Spiritual Protection: Shielding up or moving out? (Empath Series #2)
Hello dear readers,
This is topic that though I hope will be enjoyed by everyone, will be of particular interest to those that identify as empathic or highly sensitive. It is the second blog post in my recurring series for empaths and sensitives.
We have all heard about “shielding” against “bad vibes” and other forms of negativity. For sensitive folks especially, grounding and shielding is highly important. I should put out the disclaimer with this piece that I am NOT advocating stopping these practices as they serve a practical purpose. I am suggesting we take a peek behind the curtain to see what’s up at a deeper level.
It’s difficult to talk about spiritual protection without also bringing up the subject of FEAR. To be protected from something there is an underlying belief somewhere that it can hurt or cause us harm in some way. This creates a powerful form of resistance which can actually bring MORE of it into our domain. The old adage, “What you resist, persists,” can be quite accurate. Another good illustration of this point is “resist ye not evil,” one of the more misunderstood passages in the Bible in my humble opinion. To those that are highly sensitive and empathic, it can feel like the world is covered with spikes and we are walking barefoot. It takes much greater coping mechanism and skills I have discovered in my years of practice and study to function in and comprehend the world to an empath, than to their non-empathic/sensitive counterparts.
I’m sharing a great song by one of my favorite songwriters, Graham Parker. This really illustrates the scary and paranoid road our minds can take us down when we are in fear and resistance.
Love is what we are born with. Fear is what we learn. The spiritual journey is the unlearning of fear and prejudices and the acceptance of love back in our hearts. Love is the essential reality and our purpose on earth. To be consciously aware of it, to experience love in ourselves and others, is the meaning of life. Meaning does not lie in things. Meaning lies in us.- Marianne Williamson
I agree here with Marianne. So many of our fears are not even our own also, but simply passed on through the generations. This is where self-awareness and healing work is so powerful. Just because your ancestors had a rough go of it crossing the desert plains or what have you, doesn’t mean that YOU need to carry around their archaic survival fears. Hypnotherapy, akashic record, breath and energy work are some powerfully effective methods to help shift out archaic fears. Some other fears of our may have been developed in childhood when we didn’t have shields or filters in place just yet.
Personally, I really can’t stand the type of thinking that makes everything our fault on some level. I’m sure you’ve heard it all before, the New Age belief that we’re magnetizing it ALL into our experience. “What did you do to CREATE this?” Though from a certain perspective this is true, it’s not exactly helpful. You wouldn’t tell a child how stupid he/she was for trying out the cigarette lighter for the first time. Well sadly, there are many people who do. This type of deep blame and masochism drives our society, and many people just accept it as the norm. It can get confusing as we are not only here to navigate our own issues and karma, but we are surrounded by friends, family and other loved ones that are doing exactly the same thing. Another massive oversimplification that I observe constantly is the attempted explanation of the workings of karma. Let’s face it, the majority of human beings are simply not at the spiritual wisdom level to judge or comment on karma, especially other people’s. For an akashic record reader like myself, we do have the ability to look at karmic patterns in someone’s record to help them gain understanding and for healing. We are *always* to do this in a state of compassion, unconditional love and detachment. If negative people or things are showing up in our environment I find it is not at all helpful to do the “Blame Game,” but simply to work with what is in front of us. This is the “skillful means” that the great teachers and Rinpoches refer to.
There is a difference between protecting ourselves from a negative outside stimulus and shifting it out completely so we don’t have to fool with it anymore. For example, when I first started my massage therapy practice I used to get “hit on” by men quite a bit. It used to upset me and freak me out quite a lot. I remember talking to my spiritual teacher at the time about the “precautions” that I was taking around this and he scolded me. It took me awhile to understand what he was trying to show me but I finally got it. When I got at the root cause of my fears around vulnerability and sexual exploitation, I ceased to have clients like that anymore. Another good example is by my current (brilliant!) Chinese medicine doctor, Dr. Joe. The other day he said this, “Human beings are very funny. They will completely avoid a food or behavior for example, and then tell me they don’t have the problem anymore. Taking away the trigger is not the same as healing the issue.” Good call! It’s his goal to have me be able to eat fried foods and ice cream again. Not to overindulge mind you, but as proof that my system has healed and is strong enough again to handle the triggers. I think that is also a perfect spiritual metaphor as well. When we are well, strong and in our spiritual center we are much less vulnerable to outside negative influences.
I have a picture here of some fierce looking “wrathful dieties” of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. As you can tell by the looks of them, they are not messing around! I actually had an occasion to call on them in my own personal life. I was reluctant to do this, but was guided to by my teacher. It stopped the psychic shenanigans dead in its tracks! There ARE times when personal protection is absolutely required, even the calling on the Big Guns from time to time. If something IS our karma we cannot predict how the other parties are going to behave. These types of choices can be the difference between someone mouthing off at you, stepping on your toe or hitting you with their car. Yes it’s one thing to see the karmic pattern, it’s another to see how it is going to be played out, and that is certainly in the realm of experts. It’s perfectly okay and acceptable to protect ourselves too on the road to getting at the root of our triggers. It’s certainly a process and being kind and gentle to ourselves is highly recommended.
“Here are many ‘wrathful deities’, some of which are called ‘dharmapalas’ which is Sanskrit for “defender of the dharma.“ They may be off-putting at first glace, especially to the Western eyeball. Worship of the dharmapalas began in the 8th century when the holy Padmasambhava is believed to have conquered the demons in Tibet and forced them to protect Buddhists and path of Buddhism from that point on. The demons were transformed, and became agents of the divine. They represent the kind of fierceness we should have against obstacles of the spiritual path. We are meant to be warriors, the protectors of our own path, defending against the inner and outer enemies.” – Pillosattva
I think one of my precious teachers Khensur Rinpoche summed it up perfectly, “It is not necessarily a question of protecting yourself from negativity, but more of developing the state of consciousness that is impervious to illusion.” Well said, wise one. In the meantime we will work with what’s in front of us and on a good day maybe even be able to see these fearful things as the great teachers that they are.
Wishing you all strength, wisdom and peace in these powerful times.
-Irma Kaye Sawyer