It is quite common to hear people say they are sensitive to the energy of others. It may be especially noticeable – and sometimes uncomfortable – in close quarters with others over time, and if the others have relatively strong internal conflicts going on. I notice it mostly on the train or bus, and I know many others notice it – among other times – when giving bodywork.
There are lots of ways to work with this. Visualize a cocoon around oneself. Working on grounding. Visualize roots down the earth. Visualize clarity. Pray for the other and yourself. Visualize healing for both of you. And so on. All of these may work fine to some extent and for a while, but they won’t work completely or always because they are just alleviating the symptoms.
When I explore this for myself, I find that the discomfort I experience has one source, and that is my own beliefs about what is going on. Here too, I find that the discomfort I experience comes from friction between my stories of what should be and what is.
As soon as there is more clarity around these stories, the discomfort falls away. What before felt like an intrusion of energy, overwhelming, toxic, dark, agitated, imbalanced, stagnated and more, is now just another experience. Another experience I now have genuine curiosity about and appreciation for.
I may still chose to not be around it very much, but now from clarity and kindness, and not reactivity as before.
I don’t even need to know much about the dynamics around this shift. All I need to do is notice the symptoms of a belief (discomfort, sense of something not being right), find the belief, and inquire into it and find what is more honest for me. And as soon as I notice symptoms again, find that belief and inquire into it.
What I find through this process is that the other person has nothing to do with the discomfort. It was all created right here through my own beliefs. I saw something in the other as wrong, unhealthy, undesirable. It was still there. So I experienced discomfort by having it so close to me. As soon as I find more clarity around these stories, I find genuine appreciation for what before was uncomfortable, and it is fine. More than fine.
Any belief comes with a projection, so it is also possible to look at this from the projection angle. I have a story that inner conflict is bad. I overlook it in myself. So when I see it in others, it is uncomfortable because I encounter something out there that is undesirable, and I am also reminded of it in myself. It is doubly uncomfortable.
As I explore this, I may come to notice my own inner conflict more, and even come to terms with it and make friends with it. As that happens, my initial beliefs softens or falls away and I am OK when inner conflict – or its symptoms – come up in others or myself. I may even take it as an opportunity when it happens. I sit next to someone on the train who seems agitated and uncomfortable, and I can take that as an opportunity and a reminder to find the same in myself here and now, and befriend it with kindness.
Yet another way to talk about this is what Adya says in – if I remember correctly – The End of Your World. When we feel impacted, disturbed or out of balance from the energies of others, it is because there is a fascination there. Attention is drawn to it through fascination. And that fascination is inevitably there as soon as there is a belief about it, and as soon as there is a projection.
To ground it in an example….
Sometimes, I notice discomfort when I am around someone who seem to be caught up in an inner conflict. I notice the symptoms such as restlessness, harsh movements, reactive emotions, a rigid view and so on. It is uncomfortable for me, and I can try some of the temporary remedies such as grounding and prayer, but it never works completely.
So I take it as an invitation to take a closer look at what is going on. I find in myself what I see in the other. I find restlessness, tension, reactivity and fixed views here too, right here now triggered by being around the other person, and in many other situations. I recognize how the two of us are in the same boat. There is a shift into kindness towards both of us, and there is a sense of softening.
I can investigate the experience through the sense fields. I notice the sensations as they are without the labels and stories about them. They are just sensations, just another experience as any other experience. I cannot find anything wrong there. Recognizing this, resistance to the experience softens and falls away, and there may instead be a genuine curiosity for and interest in the experience. I can then notice any sense of a doer or observer as content of experience as well. The sensations and the sense of doer or observer are all content of experience. Is that what I really am?
I can investigate my beliefs about inner conflict and its symptoms. Inner conflict is wrong. He shouldn’t be so tense. He should be more relaxed. He makes me uncomfortable. I shouldn’t be around high-strung people. She should be more open-minded. Her energy is not good for me.
When I investigate those stories, I may find that I really don’t know. I notice some of the things that happens when I take the story as true. I find the genuine truths in their reversals. I may even come to genuinely appreciate inner conflict and its symptoms because I see its value and function in our lives. I wouldn’t want to be without it. (Until I am.)
And I can investigate any other beliefs that creates a sense of inner conflict in my own life. I should have more money. My body should serve me better. I need to know what to do. Something terrible is going to happen.
It is through these final inquiries that it can really release, and if it does, it is because I find what is more honest for me than the initial beliefs. I soak in what is more honest for me. Take it in. Stay with it. Am reminded of it in daily life. Come back to it whenever I notice the symptoms of taking a story as true.
Trigger: A friend of mine recently started working as a massage therapist, and mentioned how draining it sometimes is for her to work on others because of their energies.
- energy of others
- if bothered, then bothered by my own beliefs about it (friction between stories of shoulds and is)
- when clarity around it, is ok – just an experience as anything else (may still chose to not be around it very much, but from clarity and kindness, not reactivity)
It is common for folks who are generally more finely tuned, or have had an opening, to be sensitive to the energy of others. Especially when in close quarters with others, and especially if the other ones have strong internal conflicts going on. I notice it mostly on the train or bus, and I know others experience it when doing bodywork or similar.
There are many ways to talk about the dynamics behind it, although it isn’t really necessary.
All I need is to notice the symptoms of being caught up in a belief, for instance discomfort, a sense of something not being right, a desire to be somewhere else or for the other person to go away or change, a sense of being invaded, making the other or life wrong and myself or my beliefs right, and so on. I can then find the belief(s) behind it, investigate them, and find what is more honest for me.