Not that I ever did anything extraordinary on the level of curing cancer, or even winning $20g in the lottery (which I really could have used!) Sometimes, I would just get a weird feeling, and on impulse take a different route home from work. Later I’d hear about a bad car crash in the area I would have traveled through. Or I’d have a weird dream about some minor thing that happened a few days after the dream. Experienced a lot of deja vu.
Once during a windstorm - bad, but we’d had them before - I woke up and knew I needed to bring my (then) four-year-old son from his bunk in the front bedroom, into my bed. I did - he never even woke up - and about twenty minutes later, a house up the street lost its roof. The shingles became flying projectiles, and one of them hit his window, throwing shards of jagged glass all over his room - and into his bed.
I don’t regret any of that, and plan to pay attention and listen to whatever it is that’s giving me these signals.
But mostly, my ‘psychic abilities’ were about other people. I sensed (or thought I did) what they were thinking, feeling. I liked the empathy, the feeling of connectedness, of being able to give my friends and family and lovers exactly what they wanted, without them even having to ask for it. Even though it hurt me, often, I took pride in giving, giving, not asking for anything back. I believed it made me special, powerful, more Evolved.
Sometimes with a lover I would be so into him, into what he was feeling, I would get my own physical pleasure from performing fellatio or giving a massage or whatever, because I felt so dialed into his sensations, sharing on a psychic level his pleasure and enjoyment.
I didn’t want to give that up, either.
Well. Now I’m learning about boundaries, and I just read something that stuck with me - that in Zen Buddhism, they consider psychic abilities to be a distraction from connection with the True Self.
My first reaction - how can that be? But on reflection I realize, that’s True, with a capital T. Automatically, mindlessly tuning into other people’s emotions, focusing on giving other people what they want at that moment - that isn’t good for me or them. Too often, I felt used, unappreciated - and those who took advantage of my vulnerability didn’t understand why I sometimes seemed angry or distant. They hadn’t taken anything I hadn’t freely given, after all.
Letting go of me, ignoring me, not being in touch with myself, what I feel, think, want - obviously, not good for me. Letting others take advantage of me, gratifying their whims of the moment - whether it’s just lying back and selfishly enjoying a hummer, or going to a restaurant where I really don’t like the food - what I am teaching, what they will expect of other lovers or friends, is automatic agreement and expressed pleasure with anything they propose. They’re not real likely to receive it, are they?
It’s not that it’s bad to compromise, or to focus on pleasing someone - it’s that it’s bad to do it automatically, to live with boundaries loose, down, or non-existent. If my thinking was (and it was, sometimes) a kind of smug pride at saving someone in trouble - well, how often did that really work? Seems like it was more a temporary buoying up, one sick soul to another, but neither one ever escaping the danger of going under. How much better to know one’s True Self, to be able to consciously help someone in trouble, just like those who rescue someone in a flood zone stand back, put together a plan, and run a safe and secure line to the person in trouble. Instead of a knee-jerk reaction to blindly fling myself into the water with them.
How much greater a gift is it to know what I want, to say to myself, okay, I’d prefer not to eat at such and such a place. Perhaps I can offer an alternative, perhaps I will choose to go along with my friend’s pick - but now I will do it mindfully. And when the other person knows it’s a gift, aren’t they are much more likely to appreciate it, less likely to take it for granted, and more likely to reciprocate to me in some fashion in the future? Good for me, good for them, good for our relationship, as friends or lovers.
And if I maintain better boundaries, instead of being wide-open and hijacked by every stray bad thought, I will be calmer, happier, more centered. I can always choose to mindfully lower my boundaries if I like, or to keep them in place if I don’t feel emotionally safe.
I realize, I can have my boundaries without giving up on that deeper, psychic connection. That thought in itself makes me feel more connected to the universe already, and on a deeper level than ever before.
Are you also secretly proud of not having good boundaries, because it proves how empathetic you are? What are some of the reasons you hang back from setting and enforcing boundaries?