Negative Emotions, Thoughts And How to Counteract Them

Joe

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Here's something I came across from J G Bennett from one of his London meetings in 1972. Could be a quote from Gurdjieff, not sure.

Seems like the right approach to me.

"To replace all negative attitudes toward the existing world by a feeling of confidence and love toward the new world which is being born, toward the still unborn child that is the future of mankind.

To arouse in oneself constantly this love of the future of humanity. Every time one observes in oneself some kind of negative attitude, to take this as a reminder that we human beings live on this earth in order to serve, particularly to serve the future.

And to serve with love, with hope, with confidence that it is possible for mankind to be born again.

Such a positive attitude should enter into our behavior, into our speech. But to this have some force, we have to deprive something else. That is, we acknowledge that one can really work against negativity, to take away energies which currently flow into negative thought, postures and feelings, and to form them toward the other.

This is a very hard thing that I am proposing to you because, in all of us, negative habits are so ingrained.

In the very midst of feeling compassion, one finds oneself finding fault, judging.

This is the disease that has overcome mankind, and we are all infected by it. Some very lucky people have escaped this disease, they have some lucky immunity from it.

It is very fortunate to know such people. It is an extraordinary thing to see such rare and healthy souls in the midst of so much that is diseased and distorted.

It is a technical matter. It is not a matter of thinking "it would be nice to be like that". It is a matter of knowing how to bring oneself to that place where our attitudes are under our own control, where it is possible for us to say THIS and not THAT."
 

Laura

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Right in line with the basic Christian understanding taught by Paul.

Of course, one should never stop being aware of what IS, but then that makes it all the more worthwhile to be AWARE and, at the same time, to love what COULD BE.
 

Alejo

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Thanks for sharing Joe,

that’s very much on point, it reminds me of something Dabrowski said, something along the lines of, in order to get out of a negative depressive loop, one should really start thinking about others and how to help them.

I think that can make a world of a difference, everyone feels depressed and negative and we all feel sorrow for one reason or another. But the difference comes in whether one applies one’s will towards someone else despite said negativity in ones existence. And of course that means different things for different people, so there’s a level of individuality and dynamism, but I think the principle is the same.

I think we’ve all had moments when the world seems unjust and dark and we’re drowning in chaos, but if one pays attention, one realizes that in those moments one tends to do nothing for anyone else at all. Just sitting there feeling sorry for our lives and begrudgingly show up to our everyday really keeps our focus within.
 

genero81

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Sounds to me more like Bennett than G. But whomever, it's right on the money. To be aware of what is, but act for what could be...
I haven't really heard the term self-actualized in a while but that may be a good fit.
 

Joe

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I think we’ve all had moments when the world seems unjust and dark and we’re drowning in chaos, but if one pays attention, one realizes that in those moments one tends to do nothing for anyone else at all. Just sitting there feeling sorry for our lives and begrudgingly show up to our everyday really keeps our focus within.
Indeed, or even worse, we seek to bring others down into the pit with us, misery loves company, as they say.

When we're in these states, one thing I think most of us usually forget is that it is a CHOICE to feel this way. Too often we believe we are "victims" of our feelings, when nothing could be further from the truth. We always have a choice, even if it's just to make an effort to 'do what it doesn't like', i.e. push back against the negative feelings. Of course, I'm not saying it is easy to do that, and in some circumstances (like physical pain for a protracted period) it can be almost impossible. But in general, I think physical pain-induced negativity is much less frequent than the type that is induced, and perpetuated, psychologically, through rumination and indulging the negativity.
 

whitecoast

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Indeed, or even worse, we seek to bring others down into the pit with us, misery loves company, as they say.

When we're in these states, one thing I think most of us usually forget is that it is a CHOICE to feel this way. Too often we believe we are "victims" of our feelings, when nothing could be further from the truth. We always have a choice, even if it's just to make an effort to 'do what it doesn't like', i.e. push back against the negative feelings. Of course, I'm not saying it is easy to do that, and in some circumstances (like physical pain for a protracted period) it can be almost impossible. But in general, I think physical pain-induced negativity is much less frequent than the type that is induced, and perpetuated, psychologically, through rumination and indulging the negativity.
I think that whatever types of emotional states you're having that can be induced by thought can be avoided by changing the type of thoughts you have, for sure. I think that's tied to the amount of mental resources you have and connections that go from your frontal cortex to your emotional brain.

What I'm interested in learning more about is the idea of the "second conscious shock" G talked about, which to my knowledge is about transforming negative emotions into positive emotions. Is that what we're talking about here? Does it mean using will and other emotional resources to suppress (instead of repress) negative emotions so they do not control your actions? Or does it mean appropriating the energy of the negative emotion towards a constructive end? Or both? Or is it a continuum?
 
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pecha

Padawan Learner
Joe said:
When we're in these states, one thing I think most of us usually forget is that it is a CHOICE to feel this way. Too often we believe we are "victims" of our feelings, when nothing could be further from the truth. We always have a choice, even if it's just to make an effort to 'do what it doesn't like', i.e. push back against the negative feelings. Of course, I'm not saying it is easy to do that, and in some circumstances (like physical pain for a protracted period) it can be almost impossible. But in general, I think physical pain-induced negativity is much less frequent than the type that is induced, and perpetuated, psychologically, through rumination and indulging the negativity.
Great points Joe, that really resonates with me. Sometimes I lose awareness when in a negative loop and makes me feel trapped sometimes.

I remember a part in the transcripts where the Cs speak of balance being restored after a period of turmoil (i.e. positivity follows a period of negativity). To be someone who takes the action to restore that rather than waiting for the universe to provide the opportunity is oftentimes the way to go.
 

Voyageur

The Living Force
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Does it mean using will and other emotional resources to suppress (instead of repress) negative emotions so they do not control your actions? Or does it mean appropriating the energy of the negative emotion towards a constructive end? Or both? Or is it a continuum?
Firstly, thank you, Joe.

I have to say that, yes, it is hard and yet the choice, as you said, is there to make. There was something so simple and profound in these words that it brought near tears to eyes. And perhaps this relates to something that the C's discuss - not quoted, however like making a choice and moving there.

Moving there denotes some physical place, yet this is a choice of a realignment of ones attitude - a great leap into a different individual reality:

...work against negativity
, to take away energies which currently flow into negative thought {constantly draining whereby it is feed upon?}, postures and feelings, and to form them toward the other.

This is a very hard thing that I am proposing to you because, in all of us, negative habits are so ingrained {inculcated as the system works double time to ensure}.

In the very midst of feeling compassion, one finds oneself finding fault, judging.

This is the disease that has overcome mankind, and we are all infected by it. Some very lucky people have escaped this disease, they have some lucky immunity from it.

It is very fortunate to know such people. It is an extraordinary thing to see such rare and healthy souls in the midst of so much that is diseased and distorted.

It is a technical matter. It is not a matter of thinking "it would be nice to be like that". It is a matter of knowing how to bring oneself to that place where our attitudes are under our own control, where it is possible for us to say THIS and not THAT."
Which brings back your questions, whitecoast: "using will and other emotional resources to suppress..."

This is not what I'm thinking Joe's reference was getting at (they may be Bennett's words) - it is not something you suppress, it's something that becomes apparent in oneself, it is the choice that is made? It may look like suppression, yet is more natural than that, effortless even if that is ones choice? Look at it this way perhaps, think of who you might have met that seems to have this "immunity" from the disease we are mostly inflicted with. I was thinking about this, some older people in ones life (young children exibit this for a time for different reasons) who have this uncanny ability to live while being very aware of what is going on around them 'left and right,' and yet they live richly in attitude in the face of it, like nothing could shake them from their foundations. They don't display the negative nor judge, like they have especially stopped to take note of an amazing world in blossom around them and participate in it. It does not seem emotional to them nor that they had to suppress anything, it just is - 'life is religion' as Laura once said, and they are those few who are the 'lucky' one and in tune with it. Yes, it is rare indeed.

There are two questions here, though, the second was "Or does it mean appropriating the energy of the negative emotion towards a constructive end? Or both? Or is it a continuum?

Being inflicted with this disease myself, I don't know about appropriating (to take something), as a word, regarding this negative energy, yet what the C's discuss is in terms of 'utilization' (using something in an effective way) might be a good way to look at it, which seems to be what you might be getting at ('utilizing' to a constructive ends)?

Anyway, just thoughts that might be off, yet whatever the case those words are something to think about further.
 

Anthony

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I think that whatever types of emotional states you're having that can be induced by thought can be avoided by changing the type of thoughts you have, for sure. I think that's tied to the amount of mental resources you have and connections that go from your frontal cortex to your emotional brain.

What I'm interested in learning more about is the idea of the "second conscious shock" G talked about, which to my knowledge is about transforming negative emotions into positive emotions. Is that what we're talking about here? Does it mean using will and other emotional resources to suppress (instead of repress) negative emotions so they do not control your actions? Or does it mean appropriating the energy of the negative emotion towards a constructive end? Or both? Or is it a continuum?
Here's how Nicoll explains it:

“The observation of our negative states and the separation from them is one of the most important sides of practical work.The transformation of negative emotions belongs to the Second Conscious Shock and here the whole Work comes in and the whole evaluation of it. You may be negative but you must feel that it is not you that is negative but It. This is the beginning of inner separation, of not identifying with negative states, of not identifying with oneself.”
 

Gary

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Thanks for sharing Joe.

Indeed, or even worse, we seek to bring others down into the pit with us, misery loves company, as they say.

When we're in these states, one thing I think most of us usually forget is that it is a CHOICE to feel this way. Too often we believe we are "victims" of our feelings, when nothing could be further from the truth. We always have a choice, even if it's just to make an effort to 'do what it doesn't like', i.e. push back against the negative feelings. Of course, I'm not saying it is easy to do that, and in some circumstances (like physical pain for a protracted period) it can be almost impossible. But in general, I think physical pain-induced negativity is much less frequent than the type that is induced, and perpetuated, psychologically, through rumination and indulging the negativity.
Indeed, because "negative habits are so ingrained" it is so easy to forget that essential truth - we do always have a choice. And as Laura said quite recently "those choices come every day, every hour, every minute. True freedom is to CHOOSE to follow the path of soul enrichment and growth."

As well as making an effort to 'do what it doesn't like', it is also important imo to make an effort to humbly accept 'what is' and see the creative, loving potential of what 'could be' as Laura suggested above.

One of my daily prayers is:

"Oh Diving Cosmic Mind,
grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference."

In these increasingly chaotic times dealing with so much madness around us, perhaps inside us too, may seem overwhelming. But retaining our sanity, compassion and humour every day, as difficult as that may be, is a small daily victory at this juncture it seems.
 

Mariama

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
What I'm interested in learning more about is the idea of the "second conscious shock" G talked about, which to my knowledge is about transforming negative emotions into positive emotions. Is that what we're talking about here? Does it mean using will and other emotional resources to suppress (instead of repress) negative emotions so they do not control your actions? Or does it mean appropriating the energy of the negative emotion towards a constructive end? Or both? Or is it a continuum?
The only thing that seems to help me is to accept that I have these negative attitudes, thoughts and emotions. So, when negativity (in all its manifestations) wells up inside I allow it to come up and then name it if you will. So, I say to myself: OK, I know this and this about myself, just let it be. And then I say to myself: I am not my thoughts, but I am responsible for my own negative emotions and so on.

I have found that when negativity threatens to swallow me it really helps to go on to the forum and read and/or post or work on forum projects or be more focused on others just by listening to them for example. In order to do so we need to practice and sometimes we need training wheels, but I have found that with time it becomes ever so much easier when we just accept our negativity without wallowing in it. FWIW.
 

BHelmet

Jedi Master
You have touched on a fundamental question for the ages.

Negative states of being can be subjective or objective or both.

(ultimately there is always a personal dimension to experience which tends to make any assessment of "negative" into a subjective matter. In fact, negativity needs to be defined before it can even be properly discussed. Bennett seems to be speaking as though everyone knows what he means by "negativity". I am sure I don't know what he means.

Is grief negative? Is predicting disaster and doom negativity? In that case many of the prophets were quite negative. But, they served their purpose well, so, in the final analysis their negativity had a net positive effect, neh? If a negative state alerts me to an action of mine that is generating the negative state, well, I might become more aware and change my actions and that would also be net positive. A negative state might hold the key to an invaluable lesson. etc. )

In any case, what is being discussed here is the human being's response to negative states.

Especially, where negative states are the result of objective observation and experience.

IOW, the negativity is a response to something "real". (or apparently real)

The question then becomes:

Are we (Bennett included) just playing a series of ever more sophisticated Jedi mind tricks with ourselves?

(putting various psychological bandaids on a massive ontological hemorrhage)

OR

Is there really something that can be done to fundamentally change the aspects of this world which can be the source of negative states of being?

SO

IF nothing can be done to truly change the nature of this existence, then the Jedi mind tricks are fundamentally a self-calming mechanism.

Unless...

Unless... the Jedi mind tricks lead to the manifestation of a new state of being which then allows for the entry into a new existence, perhaps NOT of this world.
 

BHelmet

Jedi Master
So what IS negativity?
Is it "I don't like this feeling"?
Is it "I am wishing ill will on those around me"?
Is it "I judge myself and my actions to be somehow 'wrong'"?
Is it violating the free will of another?
Is it related to the 10 commandments?
By what standards do we judge negativity?
This is an open question which I think might be illuminating.
 
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