An old friend of the show, Dr. Judith Orloff, returns to have a conversation with Raghu about empathy and sensitivity based on her book The Empath’s Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People.
Judith is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA, practicing Psychiatrist, and best-selling New York Times author. Her unique approach marries traditional psychiatric practices, intuition, spirituality, and energy medicine, unlike any other practitioner. In this episode we are given a compelling look at the life of an empath and how one might stay spiritually open while protecting themselves from being overwhelmed by what they let in.
“People who are sensitive in life may suffer much more than those who are insensitive. But, if they understand and go beyond their suffering, they will discover extraordinary things.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti
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02:30 – After an inspiring quote from her new book, Judith explains the experience of an empath; a person who is extremely sensitive and intuitive, but lacks the defenses to block the stress and negative energy of the world. Science sees many empaths as having a sensory disorder, however, Judith’s practice shows patients to see their sensitivity as a gift to be nurtured and gives them tools to protect themselves from being overwhelmed.
08:30 – Raghu takes Judith’s empathy quiz and gets feedback on his results. Take the quiz along with him, where are you on the spectrum of empathy? To explore this more check out Judith’s website. Judith describes her life’s experience as balancing her spiritual practice of being open, while also trying to protect herself from the outside world.
13:50 – “Some empaths have profound spiritual and intuitive experiences which are not usually associated with highly sensitive people. Some are able to communicate with animals, nature, and their inner guides.” – Judith Orloff. Raghu discusses the reality of connecting to your inner guide and his experiences with, Neem Karoli Baba, his guru. Just like everyone has a guru within, everyone has an inner empathy.
17:55 – Judith discusses the role of mirror neurons, brain cells that reflect the emotions of others and allow us to feel empathy. What can be done to utilize them productively? Judith explains to Raghu the physiological phenomenon, synesthesia, and how it relates to empathy and sensitivity.
27:55 – Empaths and Relationships: As an empath herself, Judith struggles with the same relationship challenges as her patients. Her biggest challenge has been not absorbing her partner’s stress. Judith explains how she teaches strategies to set boundaries in relationships so that they do not lose themselves in their partner.
35:50 – Raghu reads a passage from “Memories, Dreams, Reflections,” by Carl Jung. Judith speaks of her experience of feeling alienated as a child. She still feels a sense that she is a bit out of place here on Earth and feels there is another place that exists that is her true home.
39:25 – Dream empaths are a fascinating part of Judith’s study. These are people who have a natural affinity for their dreams and given guidance through them. Judith speaks of her attachment to the dream world, and how integral living in that world is to her waking life.
47:40 – What role does empathy play in our animal friends? Animals have an incredible amount of empathy. Judith describes how they can be used to connect humans with their own empathy. We hear the inspiring story of St. Francis, who communicated with animals and connected with them on a spiritual level.
If you enjoyed this podcast with Judith, listen to her last visit to the Mindrolling studio and read an insightful passage on mirror neurons from Judith on the Be Here Now Network.