I am a spiritual religious person but also I am highly sensitive person to most things including food, environment, people, emotions, problems etc. I get easily exhausted in negative environments and I feel elated in positive environments. And the former is more prevalent in the world. I have been on the spiritual path for a long time doing meditation etc., but the sensitive nature has increased a bit. Please guide me what to do to overcome or reduce the same.

—hs, India


Dear HS,

The path of meditation, indeed the spiritual path in general, increases ones’ empathy and awareness of the environment (including air, water, food, etc.) around you (as to purity and vibration), subtle energies, and, of course, people and their consciousness (sattwic, rajastic, or tamasic).

But in some cases such as your own, you may already be highly sensitive to these things. But in all cases, the operative link between the outer and the inner is the ego-self. While there are some practical things one can and should learn to do in response to hypersensitivities, a spiritually minded person should at least always keep uppermost: “WHO is sensitive?”

To use an extreme example for illustration, a highly advanced tantra yogi that Swami Kriyananda once met in India could drink an entire bottle of whiskey and not feel a thing! One cannot say that such a yogi is INSENSITIVE; quite the opposite! Therefore, there is another principle at work here and it is the reactive process and the power of the mind.

Patanjali defines the state of yoga as a state in which the reactive process (likes, dislikes, emotions, etc) is completely calmed and under one’s control. Is this done by force of personal will? NO!

It is the withdrawal of one’s consciousness from the periphery of the body (nerves, senses, etc.) into the deep spine. “Pratyahara,” the fifth stage on the 8-Fold Path is likened to the turtle who withdraws into the Self and has complete control of sense impressions.

Now, I realize I am describing a high state of realization: one that is not fair to hold out to you as the standard. But my real point is that the most efficient way of transcending the sensitivities to outward objects and environment and people, is to “remain in the Self!”

By this I would begin to say that one should aspire to being even-minded, calm, and cheerful under all circumstances, starting with little things and getting better and better at it. Control of the mind, in other words, is the most powerful force at your disposal.

Now, I won’t go further in this direction but consider that a long list of behaviors that will protect you from harm will simply make you weak, insular, and at the mercy of outward circumstances. This is true even if there are some practical measures you can take in avoiding negative environments and seeking positive ones. But life is rarely so simple and convenient; and, we have, let’s face it, karma to deal with.

Master (Yogananda) mentioned a few techniques for psychic protection from negativity of places and people: chanting the mantra, e.g., AUM KRING KLING KRISHNAYA NAMAHA. Or, before sleep, write the OM symbol on your pillow. Before venturing out of the house, chant OM TAT SAT while swinging your arms side to side, front to back, touching the palms in front and in back.

Do give some serious thought however to building your own aura and pyschic power through prayer, devotion, service to God in others, by keeping a positive, happy attitude, and affirming inner strength. Affirmations like I AM STRONG IN MYSELF; I AM COMPLETE IN MYSELF; THE POWER OF THE UNIVERSE AWAITS DISCOVERY WITHIN MY INNER BEING!

Meet a spiritual test by RAISING, not lowering, your ENERGY AND ATTITUDE! Your power my not be sufficient, but by God’s power, all things are possible!

Be of good cheer,
Nayaswami Hriman
Seattle WA USA