There is a practice in India of people visiting saints–people with heightened states of consciousness, in my terms, the Awake–in order to soak up their energy. The practice of this is called darshan which in sanskrit means “to see”. So in essence when you absorb the energy that each saint emits, your consciousness is heightened in a particular way. For some, they emit joy, others emit peace, others still patience, whatever it is they radiate, in the spiritual energy exchange of darshan, you become recipient of their residual. Some in Indian culture believe that by allowing themselves to be open to receiving this energy is to be close to divinity: atman darshan, or to see the soul. While I am not entirely sure of what it is I, myself, emit I am certain that I am one of those beings that people come to to get energy from. It is often that The Awake live in isolation in hard-to-reach locations so that they do not get depleted by those who wish to soak up their gifts. Literally the people on the mountain tops.
This is nothing new…I was aware of this, but I have found it increasingly more difficult to manage the busier I get. I was talking with classmates last night about being social versus solitary and Annie joked about my moodiness and how I can be hit or miss. She said it laughingly but I know she was serious and that my moods have caused me to be shorter or less light with her and other friends. While I have an immense amount of self-awareness and can explain it openly to people what is happening with me in those moments, it does not change the experience of our interaction.
So how do you manage? I suppose I have tried to be more honest with people. I explain to them that I cannot engage engage engage without taking frequent breaks and checking in with myself. I speak to my discomfort and my shortness which can be exponentially worsened when tired or hungry (as is the case for most of us, Snickers created a whole marketing campaign around it!). But it does not mean people get it. Further, I’ve been told in many ways that in this life my work is to connect to people…as always its the figuring out of HOW to do it that bears the problem.
On days like yesterday, by the time the end of the day comes I am usually emotionally and spiritually depleted. I work, I teach, I have meetings, and then I am a student/peer/colleague all in one day. For me, because I am so incredibly sensitive to energy, it feels like being plugged in…all day. Imagine running four major apps on your iphone for 9 hours, it won’t last at the end of the 9th hour it is quite literally dead as a doornail able to be of no more service than a paperweight. That is how I work.
I used to wish that I could unplug from people or situations so that I could conserve energy to last throughout the long days. But I found that I was not really any good doing that. I did not feel like myself when I wasn’t fully connected. So I had to learn to engage in my own atman darshan. Finding the people and places that could give to me when I needed to be refueled. Yesterday it was in watching my classmates present their research. I find some much joy and inspiration in seeing our growth and development. Moving through this maze of academia “lost but holding hands”, crying, laughing, and drinking copious amounts of wine along the way.
It has come full circle, but I think the lesson in it all is being able to keep people that can replenish you around you. I have become increasingly more particular about with whom I invest my time. Further, I have become just as particular about the boundaries I put up around those who only “take” and have nothing worthy to “give”. That sounds bad…it is not that they have nothing to give, it is that they have not yet figured out how to give it. Not everyone in this world knows how to pour into other people, some people drown you and some people feel like deserts. In many ways, the balance I work to achieve within myself (of giving time and taking time, giving energy and seeking energy) I also look for in my relationships. Be it with people, places, things, and especially in my profession.
Sometimes More often than not…Life is so much like the clicking pen analogy. Once you know it, you can never un-know it. Once you hear it you can never un-hear it, and once you feel it you can never not feel it…And once you find the great relationships that balance you, the unsteady roller coasters will never do again. Everything, in some way or another, becomes atman darshan.
Which leads me to another thought… If the journey becomes see(k)ing the soul, the the work becomes giving the soul. To the same people places things professions we would wish to seek them. It brings a whole deeper level of understanding around vocation. It is not just what you are called to do, there is too much surrender in that. Because we answer that call, and hopefully we do so the volume of our entire being.