Emotions 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 clients likely reaction if he were to rise or fall from that position. Knowledge of the scale is similarly helpful in everyday life, especially in relationships!.

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:

The Scale of Emotion / Vibration
Adapted from "Beyond Psychology: An Introduction to Metapsychology" by Frank A. Gerbode. M.D.



Apathy -- Giving Up

Making Amends -- Complete turning over of your will to another


Propitiation -- "I'll do anything to make it up to you!"

Sympathy -- ""There, there, poor dear, it's all right.""


Hidden Hostility -- He's smiling in your face and stabbing you in the back. Two-faced, dishonest, says one thing and then does another.

No Sympathy -- "You made your own bed, now go sleep in it." "Tough Love."

Anger - Out of control; lashing out at the world



Antagonism - "Hey! Come over here and I'll kick your butt!" Antagonism is the border between Negative emotion and positive emotion

Boredom -- Yawn!

Conservatism - "Things are fine just the way they are"

Interest - "I like that. Let me see!"

Enthusiasm - "Wow! Let's do that again!!"

Exhilaration -- " I feel fantastic!!!"

Serenity / bliss - Complete connection with the God self and a feeling of oneness with all life

This scale is a measure of increasing (or decreasing) life force energy, intellectual capability, and happiness.Both ends of the scale are connected, for when a person "dies" he or she returns to bliss as a spirit.

How to Use the Emotional/Vibrational Scale

As an example lets 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. Shes moping around at home and Jill says"Ill be right over." Lets say that Jill has a good knowledge of the emotional/vibrational scale.

Joe and Moe are in the same situation. Joe calls Moe and tells him he cant play golf that afternoon, and Moe, who hasnt got a clue about the scale of emotions, comes over to get his friend out of his funk.
Barb and Jill

"Whats 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 doesnt want to overwhelm her friend, so she says gently,"Its Thorpe isnt it?"

Suddenly Barb bursts into tears, an activity that used to really piss Thorpe off."Damn women," hed 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 Barbs 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,"Youre 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 Barbs 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 shes not sure exactly where Barb is going next, but she knows its going to be some version of negative emotion, and is prepared for it.

Jill says,"You had some good times together, didnt you?" hoping to bring Barb up a little. She doesnt 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 lets 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 youll meet somebody else."

A look of anxiety comes over Barbs face and she says,"Do you really think I can? All the guys Im attracted to treat me like crap."

"Yes I think you can. Youre such a great person."
To see how Barb uses the scale of emotion / vibration to bring her friend all the way back up to the positive range, see the book The Vibrational Universe

Moe and Joe

Now the conversation with Joe and Moe would probably be a lot shorter. Moe walks in and sees his friend apathetic, and knows its all about his job. But Moe has heard that story over and over and hes tired of it. Hes got a beer in one hand and his keys in the other and says."Cmon Joe, lets go. Were gonna be late."

"Screw it," Joe says apathetically."Im 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.

"Cmon, lets go," says Moe, rattling his keys. Since Joe is a guy, and guys arent supposed to cry, (although thats exactly what Joe feels like doing) he has to make his decision quickly. Joe decides, hell, why not play some golf, it doesnt matter anyway. So they both go out and Joe plays terrible. Hes not very interested in the game, thinking about his crummy job and how desperately he wants to change his life, but he just doesnt know how.

"You played like crap Joe," Moe crows after the round."Got you by 13 strokes."

"Yeah whatever," Joe says.

"Cmon lets go to the clubhouse and get a few beers," Moe suggests.


We leave Moe and Joe here. At this point, Joe is still stuck in apathy, because he hasnt really changed his thinking or his focus. For a brief moment Moe made him really angry, but it didnt 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 you started.

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 allowing).

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 comfortable.

Author's Bio: 

Kenneth J. M. MacLean is a writer, book editor, web tech and personal coach. He has written 8 books and produced three Flash movies.
Visit Ken at kjmaclean.com