Being A Witness
I can recall at my first meeting for yoga teacher training being given the best advice ever. Be a witness. I have always struggled with taking on everyone else's crap; blame it on my empathetic spirit or maybe it was codependency. I'm not sure how it all started, but I think having hearing loss may have something to do with it. They say when you have a disability you tend to pick up a sixth sense or another sense of your being becomes heightened. Mine happens to be feeling others emotions. I have actually felt the pain of loved ones too.
Through yoga training I have learned to take on a witness mind and not take on other people's issues. Remember it's a practice and I still struggle with this, but have learned to manage my tendencies to the point where I can recognize when I need to step back.
Are You An Empath?
- Feel overwhelmed in crowded spaces
- People tend to tell you that you are SENSITIVE
- Sensitive to violence on TV
- You can feel the emotions others or sometimes even their pain
- Negative energy overwhelms you
- You need alone time often
- People tend to come to you with their problems or pain
- You sometimes show up with symptoms of those around you
- Strong intuition
Taking On A Witness Mind
Start the day by making a point to be grounded. Stand in mountain pose for 10 breaths, visualizing growing strong roots down deep into the Earth and having a strong connection with Heaven by reaching the crown of the head up toward the sky; or sit in cross-legged position, feeling you sitting bones connected down into your mat and finding your center by connecting with your breath inhaling to a count of two, pausing, and exhaling to a count of four, staying here for five minutes, I like to set my phone timer. The more grounded you are the less likely you are to take on those around you energetically.
Know that it's their journey not yours.
Be present for those around you, but maintaining separateness.
Noticing your energy when you are in a difficult situation and maybe take some deep breaths or move just a little further away from the situation. Our energy goes beyond our physical body.
Listen and be there for others with an nonjudgmental heart (very hard to do I know.)
You hear in yoga teachings to take on a "witness mind", when you are mediating and that is the same idea. A witness mind is noticing your thoughts and feelings and just allowing them to be. You are the observer, watching those thoughts or feeling those emotions pass by like clouds in the sky not forming any judgment and not giving (the negative thoughts) power by becoming overly focused on them. Those hard, difficult feelings are there to teach us and allowing them to flow freely through our bodies (witnessing, noticing, observing), gives them the blessings to leave. I've noticed with dealing in the past with a difficult emotion, that the more I was resistant or judgmental of it, the more power I gave it; the deeper I allowed it to be pushed down into the many places it could hide in my body.
Empaths and sensitive people may deal with bouts of anxiety in their lives. When these emotions or negative thoughts are not released they tend to become anxiety and worry. Having anxiety is not something that has to be the norm in your life. I struggled for years with it and through yoga and meditation was able to learn how to manage it.
I remember a few years back being taught a shielding meditation from a healer and It really did help me through some difficult times in my life and still continues to help.
Shield of Light Meditation
1. When building the Shield of Light, find a quiet spot to sit and relax for about 20 minutes. Keep your feet flat on the ground and your hands in your lap, palms facing upward. Keep your spine straight and your head erect.
2. Exhale fully and completely through the nose. During the following steps, breathe regularly, deeply and slowly. Always inhale and exhale through the nose.
3. Next, inhale deeply through the nose and relax each portion of your body with successive breaths. Think about your feet while inhaling through your nose and visualize all tension flowing out from your feet into the earth as you exhale. Then, with the next breath, move your attention to the calves and imagine all tension flowing down and into the earth as you exhale again. With each breath successively move your focus up to the thighs, hips, buttocks, back, stomach, chest, hands, arms, shoulders, neck, head, and finally your face, relaxing each part with a complete breath.
4. Now that you are relaxed, inhale deeply and visualize the air you are breathing as consisting of white light, like sunlight. Breathe the light into your solar plexus area for temporary storage. Then, as you exhale, imagine the white light flowing from the solar plexus upward through your spine and out from the top of your head. Visualize the light flowing like a fountain, flowing downward around you, through you, and surrounding you in a cylindrical shape around your whole body. "Pump" the light with your breathing. Visualize the energy in the air around you supporting your effort to create the shield. Visualize and "feel" the energy flowing into your shield with each exhalation. Visualize that with each breath, the effect is being amplified. Repeat this visualization and breathe about 20 times more.
As you perform this breathing and visualization exercise, mentally affirm to yourself that this shield will protect you from all negative thought and emotion. Only that which is truth or which will be good for you can exist within this shield. All other thoughts and emotions will be reflected back to their source as if the shield were a mirror to all unwanted thoughts and emotions. You should form this thought into an affirming statement. During each exhalation, repeat the phrase: "I am surrounded and protected by the white Shield of Light. Only truth and that which is good for me can exist within this shield. All other thoughts and emotions will be reflected back to their source."
Qualifying the shield with the above affirmation will also tend to prevent you from projecting ill feelings toward others. Instead, when you begin to project negative thoughts and feelings, they will be reflected back to you (the source) making you self conscious of this act. You can then take immediate corrective action and find a better way to deal with the situation. With practice, the shield will "take shape" and positively influence your actions in everyday life.
You can recharge the Shield of Light by repeating the exercise for three breaths.