In my book review of The Empath’s Survival Guide, I very briefly described my empath family, who were medical workers and also empaths. This may not be unique for health professionals, because the ability to empathise and heal would be inherent in them even though some would deliberately stay detached. Ultimately, we all have empath and intuitive gifts – every single one of us.
What was unique within my family, perhaps, was that conversations about intuitive gifts and spirituality were very normal. Our town was in a rural region in southern Japan. Our family naturally demonstrated a holistic approach to caring for patients through listening to them, which required some degree of empath ability. Psychically speaking, spirits were always there in the house, and my mother even knew who they were.
In general, a child growing up in such circumstances – where discussing supernatural phenomena is normal – is likely to develop an intuitive sense. This would make a difference in a person’s psychological and psychical development. People with a stronger intuitive sense in my family were my grandparents and uncle on my father’s side, uncles on my mother’s side, and my parents.
I learnt that this was not something I could talk about openly with my classmates at school. No one seemed to relate to me. Some people avoided me after hearing me talk about my uncle’s out-of-body (near-death) experience during his own operation. I don’t remember when I completely stopped talking about spirituality; it was probably after I left my parent’s house when I was 15 years old.
It was in 2014, and I was 34. My attention started turning back to intuitive sensitivities through the influence of a book.
The book was Proof of Heaven, by Dr Eben Alexander, a neurosurgeon. I shuddered at the descriptions in his book. The beginning section of the book, when Dr Alexander describes himself and his colleagues, reminded me of the patients I saw in childhood. What he saw during the seven days of his coma was something I often heard about and was fairly similar to what my uncle reported to us. His experience proved to him that consciousness is autonomous from the brain.
But it took a lot of courage to break the silence surrounding the topic of the supernatural. By taking a very slow spiritual journey since then (while recollecting and comparing lots of events through reading), I now feel more freedom to sense and talk and write about this topic. I’ve read a lot of books on empathy, healing and spirituality since 2014. In 2015, I quit my job and went back to grad school to study applied linguistics, focusing on face-to-face interactions and empathy in clinical settings.
My favourite books on consciousness were the bestselling books by Eckhart Tolle.
Now I talk about the supernatural to my friends and colleagues (who are academics) without hesitation. Without the courageous authors I mentioned above, I would have never confronted these intuitive sensitivities and never would have dreamt of sharing my experiences with others.