Written by Jessica Danforth
Let’s begin what does Empathy mean? It is defined as, “The capacity to share and understand others emotions and needs as if they were our own” (Dale, 2014). Empathy can be expressed in many different Empathic styles, and nearly anyone can cultivate or develop Empathy. You can experience Empathy through different manners such as Physical, Mental, Emotional, Natural, Spiritual or Shamanic styles that utilize this Empathic Spiritual Gift. A Spiritual Gift is an innate or natural psychic ability that you possess, and Empathy falls under this term. A quote from C. Joybell declares, “Our bodies have five senses: touch, smell, taste, sight, hearing. But not to be overlooked are the senses of our souls: intuition, peace, foresight, trust, empathy. The differences between people lie in their use of their senses” (Dale, 2014).
Physical Empathy is described as, “The capacity for sensing another’s physicality in your own body” (Dale, 2014). Through Physical Empathy you absorb the physical energies present in the external environment. This might be through sensations like aches, jarring pains, taste or smelling aromas. Even though you may be connected to these vibrations the sensations can actually warn, impede, or alert you to be more careful, deter, or make aware of what could happen to you by empathetically feeling it from an external source. Those who experience Physical Empathy tend to take on the physical pains of those around them, and they may even feel the bodily symptoms or illness in their own body, and they might even know where exactly in the body it’s occurring. They can sometimes hold an object and experience strong sensations. One example of this could be if you hold a piece of antique jewelry that someone has worn frequently and, in doing so, you sense the physical pains and pleasures from the person that owned the jewelry, and you also become lightheaded or nauseas this is Physical Empathy in action.
Mental empathy is outlined as, “receiving information and data from the outside world and seeming to simply ‘know’ what someone else knows” (Dale, 2014). This is the gut feeling the inner knowing, hearing, and seeing. It’s the sense that tells you what to pay attention to, and basically the mind-body connection in action. There is a general understanding within your body, and those who encounter Mental Empathy often understand what is motivating someone, even if they don’t know or understand themselves. They might even find it difficult to explain to people how they might possibly know what they know. They are able to read between the lines and know what people are really thinking or saying, and it’s easy for them to get a sense of another person’s perspective even when they don’t know that person well. Mental Empathy is knowing exactly what information to pay attention to.
Emotional Empathy is expressed as, “feeling another’s feelings as if they were your own” (Dale, 2014). Indicating clear feeling, and clear sensing. This form of Empathy is communicated through feelings, stirring emotions and urges that make you want to help out. You know exactly what to pay attention to and what to do, and can usually tell what is wrong with someone even if they don’t speak about it. Those that experience Emotional Empathy are more sensitive to the moods, and feelings of others and might feel a wave of strong emotions from time to time. These feeling represent its own meaning, and provides a set of instruction. For example, joy affirms, sadness encourages, anger suggest it’s time to set boundaries, fear means you think through an idea and prepare, guilt examines behaviors, and shame might imply feeling stuck. One example of Emotional Empathy in action might be when a random person approaches you and shares the deepest secret or feelings they have for no real reason whatsoever.
Natural Empathy is classified as, “Relating to nature-based forces and creatures” (Dale, 2014). Everything in nature gives off a vibration, and everything is alive with vibration, voice, scent, and sight. Natural Empathy understands the world is shimmering with life yet breathing life into us. Natural Empathy is identified as the happiest when in harmony with nature: earth, water, and the sky. They can often tell what animals are going through physically or emotionally. They also can tap into environmental sources of information including planetary shifts, weather patterns, emotions and needs of animals, and caring to herbs and plants are all used in Natural Empathy for healing purposes to predict weather or environmental situations before it occurs. Natural Empathy for example can be seen through the symbolism of an animal or through the winds, sunbeams, and even rain. Each animal represents a different concept in reality and has a specific meaning, For instance if a you saw a crow the crow is labeled as bringing change, so if you were to dream about or maybe see a crow this might infer change is on the horizon.
Spiritual Empathy is termed as, “Intuitively feeling another person’s level of honesty or dishonesty” (Dale, 2014). Spiritual Empathy is like having a sensor that responds to any shift in moods, and can always tell when someone is lying or being dishonest. The body serves as the vessel to register the spiritual information, but there is no physical jarring like physical empathy, or emotional wash like emotional empathy, or even the mentalism like mental empathy. Spiritual Empathy might encounter feeling the presence of nonphysical beings, and spiritual messages can be received through meditation, contemplation meaning being in the presence, or praying to the divine to provide discernment. Spiritual Empathy consists of thinking that we are all here to fulfill a destiny and are here to help people figure out their purpose. A lack of ethics and integrity is something that will bother a Spiritual Empathic person more than anything.
Shamanic Empathy is specified as, “The Empathic style that includes all other styles as well as the ability to contact other dimensions and time periods” (Dale, 2014). Shamanic Empathy incorporates every sense of empathy Physical, Mental, Emotional, Natural, and Spiritual. Shamanic Empathy perceives spirit everywhere and in everything, and at times seem to be more aware of the nonphysical world, dimension, and beings than the physical world. They can tune into other dimensions, beings, times, places, and even space. Most feel like a stranger on this planet and feel hard to really tune into the world around, and most often feel overwhelmed by their own psychic sensitives to people, animals, objects, and even spirits. Shamanic Empathy possess a multidimensional awareness of others past lives, spiritual presence, and even knowledge about what might have occurred on a piece of land or in a house. They are those that always go through déjà vu about the pasts, and past lives. Those with Shamanic Empathy can do it all which is a blessing yet a curse at the same time.
Once again Empathy is characterized as feeling an external sources feelings and emotions as if it was your own whether it be through a Physical, Mental, Emotional, Natural, Spiritual or Shamanic scope. These Empathic gifts are psychic and energetic abilities that facilitate subtle body experiences of Empathy. Any person can improve their Empathic capabilities, and while others might believe Empathy is some sort of curse you can’t control, others find it as the most powerful blessing that a person can have. Those who experience Empathy feel that deep passion, and inner call to ease or feel for another person. As Sam Levenson wrote, “Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you’ll find one at the end of your arm. As you grow older you will discover that you have two hands: one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.”
Dale, C. (2014). The spiritual power of empathy: Develop your intuitive gifts for compassionate connection. Woodbury, MN: Llewellyn Publications.
About Jessica Danforth
Jessica is a student pursuing mental health therapy at Florida State University. Her understanding and mastering of her own empathic gifts help her relate to others and shed love and compassion in a way that others are receptive to. She is the perfect example of how empathy is less of a weakness and more of a gift that can bring unity.
A note from And Zen Some: