Architecture of Meaning
Cultivating Meaningful Engagement for Highly Gifted Adults and Highly Sensitive People

Agents of Evolution

Intensity and the Highly Gifted & Highly Sensitive Person

Friday, August 22nd, 2008

Seeing more, feeling more, hearing more…Intensity is the name of the game.

For someone who is highly¬†gifted and highly sensitive, there is often no rest from perceptiveness, complex thoughts and a feeling of overwhelm. Until the gifted and sensitive person gains a vocabulary for inner experiences, their qualities of experience are often assumed to be “just the way people are”. It is often surprising for the gifted person to realize other people’s minds are not always responding to things in multiple ways at once, or that for many – a rose is just a rose.

In order to understand this notion of intensity – imagine a pot of water at a low simmer and a pot of water on high boil. Most people’s nervous systems operate at the low simmer level – needing a high flame (a great deal of stimulus of any kind) to produce a high boil. For you, being on a low flame still feels like a high boil.

You don’t need Katrina to knock into you a deep awareness of the plight of the disenfranchised or the precariousness of our ecosystem. You don’t need images of displaced polar bears to be haunted by the level of disruption to environments, species and weather systems. You don’t need news to tell you about issues that you either sense unfolding, or anticipated unfolding based on the underlying dynamics you attend to.

The world causes you pain – from events, to poor architectural design, to harsh language and careless actions.

People tend to say you think too much, are too intense or are too “heavy”, that you should “lighten up”.

In fact, your intensity is an indicator of how truly alive you are. You have not ever been asleep to the world around you – though sometimes that might have been an appealing idea.

As the rest of the world begins to wake up to a world out of balance, to policies that are unsustainable in all aspects of government, social programs, education, land use, energy … you have been awake- find it all familiar. Not new, maybe overwhelming -but not surprising.

The trick is to find the way to remain in your center as the world goes through the agonizing throws of waking up around you. For you who are already awake, the question is what you need to do to nurture and sustain yourself. The world’s news is not your news- you were there a long time ago.

Your job is to keep attending to what calls you and to find your way of bringing those threads of essence, of quality, of things well done, of joy and of unique insight into the world – even as the world flies off balance.

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