In our vibrational universe concept, emotions, like
thoughts, are vibrations, and can be placed on a graduated
scale from lowest to highest. Any counselor will find it
beneficial to know where her client is on the scale, and to
know the client’s likely reaction if he were to rise or fall
from that position. Knowledge of the scale is similarly
helpful in everyday life.
Behind emotions are the thoughts that keep them activated.
For example, if you think enough disparaging thoughts about
Joe, you can get yourself feeling very upset about him.
Thoughts affect the body’s cellular structure, and also give
direction to the life force energy that composes the Human
Energy Field. Resistant thought can block or distort the
flow of your own life force, leading to emotional swings up
or down the scale.
The other day I was upset with my computer. My email program
keeps eating my inbox and I lose all my messages. After the
third time, in which I lost some valuable data, I was about
ready to chuck my computer out the window! There were two
very important business matters that needed my immediate
attention. I needed a solution right away but I was too
upset to think rationally. What to do?
attempted to improve my emotional state by simply imagining
that the problem was solved. I didn't know HOW it was going
to be solved, but I focused on the feeling of "OK, that's
great. That handled it." That led me to thinking about the
upcoming holiday season, which always makes me feel good.
After about 3 more minutes, I suddenly remembered I had an
old email program lying around on my D drive. So I fired
that up and viola! problem solved.
solution appeared only after a series of seemingly
un–coordinated and logically unconnected actions. From this
I realized that when I am angry or upset I’m not going to
come up with good solutions. My first solution, throw the
computer out the window, wasn’t so good. My second solution,
to send an angry email to the company who wrote the software
(name withheld), wasn’t much better. A rational solution
only appeared after taking my attention off the problem and
putting it on something else, even though that something
else was totally irrelevant to the context of the
experience. We've talked about this before, in the essays on
Problems, but here is a new little twist.
When you're experiencing negative emotion, you are less
intelligent. When you feel good, you are more intelligent.
You can prove that to yourself by becoming more mindful, and
by observing others.
This brings up an important point: the intellect
atrophies, or is unavailable entirely, when you feel crummy.
Therefore, trying to think your way out of a situation
that involves negative emotion is very difficult to do.
Readers who have a very disciplined intellect may be able to
do so, but I am not one of them, and I expect a lot of
people are the same as me.
In order to figure out how to handle a problem one must
obviously have the intellect available. But the intellect is
not available when you feel rotten. The solution is, then,
one which at first cannot involve the intellect, and which
must rely on emotions. I have found that it is very helpful
to understand the order in which a human being will
experience emotions, from negative to positive. It helps to
practice each of these emotions from lowest to highest and
get a feel for how they progress one into the other. Anyway,
here's the scale:
Complete turning over of your free will to another
"I'll do anything to make it up to you!"
“Oh, I’m so sorry!”
He's smiling in your face and stabbing you in the
back. Says one thing and does another.
"Tough for you. Just do it."
Our of control, lashing out at the world.
Antagonism is the border between negative and
"Hey! Come over here and let me kick your butt!"
"Hey that's cool!"
"Wow! Let's do that again!"
"I feel fantastic!!!!!"
Adapted from "Beyond Psychology: An Introduction to
Metapsychology" by Frank A. Gerbode. M.D.
This scale is a measure of increasing (or decreasing) life
Getting back to our example, if I'm mad at the computer, a
viable solution is to feel good about the upcoming holiday
season. Huh? What does Christmas have to do with computers?
Nothing. To the intellect, it's a non-sequitor. But an
emotion is a very powerful amplifier of vibration. If you
are feeling a certain way you always seem to get experiences
which match that feeling, even though the content of those
experiences may have absolutely nothing to do with each
other. It is the underlying emotion which ties the
experiences together. In other words, a negative emotion
will tie together experiences when something rotten
happened. A positive emotion will remind you of positive
experiences. When you feel good, you’re smarter than when
you feel bad, so the idea is to raise your tone and then
you’ll be able to think up something brilliant to solve your
All you have to do is get yourself out of the negative
range. You don't have to feel perfect joy to get your
intellect working well enough to start effectively handling
the problem. For me, the solution popped into my mind like
How to Use the Emotional/Vibrational Tone Scale
As an example let’s take Barb and Jill, who had planned to
go out for lunch. Barb is apathetic about her life, and
calls Jill up to cancel their appointment. She’s moping
around at home and Jill says “I’ll be right over.” Let’s say
that Jill has a good knowledge of the emotional/vibrational
Joe and Moe are in the same situation. Joe calls Moe and
tells him he can’t play golf that afternoon, and Moe, who
hasn’t got a clue about the scale of emotions, comes over to
get his friend out of his funk.
Barb and Jill
“What’s wrong Barb?” says Jill.
“Oh, I just don’t care anymore,” Barb says apathetically.
Jill is just about to fire off an angry comment about
Thorpe, her former boyfriend (that big jerk) but she
realizes that a very large vibrational gap exists between
apathy and anger. Apathy is very low on the scale of
emotions and Jill doesn’t want to overwhelm her friend, so
she says gently, “It’s Thorpe isn’t it?”
Suddenly Barb bursts into tears, an activity that used to
really piss Thorpe off. “Damn women,” he’d think, “what the
hell is wrong with her now?” But Jill knows that grief is
the next harmonic of vibration on the scale of emotions, so
to her Barb’s reaction is perfectly logical. Barb is wailing
on about Thorpe and how lonely and rejected she feels. Jill
is a good counselor, and even though she thinks to herself,
“You’re a whole lot better off without that loser honey,”
she says nothing and lets Barb vent a little. She knows that
although being around grief is uncomfortable, matching
Barb’s vibration would result in failure, for two vibrations
of grief would just reinforce the other, sticking both women
right in it. Jill knows that only by maintaining a high
vibration can she be of any use to Barb at all.
After several minutes Barb is cried out and looks up at her
friend. Jill recognizes that Barb is poised at an emotional
brink; and that a word or gesture from her can send her
friend up the scale or back downward. She also knows that
people can hit an emotion and pass by it very quickly on the
way up or down, so she’s not sure exactly where Barb is
going next, but she knows it’s going to be some version of
negative emotion, and is prepared for it.
Jill says, “You had some good times together, didn’t you?”
hoping to bring Barb up a little. She doesn’t say, “Still
feeling sad about Thorpe?” because that might stick Barb
back in grief.
Barb says, sympathetically, and a little defensively, “Yeah
we did! I remember the time we went to the putt-putt golf
course and he put his arms around me…”
Jill let’s Barb go on a bit, because she recognizes the
emotion of sympathy, which is a little bit up from grief.
After a time Jill suggests, “Maybe you’ll meet somebody
look of anxiety comes over Barb’s face and she says, “Do you
really think I can? All the guys I’m attracted to treat me
“Yes I think you can. You’re such a great person.”
Barb says fearfully, “I don’t think so. Thorpe didn’t think
so anyway. Maybe I’m doomed to be lonely forever.”
Jill puts a little anger in her voice and says, “Remember
how he cussed you out at the amusement park when you didn’t
want to go on the rollercoaster?” That was a little reach by
Jill, because anger is the next major harmonic on the scale,
but it could backfire and put Barb right back into grief.
Even if it does, Jill knows it’s not a problem, for it just
means Barb needs to cry a little more and fully release it.
Barb’s face is a study in emotion as she goes up to anger,
down to grief and up to fear again. But Jill’s statement hit
home, because Jill knows something about Barb’s life and how
her friend thinks.
Barb remembers many more incidents almost as bad, and her
face hardens. “That bastard,” she says.
Jill is secretly thrilled, for her regard for Thorpe is like
a gooey mess on the kitchen floor: dispose of it
immediately! But Jill keeps her opinions to herself and
recognizes Barb has reached no-sympathy, and that if she’s
successful, the dam will burst. Jill hates anger but she
steels herself for it anyway, knowing it’s the next
harmonic. After probing around a bit on that subject, Barb
starts screaming and cussing. “Did I ever tell you what he
said to me after I made dinner for him???@!@!!” etc. This
goes on for a while as Barb recounts all the times Thorpe
was mean to her. Jill is holding it together in the face of
Barb’s anger, even when her friend picks up a glass of water
and hurls it against the wall, for Jill knows that anger is
a big step up from apathy.
After a while Barb calms down and begins to tease herself
about Thorpe. “Maybe I should go over to his house and put a
dent in his truck.” All of a sudden she bursts out laughing,
realizing that Thorpe liked his new truck, and paid a lot
more attention to it, than he ever did to her.
Barb says, “Why did I ever hook up with that guy?”
Jill smiles and says, “I don’t know sweetheart, but I do
know that there are plenty of guys out there a lot better
Barb says, “There better be!”
She’s feeling a lot better now and Jill suggests they go out
and get something to eat. Barb is eager to talk some more to
her friend and agrees. Jill hopes to get her up to at least
interest on the subject of the opposite sex.
Now the conversation with Joe and Moe would probably be a
lot shorter. Moe walks in and sees his friend apathetic, and
knows it’s all about his job. But Moe has heard that story
over and over and he’s tired of it. He’s got a beer in one
hand and his keys in the other and says. “C’mon Joe, let’s
go. We’re gonna be late.”
“Screw it,” Joe says apathetically. “I’m not going.”
Moe says angrily, “Get out of it, you woman! Are you going
to sit around here all day and cry?”
“Screw you Moe!” Joe says.
“C’mon, let’s go,” says Moe, rattling his keys. Since Joe is
a guy, and guys aren’t supposed to cry, (although that’s
exactly what Joe feels like doing) he has to make his
decision quickly. Joe decides, hell, why not play some golf,
it doesn’t matter anyway. So they both go out and Joe plays
terrible. He’s not very interested in the game, thinking
about his crummy job and how desperately he wants to change
his life, but he just doesn’t know how.
“You played like crap Joe,” Moe crows after the round. “Got
you by 13 strokes.”
“Yeah whatever,” Joe says.
“C’mon let’s go to the clubhouse and get a few beers,” Moe
We leave Moe and Joe here. At this point, Joe is still stuck
in apathy, because he hasn’t really changed his thinking or
his focus. For a brief moment Moe made him really angry, but
it didn’t last.
You can also use the Emotional Tone Scale to bootstrap
yourself up the emotional ladder.
If you're in apathy and begin to cry, that's a step UP.
Mostly what happens is that a person begins to cry and says
"Oh what's the use! I still feel rotten" and gives up.
Giving up is the same as apathy. So you're right back where
When you are fearful and make a step forward, you get angry.
Society does not like angry people; the authorities like to
put such in jail. In school angry kids are drugged to make
them conform. This puts them lower on the scale, in apathy
mostly. The fact is, an apathetic person is easier to
control and easier to get along with.
Why is anger more positive than fear or grief? Because an
angry person is more animated. The animating principle is
consciousness. In general, the more animated a person is,
the more conscious he or she is.
(This is not a hard and fast rule. If you read the books of
the great masters (Swami Muktananda, for example) you'll see
that these wise ones were completely conscious yet able to
totally control their life force energy. They demonstrate a
feeling of total power, serenity, and joy all at the same
time. The key to this is complete non-resistance, or
When you are in anger and take a step up, you might feel
antagonistic. An angry person is spewing, he's out of
control. An antagonistic person is more directed, more under
control. He's resisting much less and feeling a little
better. And he's more rational.
Why is boredom higher than antagonism? Because there's less
resistance. Boredom is a higher harmonic of apathy and a
lower harmonic of serenity, antagonism is a higher harmonic
of anger, and a lower harmonic of exhilaration. Emotions are
just vibrations, and they have higher and lower aspects.
Of course, the emotions on this scale will feel more
comfortable to different kinds of people. For example, I
used to know a guy who much preferred antagonism to boredom
or conservatism. Once you get out of the deep negative
emotions it's just a matter of where you feel most
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