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Erica Leibrandt wrote this post on Elephant journal about being an empath. In it, she shares what it feels like to be an empath, and wonders what it all means and how to balance it now that she's 44 and ready for a change. To Erica and other empaths out there, I would answer you this. Empaths have more sensitive radar than most other folks. Not necessarily clairvoyant, because that is the kind of radar where you can see frequencies that others can't see. But yes, clairsentient, where you can feel energy in a more subtle way than the majority of those around you. How? Thanks to quantum physics pioneers, we now know that every thought, every emotion, every cell, every person, every thing emits its own electromagnetic signature. Your heart and brain (actually each cell of your body) work like an energy receiver/transmitter, not unlike your Wi-Fi-enabled computer or tablet.

They pick up the signals being emitted by you, other people (and things), and you feel these signals. Your energy field registers their energy field, and you have a vibratory response (aka emotion) to what you feel. Emotions that feel pleasant are a result of your field and theirs being compatible. The peaks and valleys of the energy waves synch up, and resonate with one another. Unpleasant emotions stem from energy waves coming together that are not in resonance. When your heart is open to everyone around you like a rose in summer, you open your energy field to all of their energy. So you feel all of their energy. And it can feel like too much, especially when you haven't shored up your own field. When you internalize, you literally allow their energy to enter your being. Worse is when you can no longer distinguish your own energy field from that of other people. It is only your belief that you have to let their energy into your field in order to feel compassion, understanding and intuitive guidance. Technically, you can learn to read them without displacing your field. And you will be much more effective when you do so. Learning to set energetic boundaries helps you discern when and how much external energy to let into your field. Paying attention to who you are, and prioritizing how love and life seek to move through you as you is essential. In the meantime, qigong teaches you to use imagery to set such a boundary. For example, you can see yourself enclosed in a violet egg of protection when you are out in public. Imagine the boundary, then go about your day. Or, as Richard Bartlett, DC, NC says, "set it and forget it!" Since energy flows in the direction of your heart and focused thought, when you open your field, you literally invite all other energy to come in. But you can choose when and how long to keep your field open, and to whom. When your heart and mind tune into your children, you will feel them. When you tune into your coworkers, you will feel them. In turn, they can feel you, usually subconsciously, and will respond to what they sense as a loving energy coming into them. That is why even strangers will feel drawn to opening up their hearts around you. Intuition has many psychic layers. The first of these is the ability to tune into others' emotions as an empath does. But you can also tune into thoughts, physical pain or blockage, or other layers of individual experience, as you decide to do. You can also tune into collective emotion, thought, or pain. When you do, you may not even be around anyone physically, but you will feel the collective grief or anger of humanity, the thoughts of a nation, or the pain of a society. (According to MIT physicist Claude Swanson, the ability to tune into collective forces involves nonlocal energy fields called torsion, but suffice it to say, these are energies that interconnect us as one in some kind of broad and "spooky action at a distance".) Being an empath can literally be a pain. But when you learn to balance this gift of sensitivity, it no longer has to overwhelm you. You can then use your gift for healing or whatever purposes inspire you.