I am telling you this true story because I am afraid to tell you this story.
I feel other people’s pain. Literally.
I don’t recall exactly when I began sensing other people’s physical pain. I was on a business trip (so it must have been several years ago) at some random hotel in an equally random city. It was the middle of the night, and I woke suddenly to what felt like a gunshot wound to the back of my head. I sat straight up from deep REM, and naturally was very confused at first. The pain was immense, very distinct and centralized to one spot on the back of the right side of my skull. I checked for bleeding, and held the spot with my hand wondering what on earth was going on.
I can only describe what happened next as my perception of thought. I “heard” thought that was not my own, but rather information communicated to me through the Universal language we call “thought”. Indeed, someone was shot and I was supposed to pray. And so I did.
In a few short minutes, the pain was completely gone. But I continued to pray because that’s what I heard I was supposed to do. I never did get a sense for who that person was, whether they were male or female, how old they were, or even where in the world this all went down. I supposed those details didn’t really matter. My job was to send spiritual reinforcements through prayer to help that person through.
Ever since that experience, I regularly (but not constantly) feel pain that is not my own. I can always tell the difference, because the empathic pain sensation hits suddenly, occurs in a very defined point on my body, and subsides within a minute or two. I’ve been practicing allowing more information about the person to also come across, and sometimes I get a sense for gender, age, and circumstances of the source of the physical pain. My job is to pray, and to remain calm while the person actually experiencing the pain is in turmoil. I send thoughts of comfort and healing. I am there so that the person is not alone.
Another reason I can tell the pain is not my own is because of how it manifests. If the source of pain is from an exterior source, meaning an accident or the result of violence, I can feel the entry point and the trajectory of the injury. For instance, I’ve felt stabbing sensations where I can discern the distinct point of entry and the angle of the blade, which often dissects and crosses tissue (versus pain moving along muscle or tissue, which is usually my own pain). This type of empathic pain is clearly inorganic to the person experiencing the trauma. I also have sensed what I call organic pain in the form of tumors, brain aneurisms, kidney failure, and heart attack.
The very first experience, the gunshot wound, startled me for sure. But after that, each time I perceive pain sensations, I first pause and determine whether the pain is mine or someone else’s. When I hear or understand that it belongs to someone else, I ask, “Is there a specific person who owns this?” Sometimes I get gender and age, sometimes an image. It doesn’t matter if I get specifics or not, my job is to pray. And so I do. And then, as suddenly as the pain began, it goes away.
Just yesterday, I had another empathic experience of a different nature. I felt a wave of very intense emotion. I was at a coffee shop waiting for a friend, and a deeply intense wave of sadness and despair came over me. I began to cry out of nowhere! Thankfully, as I described above with physical pain, I quickly realized this emotional pain was not my own. The energy of the emotion drifted towards me like leaves in the wind. I perceived the pain. Realized it wasn’t mine. Prayed for the person. And the feeling of despair was gone.
Why am I telling you all this?
We all are capable of experiencing empathy towards others. My experience may be more or less dramatic than yours as we experience empathy differently; even so, we are all wired to pick up on how other people are feeling. We are also all wired to extend prayer to help the other person through. Prayer works because it is thought rooted in love and set to motion.
I am also telling you this because I’m afraid to tell you this. I haven’t talked a lot about my experiences (and there are many others), mostly because I’m still shedding my outer façade that I wore in the corporate arena for all those years. But, it is time for me to open this part of my life story. It is a very important part of who I am, and it is the basis for the gifts that I want to share with others.
Let me know what you’re thinking!
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