To Observe and Not Absorb

Recently I have started to appreciate the energetic changes in myself, and how I work with people. I was reflecting on my career in health and social care and thought back to the days I used to absorb everything. I was literally a human sponge for any emotion that was flying around; the more intense, painful and heavy the emotion, the more I seemed to attract it! 

I often was in deep sympathy with my clients and would want to take away their pain; this meant I jumped in the well to save them, leaving us both stuck in the mud.

When working at hospital I would feel absolutely exhausted, drained and often sad. After work I would think of the patients I met that day, often waking up in the night worrying about something I said, or how I could have made it better for them.

This absorbing of emotions did not just happen at the hospital… I used to absorb the bus driver’s frustration, my friend’s distress, my parents’ expectations, the anguish on the news, the angst in the shopping center the list goes on… no wonder I was a nervous wreck!

As you can imagine, having all these emotions flying about the place and me acting as a sponge absorbing them left me quite confused as to who I truly was.  The boundaries of who I was and who was another would become foggy – I would be left feeling out of sorts and agitated. Sometimes I even came away with the symptoms of my patients.

All this absorbing of others’ emotions was leading to a path of illness and disease.

I could sense this and could also see this in many of my colleagues who were stressed and burnt out. Thankfully I made a stop. I knew if I continued the way I was going I would end up mentally, emotionally and physically very ill.

So what happened?

I was introduced to Universal Medicine and it was here I learnt about the Gentle Breath Meditation™. I learnt about energy and how to discern it – that is, how to still feel it, but to not let it in and affect me.

“Taking other people’s stuff on creates 80% of illness and disease in this world absorbing others people’s stuff is poison, which you cannot debase so easily to heal. By Serge Benhayon, Esoteric Teachings and Revelations A New Study for Mankind, page 486

This has been life changing and a true miracle for me. I care deeply for all those I meet and now to the best of my ability live by the principle ‘observe and not absorb’: this allows me to be a 100 million times better carer, reflecting true love and healing rather than emotionally wanting to save someone (= exhausting!).

This is of course a constant work in progress and sometimes I still find myself absorbing the energy around me, but thanks to Universal Medicine I have an array of tools I use to help get me back to me.

The Gentle Breath Meditation™ is a fantastic tool to help keep me centered, in touch with who I truly am, and focused on the present moment. This allows me to give the best to those I work with without draining myself in the process.

By Samantha England, Health and Social Care Assessor, Norfolk UK 

Further Reading:
Gentle Breath Meditation in Daily Life
The Gentle Breath Meditation™ & Discovering my Inner Self

1,281 thoughts on “To Observe and Not Absorb

  1. What you are sharing here is huge Samantha, I hear of people that leave the care profession because it is emotionally too draining, it is great to hear how you observed what was going on and no longer got affected and how truly supportive this is to people. I worked with a care client who other people found too hard to deal with, I found that if I stayed calm and steady and did not let myself get caught up in what was going on around me that it was fine, I found a real steadiness within myself in this work and realised that I can stay with me and not be affected by others, this was an amazing learning for me and has been deeply supportive for my clients.

  2. It makes so much sense to me that getting involved in someone else’s stuff is causing illness and disease in the body as our bodies are designed to be in homeostasis and anything we take in will disturb this and will force other systems in our bodies to work harder to assist in the restoration of this equilibrium, that still and inner peaceful state our body wants to be in.

      1. So true Lucy, Serge Benhayon is indeed bringing common sense and simplicity back to us and we all know that because when we enter into complexity we all do not like that and if we observe it for what complexity actually is we will find that it is only there because we are trying to avoid the obvious simplicity that life has on offer. It is only our wondering mind that is able to create complexity in it by bringing in emotions and individual issues.

  3. This highlights so clearly how we are always led or moved by a quality of energy throughout our day and that it is us that commands which energy we allow ourselves to be led or moved by. As a result the quality in which we reach the end of the day in is an incredible marker, if we are willing to be honest, as to what energy we have been moved with. Are we exhausted or are we sparkling and present? As we have either been led or moved by emotions or we been led or moved by our Soul, in connection to who we are, where who we are is already known as such the need to be fulfilled or identified does not exist. Being ourselves and holding steady is the best medicine and prevention for illness and disease,and allows us to bring a greater and true quality to all that we do.

  4. Its so easy to get caught up at work, and for the outside world to become the inside world, but the building of an more connected and embraced you within you with a tool like the Gentle Breath Meditation can change all that.

  5. Understanding this, has been life changing for me and I know many many others. Most are brought up that sympathizing is the right and nice thing to do. A common saying is, ‘If I could take it for you I would’, if someone else is ill or has an issue. When we do this though we are swallowing another person’s creation, hence we can’t heal that as it wasn’t ours in the first place, we can only let go of the poison from our body once we are honest with that we have sympathized and why.

  6. We have so much more to offer to others when we don’t get caught up in all of the emotions or like you say, become a sponge for it all. I used to live off the drama of emotions and now looking back, I can just see how draining and exhausting that all was. Its not that I don’t care anymore, I do…. but I just don’t feed into it all as I once did.

    1. It’s a great point Rosie that we equate being absorbed (literally) in another person’s life as caring when true care begins with ourselves. We can still care in observation, and that care would in fact be greater because we are taking care of loving and respecting ourselves first.

  7. I have often pondered on why I got and still do from time to time totally wiped out after being in the presence of others. In fact I don’t think I have actually realised and admitted how exhausting and draining absorbing energies around me are. Living to the best of my ability a way that supports me daily no doubt helps me to observe but also having the understanding of others and allowing them to be where they are at is also helping me to stay with myself and not get pulled into something that only causes drama. It is my responsibility to observe and not absorb.

  8. Once we start to become more aware of our movements when in connection with our bodies we realize that most of the disharmony that we feel is the accumulation of absorbing other’s emotions and it is only through our livingness and commitment to not react that we can once again restore true health and wellbeing.

  9. It is so true, I had not considerd that I absorbed what was going on around me till Serge Benhayon mentioned it in a talk I attended many years ago, but when I considered how the worry about another persons’ problem felt in my body I could see and feel that my body didnt know how to handle it. It wasn’t my worry and it wasn’t meant to be in there. I was doing neither of us any good. Such a great life lesson.

  10. I can totally relate to this Samantha as it was the way in my past also to absorb the emotions of others to the degree that I began to identify with the emotional whirlwind I felt inside me in the sense that I thought it WAS me. This set me up for a long path of self-loathing and despair, that I now, knowing better and sensing what is true, have to admit suited my choice to play ‘less’ in the world and not shine the full power of the true light I know myself in essence to be.

    1. Thank you Liane, we can hide out in the shadows of other people’s choices instead of claiming the light we are.

  11. I have to admit and be honest I absorb a lot of things – which does make me exhausted and cause physical illness. I take on a lot of other peoples stuff. I could say I find it difficult to observe life but that is not true, I obviously get something from it, it stops life from being really simple and clear. And you know what it’s boring taking on other peoples stuff and very damaging to my body. If there is one massive thing that would change my life and health around it would be ” observe and not absorb” .

    1. I used to absorb things left, right, and centre from people, and back then I was a practitioner of Acupuncture so I ended up making myself very ill. I still have to consciously make sure I do not go into sympathy and, or, absorb people’s ‘stuff’; and stay observing.

  12. Thanks Samantha, a blog I like to come back to as absorbing energy has featured strongly in my life. I also feel that identifying with caring and being needed can be part of the absorbing, and it’s almost championed to take things on – to be sacrificial, a martyr, to get involved (which really means entangled). Even concepts like “Jesus died for us on the cross” is to me part of that consciousness, as if someone can take on others responsibilities and then die for it and it be seen as a good thing.

  13. Taking on other people’s emotions is very much poisoning our body, as Serge Benhayon so beautifully states. It has a great effect that we don’t always like to admit. Being aware of the energy that is around us is very much supporting ourselves to be more steady and support others in a more detached way.

  14. This is quite ground-breaking what you are sharing here Samantha, and it would be great if you could be studied and have a paper written up on the miracle you have just shared. If these practices were adopted by the healthcare industry, the world would me much different place.

    1. Indeed the more we allow things to naturally be then we allow the beauty and magic to take place. When we narrow something down by focussing on a specific outcome or goal we are limiting and constricting what is available.

  15. If we observe and not absorb we see what is really going on, and we are reacquainted with the fact that we feel energy all of the time.

  16. Over the years I have come to understand when we don’t get caught in other peoples emotions, we are able to be more or a support and reflection for them. We can truly be there with them or for them to show them the way , however when we start to absorb their emotions, we are no good to ourselves or them.

  17. I never realised or was aware of how exhausting it was to absorb emotional stuff and getting caught up in other people’s drama prior to attending Universal Medicine courses and presentations. Understanding how to observe and not absorb has been hugely supportive for me in eliminating exhaustion and emotional outbursts.

  18. In a society that encourages us to be sympathetic to those in pain, it is also about learning to deal with the additional reaction that can come at us from others when we stop enjoining in their misery…

    1. It is important to take note of how others may and will respond when we do not go into sympathy and actually start to truly enjoy life. I find what I feel is another persons regret at the choices they have made and so rather than fully take responsibility it is easier to take it out on you or another person, but all this does is continue the cycle of misery.

  19. The thing about this absorption pattern, is it’s not just an unfortunate accident, or a sad side effect but something we actively choose to ingest. What I am beginning to realise is how so much of this stuff I have encountered I have used to cover up what I feel underneath. So part of saying no to absorption is saying yes to my sensitivity. Thank you for sharing Samantha.

  20. “this meant I jumped in the well to save them, leaving us both stuck in the mud.” This is the best visual of what we are doing when we are taking things on from people around us. You can only support someone when you yourself are not in it. Like we can only pull someone out of the mud when we are on the dry land. The thing is with the mud it is quite obvious but with energy and emotions we can’t see it visually, learning to feel before we have taken it on is key here.

  21. I still find myself resistant to building a connection with my body because I’m not wanting to be aware of and let go of all the pictures I’m holding onto about how life should be, but is not. Perhaps also because that is how Ive always known myself- through my reactions to others. But this way of living, not reading energy and taking on everyone else’s stuff, is exhausting and harming. It offers no evolution for anyone. This is slowly changing, as I start to build a connection with what I can feel through the Gentle Breath Meditation – a great tool as you’ve shared Samantha.

  22. I agree Samantha it is quite difficult well in my experience to look out at fellow brothers and see people in so much pain or misery – its as if we choose to take it on in order to not see it, when this is poisoning ourselves. Your blog gives a great description and analysis of what we are actually doing when we ‘absorb’ the emotions of others, we create them within ourselves and because these have no root cause they are an added energy which doesn’t belong to us – which clouds our thoughts and beliefs.

  23. To observe and not absorb is an art worth mastering, as it is only then that we can break away from the traps and illusion of the work and once again reconnect to the divinity of The All.

  24. I remember the first time I heard Serge Benhayon present on how ‘ to observe and not to absorb’, it was definitely a light bulb moment for me as I also had lived being affected by others emotions and taking on their poison. Learning to observe more in my life has been an absolute game changer where I feel much lighter and from this I can offer true support to others without draining myself in the process.

  25. It is completely exhausting trying to help and save everyone – something I have found is that the more I look after myself the more I also am looking after everyone else because I am able to hold a space of love much more and not get drawn into the emotions or the drama of what is going on which as you say is exhausting. I used to think this was selfish but it is far from it – after all how can we truly help another if we are not 1st love ourselves.

    1. What actually works in life is often the opposite to what we have been told. Self love is never talked about yet the ideal of putting others first and sacrificing ourselves is very common, but it exhausts and depletes us and doesn’t truly support either party. As you say, self love generates a space of love for everyone to feel and be supported by.

      1. I remember being told how selfish it was to put myself 1st and so would always put others 1st no matter what I was feeling. The problem was whislt it all looked rosy on the outside all I was doing was being a polite curteous boy but deep down was suppressing everything I was feeling and pretty much gave up on humanity and the world changing, let alone being love.

  26. As a society we ought to ask why sympathy is so often promoted given that those in the helping professions become easily burnt out if they work with clients sympathetically. We ought to be asking ‘what do we get out of being sympathetic to others?’ given being this way clearly does not work.

  27. And the thing is Sam, is that for most people the ‘sponge syndrome’ is their daily life, and thus the incredibly high turnover of councellors psychologists etc.

  28. When caught in the rollercoaster or raging river of emotions that are present in daily situations then it seems bigger than us and overwhelming, it feels as though the emotions rule our lives. And with this we are all seeking some form of break, relief or hope outside of it. How blessed to know of The Esoteric and The Ageless Wisdom which offers a rather simple approach which is to ‘observe and not absorb’. It does acknowledge the suffering, the difficulty and the dilemma but teaches not to give power to it but rather see things for what they are.

  29. It makes sense that reacting to life and absorbing situations around us in constantly looking outside ourselves for answers and confirmation of our identity leads us to forget and let go of the connection to our essence and the natural inner knowing of who we truly are.

    1. It’s a great point Linda, we actually can be identified in our role as helper, rescuer, carer etc, but if we lack that connection to our own essence and the love within we can literally get sucked into another’s world and lose ourselves through absorbing and taking on another’s stuff. Knowing who we truly are is an important part of being a true support to others by reflection, and also supporting ourselves to not take on emotion.

  30. To observe and not absorb sounds simple in theory but omg can be quite the opposite in practice. Like you Sam I absorbed everything, but then let me be honest, I was checked out and empty, which made it so easy for me to be a sponge…. Thankfully that changed, when I started to attend the courses and presentations by Serge Behhayon and Universal Medicine which supported me to heal and clear my old and ingrained hurts from my body, ( this process began seven years ago), so that today, I can simply ‘observe’ and love others where they are at which has been life changing.

    1. Thankyou, it’s true it’s not as easy as it sounds but it’s well worth the effort to learn to observe and not react to where others are at. For me beliefs around putting others first or needing to be there for others has played a part in absorbing, rather than being with people from a foundation of my own self love first and the love I can bring to people from that place. Love is truly the great observer.

  31. Observing life rather than absorbing it takes a lot of dedication to practice something so simple, but a challenge to do. It’s a constant reflection of my own reactions. The steadier I hold myself in conscious presence the easier it can be. When I let go of that inner-steadiness and observant eye… reaction and absorption floods over and then I am in the whirlpool of life.

  32. To observe and not absorb is the answer to not reacting to people or situations. If we did this more we would not have the dramas that we like to create in our life.

  33. One of the things with absorbing or taking on other people’s emotions is that it doesn’t help them either – it actually just magnifies the disharmony they’re in whereas when we truly observe we give them space and with that a support to get to more clarity within themselves.

    1. Absolutely – we essentially let them off the hook and confirm them in a false rather than offer a true reflection of love and understanding and an opportunity to arise and return to the same.

  34. Samantha I can relate to being a human sponge and taking on other people’s stuff. I used to do this all the time. And just recently I have noticed just how much I have changed because a close member of my family had an accident and I was totally calm about the whole thing. I really felt it wasn’t for me to get involved with the situation. How cool is that ! This is all due to the amazing journey of self rediscovery I have been on since meeting Serge Benhayon and attending the Universal Medicine works shops and events. As you rightly say diving into other peoples emotional issues doesn’t work as then we are both stuck in the mud someone needs to be on the side line with the life saver.

  35. The truly only way to avoid being stressed and taking things on is to observe what is occurring and not let ourselves get affected by what is happening around us. We are not responsible for others; only ourselves, and the more we live like that the freer we become.

  36. when we are in observation it is as though we are connected with the all, the universe, the stars and when we are in reaction we can only express or produce what the reaction is giving us, and only what we have learned in our minds as a form of defence.

  37. Great blog Samantha. When we absorb another’s emotions we literally are blinded by the mist of the fog they are illuded by which they are seeking support to see past. The true observer is the only one who can offer such support as such fog does not cloud their vision and their clarity can offer the client a truely loving support they are asking for.

  38. When life gets intense it’s all too easy to absorb what is happening right in front of us. The gentle breath mediation is the perfect stop to create greater space to allow for observation and reconnection.

  39. True – it is absolute Gold to know that to observe life rather than take it on allows us the grace to understand what is before us and to not react, remain detached and respond in a true, needed way.

  40. It is astounding how often we can take on another issues rather than remain the observer and allow another to be where and with what they have chosen. It pays to remain with us and to let live.

  41. I never linked absorbing other people’s emotions and feeling drained until I learnt about energy from presentations with Serge Benhayon which completely changed my awareness with myself and with others. Learning to observe allows space to see and read what is truly going on and to know how to respond.

  42. I would suggest that absorbing is a very common problem around the world and to some degree most people experience this. Sympathy is also regarded as normal, when in fact it’s actually quite harmful to both sides, so that in itself is one emotion that leads to absorbing. We see sympathy as being kind or understanding, but it’s energetically not from the soul and feels very different to love. We feel that it’s “good” to be sympathetic but if we feel it’s harmful quality of energy and what it leads to then we can make a choice to simply be love instead. It takes time to make this change as it can be automatic to be sympathetic but it’s worth the effort to be love with people instead.

  43. Recently I was thinking I had progressed to the stage that I didn’t have to connect to my breath any more. What happened next? Just what has ruled my life for 30+ years! Fights, arguments, incidents and issues suddenly appeared again in my world. I can testify without doubt that the gentle breath meditation and being aware of your connection through the rise and fall of your chest is something essential for me. From here I can feel what is true and what is false and how to move next. It may be a hard lesson to learn but the answer we seek Samantha is as you show, right under our nose.

  44. There is quite a well known story about us going around like garbage trucks taking on others peoples trash and then overloading/exploding and taking it out on others. I find the more I connect with myself the more aware I am of what is going on around me and with others and so the more I can observe everything rather than getting caught up in it all. I then find I am such a better friend and person as I can clearly support others to see there is another way and another choice to be made.

  45. I used to absorb loads as well when I was younger and knew that this was not good for me and was making me ill but it was like I did not know how to stop and as crazy as it sounds it was like if I didn’t absorb other peoples stuff then it meant I didn’t care!!!!! This is huge what Serge Benhayon has presented ‘Taking other people’s stuff on creates 80% of illness and disease in this world – absorbing other people’s stuff is poison, which you cannot debase so easily to heal.” By Serge Benhayon, Esoteric Teachings and Revelations – A New Study for Mankind, page 486

  46. The Gentle Breath is always there to connect to at any time in any situation. It supports us to maintain our true connection.

  47. The more I see and heal myself the more I see and observe another but although I am choosing to see and read more and develop understanding it is the relationship to self that determines as to whether I react. As I develop love for me first with consistency the more I build love in me and it is this love that supports me to observe and not absorb.

  48. Of late I am becoming acutely aware that a thought precedes letting in the emotional baggage of another, or even attaching to past emotional experiences of my own, and the thought is always around lack of self worth. With this discovery I can now literally feel the importance of appreciating my value.

  49. We are never not being affected by and, affecting, others at all time, and I often find myself already in reaction before I know it. What I am learning is how these reaction often come from my expectation/ideal not being met – like, I am already walking around full of pictures to be met by the world and its people – and of course it’s not going to happen, so I am ready to pounce. So, by calling it ‘reaction’ I can feel now I am trying to disown my responsibility, as well as robbing myself and others of space to just be. Ouch.

  50. I can now feel in my body when I’m taking on something that is not me. I get an unsettlement in my body and this is a warning bell to stop, check in and take a moment or two to feel what’s going on and renounce and discard the unwanted energy. I am learning that to get caught up in other people’s emotion doesn’t help the other person in fact it can make the whole situation worse as it can be seen as giving them permission to delve deeper into it and wallow.

  51. “All this absorbing of others’ emotions was leading to a path of illness and disease.” So true Samantha and something I can relate to also, having worked in hospitals and as a therapist. It is no wonder nurses, doctors, teachers etc get burned out if we don’t observe rather than absorb, This doesn’t mean we are not interested or care about those we come into contact with. We just allow people to make their choices and have understanding of their choices and predicaments.

  52. To observe and not absorb, surely it is easy? Like learning to swim it’s a natural action that we do – after all who wants to swallow all that water? Well recently I’ve been relearning to swim and changed the whole way that I’ve been breathing. After this swimming has gone from an arduous task to something I enjoy completely. So I feel it’s never too late to see there’s a simpler way for us to be. The Gentle Breath meditation as you say Samantha is a brilliant support in our day-to-day for us to go deeper and be super clear about the energy, ripples and waves we live with.

  53. It’s true – the way we either react or respond to another’s condition or emotional state makes a big difference for both parties – if we absorb the emotion we take on poisen and with that dull the clarity we may otherwise have been able to share with them that would have truly helped them.

  54. What stood out for me reading this was the point you made about not knowing yourself because you took on so much from others. Wow I really related to this and could see how I never knew who I truly was because I was in the pattern of taking things on and being what people wanted me to be. And all at the expense of giving my power away and presenting a false version of myself to others.

  55. I had a situation yesterday where I could have potentially got emotional because of things not going my way, however, before the meeting I chose to be in observation mode. It made a huge difference to observe myself and others in the meeting and not come with an agenda. I prefer this way of being compared to the old way where I used to get wrapped up in drama and wanting to control or fix things. I am less drained, and have a clearer perspective that enables me to make better choices.

  56. I agree Debra, I had a meeting yesterday where I could in the past have gone into reaction, instead I chose to go with the flow and observe. This allowing feels far more lovely in my body and the energy of the entire group.

  57. “To observe and not absorb” is one of the greatest teaching from The Esoteric, it allows space for true evolution for all – by allowing one to not take on energies that don’t belong to our energetic configuration but also allowing another space and the opportunity to create a new imprints in their lives.

  58. Powerful – our health is in observation. We are forever beings that exist out of energy constantly – so all we can do is observe and be open to what is love and what is not love.

  59. Absorbing others’ stuff is destabilising and debilitating and totally draining. Building a solid foundation of connection to ourselves, and really listening to what we need first, supports us to have the steadiness that then supports all others.

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