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Positive Emotions

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,

will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

– Philippians 4:7


In the Work, the term, “positive emotions” does not mean the opposite of negative emotions. Positive emotions are free of identification. They are a state of being above the level of ordinary emotions; they emanate from higher centers. For this reason, positive emotions have no opposite; they transcend the opposites. A peace beyond understanding – unencumbered by so-called normal concerns – is an unperturbable center, rooted and grounded in experience of Presence, of the Divine Indwelling.  The Fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5: 22-23) – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control – are examples of positive emotions and thus have a deeper expression than what we normally might experience.


“All positive emotions come from higher centers – and that is why we have to work on negative emotions. Their quality is such that they have no opposites in them. That is, they are Third Force, or as the Gospels say, ‘Holy Spirit.’ They are ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ – not ‘Yes’ or ‘No.’ No one can create, call forth, make, a positive emotion. So Mr. Ouspensky said: ‘Positive emotions come as rewards.’ That is, if you have privately, solitarily, and in the loneliness not of your negative self but your own spirit, decided, made a decision, not to identify or feed a particular negative emotion – if, in short, you have shut the door and entered into yourself (as it is said in Matthew: ‘enter into thine inner chamber, and having shut thy door, pray to thy Father, which is in secret’) then, ‘your Father, which seeth in secret, will reward you’ (Matt. 6:6). What is the reward? You will taste positive emotion for a brief moment – something blessed – that is, filled with such bliss that nothing of human love-hate emotions can be compared with it. What we regard as positive emotions, feeling fine, feeling fit, and on top of the world, self-admiration, etc., can turn in a moment into negative emotion. Such emotions, such pleasant emotions, are not positive emotions; these never change into opposites but visit us and then withdraw.


“But unless we work – really value this Work on negative states, struggle not to believe them, … erect the God in ourselves, the individual spirit … then indeed we are cut off from all inner help and all the deep background that higher centers can begin to give, once we build up and make the intermediary receptive instrument. … All humanity could be helped – if they made this receptive intermediary apparatus in their minds and hearts.”

– Maurice Nicoll, Commentaries, “Negative and Positive Emotions,” Oct. 30, 1948, Vol. 4, pp. 1238-1239


Centering Prayer is totally in service to creating this “receptive intermediary apparatus” as we consent to the presence, action and love of God.