I highly recommend this book.
This original and groundbreaking book by Judith Blackstone addresses five specific challenges that spiritually sensitive people face. These challenges, while difficult, can also be understood as abilities or gifts that can be cultivated. In other words, they are both challenges and strengths that, when developed, can make life richer and more meaningful.
These challenges/gifts include:
* The challenge of being overwhelmed by sensory stimuli. This comes from a subtle attunement and sensitivity to the world, which makes colors, sounds, smells, and other sensory stimuli impact us with unusual intensity. What most people would experience as mildly abrasive is experienced as highly uncomfortable or even intolerable. Yet this challenge is also the gift of being deeply touched and moved by life, the gift of contact and intimacy, when resilience to it is developed.
* The challenge of becoming grounded. The spiritually sensitive person may be so pulled by spirit and transcendence that he or she loses touch with basic grounding in the imminent, physical world. Such people need help with being grounded in their bodies, and in their basic sense of power and gender, to balance their sensitivity to the call of spirit.
* The challenge of being authentic. Many spiritually sensitivity people are gifted with remarkable imagination, which, combined with their sensitivity to others, may lead them to construct a particularly convincing false self that can become the source of much pain to the person living an inauthentic life. They may need assistance coming into contact again with who they are and what they want in life. Once living more genuinely, their remarkable imagination becomes a gift for creating the life they really want.
* The challenge of dealing with the suffering and pain present in the world. The gift of emotional sensitivity and openness can be a powerful challenge as it often leads to feeling overwhelmed by the pain and suffering present in the world. As a greater capacity develops for holding and being present with this pain, it becomes more clearly the gift of compassion. Being more fully in touch with one's compassionate and loving nature makes life richer as life becomes saturated with love and we are led to help those who are suffering.
* The challenge of knowing things that others don't know. This comes from a talent for seeing situations as a whole, and seeing beyond the shared, conventional perception of society or one's family. This capacity can leave one feeling alienated from the majority who do not see in this way, and it can develop into the gift of visionary insight.
The book also offers specific meditative techniques drawn from the author's Realization Process teachings for working with each of these challenges and developing each of these gifts. These techniques emphasize becoming more fully embodied, and are nondual in nature. While she developed these techniques on her own, they are grounded in the nondual traditions of Buddhism and Hinduism.
As someone who would fall under the rubric of "spiritually sensitive person," this book clarified these challenges for me and how to work with them. Four of these five difficulties have been relevant to my life, and I would imagine that more people with a deep spiritual life would relate to many or most of these issues. The practices she offers have also been of use to me--I've done them for several years, having first learned them from her other books and then from her directly--and they strike me as highly useful and accessible "direct path" Vajrayana teachings. The practices, along with a few other practices that I have learned elsewhere, have helped me know these "difficulties" as real gifts. This book is a gem.