The Applied Neuroscience Institute

Home of the NeuroPositive Method™
The Neuroscience of the UpSpiral Of Emotion, Health & Optimal Living

Ego Attachments: Yes, For Now!
GHP: Go to the “High Place”
Vibe Core: Your Brain on Flow
The Music of Your Mind
Vibe Core: Wanting and Desiring
No Pain, No Gain? Yah, yah, yah!
Judging:  How The Ego Gives Itself Away
I am Angry, I AM ANGRY
Transition and Consciousness
Strengths:  Flowering or Thwarted?

Ego Attachments: Yes, For Now!

Thanks be for the ego!  How else would we move?  Except until we learn to move by pleasure and what feels good.

You do not know the “ego attachment” that will open the next door to “flow.”

What you are hooked to with your ego, in terms of “got to have it,” is just as important as your deepest motivation to peace and love and wholeness.  Never judge anyone who finds “oneness” by sliding their finger across the screen of their IPOD and “feels” some of the amazement and delight that will keep them wanting “more.”  It is all in the wanting “more;” it is never in the “been there, done that” moment.

Being brought to your knees in poverty will open you to cry from your “core” but so will the luxury of an exquisite meal or a rock climb at Joshua Tree.

The ego and its attachments to our weaknesses are such a significant driver to the positive side by the contrast they create- if that’s the way you need to go. And most folks do.

Or you can just go to your strengths.  Strengths tell you everything; where you’re not being yourself and where you are going to find “flow.”  Go to them when the ego gives that indispensable signal of discontent and boredom.

GHP: Go to the “High Place”

Where is the positive emotion?

Where is the positive thought?

What is the strength that works best?

What do I really want?

We are not trained to go to the “high place.”  This is what will pry you loose from the judgment of the ego, which, in its appearance, is simply telling you to go “GHP.” 

Curiosity and interest in the world is one of the Big 5 strengths of the happiest people in the world.   It is interesting that this strength contains, by its nature, three attributes of Spirit:  Diversity, Abundance, and Novelty (Discovery.)

We are creating a new mythology, and it is not characterized by “living in the now.”   That is just the best present cultural solution we can accept.  It is characterized by finding your autotelic center that generates your personal sense of discovery and satisfaction.  It is the core of “flow.”  There is no dragon to slay on the way to “manhood” or enlightenment.  There is, however, the way to the permission-giving center which allows us to experience pleasure and novelty.

“Flow” is a description of one aspect of this new mythology of the essential journey.

Pay close attention to those places where the ego is raising a fuss.  It’s goal of course is to get you to go to a weakness, to become frustrated and oppressed.  However, it is also a laser pointer to GHP.

Vibe Core: Your Brain on Flow

Your brain in flow is revitalizing and renewing.  It represents a state in which it operates most like its natural state -in a high degree of synchrony.  This flow is meditation in motion; it is contemplation on the move.  Many people who are not good at passive, emptying meditation practices will find that flow is a welcome, much more easily attained state of meditation and a relief from the daily spiritual practices they don’t do and feel guilty about missing. 

What is meditation?  It is becoming “one with”.  It is unifying in such a way that we transcend the usual patterns of thinking about this or that and focus on a single reality so that, not just our thinking, but time itself slows down.  That’s what happens in flow.  It is perfectly possible to meditate and dance, to meditate and run, to meditate and do a task.  This secret is in the “just this” experience. 

The experience of the brain on flow is an increase in “psychological capital”.  What that means is that you are reducing the amount of psychic energy used to do a task and adding to the scope of the connectedness of your neurons.  Things are knitting together in new ways in your brain.  When they continue to knit together in new ways (interneuronal association), intelligence increases.  You are increasing the positive reserves of the brain on every level when you experience flow.

The Music of Your Mind

When the feeling of oppression starts in, however it is experienced, projection begins and we start to distort our perceptions of ourselves. How do you clean up a projection?  In our licensure class, participants are learning to do it with themselves and with others.

This business of oppression is a signal at the beginning of a pattern of emotions to which we are addicted, and the consequent escapes (some of which are pleasurable for a while, but don’t last) are the biggest blocks to the coaching process. 

When they get in the way, they seem to bring down the whole UpSpiral to a DownSpiral and there is a loss of the sense or use of one’s strengths.  That’s the downside and it’s the problem side we work with while we are changing the “lean” toward positive emotions.  None of this behavior makes you “neurotic,”  none of it sets you up for a clinical diagnosis or a DSM IV number to describe your mental state.  But it can get worse and worse until disorder becomes the case. This pattern of emotions to which we are addicted is something common to everyone:  oppression, the loss of our sense of power and giving it away to something that seems “bigger than us” and “beyond us.”  Usually the cumulative stress of the small stuff is what does it.  It usually isn’t the big stuff that gets us down.

However, this isn’t where it’s at.  We just have to know it exists.  You don’t learn to play a piano by first learning not to play the wrong notes and then after you’ve learned not to play the wrong notes, you then learn to play the right ones.

To make beautiful music, you start with the right notes and you practice and practice the scales.  The same is true with the positive UpSpiral life.  You have to learn to play the positive scales.  The best way to unlearn playing the wrong notes is to learn to play the right ones instead.  It’s a choice.

But just to make the point, here is the “yukky” side of this made even clearer.  The negative scale of emotion that I described above starts with the feeling of “oppression” or however that feels for you.  It then moves to anger or hostility, then to the fear of anger and hostility. It then moves to feelings of protecting one’s self, of running away or lashing out.  Then it moves like a roller coaster, picking up speed and out of control, to acting out either the anger or the hostility, then to guilt and shame, and then to feeling half-alive, to rationalization to “not caring” and shutting off feelings.  And then, in a while it starts all over again.  That is the addictive emotional cycle.

It looks like this:



Fear of anger and hostility toward you from others

Protecting one’s self (isolating, running away or lashing out)

Acting out, actually withdrawing or lashing out


The Compromise of rationalization “Oh, that’s just the way life is” or “That’s just the way I am.”

It a roller coaster, it’s the foundation of addiction because it is the emotional pattern that underlies all addictive and negative habitual behavior.  All of it, no exceptions!

They are the wrong notes in the music of life.  They don’t’ work.  It isn’t a pretty sound scale of music.  These are the scales of emotion that are characterized by disharmony and cacophony; they sound and feel awful.

The Positive Scales

So just like you would practice scales to learn to play a concerto, these are the scales of emotion that are important to practice everyday. 

Learn them.  Memorize them.  Practice putting your emotions through these scales that are the opposite of oppression and projection.  They are scales of feelings you play to get to a high UpSpiral.  You can play these scales at will.  Get better and better at feeling them and you will play them very quickly, very skillfully, very well.

You can get so good at playing these scales that you can be in a very uncomfortable situation, at the start of an argument, ready to go on stage, faced with conflict and you can make the choice to run through one of these scales.

These scales are “billion dollar ideas.”  They are worth everything in life to be able to play and experience the music they can make in your life. 

Get really good at them and they will keep you in the “flow” of life.  Get exceptionally good and they can keep you in a “zone” of life.

These are two of the scales that can make your life a concerto.

Feel the feelings, one right after the other, over and over just like you were practicing the piano.  Make this the music of your mind.

Scale I (The At Ease State of Mind)







Scale II  The ME or Mental Equivalent State of Mind)

In Control (feeling good)

Excited and Eager

Eager and Anticipatory



Awe and Wonder

Roll smoothly from one feeling to another and let them build.  This doesn’t have to be “great” feeling.  Just teach the brain this new scale or “roller coaster” of positive emotions.  Like the piano, it just takes practice.

Here are the rewards:

Your blood pressure will go down.

Your negative moods will change more quickly.

Stress will decrease.

Your shoulders will drop.

Your breathing will deepen and become more even.

Your attitude will change.

You will like yourself and others better.

Your brain will be in greater synchrony, use less psychic energy, and you will have greater access to your strengths.

The world will look brighter and better.

On a scale of 1-10 you do not have to feel a lot of emotion.  If 10 is feeling an enormous positive state of mind, and 1 is a little, play the scales of feelings through your mind and brain at a 1 or a 2 or a 3.  All you need is a little to teach the brain that it is learning a new “song.”

Vibe Core: Wanting and Desiring

The higher or more “alive” you are to these three dimensions of your VIBECORE, the more you are going to experience your life in a kind of “flow”.  You move, in a sense, like you are one with the music.  You are “in sync”, eager, anticipatory and alive to life.  The best description of a high “vibe” is ALIVENESS 

It starts with wanting and desiring.  I could and may add to that “experiencing”, to get you thinking in the direction that ultimately leads to visioning and dreaming and fantasizing wonderful things.  Walt Disney knew that the opposite of creativity and aliveness was cynicism, so much so that he wrote it into the mission state of the Disney Empire.  What you want may start with something that seems like cartoon characters.  In the early days of Hollywood, the going joke was that if you couldn’t find a job as an actor, you could maybe get one at Disney.  Today, they only wish they could land a job at Disney.

People who tell me that they already have everything they really want are already half dead.  If I probe these people, they can give me lists of things they don’t want and don’t like, and most of them, can tell me things they are downright aggravated about.

Every encounter with something we don’t’ want, don’t like, and don’t appreciate is an opportunity to get in touch with what we do want to have or experience.

There are some things I would give you great caution about.  The first is being “content”.  The second is “living in the now”.  And the third is “letting go and letting God”.  Contentment is oftentimes not  contentment at all, it is just a slow giving into the way things are and a false and phony thing that passes for acceptance.

You realize, of course, that saying this in this media brainwashed age is something like proclaiming that the world was round when everyone knew it was flat. 

Living in the now is dangerous because it gets boring, I mean how many roses can you stop to smell?  I once stopped at the magnificent rose gardens in front of the Santa Barbara Mission and smelled roses for a couple of hours with a  group of “rose smellers” and I got to the place where I couldn’t tell one smell from the other and I was itchy to go anywhere.  I had stopped long enough.  Living in the now is an illusion.  It is a wonderful lesson not to dwell on the negative things in the past, and not to live in the future worrying and being anxious about tomorrow.  On the factual side, the happiest people, and we know this by hard research, are filled with hope, optimism, and future-mindedness.

Memories are precious things we bring into the present, so long as we bring their sweetness and their lessons.  Our “stories” limit us when we rely on them to be a crutch to finding our new unfolding wants and desires and to reinventing our identities.

A famous designer recently explained that his creativity in design was a result of always living a little on the edge of boredom.  Such courage not to just sell out to his fame and pretend to be content!

Let go and let God is a wonderful way of letting go of our neurotic hold on the last part of our VibeCore: being open to how what we want will happen when it will happen.  But this “letting go” business can be deadly.  It is “attachment” that keeps us alive.  We are always “attaching” to what holds us and fascinates us and draws us forward in life.  It is isolating, not attaching, that kills us. 

I recently heard about a wonderful and a tragic story over Thanksgiving and I promise you that it is true.  A 95 year old woman was complaining that her 93 year old lover didn’t want to have sex and didn’t want to sleep with her, that he wanted to sleep in another room.  So her daughter insisted that she move out and live alone.  Two months later the 95 year old woman was dead.

Attachment, attaching, finding out what we want, what we desire, what we want to experience, how we want our lives to be is what you were sent here to do.  Our culture lulls us into being satisfied with the adventures of CNN.   We start to believe that we are “too old” to be fully healthy or sexual.  We become so fixated on “the how” of a thing that we can’t believe it is possible, when, in fact, to get something, you most have to just really, really, really want it and the “how” appears.  In deeper fact, lots of times we have just to want it a little and the “how” appears.  Most people are stymied in defining their wants because their rapid consideration of the “how” cancels out the “wanting” before it has had time to grow long enough to become a real, alive, “wanting”.

How long can you really want something without knowing the “how”?  How long can you just let the want “be”?

You were born to want, to attach, to desire all the days of your life and when you decide that you are going to limit that, you start to die.  And over time, it becomes your way out of life.

 Newborn babies, who do not attach, do not allow themselves to be nurtured.  Nothing, nothing has changed about the fundamental truth of that growth of attachment that creates “aliveness”.  NOTHING.

 What do you want, what do you want that is superficial or deeply desired?  What new experience is just around your corner, if you make the turn?

No Pain, No Gain? Yah, yah, yah!


You do not jump up and down over your strengths and the joy of using them in a Downspiral; you don’t even know they exist to be used. You can’t know them and engage them in a Downspiral.  Our perceptions are just different in a DownSpiral.  We think differently there.

We have little or no access to strengths in a DownSpiral and the deeper down the spiral, the lesser is the felt sense of these strengths.

The work of the coach is to create this dialogue of discovery and potential:  The UpSpiral enables the further discovery and use of strengths and the use of strengths insures the presence of the UpSpiral.

Auntie Mame could give a new line that would go something like this:

“Most poor souls don’t even know what an UpSpiral is and fewer of the poor souls even begin to know what their real strengths are!  They miss the banquet of their own lives!”

The coach teaches the art and the unity of how these first two steps work together: UpSpiral and StrengthSmart


Challenge comes from a little contrast as much as it comes from a lot of contrast.  You really don’t have to get miserable to bring happiness and joy into your life.  When it feels good to use a strength, and we know what the strength is, feeling good will always produce more from strengths than suffering.  Strengths lead to autotelic realities in one’s life.  This is call “flow”.

Most suffering has come from either

•1.         not knowing our strengths or

•2.         not knowing how to apply them or

•3.         not being encouraged to apply them and

•4.         from not believing we have strengths or can use them and make a difference.

The credit we give to suffering is a rationalization for having gone through too much of it that was needless, and most of it is.  There is a vast difference between pain and suffering.

Most suffering was unnecessary if we had known there was a softer, easier, gentler way.  But we did know that we could manage our consciousness, our feelings, our state of mind by our strengths, and in the process be an avenue of healing and hope.

“We have to learn the hard way” When is that?  Exactly when it is that you need to learn the “hard way?”  When you don’t know and believe in your strengths.

Strengths and positive emotion, strengths and the UpSpiral work inter-dependently to create new levels of growth.

Brain synchrony -the conservation of psychic energyhappens when the brain feels good.  The brain likes to feel good and when it does it is more creative, solves problems more easily and you remain in an UpSpiral.

The brain in conflict uses more psychic energy.  These conflicts occur in a DownSpiral of negative emotion.

The brain in flow produces far more and unleashes creativity and genius.

Flow is next.  Stay tuned!

Judging:  How The Ego Gives Itself Away

 What you don’t like in another person that bothers you emotionally is what exists on the inside of you in some fashion or another.  It is a key to your greater inner freedom.

Your ego is hard at work keeping you just exactly where you are. It doesn’t like to attach to new things.  Your ego holds you to your associations with your old strengths.  Our Certification Class members are learning that the other side of their strengths is their weaknesses.  You play to your strengths or you play to your weaknesses.   Judging is a way of playing to your old strengths to keep yourself fixed where you are and so that you do not have to face change in your life.  It creates a stagnant, fixed life given to DownSpiral movement.  This is the kind of judging that has a negative emotional content to it.  It’s about the people you react to, don’t like, bother you, irritate and rub you the wrong way. 

What you spot, you got!  In other words, the negative that you see in another person, that also produces with it a negative reaction in yourself, is judgment.  It is also projection.  What you project is something within yourself that you have not come to accept and grow through.  Judging causes you to play to your weaknesses because you have to be coming from a weakness in order to get this “judging” thing going.

Get a hold on those you judge and ask yourself the five questions that constitute “The Work” from the wonderful work of Byron Katie.  Go to her website,, to learn more and to see the examples there. 

In class, you were given 2 “Judge Your Neighbor Worksheets.”  From these sheets, those in the VisioNavigator Certification Class are learning to ask 5 questions:

  1. Is it true?
  2. Is it absolutely true?
  3. How do you feel when you think this way about this person?
  4. How do you feel when you just give it up and don’t think about this?
  5. Turn it around.

Tell us what you are learning and give some examples of the new freedom you are beginning to find!

I am Angry, I AM ANGRY

And I am not angry at one thing.  I am angry at two and three and four things that have been happening for a while over time and it has just gotten to me.  I want to lash out, I want to scream at someone, or at least talk loudly. I’m angry. 

Here I am on this UpSpiral journey of positive emotion and I’m angry.  Or at least I was on this UpSpiral of love, peace, gratitude, and joy and now I’m angry.  Obama was just elected last week and I was delirious with joy and hope.  Now one week later, to the day, I am angry.  Why?

Why?  No one really cares about your “why” and neither do you.  Anger is a learned response. It’s a habitual reaction to frustration.  It usually occurs, not over a single thing, but over a series of cumulative, one after the other annoyances that are in and of themselves not so significant.  Even that is a part of the frustration.  Usually, we are angry because we’ve gotten angry and it just builds from there and it feels like something is controlling us rather than us controlling our own emotions. That’s the big rub.

What is the strength that you have that most addresses the anger?  (Have you been through our testing process so that you even know what your strengths are? It will be an enormous, huge, unbelievably relieving help).  Have a chat with the strength as though it were another person or another voice and see what it tells you to do.  It will not tell you why you are angry, but it will tell you what to do to break the cycle.

The whole world gets caught up in this cycle of anger, individually and collectively.  Do your part and make a choice.  Stay in anger or go to a strength.  Create more hostility in the world or bring yourself to peace. 

Hint:  Do something lovely- it doesn’t have to be a great thing- for yourself and something thoughtful and lovely for someone else -just a little thing.  And then give yourself a little time and space.  Kiss yourself in the mirror and say, “I love you.”   Go on, kiss yourself in the mirror, leave a mark on the mirror and actually have to wipe it off (or leave it there for a while as a reminder.)

Anger is a learned habit and can become an addiction without the exercise of good choices to manage it.  You have the perfect strength to deal with it.

Transition and Consciousness

If you “attach” easily in healthy ways based upon knowing and using your strengths and staying in an UpSpiral, transition usually appears as a new light over on the horizon of a new potential adventure of learning and experience.  If you “hold on” a little too much to where you are, the light appears as a little bit of “itch” where you are- the itch of some low-level discontent  From there the contrast of either way just gets greater.  You feel more drawn or feel more of an itch.  And then it just grows a little more and more and more.

Our capacity to notice a new light on the horizon depends upon on our aliveness.  “Aliveness” is the peculiar trait which describes humans when they are at their best.

Aliveness is noticing this and that, like a giraffe which has a tall reach and notices what is in the distance.  The antennae of personal aliveness pick up the signals of what is pulling us forward toward more aliveness and more satisfaction.

We prize being finally getting “settled.”  Good luck! You get it for awhile, but if you’re alive, being “settled” becomes “settling” because there is this thing in you which always wants to express and experience novelty.   It’s hard for a youth-oriented culture to believe what happens at 80 when the only models of aliveness on television are all under 30.  It’s also hard when those who are 80 have sold out and also act like the only reality in aging is decline.

But it actually happens more at 80, if you let it, because you have more experienced neurons in your brain propping up your consciousness.  Have you noticed how people under 30 just really keep doing the same crazy things over and over?  Monet was painting his greatest paintings after he was 80 with specially designed glasses because he could no longer see the whole spectrum of light without them.  Imagine that!  Painting the “light” at 80!  That is what made him great.  He painted the effect of the light on an object and not the object itself. 

Where is the light appearing on the horizon for you, the faint light that you have to be alive to see?

Strengths:  Flowering or Thwarted?


Why do you think it is that those who bother us most are those who thwart the growth of their strengths?

How you regard your strengths and what you are willing to do with them is like the decision to eat or not eat good food.  You can get by on the junk food of your weaknesses, but what builds your sense of self and very directly, the happiness you experience is your decision to flex the muscles of your strengths, to use them more and more and to put yourself in situations where they are used.  At work you start by looking at them and finding a few places during the day or each week where you can use them.

Consider this. Your strengths are Spirit manifesting through you.  From quantum physics, they represent the Zeno Effect in your personality.  They are fixing the elements of the molecular structure of your brain so you move, by the nature of your focus on them, in the direction of strengths or in the directions of weakness and deterioration.  You can’t get any more clear than that. Strengths move you toward life and aliveness; playing to weaknesses moves you toward deterioration. It starts with feeling disconnected and moves to feeling disengaged, disenchanted, unappreciated, unseen, unnoticed. Feeling unappreciated appears as the State of Mind of loneliness.  That’s usually the place where we start looking for someone else to fill the absence of ourselves that we have created. 

Wouldn’t it be just a lot easier to look at these strengths that are you?  Flex them, use them, learn more about them.  Use every cue of boredom or frustration as a cue that is a gift to go to a strength and learn more about it.  One of the most interesting things about strengths is that they usually mean reaching out to the world around us.

You were using these same strengths when you were four years old and they have just continued on trying to develop within you, flowering or thwarted.  Where they flower we know more happiness. Where we thwart them, we know more uneasiness and lack of satisfaction.

Copyright © 2015 The Applied Neuroscience Institute