Inner Michael » “Make it so number ones.”

“Make it so number ones.”

Deanna wasn’t human. She was an asset to her crew because she was an Empath. She was also a Betazoid. Counselor Troi played by Marina Sirtis in Star Trek the Next Generation, could feel into the heart of visitors to the Enterprise spaceship and could discern whether they held hidden agenda or their intentions were pure.

Guileless herself, she was often startled by the magnitude of darkness she beheld in some people; it seems that dark hearts will always be a part of every culture and were still around in the 24th century aboard Star Trek’s Enterprise. The motivations of those with hidden agenda gave them a different “feel” than those motivated or compelled by affection or compassion. Do you have to be alien to be an Empath?

Everything has a “field” according to those on the cutting edge of new science—Lynn McTaggert, Rupert Sheldrake, Bruce Lipton and David Hawkins to name a few who explored fields for their doctoral studies. Biological entities emit a “vibe” or “aura” that holds information about them just as a computer holds data.  Most of the time information from this feeling or energy field is processed unconsciously. People are biological entities. The energy that surrounds every person and reflects their mindset, or their “field” is perceptible. Some people are just fun to be around because they are lighthearted and non-threatening; on the other hand, those who plot and plan to undermine or scheme to extract something from someone unsuspecting often have a heavy, dark or even frightening energy. A person with dark energy who is up to no good or who is deviant can feel well, creepy.

Commander Troi, of Star Trek Next Generation was unique because she could feel what other people were feeling or she could feel the emotions of what they focused their minds and attention on. And through the episodes of Star Trek that featured her, we were privileged to glimpse what it’s like to feel other people.

There are humans who are natural Empaths and life for them is not easy. Most of us have well defined boundaries and we can tell where we leave off and others begin. That is not true of Empaths—they often feel other people’s feelings or feel other people and sometimes they feel larger and wider than that.

As a child, I remember crying myself to sleep because our pastor said that little children not baptized in our faith were all going to hell. That literally meant that all those children in Africa, whom I actually saw as innocent and victims, were doomed to eternal damnation because someone didn’t dribble water over their heads. I could feel that. It made me literally nauseas and made me cry when I said my prayers before bed. I prayed for them.

Animals being herded, caged, stacked and slaughtered for food was enough to send me over the edge and the possibility of Nuclear War brought terror for both me and our side and the enemy—all of them. Reading about Germany and the Nazi Concentration Camps left me withered and depressed for a long time. I felt all that fear, all that terror. Again, not just for one person, but for all. I grew up with that special talent and I naively assumed that everyone was the same way.

When I did my internship in group therapy and as I learned counseling techniques, I found that intently listening to a client allowed me to feel what they were feeling. My body would duplicate their emotion. It didn’t matter if it was current emotion or something they were describing in the past. I felt it. In real time. And I could feel things like herd terror of animals and the pain of racism. I could even feel the earth and the air and the heartache of millions. I grew up thinking everybody could.

That talent is not universal but I wasn’t to find out until much later. Meanwhile, I had to find a way to not amplify or to turn down the volume of emotions or curb the acuity of what I was feeling. And I wouldn’t find someone else very much like me until Michael Jackson. And his death confirmed it.

It’s an old cliché` to say “it takes one to know one” but in the case of Empaths, it’s really true. People who are empathic feelers experience it all in excruciating cinematic Technicolor. It takes a long time to learn how to manage something like empathic identification. Others do not recognize them but they may recognize each other.

Children have an empathic streak and grow to regulate it by insulating themselves. Children will just tell you how someone or something feels without thinking or censoring themselves. They will tell you how a rock feels or they will speak for the guinea pig or hamster quoting the dialogue. If exposed to nature early and often, they will empathically form a bond or connection with the spirit of all living things. They can describe the pain of an injured deer or the loneliness of the stars. They feel it.

Children don’t have the filters that we learn to expect in adults. They don’t hold back, or censor, and when they fabricate, it is because they believe it. Their thinking is magical and they believe in immortality so death comes as a painful surprise. Magic is part of their everyday life as is the awe and wonder of engagement with life. They do not observe. They don’t even participate; they immerse. Children can teach adults a great deal about life and the process of uncensored living and how that is magic.

 Michael’s We Are the World was born of his empathic heart and I knew it when the song first was released with all those who collaborated. Michael had the vision and I imagine that his collaborators very much felt his urgency. He coveys that same empathic impulse in Heal the World, Cry, Man In the Mirror and others that are empathic anthems. When I began to read and research Michael Jackson after his death, I recognized a kindred spirit—another Empath. I am convinced that Michael felt on a much larger scale than me and for much longer than me. I found ways to dull or balance some of what I was feeling. Ever the idealist, I could get so depressed and disappointed about human nature and mankind and I might withdraw and isolate to protect myself. Michael never could. It is no mystery to me how he wanted to balance his fame with reclusiveness to shut out the world; but because he was so famous, that was clearly impossible. Thank goodness he at least found meditation.

In Dancing the Dream, Michael speaks about a dolphin in the waves in the ocean that is miles from shore. He feels the entrapment of the dolphin in the net and in homage from one dancer to another, he ends his rehearsal early. That’s empathy. That’s an empath.

Michael felt on a grander scale as well. In one conversation he was speaking of saving the children and his companion questioned if that was possible given the magnitude of the problem. Michael burst into tears. He could not conceive of not saving the children. He felt it and the feeling overwhelmed him—that’s what happens to Empaths. They feel and they get overwhelmed.

 So is it easier to become a “Spock” and to espouse that feelings are illogical? Or to be a “Data” where feelings are just not considered in the processing of information or evaluating how to proceed? Yes, probably. But remember—those characters weren’t human.

 The realization and examination of Michael as an empath explains a lot. It explains some things that outsiders didn’t understand or found strange about Michael. It also explains why some of the world chose to go along with the mischaracterization of a man who was first a humanitarian and then a performer. He likely continued his performing in the face of ridicule and humiliation because it allowed him to remain a humanitarian. His fame was his “bully pulpit.” His visibility gave him leverage. It’s even quite possible that Michael deliberately created outrageous strategies not so much to retain his fame although that was part of the equation, but more likely to maintain that leverage and the platform from which to continue his work.

Those who understand that drive, that empathic impulse, the intrusion of feelings that are not your own have little cultural, social or societal permission to reveal their inner life. That is especially true when cynicism dominates an ecosytem. They confuse and confound and sometimes they cause resentment because they can’t believe others don’t feel what they do. Empaths don’t do apathy. They do the things they do because there is no alternative. They don’t confess it; they don’t speak about it; they don’t trumpet it to the masses; they don’t even share it. They shake people up and wake them up. Not always a popular thing. And very, very lonely. The world has known a few. It rarely recognizes and even more rarely appreciates. But eventually, given more discoveries and more knowledge, maybe a change in communication or paradigm, a corona of recognition reveals it as the light dawns in some future time. May it be so. But then Captain Jean Luc Picard would say insead, “Make it so.”


  1. Stella said . . .

    Thank you for your wonderful words. I wish, Michael will one day get the understanding and respect he really deserves. L.O.V.E. Stella

    Posted March 4, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Permalink
  2. Ann (Vietnam) said . . .

    Dear Rev. Barbara. This is Ann from Vietnam… I appreciate all of your beautiful articles about Michael and I must say that I have traveled so far with awe of my spiritual growth thanks to Michael since my journey with him after June 25th and also thanks to your profound writings of Michael.

    Posted March 5, 2011 at 10:24 am | Permalink
  3. Dalia said . . .

    It is said that love enters by the eye. And when I look back I remember that was what made me love him. What has me here is wanting to be close to him, and reading about him as you write, is simply that– his soul, his inner being, that captivates and makes one fall in love. Not quite his physical appearance, not quite his gentle voice, not his dancing or his genius for composing music with a message. It is the being who was inside because I can not imagine being in love with him without this. When this circle is closed, for me, God’s hand is involved; that’s perfection. When you know him at that level and you identify with his ideals it is hard not to love in whatever form you experience that love for him.

    Posted March 5, 2011 at 11:08 am | Permalink
  4. neverget58 said . . .

    I have always believed Michael was emapthic to a degree that made it almost painful for him to be in this world. It seems to me, and it’s just my feeling that Michael was one of those special souls that only come to Earth once, to perform a very special purpose, to raise the vibration of the planet. Because they only come once, the day to day living in this world is particularly difficult for them and they suffer greatly. As hard as it is for me to be left here on Earth without him, I believe that he has an even greater influence since he’s returned Home, to Heaven. We just have to watch, wait and feel.

    Posted March 5, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Permalink
  5. admin said . . .

    I agree completely: Michael Jackson- Spiritual Messnenger Hiding in Plain Sight ~ Gerri Stone and B. Kaufmann

    Posted March 5, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Permalink
  6. Lauren said . . .

    It is difficult to wrap my mind around and understand what an empath feels. The closest I can come to it is the pain I feel when I see or, God forbid, hear an animal suffering or in pain. Give me a puppy’s forlorn face accompanied by ‘Arms of the Angels’ and I feel sorrow and such physical discomfort that I don’t know what to do. It’s a whole body visceral reaction… and to imagine one walking through life feeling that in every minute of the day, everyday, for every living thing…I might cover my head and sob for that person. No wonder Michael was so wounded when he could no longer pursue his mission the way he understood it. Even more pain… does one somehow try to escape? I’m pretty sure I would, in a heartbeat, actually. My goodness. Thank you, Barbara, for a little more understanding about Michael; who he was, how unique his whole being was, and what he went through while here.

    Posted March 5, 2011 at 11:46 pm | Permalink
  7. Nikki said . . .

    Rev. B, once again you see Michael’s precious heart and deliver him to us through your beautiful words. His spirit is so alive and well, I experience him daily. He is my inspiration in everything I do, he moves me to strive daily to be better, to be part of the change we need in this world. Michael openned my eyes and my heart. He is a magical spirit, a pure channel of God’s love. Thank you Rev. B!

    Posted March 6, 2011 at 12:55 am | Permalink
  8. Greet Boete Belgium said . . .

    You are so right, Rev. B, and I agree with previous posts. How could Michael really be happy when he saw all this happening around him, Being such an empath. But he dealt with it. And he had real joy, because he saw also alll the beautiful things in this world, especially in those who were still innocent like him– children, animals, and nature. I feel him near and whenever I am having a hard time, he is there immediately to help. It doesn’t feel like imagination. There have been so many “coincidences” since June 25 2009, that it is hard to believe they are concidences. Maybe they were there all my life, but I did not SEE them. And that it itself is already a miracle, that I see them now. He is invincible, and he makes us feel like that too. Thank you again Rev. for the post.

    Posted March 6, 2011 at 9:54 am | Permalink
  9. Rose said . . .

    Hello Barb

    In order for Michael the humanitarian to do his Work, Michael the showman had to exist also. This also explains why Michael was considered a transcendent being… in fact this explains a lot of things and brings him into focus. Good work.

    Posted March 6, 2011 at 7:59 pm | Permalink
  10. gertrude said . . .

    “People who are empathic feelers experience it all in excruciating cinematic Technicolor. It takes a long time to learn how to manage something like empathic identification. Others do not recognize them but they may recognize each other.” And so all we fellow empaths felt Michael tap us, felt our heads snap back and our eyes open wide when he passed. The inconsolable void left where his almost silent but magnificent healing used to be woke us with a start. Where had we been? Why hadn’t we been there for him? He was there for us all along and it took his death to realize it. I feel that This really Is It. I don’t feel like another One Like Him will be sent again if we don’t get on, and stay on, the Love Train, the one he is still holding out his hand from, to grab and pull us on board.

    Posted March 6, 2011 at 8:39 pm | Permalink
  11. Kim said . . .

    Like others have said here, the more I read your words Rev. Barbara, the more I understand who Michael was. It makes sense that he needed a platform of such a significant level to be able to communicate his message and help so many people. How else could he do it and make the impact that he did? This was perhaps the only way he could do it. When I wrote those words, it’s hard for me to even comprehend, but we all saw the events unfolding in Michael’s life as it did. All I know is that when I look at Michael, I see his heart and how big it is. I see it in his eyes. I look in his eyes. It’s there. Thank you once again for helping to clear the way for Michael’s light to shine through. Namaste.

    Posted March 10, 2011 at 4:22 am | Permalink
  12. Magda said . . .

    Dear Barbara Rev,
    Thank you very much for your interesting articles about Michael.

    Magda for Romania

    Posted March 10, 2011 at 10:52 pm | Permalink
  13. Joyce said . . .

    Thank you Rev. Barbara for another enlightening post. I also found it enjoyable because it brought back memories of one of my favorite shows. I always was intrigued by Counselor Deanna Troi’s character and how difficult it must be to really “feel” everything that others are experiencing. Michael most definitely was empathic. His Mother once mentioned in an interview about how deeply he felt the pain of starving and suffering children that he saw on TV as a young boy. He would be inconsolable. He knew very early on what his mission was and why he was gvien such amazing talents that would allow him to fulfill that mission. It is just so sad that the world was not ready to accept and understand this truly amazing and beautiful soul! I hope and pray that, as Michael wrote in a song from 1979, this lack of understanding and love will “Be Not Always.”

    Posted March 11, 2011 at 5:06 am | Permalink

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