistry. We can actually pick up on the feelings of those who have passed on.
Gettysburg, PA is a modern town with a booming tourist trade. Cars zoom up and down the busy street day in and day out as locals shop, dine, attend schools and move about their life. But when the locals stop long enough to remember that beneath their feet is soil that has absorbed the blood of thousands of fallen Americans in one of the deadliest battles in US Military history, they can’t help but feel melancholy.
Visitors have reported feeling sorrow, fear, and loss. People have actually broken down in tears as they marched a route through town that was once traversed by union and confederate soldiers on their way to certain death.
If you stop by the battlefield at Picket’s Charge you can witness visitors at their most serene, everyone is joined in some unspoken communion of sorrow, their heads bowed in reverence.
There is a certain feeling that hangs in the air over Gettysburg, like a heavy pall. It is this feeling coupled with great loss and violence that has caused Gettysburg to be considered one of the most haunted towns in America.
Visiting other arenas of great tragedy such as the concentration camps in Europe produces the same unexplained feelings of anguish. These feelings also attach themselves to relics on display at the holocaust museum in Washington, DC.
We are built to be empathetic, to take on the feelings of those we share space with. There is an old saying that “Misery loves company” and it is an old saying for a reason; it has been proven true.
The most amazing part about empathy is that it transcends the human species. Dogs are extremely empathetic to the emotions of the humans to whom they attach themselves. How many dog owners out there have been upset, perhaps crying or heavily grieving, only to find your four-legged friend at your side and looking up at you with forlorn eyes that convey wisdom beyond their alleged comprehension? How many times as your dog laid at your side and whimpered with you?
(I am sure cats are just as in tune with their humans, but never personally having owned one I cannot attest to their level of empathy. Sorry cat lovers.)
When looked at with an objective eye and an understanding of the way the human brain works, it should not be such a far stretch to accept that there may be people out there who are just more in tune with the people and animals with whom they share this world as well as those that have gone before us.
Have you experienced an unexplained empathy event that you wish to share with our readers? Leave your story in the comments section below and someone just may understand how you feel about it.