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Energy Vampires Baffle Brains PDF Print E-mail

by Marisa Robson

There’s a lot of talk these last few years about a very odd phenomenon.


You’ve probably heard it… someone will say something like; “I’m avoiding Joe at the moment, he drains my energy.” And then everybody will nod sagely and someone in the company will mutter “energy vampire”.


A quick Google search for the term reveals a high level of paranoia about energy vampires; a lot of websites imply darkly that they are a “different breed from the rest of us, difficult to recognize with the untrained eye” and have a “modus operandi” by which they deliberately seek out victims for the express purpose of consuming their positive energy. Some sites go so far as to suggest that energy vampires suck out your very life force and give tips for recognizing them, avoiding them and protecting yourself against them (interestingly, none of these involve just telling them to bugger off).


The “how to recognize energy vampires” lists generally define these ethereal aura suckers by a relatively loose collection of (in anyone’s book, extremely irritating) character traits: These are the people who don’t respect your time boundaries, who are passive-aggressive, who perpetually attempt to elicit pity, and whose conversation articulates circular pessimism leaving you bored, frustrated and emotionally flat-lined. I don’t dispute for a moment that people like this can tire you out, but are they really draining your energy? All things being fair in love and psychic war, let’s have a look at this in context with the rest of the commonly held belief system that gave rise to the labeling of these poor shmucks as “vampires” in the first place.


The same people who tell you that Joe is an energy vampire also hold an axiomatic view of an energetic universe. That is to say, our whole universe, our bodies, our minds, the chair you’re sitting on and everything in between is manifest from an abundant presence of energy which simply expresses itself in different forms (of which you and Joe happen to be two).


There’s an obvious conflict here; how on earth does one conclude that energy has been “sucked out” of one if there is only energy in our universe?  It’s hardly as though there’s a scarcity of this stuff; we move in it, play in it, are born from it and live in it. We are it… Joe is it. We couldn’t get away from it if we tried. There is not “Joe’s energy” and “your energy”. There is just energy.


So why do we get so unbearably tired when Joe drops in for tea?

While most of us accept the precept that our universe is made up of energy, we tend to be aware of this only in vague terms, not realizing how profoundly it permeates our every endeavor. Taoist thought elucidates the principal with spectacular clarity. The well known idea of man at one with nature (not so much about tree hugging) refers to the eternal cycle along which the universe ineffably meanders. This profoundly simple yet mystic cycle is called “tao” or “the way”. It is understood that this ineffable “way that the universe executes” or this “nature of the universe” is so woven through us, that we are so much part of it, as to validate definition as one in the same thing; “man is nature”.


Armed with this wisdom we can start to see the elegant sagacity in the principal of “wei wu wei” translated as “doing without doing” or “non-action”. This is a state of being in which one is so aligned with the “way” that your actions are “no longer”. Instead they become an effortless ride on the wave of energy that is already present; already moving. This is a co-creative process in which the human, in full capacity of free will performs his work using the most abundant natural resource in the universe, energy, for support, and does so in harmony with the “way”. It is a state of being characterized by relaxation, adaptability, effortlessness, and spiritual, physical and emotional health. One who has mastered it is considered to be “in his natural state”.


Conversely it is understood that performing work in an ego-state that is not in harmony with the ‘way’ creates blockages in the human energy field and body; in essence, it indicates that your existence has become “unnatural”. This state of being is characterized by egocentrism, frustration, fatigue and poor mental, spiritual and physical health. This is why the Taoists defined health as a state of free-flowing energy, and disease as a state of blocked energy.


But back to gormless Joe the energy vampire. Judging by his personality as a whining, passive-aggressive, boring, time-wasting pain in the neck, or alternatively what various bits of wisdom on the internet define as a “positive vampire” … the guy who’s having such a fabulous time that you eventually become lobotomized by his mind-numbingly monotonous bliss-talk, Joe is probably someone who you think should change the way he runs his life. The Tao Te Jing explains why this is an inadequate view:


When people see some things as beautiful, other things appear ugly. When people see some things as good, other things appear bad. Being and non-being create each other. Difficult and easy support each other. Long and short define each other. High and low depend on each other. Before and after follow each other.



Therefore the Master acts without doing anything and teaches without saying anything. Things arise and she lets them come; things disappear and she lets them go. She has but doesn't possess, acts but doesn't expect. When her work is done, she forgets it. That is why it lasts forever.



-Lao Tsu


Holding the view that Joe should not be so negative / critical / boring, is not part of your “natural state”; it is simply a comparative reaction based on your limited point of view, or to an attachment to your idea of what Joe should be instead of what he is. The “natural man” doesn’t mind how Joe has chosen to manifest. He lets things arise and lets them go without possession.

The next part of the mechanism is the one that stops you telling Joe to leave you alone and be done with him. You feel that on some level, it is ‘less good’ not to like Joe - or ‘less good’ not to engage with him. This messes with the concept that you have of yourself as a nice, positive, loving human being. Of course, the nice, positive, loving human being that you conceive yourself to be is really just an ego construct; you are none of these things, and all of these things and far beyond. It is your inability to adapt yourself to the situation, your attachment to being nice, positive, loving human being that keeps you locked in conversation with Joe, feeding him endless cups of tea and cake when you really wish you were watching telly instead.

The conflict between these two unnatural states creates an “energetic knot” which crunches your energy flow, over and above which, the effort of keeping both of  them going at the same time (since they are both your own creation) takes a hell of a lot of work. By the time Joe has eaten all your cake and left, you are bound to be exhausted.


This is not to say that Joe’s behaviour is A-OK, but it is important to understand that Joe is not causing blockages in your energy field anymore than what he sucking you dry. You are.


Of course, there is a contrasting scenario where we feel that we “get” energy from another. These are usually the people that allow us to express ourselves with complete freedom, and give us the attention that we need in order to do so. While we’re aware that we might be wearing their patience a little thin, the flow seems unstoppable. This is not because we’re sucking energy out of them. We’re simply surfing on the free energy wave that they have created for us by psychically getting out of our way. Funny thing is, it never occurs to us that they might be doing their own angel meditations for protection as we hoot goodbye on our way down their street.


It is interesting to note the similarities in thought pattern between the old concept of blood sucking vampires, or even the sequence of events that led to the 15th century witch-hunts and our thinking about energy vampires today. Too often, a concept is born from the writing or commentary of a single persuasive speaker. Despite having no grounding in or connection to our known reality, the concept is extrapolated upon and gives rise to myths which are eventually accepted as truisms when in fact they are no more than superstitious fancy.  It is terrifying to think that we are no less gullible now with all our apparent advancements than we were then. It is a healthy and enriching exercise to step away momentarily from that which we have accepted, and to judge it against a little bit of common sense, critical observation and experience. Doing this, we can perhaps tumble into the next millennium calling ourselves enlightened.

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