The song now playing "House of the Rising Sun" by The Animals.

Negative and Positive Energy

Let me begin by saying that there is no positive or negative energy. All energy is neutral until WE personalize it. It is this personalization process that gives it a negative or positive image. As an example, let's look at a common character trait. Determination is a character trait that, if carried to one extreme can make someone so stubborn that they will never risk change. On the other hand, it can make one so determined to succeed that they will risk everything just to say they did it. The original energy has not positive or negative connotation-- it gets that based solely on how we each use it. With that in mind, when I speak of positive and negative energy, it is based on the connotation that has become associated with it in today's society.

There probably won't be anyone who argues that there is positive and negative energy in this world. What some might argue though is to what extent that positivity and negativity extends in our world. There are definitely positive and negative emotions...or at least emotions that cause us to feel good (positive) or bad (negative). The medical field is now beginning to acknowledge that the attitude of the patient has a very large impact on how fast that patient heals or even on whether he/she survives a certain procedure. A patient with a positive outlook for the future has a better chance of being cured. As another example, how many of us know someone who, when entering a room, seems to "light up" the room? Or vice versa, someone who has the ability to throw a damper on a festive atmosphere, just by their appearance in the room? These are all examples of how positive and negative energy extends far past our use of it in such practical matters as powering our cars, lighting our homes and cooking our food.

How many times have we been riding down the road and been cut off by someone in front of us? Our first reaction is to lay on the horn, give the guy/lady the finger or scream obscenities at them. This is the result of our anger and if we follow through on our intentions, our actions will be motivated by negative energy. But what if they've just been called and told their wife/husband or child has been seriously injured? What if they've been informed that a parent just died? Or that their home was burning to the ground? We don't know the reasons this person is being a rude driver and our angry reaction serves no purpose other than to vent our frustration at being inconvenienced or even endangered. Instead of venting, why not try to turn the negative into something positive. Don't shout at the other driver, pray for them. Pray that whatever has caused them to be so careless doesn't harm them or someone else. Pray that they arrive safely and that their loved ones are safe. It's not easy to do when your adrenaline is pumping from trying to avoid an accident, but it is more productive than simply venting. Instead of adding to the pool of negative energy, your prayers will add to the pool of positive energy.

Perhaps one of the most striking examples of how much influence negative energy has can be seen when a "mob mentality" arises. Remember the young black woman in Michigan (I think it was) who threw herself on top of a white man who was wearing a T-shirt with the Confederate flag on it? A white supremacist group had called a rally and this man was watching, not a participant. But because of the design on his shirt, others assumed he supported the hate-filled rantings of the supremacy group. The young lady had intended on asking this gentleman, in a very angry voice, what she had ever done to him to make him hate her as a black woman. Then something changed all that. The "mob mentality" took over and the hate being spouted manifested as the crowd attacking this man in the T-shirt. The young woman realized that unless someone did something, this man was going to be seriously hurt. So she threw herself on top of him, undoubtedly saving him from further serious injury.

The people beating him were probably just ordinary people, angry at the hate being spewed by the white supremacy group. But that anger was fed by the negative energy of the hate itself until the anger of just one person reached the point of non-containment. An angry word turned to a shove, perhaps, and the "dike was breached" so to speak. All the negative energy that had amassed in the area exploded and ordinary people who are not normally violent by nature were swept away in the anger and hatred and turned to attacking what was the most likely person around...a white male wearing a Confederate flag on his shirt. I'm sure that many of those people went home that night, dismayed at what had happened...perhaps shocked that they were capable of such blatantly violent actions.

The thing about negative energy is that it is oftentimes thought of as something good. To hate racism and intolerance and domestic violence and bigotry is often seen as something we should all do. But hating is a negative energy-- a very intense, deep-seated negative energy. The word "hate" is used as lightly as the word love nowadays and has lost most of it's "punch", so to speak. We say we hate things far too often. We hate getting behind a slow car on the highway. We hate waiting in line to check out at the grocery store. We hate...we hate...we hate.... And far too often, hating the act and not the one committing the act are not distinguished. The people attacking the man in the situation above did not hate the man himself...they didn't know him at all-- certainly not well enough to know they hated him. They didn't even hate what he stood for. They hated what they thought he stood for-- based solely on the image he wore on his T-shirt. Such is the power of hate, even when it is attempted to be used for "noble" purposes. Eventually, those purposes are corrupted and the results are more damage caused by the negative energy of hate.

I can hear the comments already. "So I'm supposed to love the fact that some people are bigoted?" Or "Being silent about domestic violence only allows it to continue." Or "Not saying anything is akin to condoning such behavior." Or "You can't make something go away by burying your head in the sand and pretending bigotry and prejudice don't exist." I do not suggest that any of the above be your course of action. So what am I saying?

You don't have to love the fact that some people are bigoted to NOT hate it. You must accept that this is true at this point in time, the take appropriate action to stop this in the future. Teach your children to respect everyone regardless of all the man-made barriers we have put up to separate ourselves from our fellow human beings. The next time a co-worker or friend tells an off-humor joke, don't laugh just to be part of the crowd. And don't even say "I don't like those kind of jokes", because that is adding to the negative energy. Explain that those kinds of jokes offend you and ask that they please not be told. Yes, you're gonna be going against the current and that is not an easy thing-- I've tried and often failed to speak up in that same scenario. But there have been times I have spoken up. Such jokes are always inappropriate and I've been known to say so.

Certainly, do NOT remain silent when you witness someone abusing another human being. But remember that abuse can come in many forms. Making constant jokes about the mental capabilities of an acquaintance is also abuse. Because whether or not that person is in the room, that negative energy has been generated by the words that were spoken. There are times we must step in to protect those who cannot protect themselves, but this does not require that we hate to do so. Mental health organizations and practitioners almost unanimously agree that the vast majority of those who pick on others, who abuse and bully others, tease and harass others are those who have either been the victims of such treatment or who have such a low opinion of themselves, such a lot self-esteem, that the only way to feel better about themselves is to put others down. These kinds of people do not need our hatred, but our sympathy. Our prayers. Our Love.

Not saying anything does not have to imply condoning of an activity. It most certainly could appear that way if no action is taken. In the above scenario at the white supremacist rally, those who witnessed the beating and did nothing to stop it, they most certainly have the appearance of condoning such behavior. The young woman, still believing that the man she was saving held white supremacist beliefs, didn't scream that she hated that these people were beating up another human being. She simply placed herself between the mob and the man, sheltering him. She did not add to the negative energy. Because in the end, there is NO distinction between whose who espouse white supremacy and those who hate white supremacists. In both cases, there is a hatred of another person based on what they believe is the truth. I personally no difference between Hitler's treatment of the Jews and the modern Israeli government's treatment of the Palestinians. Ok, so the scale isn't the same--the number of people affected is lower. But the root principle is the same: both governments justified the seizure of property, forced relocation of residents who had lived there for countless generations, the closing of businesses, the refusal to allow gainful employment and even the killing of "the enemy" because of what they believe was a "God-given" right. Hitler believed the white race had the God-given role of ruler of the earth. The Israeli government feels that they have a God-given right to possess the territory now know as Israel. So where is the difference?? Hatred is hatred; it's end result is negative energy, regardless of how good the intention.

With all the hate crimes being perpetuated in today's society, it is virtually impossible to deny thatbigotry and prejudice don't exist. Those that do certainly have their heads buried in the sand. We probably all acknowledge that bigotry exists, but do we really acknowledge how deep-rooted it is? Do members of the white race (of which I am one) acknowledge that they have benefits based solely on the color of their skin? That they are immune to certain forms of harrassment simply because of the color of their skin? That their chances of finding a job are greater because of the color of their skin? Those who deny these realitys are actually up to their ears in the granular stuff. So rather than advocating burying your head in the sand, I'm really suggesting that you take it out completely.

It is time we all come to realize that despite our differing beliefs, our different cultural norms, our differnt lifestyles, our differnt socioeconomic situations, we are all part of the same universe. Like a pebble thrown into a still pond, the ripples of negative energy eventually affect every corner of that pond, not matter how imperceptably. We need to do our part not to deny the existence of pebbles, but to make sure that as few as possible are thrown into the pond. None of us has all the answers, but we are all walking the path that seems right for us at this point in time. We must all be allowed that right AS LONG AS EXERCISING THAT RIGHT DOES NOT INTERFERE WITH ANOTHERS RIGHT TO DO THE SAME. We should be able to exercise that right with no fear of condemnation from others because their views differ from ours. We need to recognize that the words spoken by Jesus, the Christ, still hold true today: "Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me." Harming any one part of the universe harms all the parts. The good news there is that the opposite is also true. When one part is healed, all parts are better off for it. In the end, it comes down to our choice: are we going to use positive or negative energy to resolve a given situation? We always have a choice but very rarely make use of that choice, falling back on old learned habits. While this is the easiest thing to do, it often tends to add negativity rather than positivity to the energy pool. If we're not careful, we may eventually drown ourselves in that pool.

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