Sensitivity & Compassion: Risks and Blessings

When we open up to Source, we inevitably become more sensitive.

This is one of the great risks of spiritual development that is rarely discussed. Why a risk? Because when we open to Spirit, we also open to all the vibrations and subtle energies that are out there, good and bad.

 It is probable that everyone reading this blog has at some point in their lives experienced a sense of energetic overwhelm from all the terrible news and suffering on our planet. You have also probably experienced over-sensitivity to other people’s negative vibrations, perhaps to the point of needing to avoid certain situations.

This is normal on the spiritual path. It comes from being more open and connected. No wonder that historically so many spiritual folk retreated into abbeys, monasteries and convents. No wonder that shamans, pagans and tribal medicine people have spent so much time alone in nature.

Because we all open up and necessarily become sensitive, I often think that at the very beginning of everyone’s spiritual journey, we should be taught two foundation practices.

The first is the skill of being able to distinguish between good and bad energies. It does not matter how beautiful an angel or spirit looks. What matters is its vibration. Supposing it is something evil that comes in cunning disguise. We need to be able to discern. Early on in my own training as a youngster, I was taught something very simple. Will the new energy say the Lord’s Prayer with you?  Decades on, I still use that technique as a guideline when I meet something new and am not certain what it is.

The second practice I believe everyone should learn at the very beginning of their spiritual journey, is how to open and close. Open to the energies you want. Close to the energies you want nowhere near you.

Once I was training a group of Christian clergy, showing them how they might open more fully to God and Christ in their worship. During the discussion afterwards several of them shared that they were concerned about opening fully to Spirit during a public service. I asked why that was so. They replied that they would then feel overwhelmed by the vibrations of the people in their congregation, especially greeting them at the church door after worship. Too many people! Too many vibrations!

I showed them how to open like flowers opening their petals to the sun and to then close their petals as night-time came.

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Managing your energy field and boundaries is also crucial for containing your own bad moods and negative thoughts. We do not want to create karma and harm other people with our bad vibes.

I remember once working with a very intense spiritual seeker who was tormented by the idea that she was casting evil spells on other people because of her negative thinking. We discussed this very carefully and lovingly. During the conversation, she had a crucial insight. She realised that her ethical concern about radiating bad energy, in fact, created a boundary. Her soulful sense of responsibility kept her bad energy strictly in her own bubble. She was not radiating negativity.

This insight was a real blessing for her. It relieved her of the worry that she was polluting her psychic environment. It also made her realise that she had a depressive mental pattern of shaming herself. Understanding this was enough of a shift that she was able to liberate herself from the self-harming thought pattern. More than that, she could see that her concern about psychically polluting the atmosphere was in fact a sign that she was aligned with her soul and seeking to live a meaningful life of compassion and service.

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Often people on the spiritual path think that their spiritual development will make their lives easier, but the further along the path we are, the more open we are, the more we are able to recognise and feel suffering. It is part of being sensitive and connected.

The greatest spiritual teachers are profound souls, aware of suffering, always developing more love, more connection, more compassion.

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This blog also appeared in May 2024 issue of Cygnus Magazine

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