Empathy, in the psionic world, means to perceive the emotions of another being. Personally, I sort of "discovered" empathy after a while of practicing other psionic skills; it wasn't something I was trying to do, it just came eventually from messing with other things.
Before learning empathy, you should know what it entails. Personally, I am glad that I picked up empathy. I find it very useful on a day-to-day basis, and it only annoys me once in a while. I can see how others would find it very troublesome though. If you don't want to know what other people are feeling emotionally, then don't learn empathy. Don't learn it just to be cool or because you want to "master every skill!!!". Empathy can be very hard to deal with at times, so if you don't want to be bothered, don't learn it.
It's hard for me to describe how I use empathy, because it's hard for me to remember when I didn't use empathy. I can't imagine not using it - it seems like one of my primary senses now. Imagine not being able to hear anymore. Sure, you wouldn't get annoyed at alarm clocks or bad music, but you would miss out on so much. That is how I view empathy.
Before learning empathy, you should know how to shield. Shielding is your defense against becoming bogged down from empathy. In large public places, like movie theaters, or malls, it's important to make sure you don't receive every emotion of every person around you. It's also important to be able to block one specific person that might be annoying you, or making you feel depressed. Or block everyone except one specific person. Shielding is what allows you to control empathy, and control is required if you want to maintain a healthy mind.
Now that I've effectively bored you with cautious chit chat, let's jump into how to do it :). My warnings are legit, trust me, but in the end it's up to you to decide, and to deal with your decision.
I personally don't prescribe to the "chakra" theory on things, but when I actually practice empathy, I do feel it in my heart area. When I practice telepathy, on the other hand, I feel it in my head. For that reason, when I actively practice receiving emotions from someone, I visualize a link coming out of my heart, and connecting to the targets heart. Here's an animation - this is basically what I visualize:
Click here to download the animation
Imagine the link coming out of your heart area, and hitting your target in the heart area. Don't be too rough; gently connect to the person. Then just sit back and wait for some feelings to come through. Beforehand it's usually wise to note how you're feeling, so when new information comes in, you can tell your own feelings from your target's feelings.
Actively connecting to someone and trying to read their emotions is a bit different than passively sitting around and receiving random emotions. To passively receive emotions, the best advice I can give is to just open yourself up to it. I know it sounds weird and a little fluffy, but that's how I did it. It's just a matter of relaxing, sitting back, and opening up to the world around you. Don't visualize anything, just relax, and maybe think to yourself "I wonder what Johnny is feeling?". Feel your emotions, notice changes, and remain passive. It's hard to teach a passive skill because you don't really DO anything. It's passive :P.
If all else fails, just keep practicing actively receiving emotions from other people, then try to see if you can do it passively. If you have shields up (which you should), program them to receive emotions. Maybe try (carefully) taking them down (if you think you can handle it). Work slowly, be cautious, but try things out too. Stay relaxed and see what happens. Maybe nothing, maybe something? Who knows?
Empathy, in essence, is pretty simple. I think it's something everyone has an instinctive feel for. It's just a matter of exercising it and keeping it under control. Open up, try it out, practice with your buddies, and have fun .
The experiences of our members with the methods presented in this article are contained here.