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Mechanism of Positive Thinking

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This article/blog identifies science behind thinking and identifies a mechanism to induce positive thinking by regulating and controlling negative or scattered thinking. The article offers:

  1. Introduction
  2. It is hormones, Stupid!
  3. Vital Energy and Breathing
  4. Thinking and Perception
  5. Hormonal equilibrium and personality traits
  6. Perception of Body
  7. Spirituality Offers Methods for Quenching Agitated Mind

Acknowledgements, References and Notes follow discussions.

Introduction

The positive thinking is a DIY (Do-It-yourself) project unless the established educational infrastructure is reformed to incorporate or supplement the objectives oriented studies. Training is required for developing positive thinking mindset based on everyday direct experiences. Mind engaged in scattered thinking is inattentive to positive thinking.

Psychology teaches that positive thinking requires adjustments to attitude and behavior patterns. Psychologist and psychiatrists are trained to treating symptoms of dysfunctional personality by offering drug therapies or suggesting strategies for behavior modifications. These treatments generally are temporary fixes and quite often result in addiction to powerful drugs. It is far from addressing root causes of the dysfunctions.

Every person should master easily available strategies to channel and regulate scattered stream of thoughts to a single theme to get away from the bad habit of negative thoughts associated with partial information. The positive thoughts surface with total information.

What is missing from the objective system of education is a clear understanding of body’s mechanisms induced by hormonal imbalances originating with primal drives – urges, emotions and impulses – and how scattered thoughts trigger it. Once the root causes of dysfunctional personality are identified, one needs to learn to regularly practice how to gather total information with direct experiences for developing equanimous and tranquil personality fit for positive thinking to surface.

It is hormones, Stupid!

Hormonal imbalances are induced by endocrine system and it is vital to know locations and functions of various endocrine glands to understand body chemistry related to functioning of nervous system. A brief review of endocrine system illustrates how hormones influence various body functions. General information on glands secretions follows.

Endocrine System

Gland/Location Secretion Primary Function
Hypothalamus/

Front part of Head

Neurohormones Linking nervous system to endocrine systems via pituitary gland as well as help metabolic process by controlling body temperature, hunger, thirst, fatigue, sleep, and circadian cycles.
Pineal/Center

of Forehead

Melatonin hormone Sleep patterns, sexual desires
Pituitary/

Middle

of Eyebrows

Endorphin hormones Analgesic (pain killer). Induces feelings of well-being and plays a profound role in controlling functions of gonads.
Pancreas/Atop

Kidneys

Several hormones including insulin and digestive enzymes Blood sugar control and metabolism. Insulin deficiency causes diabetics.
Thyroid/Neck,

Below Adam’s Apple

Tyrosine based hormones Regulates metabolism and all diseases related to impaired metabolism; thyroid controls rate of energy consumption by body, makes proteins and controls sensitivity of the body to other hormones.
Thymus/ Near

Heart

Immune system and lymphocyte Production and education of T-cells for adoptive immune system. Activate lypmphonodes, spleen and other lymphatic tissues to produce lymphocytes. Controls growth of children up to age 14.
Adrenalin/

Navel area near Kidneys

More than 3 dozen adrenalin hormones. Stress reduction; stimulates heart rate, dilates blood vessels and air passages for increased blood flow and improves vital energy production for great feelings. Stimulates healthy growth of brain sex cells, develops mental concentration, physical endurance and generates a vigorous muscular and nervous constitution.
Gonads/ Bottom end of the spinal cord Sperms,  ova and hormones Reproductive functions. Functioning of gonads is controlled by pituitary hormones.
  1. See, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Illu_endocrine_system.jpg for location of endocrinal glands. Most technical information from Wikipedia with Google searches.

Body can be divided into two divergent areas. The portion above the navel up to the top of head is the field of wisdom, where seven glands – hypothalamus, pineal, pituitary, thyroid, thymus, pancreas and adrenal – are located and that below the navel is the field of passion and sex.

The psychological distortions originate in the adrenals, while the sex-impulses are produced in the gonads. Overactive or constant triggering of the lower en­docrines (adrenals and gonads) produces pernicious habits, affecting our physical and mental health.

The neuro-endocrine system is the seat of instincts, urges and impulses responsible for feelings and to issue commands for appropriate reactions to satisfy feelings. Animals without reasoning powers instinctively practice rituals of eating, courtship and fighting. Humans with conscious reasoning mind can control responses to instincts and impulses. Humans need training to develop reasoning mind for controlling anger, hunger and sexual impulses. Channeling erotic mood using another creative track is a known tool for behavior modification.

The primal drives of love, hate and fear are endocrine impulses. All passions, emotions and impelling forces, and aggressive impulses are linked to shifting hormone balance. If hormones are extremely imbalanced the aggressive impulses may start a war. A reasoning mind is averse to start a war but it is equipped to respond to a war aggression with appropriate response for survival. A reasoning mind has no emotions; however, many a times the powerful impulses overwhelm and suppress reasoning.

Vital Energy and Breathing

All actions a person takes originate with the vital energy representing life. Technically, oxidation of the cell contents with oxygen is the reaction generating vital bio-energy at a continuous and constant pace. Functioning of sensory organs, brain, intellect, speech and motion, etc are all powered by vital bio-energy. Breathing supplies oxygen for generation of vital energy at molecular level in cells. A dead body is incapable of breathing.

Potential vital energy sustains body and soul (psyche) through breathing or intake of oxygen with air. Inhaled oxygen in lungs enters blood stream for delivery to cells in active tissue. With oxygen body cells generate energy.

Brain controls all centers for generating vital energy. Stream of vital energy can flow in two directions: the flow in external route energizes vital organs with normal strength. The external stream of vitality activates all physical motions. The flow of energy by internal routes generates different and extraordinary powers for activating psyche, thoughts, etc. Management of the internal routes of vital energy by regulating and controlling hormonal balance helps reasoning mind to engage positive thinking for purposeful life.

Thinking and Perception

Mind as an integral part of the brain controls three functions of thinking, seeing and knowing. Mind is capable of both thinking and perception, but not simultaneously. One either thinks or perceives. Focusing on perception puts a stop to thinking and steady the ever wondering-mind.

Thinking is conception and seeing or perception is a reality. The reality process is for knowing total truth by direct examination of issues. Knowing is proportional to perception. Perception with partial knowledge induces scattered thoughts responsible for negativity. Total knowledge induces positive thinking and it requires objectively experiencing by direct examination of all partial perceptions and conceptions. Concentration (or engaging the internal eye on) on total perception with vital energy induced sensations and vibrations that helps stop scattered thoughts or meandering of mind. Concentration on single theme also helps stop scattered thoughts or meandering of mind.

Conception or thinking is imagination. Scattered thoughts are imaginations running wild. Unless the object of thought is verified with perception, it is not a reality. Contemplation or focused conception of an issue is the concentrated thinking process. For positive thinking training is needed to cultivate a reasoning mind for focusing on single theme and perception.

For developing a reasoning mind modern education offers theory of logic, math, sciences and philosophy. Philosophy is applied logic and math. Sciences are applied philosophies. Modern humanities education offers partial knowledge – theory only. Sciences and engineering incorporate direct observations with experiments.

There is not enough emphasis in modern humanities education on practice and direct experiences for seeing and perceiving to build knowledge for promoting positive thinking. Lacking tools and training for gathering total knowledge students are prone to giving in to the habit of cultivating scattered thoughts responsible for negativity.

Scattered thoughts make mind restless. With wandering mind the scattered thoughts produce urges, emotions and passions as the reasoning mind is inactive for the want of focus on single theme, concentration and perception. The scattered thoughts are indications that the body is restless or busy burning vital energy. If this process is left unattended or not controlled, vital energy loops surface feeding the process of primal drives – urges, emotions and thoughts. As the body falls in an energy loop, impulses activate and excite muscles generating mental unsteadiness.

Stopping scattered thoughts for any length of time is extremely difficult for a restless body. Attempts to suppress mental activity makes mind restless than ever. For channeling scattered thoughts in one direction the mind needs to be regulated and disciplined to concentrate on a single event, for example, perception of breath at the tip of nose or a phenomenon for a good length of time. The mind thus engaged in function of perception is not free for entertaining scattered thoughts.

Hormonal equilibrium and personality traits

Maintenance of well adjusted, equanimous personality depends on hormonal equilibrium. The equilibrium influences disposition that fluctuates from a low point (malevolent – negative) to a high point (benevolent – positive).

Dynamics of attitudes in the table is grouped in two categories – positive and negative

Attitude

Activators

Personality

Practical

Result

Attitude

Activators

Personality

Practical

Result

Low Stress

Tensions

Positive

High tress Tensions

Negative

Confidence Enthusiastic Success Fear Cruel Tension
Anticipation Optimist Achievement Hate Weak Frustration
Expectation Cheerful Health Envy Inconsiderate Despondency
Belief Relaxed Inner peace Suspicion Rude Loneliness
Humility Courteous Love Greed Drab Unhappiness
Patience Considerate Recognition Conceit Irritable Failure
Understanding Friendly Friendship Self-pity Cold Boredom
Courageous Adventure Inferiority Lazy Poverty
Decisive Growth Criticism Undetermined Fatigue
Sincere Energy Cynicism Soar Job-weariness
Warm Security Indecision Selfish Dissatisfaction
Happiness

Note: Personality = Attitude in action

The table presents the dynamics of attitude and personality. Disposition is reflected by attitudes and behavioral patterns. A malevolent personality is reflected by negativity associated with high stress and tension levels. Benevolence – tranquility – is represents by positive personality associated with low stress and tension levels.

Technically, the dispositions reflect vital energy level in the body. Stresses and tensions are proportional to vital energy stored in muscles. The mind wonders every which way if the stored vital energy is not channeled or dissipated. To inhibit negative attitude and scattered thought it is important to dissipate stored vital energy.

Muscular movements generate vital energy, which can and should be regulated with self-awareness to manage hormonal equilibrium. If the stream of vital energy and the flow of thoughts are channeled and turned towards self-awareness and self-realization, the muscles calm down. No stored surplus energy means no scattered thinking, it is that simple.

With physical action body expresses feelings. The negative feelings represent by suffering or its manifestations are rooted in the memory or record of coded past. The immutable law of actions and reactions – cause and effect – controls expressions of feelings, emotions, and impulses.

Agitations and motions can lead to delusions. Tensions produce vibrations and shock-waves that surface as primal drives, urges and impulses. The sufferings keep body in perpetual agitation, tension and motion and a self-generating negative energy loop surfaces.

Perception of Body

The finer details of the mysteries of body can be known only to those who learn through direct experiences or perceptions the individual idiosyncrasies that govern a person. Medical professional are knowledgeable in medicine and surgery, which are prime areas of their expertise but they are not trained in spiritual intricacies.

Relative to that from the ancient times to arrival of industrial revolution a few centuries ago the medical science’s understandings of nervous system and physiology are unsurpassed. However, unlike ancient times, medical sciences have much to learn about streams of vital energy and how the flow of energy can be diverted to and from specific parts of the body to manage or regulate and control emotions, impulses and urges. Medical sciences do not deal with the field of origin of emotions, impulses and urges and how these feelings influence the behavior patterns of a person.

Vital energy streams flow in the heart, in the nose, in the navel region, rectum and layers of skin and all other body parts. The knowledge of anatomy and physiology is not sufficiently advanced to understand how vital energy can be diverted to take internal trips and unlock gates guarding various psyche (soul) centers.

Breathing is a bridge between internal and external flow of energy. Internal flow of energy can be used to stop scattered thoughts or wondering mind and also to undertake internal trips for energy flow from center of energy in the body below navel to three centers of knowledge, intuition and breathing located in the head. Internal trips are also used to activate several endocrine glands – adrenalin, thymus, thyroid, hypothalamus, pineal and pituitary, etc to maintain hormone balance necessary for equanimous, tranquil and positive actions dominated purposeful life. The association of mind with the breath is to become spiritual.

Spirituality Offers Methods for Quenching Agitated Mind

Spirituality equals to an ultimate or immaterial reality. Spirituality is the deepest values and meanings by which people live. Spirituality is intended to develop an individual’s inner life. Spiritual practices include meditation, prayer and contemplation. These processes often lead to an experience of connectedness with a larger reality, yielding a more comprehensive self. It enables connections with other individuals, with the human community and with nature, the cosmos and the divine realm.

As the body falls in an energy loop, impulses activate and excite muscles generating mental unsteadiness. With yoga and TM the body is trained for total relaxation and for relief from stresses and tensions. The total relaxation entails keeping perfectly still and stopping all voluntary movements. With total relaxations all bodily movements are stopped and the shockwaves are dissipated to restore calm by eliminating turmoil and agitation of the body.

The yoga relaxation helps relieve stresses and tensions responsible for scattered thoughts. Self awareness and meditation helps cultivate positive attitude as vital energy is channeled to live a purposeful life. Self-awareness through relaxation meditation and yoga helps self control of primal drives, urges, emotions and impulses.

Acknowledgements, References and Notes

Acknowledgement: The author has extensively used the following references published by arrangement with Jain Vishva Bharati (JVB), Landu, Rajasthan (India). Note Landu and Ludnun are same with zip code 341 206.

  1. “The Art of Positive Thinking,” English Translation by R. K. Seth of a Hindi book, “Kaise Sochen?” by Acharya Shri Mahaprajna; JVB, Ludnun 341 306
  2. These notes are from Preksa Dhyana: Theory and Practice by Acharya Mahaprajna E-book at http://www.herenow4u.net/index.php?id=cd7400

To prepare for the workshop the following are recommended references and notes:

  1. Introduction to Gita, V Parts, by Kishan Bhatia published starting on 11202009 and concluded on 01012010 at www.ivarta.com; links to the V part series offered below. For discussions on related and other topics of current interests please visit author’s webpage at http://www.blogs.ivarta.com/blog-columns-KishanBhatia-1.htm
  1. Some books stimulate positive thinking. There are plenty of materials published in last decade to help identify power of positive thinking.
  • Gurcharan Das is now mainly known for his two best-selling books, ‘India Unbound’ and ‘The Difficulty of Being Good.’ India Unbound, is a narrative account of India from Independence to the global information age, and has been published in over a dozen languages and filmed by BBC. The Difficulty of Being Good is about the subtle art of dharma (Penguin 2009) to examine contemporary moral failures through the lens of the 2000 year old epic, the Mahabharata.
  • Prof A P J Abdul Kalam with Y S Rajan in “India 2020” Viking (1998) presents a vision for the new millennium.
  • Prof A P J Abdul Kalan with A Sivathanu Pillai, “Envisioning an Empowered Nation” Tata McGraw-Hill Publishing Company Limited, New Delhi (2004) describes technology for social transformation.
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