Beyond Positive Thinking

The issue is not positive thinking, whether you spiritualize it or not. The issue is “positivity being,” and that is grounded in the issue of positive emotion. We have spent years working on cognition as the way to deal with emotions.

Mastery and agility with positive emotional states and taking feelings beyond just indicators of how we happen to be are much more significant. Growing a positive “mind” is the issue, and the “mind” has at least as much to do with affect as it does with “knowing” or “thinking.”

What we feel and experience emotionally conditions how we know ourselves to be– more than anything else in our experience. To discover that we have more control and can have greater mastery over basic emotions is really just something we haven't considered. Love, peace, gratitude, joy, and hope reside at the very core of us all. We have tried to think and meditate our way there.  Now it's time to work with emotions as a larger part of what guides us there.

Positive thinking is not where it's at, but positive emotional agility and mastery and 'positivity being' will lead to the inner states of joy, peace, gratitude, love, and hope that everyone wants to experience but has great difficulty getting “in” and staying there.

Learning to feel positive emotion sounds like such a simplistic thing, but it's not. So I invite people to my Emotional Gym where the goal is to grow positive emotional muscle that is much closer to our intuitive spiritual state than simply positive thinking.

Too many times, in the cults of positive thinking, including many current spiritual gurus, cognition is used to deny feelings and ends up creating the intellectualization and compartmentalization that actually limits the growth of spiritual consciousness.

Mystics and contemplatives have spent thousands of hours meditating in isolation to get here.  Is that what it takes?  That’s what it takes for them.

Since you won’t likely be finding the time to retreat to the contemplative life, here’s how we live out the reality of what these men and women of prayer already know and live out.

At core of you, at the very core, are love, peace, gratitude, joy and hope.  They’re all there.

The journey consists of your ability to get to them and to live them out in your experience.

The closer you are to these feeling states, the closer you are to who you really are.

The farther away you are from these states, the farther away you are from who you really are.

It’s just that simple.  Living in them.

And you can live in them as surely as a cloistered monk.

Instead of shutting down your mind, you are going to use it to do the same thing.

Instead of waiting for them to arise from within,  these states of love, peace, gratitude, joy and hope, just go there.

Make the conscious decision to feel them, with focus and intent.

You are traveling from the outside inward. 

Getting to feel them with immediacy is very important, and it's also very good for the health of your brain.

Feel a little of these states until you can get to them instantly.

Instantly to love,
Instantly to peace,
Instantly to joy,
Instantly to gratitude
Instantly to hope.

Then stay there and then intensify them.  All by practice and choice.

At the heart of you are love, peace, gratitude, joy and hope.
Go there from the outside, in.

The outside will eventually hook up with the inside.
When it does, you are home.

Home free, I guarantee you.


About the author

Dr. William K. Larkin

Copyright © 2015 The Applied Neuroscience Institute