Positive Emotions: Inroads To Consciousness




Five emotional states are more than emotion- they are inroads to consciousness.

The positive thinking industry and the positive spirituality industry both make the same mistake.

You can’t get there by positive thinking alone.

The “mask” of positive thinking alone wears you out, makes you feel like a failure or a phoney, and creates denial of real emotions that can otherwise provide direction and contrast.

But emotions are not just “indicators” or “feedback.” They are much, much more.

We try to think positively to “feel better,” but there is a much more rapid way to feeling better and feeling good most of the time.

We can have a great deal more control over emotional states of mind that are faster inroads to inner state of consciousness.

The issue is not positive thinking, whether you spiritualize it or not. The issue is “positive being,” and that is grounded first and foremost in the issue of positive emotion.

Let’s call them “positive states of mind” that are absolutely linked to inner states of spiritual consciousness. Pretend that you have five balloons on the inside of you that are love, peace, gratitude, hope, and joy.

The inner balloons are the shells that hold the outward reality. You’ve got to blow them up and fill them with your outer intentions to feel and experience these things.

You can learn to feel what you want to feel.

Blow up those balloons from outside to the inside. Inflate them with what you feel everyday.

Teach your brain which emotions “rule” and build a reservoir of the positive states of mind on the outside that match the reality of you on the inside.

We call it the Emotional Gym.

What we feel and experience emotionally conditions how we know ourselves to be more than anything else in our experience. And how you know yourself to be is what attracts to you the basic realities of your life.

To discover that we have more control and can have greater mastery over basic emotions is really just something we haven’t considered.

The truth is that emotions and “states of mind” that are negative usually have us, rather than us having them. That’s what we want to turn around.

Positive thinking is not where it’s at, but positive emotional agility and mastery is.

‘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.

“Positivity being,” living from the core of the positive place in you, is what we are all looking for. You can learn to live from that place.

You can learn to feel what you want to feel.

© Dr. William K. Larkin 

About the author

Dr. William K. Larkin
  • Alan Cohen

    Very illuminating. In the many years I have been a coach, I always work with clients to reframe their thoughts to more empowering ones, in order to get better results. How refreshing to read about positive being versus positive thinking, and how it also relates to spiritual consciousness. Through practice, we can become more conscious and positive people, more receptive to positive thoughts, rather than having to shift thoughts from negative to positive. Encouraging news for clients (and this coach!).

  • Kelsey Abbott

    As a coach, I help my clients connect their thoughts with their body. I’m excited to continue learning about positivity being so I can teach my clients about another layer of intention. What we think, we create. AND what we feel, we are.

  • Mary Verstraete

    Coming from an era in the 70’s of positive thinking I appreciated the statement on positivity by in Dr. Johnson’s blog, “You can’t get there by positive thinking alone.”

    In the book, Growing the Positive Mind, Dr. William K. Larkin states: “Emotions don’t just happen to us is, but rather we create our emotions, and we can utilize, direct, and control our emotional states and moods.” I tested the concept this week. My company’s lead page for Facebook was showing incorrect in the internet navigation bar and one of the trainers needed it corrected for his promotional campaign. After two-hours of reviewing steps, following steps, talking with support, I finally tracked how to correct the URL. One problem, “the fix” involved code and I’m not knowledgeable in code. Frustration [anxiety, urgency, inward complaining] was the immediate response . . . until I applied the concept of creating emotions. I made a decision to feel differently. My emotion toward the situation went from frustration to a challenging, yet a solvable challenge. I became internally calm and logical in my conversation with the trainer. I moved in gradients from 30 in the Down Spiral to 80 in the Up Spiral.

    This simple yet revealing application also resulted in affecting important events. I had two all day workshops that needed preparation time the same day as the lead page mystery. I was able to calmly transition from problem-solving mode to fully focusing on final preparation for the workshops. Normally, frustration would be biting at my heals, reminding me of what still needed to be solved.

    Adding more dimension to the Up Spiral concept, Dr. Larkin makes the case that we can always be in the Up Spiral. Victor Frankel, Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, and the Dali Lama would give credibility to the statement. Dr. Larkin goes on to state that in our culture, there is a tendency to believe you can spend too long in the Up Spiral and you have to go back down and spend a little time in the Down Spiral. His final conclusion is while that pattern may be true for some people because it is the way they choose to live their lives and see reality, it does not have to be true for you. I look forward to experimenting with this concept over the next six months.

    One of the components that was validated is not ignoring one’s raw emotions. Ignoring and pretending to be positive results in a lack of authenticity; however, aim for positive emotional agility and mastery—inner state of consciousness—in experiencing joy, peace, gratitude, love and hope…with the outcome of developing a consistent positive being. This takes exercise, as explained within the Emotional Gym concept, to meet the goal of becoming a “positivity being.” In the words of Dr. Johnson, “Teach your brain which emotions ‘rule’ and build a reservoir of the positive states of mind on the outside that match the reality of you on the inside.”

    Dr. Barbara Fredrickson proposes discarding two assumptions when it comes to emotions:

    1. Emotions must necessarily yield specific action tendencies.
    2. Emotions spark tendencies for physical actions.

    Instead, she proposes speaking of thought-action tendencies. She argues that specific action tendencies that theorists have previously identified for the positive emotions are not particular specific. Her claim is that positive emotions broadened the momentary thought-action repertoire rather than narrowing it, can help make sense of the difficulty that positive emotions have posed for traditional models centered on specific action tendencies. This new perspective also illuminates why and how positive emotions might serve as effective tools for regulating negative emotions. Adding additional proof: You can learn to feel what you want to feel.

  • Dr. gloria wright

    When I first starting delving into Positive Psychology, I was fascinated by the skills that needed to be honed to stay in a truly positive state. The one that I had NOT acknowledged was monitoring and exercising positive emotions. I was well aware of the importance of maintaining positive thoughts – but not positive emotions.
    To realize that I could choose and exercise positive emotions seemed an easy choice to make. But intentionally exercising and feeling
    positive emotions was a novelty. Dr. Larkin calls this exercise the “emotional gym.” And that’s exactly what it is. But my gym doesn’t offer a class on this. I realized that I could focus on and exercise my positive emotions when doing Yoga – but not so compatible for Sumba. Maybe I should try it while I’m hopping around too.:)
    For me to enhance my happiness, I had to get with the program. It was a bit artificial at first to focus on thinking – and eventually feeling, gratitude, love, joy, peach and hope. Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, UNC, introduced the importance of meditating on loving-kindness meditation. So I added to my ritual: May you feel safe, may you feel happy and joyous, may you feel/be strong and healthy, may you live life with ease. I added another: May you feel loved and loving. Sometimes it is easier for me to feel loving than it is for me to feel loved. I do think and
    believe that I am loved, but letting myself feel loved is a free tonic.
    Dr. Frederickson also introduced the idea of “broaden and build.” She encourages positive exercises to build, strengthen and grow a
    reservoir of positive states of mind. The more you exercise positive thoughts, feelings and beliefs, the more you draw on access to positivity when you hit a challenging situation that could draw you back into being the victim. As I’ve said before, I use my daughter’s idea: Reboot; Reframe; Focus on the Positive. It makes a difference – in our lives, our relationships, our health, our happiness and over time, our longevitity!
    May you live a life of meaning and significance and JOY!
    Happy trails to you….

  • Mary Verstraete

    In preparing for this weeks (Week of November 6) class, I devoured Fredrickson’s article! When she stated that people are more than likely to develop long-term plans and goals when they experience positive emotions during bereavement…Yes! This is an important aspect in people having quality of life following a tragic event. She explained that these positive emotions are are experienced when people find positive meaning in ordinary events and within the adversity itself. Positive meaning broadens thinking and the ideal is finding positive meaning in subsequent events…and accumulate and compound. Several other insights that were delightful to read…but this one I wanted to comment on the blog.

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