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Matt Kahn, author of Whatever Arises, Love That, is a spiritual teacher and highly attuned empathic healer whose often humorous videos are a YouTube sensation. Through insight, sensory ability, and heart-centered teaching, he assists energetically sensitive beings in healing the body, awakening the soul, and transforming reality through the power of love.
1440: What does it mean to be an empath?
Matt Kahn: I think what it means to be an empath is to not just understand your feelings from a personal standpoint. When I was a child, my perception was that other people were mad at me or I was doing things to make people upset. And what I figured out, after a 30-year journey, is that what I perceive as the feelings people are having about me is actually me feeling other people's stuck emotions and emotional upheavals.
To be an empath is to wake up from the ego identity—to wake up from the belief that my feelings mean something is unresolved in me.
Instead, I came to understand that my feelings are my personal way of healing myself—and thus the world.
From an ego standpoint, my feelings have to do with me, and perhaps I have to trace them back to many past memories in order to clear them. Because, from an ego standpoint, the hope is to no longer be anywhere near difficult feelings. The hope is to get away from negative emotion—unlike the soul's perspective, which is: what I'm feeling is my experience of what healing is needed for humanity.
I think that when we look at things from the soul's perspective versus the ego's perspective, we feel less victimized by our circumstances and more excited to participate in our own liberation, which has such potent and powerful results for the world.
1440: What does it mean to clear a feeling? How does that happen?
Clearing an emotion happens when we create enough space to allow the emotions inside of us that played out to a certain degree and then got trapped or interrupted to continue their trajectory of expression.
When we clear a feeling, we consciously witness what needs to arise emotionally. We don't interrupt what's arising by trying to understand its meaning. Instead we create the space that allows the waves to be seen, to be expressed, to be respected.
And as we're allowing the process within us that already knows how to complete itself—when we are being a loving parent to the children that are our emotions—and allowing them to be felt and witnessed, the healing finds its own place of completion. And in the completion of our healing journey, we find the ability to be as present with other people's experience of emotion as we've learned to be with ourselves.
1440: How did you realize you were an empath?
Matt Kahn: For most of my life, I took responsibility for everyone's experiences and feelings, and no matter what people said, I thought that whatever discord I felt in them I must have caused. And I thought everything was my fault.
I've also always had a natural ability to watch life, and I've had this inner knowing that everything in life is a clue.
And if I just watch and let things repeat, I understand it's not about trying to get it all right. It's about allowing things to be shown to me.
After enough years of paying close attention, I started to piece together the idea that I was taking responsibility for other people's feelings because their feelings were showing up in my body. Slowly, I started to realize this was not a complicated curse but actually a unique ability to feel other people's feelings. I started to see it as a gift.
As an empathic healer, I see my role as making it safe for people to enter the terrain of their difficult feelings, to help them through the difficulty of their feelings, and to get to the other side of them, where true healing and relief exists.
What would it feel like to awaken to your true nature? To know why you are here, to trust in your purpose, and to let go of anything and everything between you and your divine potential? What would it feel...
1440: How do you help people who may be quite energetically sensitive, but who may not yet realize it?
Matt Kahn: Everyone in this world is an empath. It just depends on how aware or unaware you are of it. We're pretty much all empathic beings because it's our natural state to be empathic. The bigger question is how much of us has been shut down by our environment or our family or by the pressures of life or by experiences of abuse or neglect?
So really the question is not: Are you an empath? It is: To what degree are you open or shut down?
What I do, energetically, as I work with people is allow the words to flow through me, so that I'm hearing what I'm saying for the first time as you're also hearing it. And as I speak, there's a frequency of healing energy that comes through the sound of my voice, so as I'm speaking you're actually feeling the vibration of what the words are pointing to.
When I work with a group of people, I try to see the group as one group soul, and I try to speak to what I feel needs to be resolved and cleared and awakened and integrated.
In workshops, I apply individual healing to an entire group, and though a group may include hundreds of people, hopefully each member feels like I'm speaking just to them. This becomes a very intimate way to heal many, many empaths, and to help people open back up to their divine connection in a rather miraculous and extraordinary way.
This interview was conducted by Kate Green Tripp, Managing Editor for 1440 Multiversity.