Conscious or default positivity?

“Conscious positivity allows for a tremendous range of feelings and emotions to be present that may not be ‘positive’, but that if we repress or deny would take us away from our authentic response to what is going on, and to move away from the truth

Dear Integral Meditators,

This weeks article looks at the phenomenon of ‘positive thinking, and makes a few distinctions that will be helpful in your own practice of it.

I’m in the process of putting together the program for later in the month, and the new year, a few details below the article.

In the spirit of conscious positivity,

Toby

 


Conscious or default positivity?

“There is a meaningful difference between default positivity and conscious positivity. Default positivity is when we turn to positivity as a mechanism, a bypass, a defense against owning or feeling the shadow. Often birthed in challenging life experiences, this pseudo bliss trip can keep us alive during tumultuous times, but it can also become an embedded way of being that detaches us from our truth. Conscious positivity is birthed in authenticity and awareness.” – Jeff Brown

What really constitutes positive thinking? On the surface of it looks fairly simple, “Just look on the bright side of life”, “See the good in the situation”, “Make lemonade out of lemons”, “No point in dwelling on it (the negative or difficult)”.
However, if we start to look at it a bit more closely, it becomes much more nuanced. Below are a few distinctions that may be useful.

Default or reflex positivity
Default positivity is the position of automatically / quickly adopting a ‘positive’ perspective or reaction on order to smother or repress difficult feelings (emotions, thoughts, reactions) that we feel uncomfortable about or threatened by. It is a way of bypassing the thing that we are really experiencing.

An example
Recently I won a court case. It had been one that had been going on for a while. It was certainly a relief to have won, but the after the victory experience was a bitter-sweet, mixed emotion affair with a degree of ambiguity. If I had been uncomfortable about those feelings of ambiguity, I could have felt the need to go out for a celebration, affirm the victory with friends and people congratulating me. I could have spent a lot of time inwardly talking to myself about the victory and how it was born of strength and courageousness and all that. I could have created a ‘high’. I didn’t do that, but I’d felt the need to cover up my feelings, I could have reverted to this type of reflex positivity.

Conscious positivity or mental framing
Conscious positivity allows for a tremendous range of feelings and emotions to be present that may not be ‘positive’, but that if we repress or deny would take us away from our authentic response to what is going on, and to move away from the truth. By ‘truth’ I mean our own inner truth, but also a connection with the objective, outer truth of what’s going on. Conscious positivity comes from a place that is inwardly confident enough and wise enough to allow for difficult and contradictory feelings to be present, whilst at the same time framing what’s going on in a constructive way.

An example
To return to the example of the court case above, it would be true to say that:

  • I felt rather sad that the situation had come to this point
  • I felt somewhat sorry for the other party
  • I felt quite angry about the silliness of it all
  • I reflected on it as partly a comment on the contradictory state of mind and emotions that many people seem to be stuck in these days

Whilst allowing for all these things, I also practiced conscious positivity, noting that:

  • I had achieved my stated objectives, and that there would be genuinely good results coming
  • I felt I had developed aspects of my character that will stand me in good stead in the future
  • I noted the increase of knowledge I had around the legal profession and process
  • I gave permission to myself to feel genuinely good, even in the face of my own ambiguity

Positivity without suppression or denial
The example above, is an example of conscious positivity, and avoiding the temptation and pitfall of default positivity. What are the areas of your life that you could start making the distinction between these two, and what possibilities might it open up for you?

Related articleMindfully balancing positive thinking with healthy realism

Article & content © Toby Ouvry 2021, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com   


Tuesday 21st December,  7.30-8.30pm, SG time – Winter solstice balancing & renewing meditation (Online only)

This will be a chance to reflect on the spiritual meaning of Christmas and power of the winter season. We will look at the different ways our own inner light can ‘die and be re-born once more’.

It is a good time to attune to the creative energies within ourselves. We can think about the new year & spring periods that lie ahead of us, what our goals & expectations are, & sow the seeds on an inner level of that which we wish to manifest over the next few months…read full details

 


Tues & Weds 4th & 5th January – 2022 New year & New Moon releasing and inviting meditation

This meditation session is focused upon setting up the 2022 new year energies in a way that invites the best possible experience moving forward. We will be:

  • Releasing and letting go of energies, events and experiences from the past year that may hold us back from moving into our full potential
  • Developing a flexible, soft, ‘beginners mind’, renewed and ready to be ‘born again’ with energy and enthusiasm in 2022
  • Focusing both consciously and intuitively upon the inviting of new energies, aspirations and goals that we wish to bring in and manifest over the course of the new year…read full details

Begins Tues 11/Weds 12th January – The ordinary path to enlightenment – Meditating with the Ten Ox Herding pictures

This series of 10 classes is an introduction to simple, practical Zen and Taoist meditations that can temporarily help us to reduce our stress and thrive joyfully in daily life. They can also, practiced regularly offer us experiential insight into our true nature and help us to answer some of our deepest life-questions and attain a truly stable sense of inner transformation. The sessions can be attended as a complete course in itself, or each class can be taken as a practice in and of itself…read full details


 

Life-fullness – The Integral Life-Coaching Program with Toby
 

Are you looking a coach who can help you to:

  • Meet the challenges, stress and changes that you face in a more effective and mindful way
  • Become happier within yourself, in your relationships and at work
  • Be actively accountable for finding a sense of balance/well-being in your life and fulfilling your personal potential?
  • Guide you to find and operate from a deeper sense of meaning, motivation and connectivity in your life?
Read full details

All upcoming classes and workshops at IMA:

Ongoing – Weekly Tuesday, Wednesday Online class schedule

Ongoing on Wednesday’s, 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby (Bukit Timah)

Ongoing on Tuesday evenings, 7.30-8.30pm – Tuesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby  (East Coast)

Tuesday 21st December,  7.30-8.30pm, SG time – Winter solstice balancing & renewing meditation (Online only)

Tues & Weds 4th & 5th January – 2022 New year & New Moon releasing and inviting meditation

Begins Tues 11/Weds 12th January – The ordinary path to enlightenment – Meditating with the Ten Ox Herding pictures


Integral Meditation Asia

Online Courses 1:1 Coaching * Books * Live Workshops * Corporate Mindfulness Training *Life-Coaching *  Meditation Technology

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