4: The Misery Antenna

Tuning from one television station to another is extremely easy. We just press a button on our remote and are connected to the sights and sounds of a new program. In a similar manner, we can connect to different memories, people, or situations by shifting our focus of attention. We can probe our memories to analyze them. We can wonder why certain events occurred or failed to happen. We can be curious about why someone is too excited and behaves badly. If someone has an embarrassing moment, we can sympathize with them.

The significance of these connections is found in examples where we “tune into” powerful memories of resentment or embarrassment. Almost instantly, we begin to feel the fear or anger or disappointment we experienced when these events first occurred. Each time we relive these memories, we add to our storehouse of negative energies.

Fortunately, we can also tune into happy and peaceful memories and tap these good moods and the state of confidence and optimism that go with them.

Our interest can also direct our attention beyond ourself and our memories. Herein lies a multitude of possibilities and dangers. Tapping the mental and emotional energies of others will not produce the clear images we experience when we reconnect with our own memories. Nevertheless, the laws that govern mental and emotional energies guarantee that we will make some degree of connection to the energies of other people we think about. Some scoff at this idea because the connection is quite subtle. Yet it does happen, and therein lies some danger to us. Unless we are psychically sensitive, a brief moment of focus on others entails little risk or benefit. However, if we return again and again to brood on some adversary or some unpleasant situation, we will definitely open ourselves to dark and toxic energies.

Some people who are unwittingly talented at psychic self-destruction eagerly focus their morbid fascination as an antenna that scans the horizon for ever more misery. This misery antenna works in several harmful ways. Most commonly, people reflect on their resentments toward their enemies—and their disgust with how difficult their life has been. They silently ruminate and overtly grumble about their hardships and disappointments. This anger becomes a powerful conduit for more of the same to flow back to them—not just as an echo of their own anger, but a heavy blast of hostility from their enemies.

Curiosity is another major way we connect to the mental and emotional energies of others. It is common to wonder why our adversaries are so mean and despise us. Unfortunately, our efforts to “understand” them only serves to connect us to their dark moods and intentions. Being curious about why certain people seem to enjoy behaving badly will link us to their selfish energies. If we are too inquisitive about why neurotics seem to thrive in spite of their dysfunction and disorder, we are likely to connect to their chaotic and crazy-making qualities. Excessive curiosity about people and situations increases the risk of attuning ourself to more anger, fear, and sadness.

Because fear is a dominant mood and outlook in many people, it is a major misery antenna that keeps us connected to dark memories, threatening circumstances, and the unpleasant people who inhabit them. Fear can be directed toward people or situations that menace our security or comfort. Or we can fear that others will regard us as inferior and incompetent. Fear about the responsibility we have rejected and accountability for our failures terrifies many. Some of the worst cases of fear stem from religious terrorists who are eager to condemn those who do not believe as they believe. Many cases of simple anxiety begin with some specific object of concern or a memory of bad events, but then our imagination turns our thoughts into the worst case scenarios we can invent. These can be truly frightening. Our uncontrolled imagination—especially when we become fascinated with possible catastrophes—can connect us to unlimited amounts of fear in mass consciousness. This is how some people end up going off their emotional cliffs into the “dark abyss.”

At times, jealousy becomes the primary psychic antenna. This occurs in people who covet the celebrity, wealth, charm, and talent of others. Instead of appreciating their own assets—physical, creative, and mental—they crave what they do not have, thereby increasing their frustration. They never grasp the fact that their jealousy is vicious and selfish—not a form of pure admiration. The result is an emotional possessiveness and desire to live vicariously through the lives of others—sometimes combined with a resentment of those who possess what they do not have. This attitude weakens the effort that should go toward appreciating and cultivating our gifts and potentials. However, the real danger of this fascination with the lives and careers of others is to connect us to mental and emotional energies that are not our own—and to the realm where parasitism prevails. As a result, we end up thoroughly frustrated.

Not all harmful psychic antennae are constructed out of dark attitudes or beliefs. We can be over- whelmed and distressed by the wrong use of sympathy. This is a very human emotion, and it would seem to be a positive and healing attitude to take. What actually happens, however, is that the sympathy we direct to distressed people or situations connects us directly to their pain and suffering! As we “feel their pain” we may experience something far more than a figure of speech. We may be joining them in their misery rather than providing any real assistance.

It may be tempting to reject these explanations and warnings. Some people assume that the kind and humanitarian thing to do is to always be concerned about the less fortunate and suffering. In principle this is correct. Charity in thought, speech, and deed is always important. However, it is possible to show our concern in unhealthy as well as healthy ways. If our sympathy entraps us and causes us to be drained and drawn into a state of irritation and fatigue, we are doing something wrong. If we are able to preserve our confidence and strength while being genuinely helpful to others, then we are doing something right. The tipping point between healthy and unhealthy concern is determined by whether we are identified with our health, confidence, and strength—or their weakness, suffering, and problems. When we have an all-consuming sympathy with the difficulties and misery of others we are in essence jumping into a toxic pool of dark energies. The result will be at least two people flopping around in mental and emotional sewage. However, if we remain detached and identified with our strengths and health and our role as a helping person, we can share what we have with those who need a helping hand and not fall into a pit of misery.

A warning here: there are many kind and gentle people who truly believe they are doing everything in a compassionate and detached manner. Yet they are continually being seduced to join the despair, anxiety, and exhaustion of those they want to help. We usually cannot help others unless we are stronger, healthier, or wiser than they—at least in the ways we express helpfulness. We certainly cannot help others if we are exhausted, worn out, or burnt out. We need to be honest and exercise common sense and reasonable restraint.

The misery antenna is most destructive in people who carry large amounts of paranoia and pessimism in their personality. These people set their “psychic radar” to continually search for real and potential threats and disasters. Although they usually view these preoccupations to be normal, sometimes even noble, they are actually obsessed with looking everywhere for fault, weakness, failure, and whatever is sordid or corrupt. They revel in the dark side of human nature and are determined to find it— even when it does not exist. They usually find some- thing—although it may only be a reflection of their own darkness. Their morbid interest automatically connects them to a dark zone in mass consciousness—or as the Bible refers to it, the “outer darkness.” This is an area filled with the accumulated malice, fears, despair, and corruption generated by millennia of nasty people doing nasty things. There is nothing there that will improve, heal, or enrich any worthwhile part of our character. It is a place to avoid at all times. We already have enough problems and challenges. We need no additional ones.

While we all need to interact with our surroundings and the people within them, we need to exercise discretion in how we direct this interest. By allowing our fears, guilt, or resentments to dominate our attention, we place ourself in danger of connecting to more misery and adding to our frustration. It is far better to wonder how good people do things so well and so easily. Why are some people so constantly cheerful and upbeat? Why don’t we make similar choices? There is no law that forces us to concentrate on the corrupt, sick, and dysfunctional aspects of life. If we are wise, we will be mindful of how we focus and direct our attention. This allows us to control the operation of our mental and emotional antennae. If we focus on the dark and toxic elements of life, we will connect to the cesspool of mental and emotional energies we find there. If we have more benevolent interests, we will connect to a better quality of energies that can enrich us. The choice is ours.

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