Important preliminary point: People’s minds do not operate on their own, but in network. Our intellectual life takes place in a network that involves multiple intelligences (human being in physical and non-physical forms) in vibrational resonance. We are constantly surrounded and interacting with other intelligences that harmonize with us at some level. They are drawn to us due to common interests, desires, experiences, ties from the past, etc. The invisible world exerts significant influence upon us, good and bad. So common is this influence that we can say we are all mediums, just in different degrees of awareness and intensity of the phenomena. Our virtues, good intentions and efforts in a moral path connect us with intelligences aligned with such energies. Our vices, evil inclinations, flaws of character and rebellious behavior connect us with intelligences that align with such vibrations and allow them to influence us. Therefore, the most important aspect of our spiritual practice is in the moral realm (and any spiritual practice devoid of a moralizing factor can be considered dead and flawed). This is why Jesus advised us to “love our neighbor as we love ourselves”. The depth of such statement can’t be summarized in a few words, but we’d like to highlight the following aspects: 1. Know yourself. 2. Strive to love yourself to your highest potential. 3. Because you love yourself, strive to rid yourself from all flaws of character you identify within yourself. 4. Love all other God’s creations to the limit of your ability.
“459. Do spirits influence our thoughts and actions? ‘They often direct both; their influence is greater than you suppose, for very frequently it is they who guide you.’ ” 
If the elements covered above are clear to you, we can now proceed to exploring our relationship with non-physical intelligences to a higher degree. Where do they come from? How can they help or harm? How their influence fit in the perspective of inner reform, awakening to a spiritual life and contribution to the development of Earth?
Life exposes us to multiple forms of relationships. Relationships are critical to our development as each person with whom we interact work as a mirror of ourselves. In this sense, healthy relationships reflect our internal harmony and unhealthy relationships reflect our internal conflicts and dissatisfactions. While we are influenced by all relationships to some degree, some of them receive more of our own energy, dedication, time, etc. Our level of involvement, intimacy, vested interest and exposure naturally provide them a characteristic and proportional psychic intensity (strength, lasting effect, probability and nature of multiple psychic influences). In other words, where we spend most of our energy and time is also where we are probably most exposed to psychic influences and where those influences maintain the stronger and more lasting connection with us (psychic intensity). The nature of such influences will depend on our moral inclinations and the direction we give to our though and will – good or bad.
For instance, consider our life in society. We are influenced by our culture, customs, language, etc. In the society where we express ourselves, we have a good idea of what is accepted, rejected, supported or disdained in multiple situations. In many situations, however, we might feel like we don’t really need to care about people’s opinions regarding what we do or think. This is a clear indication that the societal domain typically has a low psychic intensity. Unless we gather their contact information, we might not re-encounter someone we talked to at a park or in a leisurely day at the beach. This is the same from an invisible perspective, so that most likely the intelligences (incarnated or discarnate) we interact with today in the societal relationship domain won’t be seen again tomorrow or ever. Relationships in the societal domain can be described as casual.
“Question 767. Is absolute isolation contrary to the law of nature? ‘Yes, since man instinctively seeks society, and since all men are intended to help forward the work of progress by aiding one another.’
Question 770. What is to be thought of those who live in absolute seclusion in order to escape the pernicious contact of the world? ‘The life of such persons is doubly selfish. In avoiding one evil, they fall into another, since they forget the law of love and charity.’” 
Now, consider our professional environment. This is already a much different relationship domain, with stronger psychic strength. In the professional domain, we are typically expected to attend specific physical locations where work takes place and interact regularly with the individuals whom are there. Because of the higher frequency of interaction, time of exposure, vested interest and energy spent in this environment, the relationships we maintain in this domain have a much stronger influence and impact over our psyche. We are more careful on our approach in this domain. Things we just wouldn’t care about in a societal relationship domain, when affecting the professional relationship domain might matter a lot more! For instance, some people might not care about screaming at someone in a traffic jam or being disrespectful somehow – but if we then learn that the person we interacted with is a co-worker, then things get a little different, isn’t it? Some people here in Oregon, for instance, enjoy attending to nudist sites. But how does it sound bumping into a co-worker there? Yeah, chances are it is not that cool! So, if we are clear about those two domains, let’s insert a new one into this picture. Let’s call it friendship circles. In this domain, relationships start getting more personal. We might not spend the same time we do at work with friends, but friends are people we get to know more intimately and that know us more deeply too. We typically have something in common with our true friends. In other words, we are in energetic or vibratory resonance with them – and naturally might harmonize with their invisible influences too. We are more opened to being ourselves around friends. In a professional setting, people are typically careful about the ideas and opinions shared. Among frinds, this is remarkably different. The emotional connection in this relationship domain is stronger, promoting an environment of safety and trust.
Continuing the logic developed thus far, we can now explore the relationship domain here described as the extended family. This domain is composed of those individuals connected by ties of family but that do not participate on the same household. We can change country, state, city, address. We can change jobs and friends, but family will always be family. It is true that the psychic intensity maintain with certain family members might not be as strong as perhaps some of a professional nature, but if a regular relationship is maintained, then there is a lasting factor of the family bonds that shouldn’t be neglected. In any case, the central point we are developing in this text is that different relationships have different psychic intensities. The relationship domains explored here are not supposed to be applicable in all case, but just theoretical frames of references that allow us to understand the logic of spiritual influences. The final relationship domains we’d like to note are the conjugal life and our relationship with ourselves. None of the former relationship domains noted here have the intensity, the lasting factor, the depth of intimacy and the demand of love and moral virtues observed in the conjugal life (assuming this relationship is taken seriously by the partners, of course). But if love partners have a deep bond established among them, no relationship can be as profound as that we have with ourselves. This is why most psychic influences happens within and affect our household environment and our relationship with ourselves – therefore the importance of knowing ourselves cannot be underestimated.
We hope that at this point it is abundantly clear that the multiple relationship domains we maintain have different levels of psychic intensity according to their own nature. This means, we are more likely to suffer spiritual obsessions (or spiritual attacks) coming from our family circles than from that leisurely day at the beach. This also means we will have more conflicts coming from our family circles that from that leisurely day at the beach… We should also not ignore such conflicts and simply focus on peacefully enjoying that leisurely day at the beach. Doing so would be a waste of time and an escape from the urgent need for inner reform. Remember, relationships are mirrors of ourselves and conflicts that are painful to us typically indicate something we have to revise within ourselves. But, just in case, let’s be a little clearer on this point. We are not instigating you to pick fights and engage in conflict. We are simply suggesting that our spiritual development only takes place when we successfully manage the conflicts within them – with love and maturity. A spiritually developed person is only that who can bring peace where there was anger and warmongering; hope where there was only despair and delusion, and light where a blinding darkness prevailed.
In a previous post from our site (“What is the measure of your spiritual wisdom?”), it was mentioned that the measure of our spiritual development is related to the quality and impact of our influence in the environments with which we engage. This influence takes place in all of those relationship domains. So what is your ability to make peace by inspiring others? What is your qualification to manage discordance with empathy, love and honesty? How much light do you bring to the multiple relationship domains you maintain? Are you inspired by a network of intelligences working for the common good of the cosmos or those that simply inspire you to do whatever is best for your own self-interest? Are you defending privileges or promoting a world of freedom and equal access to opportunities?
In order to develop adequate psychic self-defense, it is critical that we understand our personal goals in each of those domains. Where are we doing well, where are we failing. What do we want to achieve in each of them, and why. What to watch for and how/when to contribute. Start with your relationship with yourself and work your thoughts up to your relationship with your spouse, family, workplace and society. Remember that a consequence of operating in a network means that if we don’t know what we want, defend and care about – then other intelligences will fill the void. Therefore, it all starts by knowing who we are and what we stand for. If we don’t have a working compass for our relationship with ourselves, then most likely our other relationship domains won’t be functional either.
If we trust the spiritual realm has plans to bring peace and order to our world, than know that we are right, but they depend on human hands – which actually live in this world to do the job. They do this by inspiring those of us who want to learn to face conflict and transform ourselves. They understand that external changes can only be a natural consequence of internal reforms (see our post “Inner light to a brighter future”). We are their mediums, all of us who seek to change and make change. But, more than ask for change, we must be the change we want to see. Be the change, not forgetting that it starts with us, our relationships with those who are most dear to us, and so on… before impacting the whole of society. So, again, what positive impact are you making to yourself? How about your spouse or significant other? Family? Friends? Are you contributing to their development? Are you learning with your conflicts in those relationship realms? Are you inclined to peace, love, freedom, trust and good on them? Or you seek to dominate, dictate what’s right and wrong, acceptable or not, expected or not. Are you coherent with what you defend? Are your actions coherent with your speech and is your speech coherent with your mind? Are your head and hands occupied? Do you ONLY and ALWAYS employ words for good? How malicious and futile is your mouth? Do you fear silence and need to find ways to distract your mind (with alcohol, narcotic drugs, loud music, work stuff, sports, etc.)? Do you demand from others more than from yourself? Do you suppose the annoyances from others only indicate changes they need to make? Do you take others as ungrateful or evil? Are you easily influenced by money, power, fame or the need for appreciation and recognition? One more: do you know who you are and what you stand for? The following section has been extracted from The Gospel According to Spiritism, from Allan Kardec for being a remarkable good reference for moral development and psychic self-defense. Peace, love and much work to all!
Moral Persons 
Truly moral persons are those who practice the law of justice, love and charity in its greatest purity. If they question their conscience about their actions, they ask themselves if they have violated this law; if they have done any evil; if they have done all the good they could; if they have willingly disregarded any opportunity to be useful; if anyone might have a complaint about them; and, finally, if they have done unto others everything they would like to have done unto themselves.
They have faith in God, and in God’s goodness, justice and wisdom. They know that nothing happens without God’s permission, so they submit to the Divine Will in everything.
They have faith in the future; thus, they place spiritual possessions above temporal ones.
They know that all the vicissitudes of life, all its sorrows and all its disappointments are trials or expiations, and they accept them without complaining.
Persons imbued with the sentiment of charity and love for their neighbor do the good for its own sake without expecting anything in return, and they repay evil with good, defend the weak against the strong and always sacrifice their own interests to the interests of justice.
They find their satisfaction in the benefits they spread around, the service they render, the happiness they promote, the tears they dry and the consolation they provide to the afflicted. Their first impulse is to think of others before thinking of themselves and to attend to the interests of others before their own. The selfish, on the other hand, calculate the profits and losses entailed in every generous act.
Moral persons are kind, humane and benevolent toward all regardless of race or creed, because they regard all people as their brothers and sisters.
They respect all sincere convictions that others might hold to and they do not anathematize those who do not think like they do.
In all circumstances charity is their guide; they tell themselves that those who harm others with malevolent words, who hurt others’ feelings with their pride and disdain, who do not recoil from the idea of causing suffering or difficulty, however slight, when it could be avoided, fail in their duty of love for their neighbor and do not deserve the Lord’s clemency.
They hold no hatred or rancor, or desire for vengeance. Following Jesus’ example, they forgive and forget offenses, and remember only good deeds, because they know that they will be forgiven according to how they themselves have forgiven.
They are indulgent toward others’ weaknesses, for they know that they themselves need indulgence, and they recall these words of Christ, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.”
They never take pleasure in searching for defects in others or in calling attention to them. If necessity forces them to do so, they always look for the good that might mitigate the evil.
They study their own imperfections and strive incessantly to combat them. All their efforts are focused on being able to say to themselves tomorrow that they are better than they were yesterday.
They do not seek to exalt their spirit or talents at the expense of others; instead, they seize every opportunity to point out what is praiseworthy in other people.
They do not gloat over their wealth or their personal advantages, for they know that everything that has been given to them can be taken away.
They use but do not abuse the possessions that have been accorded to them, for they know that they are a trust for which they will have to render an accounting, and that the worst use of them in regard to themselves would be to use them to satisfy their passions.
If the social order has placed others under their tutelage, they treat them with kindness and benevolence, because they are their equals before God. They use their authority to lift their morale and not to squash them with their pride. They avoid anything that could render their subordinates’ position more painful.
Those who are subordinate, on the other hand, understand the duties of their position and are scrupulous in consciously fulfilling them.
Finally, moral persons respect in their fellow beings all the rights arising from the laws of nature, in the same way they wish their own to be respected.
This is not a list of all the qualities that define moral persons, but whoever makes an effort to possess them is on the road that leads to all the others.
: Kardec, Allan. The Spirits’ Book.
: Kardec, Allan. The Gospel According to Spiritism.