Spiritual Sensory Overload

Mark J. Janssen
4 min readAug 3

For a longer time than I can remember I have found it difficult to be in crowds. Even from my earliest days being anyplace where there were crowds was sure to be a gut wrenching experience. Nowadays there are many places I refuse to go. Movies and concerts have been off the boards for at least fifteen years. Maybe longer. I say that I attend early church services on Sundays to avoid the bad singing for which we Catholics are notorious. That, too, but it’s not the primary reason. As much as I would like to attend at a later time when the coffee has kicked in and my brain is more engaged, the crowds drive me away. Watching sports on television as a child caused a knot in the pit of my stomach and make me nervous. All those people in the stands! A few days ago I was offered tickets to an NFL football game. It’s a great idea. In theory. In reality, no way. I told the man no, thank you without further explanation. The few times I attended professional baseball and football games were as unnerving as attending rock concerts. Or even concerts given by symphonies or early music ensembles.

The spiritual sensory overload of being surrounded by so many other people and spirits is simply too much for me. Attending two one act operas one evening and The Dialogue of the Carmelites years later were equally exhausting experiences.

Wouldn’t you think a thirty-five hundred seat house like the Chicago Lyric Opera would be large enough for me not be feel overwhelmed? Or sitting on the lawn for outdoor concerts at places like Ravinia Festival outside Chicago or the Lowell Folk Festival in Massachusetts? Or being in Boston’s Hynes Convention Center with four thousand other people watching the ordination of America’s first female Episcopal bishop?

Not a chance.

Everywhere I look there are so many people and with them there are so many angels, so many spirits and ghosts. I can always distinguish angels from humans. The same is not true with spirits and ghosts. Night time driving is a horror for me. I can’t tell if what I’m seeing is a human or a spirit. It can be terrorizing trying to drive city streets and country roads never certain if those people on the side of the road are physical human beings or the souls of those who have died. I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have driven through spirits, praying they are not still living beings. It’s utterly unnerving.

I have become something of a recluse with the years. I stay in my own home as much as possible. I suppose if I lived in the country where there were fewer living humans my life would be less complicated. It’s so easy to comfortably walk outside and be among the angels and spirits there. Even the ghosts can be dealt with more easily in areas where there are fewer humans. A few remain behind with the mistaken notion that they need to overcomplicate the lives of the living. They can be nudged along. They are often friendlier than city ghosts and much more willing to go through the Tunnel of Light.

I am more comfortable with angels and spirits than humans. That makes sense for someone who found it preferable to be around them than his own cohort even as a child. As a child I was used to being with angels night and day. The wants and desires of other children, even older children, baffled me.

I would rather read and chat with my angel friends.

This sensation of spiritual sensory overload is scarcely unique to me. It’s something I witness is nearly every mystic and psychic medium I know. The average human being loves telling us how mentally and emotionally unfit we are for this world. My question comes down to this: Have you the vaguest clue what a spiritual mess you are? That you think far too loudly? That some of us can see what an unhappy place your soul is? We can hear your thoughts and emotions. They are all over the board. Much of what you think is spiritual and emotional trash.

Yes, we really can hear what you think. No, not even the Einsteins amongst you are brilliant. Many of you aren’t half as clever as you tell yourselves you are. You’re boring, repetitive. We have to keep blocking out the noise coming from your heads to maintain our sanity.

To quote my spiritual twin, I wish they would just turn down the noise.

You may never have realized it, but you are the cause of our sensory overload. Without thinking about it, much of the unhappiness in your life is self-inflicted. We hear your silly thoughts.


Stop the loud thinking.

Stop pretending to yourself and the rest of the world that every thought you have is important. It’s not. Long before the twenty-four hour news cycle existed there was you. Sometimes the best thing you did for the world then and continue to do now is go to sleep. When you go to sleep the noise switches channels. It isn’t so loud. Whether you want it to be or not, much more of what goes through your sleeping head is spiritual than when you’re awake.

You have dreams because you’re being shown what is outside of your daily life. You are seeing another reality. The reality of your sleep is much more in tune with universal reality than what you think about during the times you are awake.

Try something when you’re awake. Don’t think. Turn off all the outside noise. Stare at the ceiling, the wall, your hand. Let the world be.

Then you will be in the Spirit.



Mark J. Janssen

Mark Janssen is a spiritual warrior, mystic and author. His writes a weekly blog. His memoir “Reach for the Stars” is available online and in bookstores.