Towards a Science
of Personal Transformation


Eric Armstrong

What Makes Positive Thinking So Important?

--stress and it's impact on health
--how you feel about yourself and your place in the world, how happy you are
--how people react to you

see also:
--notes on venture capitalist reactions in my entrepreneurial articles
--Being_Postive.txt in notes folder

Why Couldn't I Just "Be Positive"?

--Dale Carnegie as a kid
--how to project positive in martial arts
--both worked wonderfully
--but both felt like lies. I couldn't sustain them. (a couple of months for the 1st, a year for the 2nd)

So it's not that positive thinking is bad. On the contrary. It's wonderful. But a lot of time it seems as though we're trying to slap a new coat of paint over an old house. We've got to fix the roof so it doesn't leak when it rains, repair the fences, replace the broken windows, and get the mildew and cobwebs out of the basement!

Yet, many have tried it and have found the results to be less than truly stellar, while others swear by it. What is the difference: Unexamined "inner blocks", in the form of past experiences that have created irrisestible counter-pressure. On the surface, you're trying to be positive, but underneath there is a strong undertow working against you.

How I Became Really Positive

One of the most positive guys I ever saw was a man who became CEO of Sun Microsystems. I once asked him how he got so positive. His reply wasn't all that helpful. He said, "You have to be".

Then came the __big breakthrough (heart)__, then the __2nd (frustration, judgement)__, and the __3rd (inner smile,)__, the __4th (fire breath)__ and the __5th (yoga nidra)__ (link to tantra lessons for #3, magical moments for others)
--it became possible to be really positive, to glow
--suddenly, I loved to connect with others, to spend time with them,
and hear their stories

--In the course where the last 3 breakthroughs happened, I heard some intriguing things about __Yoga Nidra__ from __Jan Robinson__
--earth's frequency (also called the Schuman resonance)
--gratitude "magnetizes" the visualization/experience (__The Secret__)

Also: Head, heart, and gut in resonance (coherent frequencies) --HeartMath?

When started investigating, I quickly came across a number of readings that expanded on that scientific basis for such results. Some centered around the head (__A Symphony in the Brain__, __The Open Focus Solution__).

And I went to a "positive thinking/visualize-and-manifest-your-reality" workshop where I heard about __HeartMath__ (a heart-centered approach to achieving that state), __Don Miguel Ruiz__ (a manifestation guru), and __Abraham-Hicks (a visualization specialist).

"Visualization" is something of a misnomer. In the right state, you literally experience
the reality you are focusing on.

Later, at a Yoga class of all places, I would come across another source of information (__Trauma Release Exercise__). It, like tantra yoga, understands that emotional blockages and traumatic memories are stored in the body, and that the path to release must deal with that reality.

Each of those authors provide important clues to what might well be a repeatable process that can be followed to achieve startling results. (See the Resources and later sections for more information on those approaches.)

A Goal is Established

At the visualization workshop , I heard some terrific things about how to visualize and manifest. But then, I was in the perfect state to do just that because (a) the blockages had been cleared, (b) I was connected with Universal Love Consciousness/Spirit/God/Shiva/Babaji, and (c) in that state, I can ask for guidance about what to manifest, and then leave it to Spirit to do the manifesting!

So I was grinning through the whole workshop. But too my right, I saw earlier versions of myself. One said he went to a lot of these workshops. He wanted so much to be positive! But in reality he had the same tremendous capacity for being judgemental that I had shouldered for so long. A charter member of the "positive police", he was quick to pounce on statement that didn't come out just right. In reality, of couse, he was trying to train his own mind to be positive, by catching what sounded like a lack of positivity in others (even if their inner reality was totally positive, regardless of the wording).

If only that approach worked! Alas, it does not. I could see why he went to workshop after workshop, chasing the appealing yet elusive goal of positivity, when I knew from personal experience how many emotional blockages underly that streak of judgementalism, and how deep they are!

The other fellow there wanted to be positive with equal fervor, but had equal trouble actually being positive. I knew for sure, when his hand shot up in response to a question I asked.

At one point, we were told to fill in the blanks in the phrase "I am choosing to ____" , to clarify our goals. I asked about that, saying that I there were things I wanted, but I was at the seminar because I was uncertain about my ability to actually make them happen. So for me, it was more about wanting than knowing how to manifest them, or even knowing that I could.

That struck a chord, alright. Everyone's hand shot up in agreement. They wanted to know about that, too.

The Power of "I Am" -- But Who is "I"?

In the seminar, when I asked about the phrase, "I am choosing to ___", that's when we heard about Don Miguel Ruiz, and the power of the words "I AM". (Since then, I've noticed that every such statement that arises to my mind unbidden does indeed give me important clues to my own self-identity. I looked at catalog for courses and didn't toss it into the junk mail because, "I like learning things". And after a recent __Ipsalu__ practice session, I felt good about myself, knowing I'll arrive at the highest states because, "I'm disciplined". (One of the nice things about all the sports training I did. Eventually, you win something, and it becomes very real to you that diligent practice is rewarded.)

But the more I thought about the power of "I AM", the more it became apparent to me that "I" could easily be coming from the ego. That's not necessarily a problem. As seminar leader __??__ said, "There's nothing wrong with ego". The point was that "ego" is an individual manifestation of universal consciousness, and when we are connected, our individual consciousness has goals that are aligned with Inner Spirit. In fact, they come from an inner awareness of who we really are, which produces an irresistable inner drive to manifest our inner reality.

So "I"--the connected, superconscious "I" isn't really a problem. But there is also the subconscious I, who lies beneath our surface awareness. That "I" is the source of deep longings for things you really want, coupled with a deep, unconscious "knowing" that you can't have them! (Hence the longing).

At this point, it became clear to me that visualizing what we (think we) want is a great first step. It can either point to blockages we really need to release, or indicate an inner reality we are truly ready to manifest.

The thing was that many "be positive" workshops don't seem to respect the very real need for personal growth, in order to make positivity possible. They seem to think that every obstacle can be ploughed through by sheer power of visualization, and that if the process isn't working, "you're doing it wrong". (Actually, you're probably doing it right. It's you that's wrong for the technique--but in the process, the technique is providing a great clue for what to do next!)

Equally important, it seems to me that "being positive" requires an inner connection, to get the guidance to choose wisely.

When I listen to my inner voice, I typically don't know why I want to do something. I just know that I really, really want to do it. I find out the reason later. For example, the other day, I really wanted a mocha at the coffee shop near work. No, I thought to myself. I'm drinking tea these days. But my inner voice persisted. I didn't have time for breakfast, so ok. When I got to the shop, I found the pretty girl who always used to work a different day (the day I used to make sure I'd be there!). Then I was super productive at work, dropped weight after eating two small, nutritious meals, and made an impression on the boss late in the day--when I didn't know he would be there. And then, after waking in the middle of the night as I usually do, I wrote much of this treatise. So, as is typical, the rewards came after listening to my inner voice/god-connection/spirit.

Leave it to Spirit!

So how do you know when your desire is coming from your "inner voice". There is only one answer for that. It's the same answer I gave the fellow at the seminar, when he asked about an exercise we were doing. In that exercise, we generated energy with our palms to send towards each other, to energize their visualization. The fellow asked the astute question, "How do we know when we're in the right state to be helpful?"

My answer to that was that when you reach one of those transcendent states where you are truly connected, you know what that state feels like. It's like "eating chicken" (or eating a carrot). No one can describe it to you. But if you've experienced it, you know what it's like.

In the seminar, being in that transcendent state means knowing you will be helpful. When it comes to what you want, being in that state lets you know that you're listening to your inner voice/Universal Love Consciousness.

But an interesting second effect of that connection is that following your inner voice also happens to lead directly to what you want. For example, after reconnecting with that joyful inner guide who keeps me company and makes me happy as I follow inner directions (and express gratitude for the guidance):

Note: (Move to tantra_lessons or magical_moments. Link to it there.)
It is interesting that there is a negotiation with inner spirit.

Right now, while writing, inner guide is saying, "only a few words more". A good thing! Because it's nearly 6 am, and I need to get a little more rest before going into the office to work another full day!

If I say, "I need to get some sleep!", as I have done on occasion, spirit will immediately relent and let me go. But I don't feel that right now, so I'm still writing. Instead, I feel that spirit will give me all the energy I need to reach my true goals, and watch over me--so that a) I'll be alert and productive when people are watching, b) If I need downtime, it will be when no one needs me, and c) I'll get so much done in any case that people will be happy with my work, regardless.)

And whereas the night before I was guided to watch no TV at all, and spent the time meditating, writing, and reading (for which I was rewarded with deeper inner connectiion and guidance), last night I got a little inner "Ok" to watch a bit of TV. Result? I clicked through several pre-recorded programs, none of which were very interesting, until I got to marginally interesting PBS special on earthquakes (which motivated to lay in a larger supply of water!) After that, I read, went to sleep, and woke at 3:30. I then meditated, and then wrote until 6:15--at which point the yawning has begun, and it't time to sleep for a few hours more!

The Goal Forms

By now, I had a new goal. What I wanted was a way to get into that "Breakthrough State" and stay there for 20 or 30 minutes at a time, to:

Being "Really Positive" (and calm, and peaceful, and...)

(This section assumes that your inner obstacles are not right there on the surface, in the form of traumatic stress, which doesn't take any investigation to identify! If it is, jump right to step #3 at the end of this section, and proceed from there.)

If you're one of the people who wants to be positive, but has trouble actually doing, here's what generally happens when you try to be positive:

Naturally, things don't quite work out as well as you would wish. Perhaps you had the wrong goals. (Without inner guidance, how would you know?) Perhaps you had inner blockages (Without inner consciousness, how will you find them? Without help releasing them, how can you keep from sabatouging yourself?)

But I think the first step can be a guide to the inner dimensions. The first step is identifying what you want. (Subconscious ego is fine, at this stage.) Then attempt to visualize it. If you succeed, great! If not, you now have an window into your inner being. You can begin to hear the "inner talk" that represents your true obstacles.

Of course, it takes some work to get into the right state of mind where you can actually visualize and actually hear your inner voice (and experience the attendant body sensations, with or without the voice). That's the subject of later sections. But once you're there, you can surface your real, inner obstacles.

There are then several avenues of approach:

  1. Visualize and Override.  (For light resistance or no resistance.)
    Get into the right brain state so that your positive visualizations have at least as much force as any earlier, negative programming.

  2. Experience and Repair.  (For self-concepts arising from childhood trauma before crtitical thinking)
    1. Examine earlier episodes, bringing them to light with Witness consciousnesses
    2. Experience the emotions, let them wash over you and release
    3. Rebuild inner concept of self by choosing from other memories

  3. Inner Calm.  (For severe trauma syndrome: sexual or battlefield PTSD)
    Develop the capacity to be in a peaceful place: First, as triage for overwhelming emotional reactions and panic attacks; Second, to allow for the eventual emergence of Witness consciousness.

    --Symphony in the brain--calm witness-consciousness is automatic at the alpha/theta "crossover" state, right at the theta threshold (alpha=calm, theta=memories bubbling up as images to be dealt with)


Each of these could take a chapter of their own, to explain how and why they work.

Tantric Healing
--Ipsalu Tantra, in particular, which is focused more than any other practice on "healing the inner child"--resolving early trauma and otehr painful childhood experiences
--starts by identifying the bodily sensation that accompanies emotion
--that makes sense, because memories are held in the body
--in each chakra, especially
--"Witness consciousness"
   to reexperience without consciousness is to reinforce
   to reexperience with consciousness is to release

Yoga Nidra
--see magical_moments.html & tantra_lessons.html #7

Fire Breath exercise
--experpience the emotion, feel it in your body, express it with movement, give it a voice
--see tantra_lessons.html #11

Lucid Dreaming
--see magical_moments.html

Sleep Teaching
--see magical_moments.html

--Abraham-Hicks: The goal is to remove blocks
--Powerful statement: "I AM"
--also, other powerful forms of "inner talk" that guide our decisions:

--HeartMath: 17-seconds in full visualization = 200 hrs. physical action
--HeartMath: Mind & Heart in alignment = Schuman Resonance (7.5 hz)

--__??(Jan's path)??__ Gut check, heart check, head check

--Don Miguel Ruiz: ....

--neurofeedback (brain)
--biofeedback (heart, skin)
--particularly good summary of brainwave states
--40 hz info
--didn't find it very relaxing to be there for any length of time, but... (next item)

The Awakened Mind: BioFeedback the Development of Higher States of Awareness,
by C. Maxwell Cade and Nona Coxhead
--meditation has a pattern of multiple brainwave states
--spikes of theta
--maybe spikes of 40 hz, as well?
(The book was published in 1978. Instruments of that era may not have been detecting it.)

Scientology's use of biofeedback in paired sessions:
Magical Moments/Expanded Consciousness


  1. Connect with Inner Guide
  2. Establish true desire
  3. Identify the obstacle(s)
  4. Discover the source
  5. Erase the block
  6. Proclaim your truth
  7. Experience your bliss
  8. Manifest your destiny

Connect with Spirit

Connect with inner Spirit--the inner guide, the voice of wisdom--to establish the direction(s) in which to travel.

--connect with the "answer man" (or woman, or guide, or spirit, or Great Spirit, or God, or Shiva, or Universal Love Consciousness).

Establish True Desire

Engage in conversation with your inner Spirit for the wisdom to guide your life.

Identify the Obstacle(s)

--what do you really want.
--what would you really like to manifest.
--what is it that, somehow, you can't bring yourself to say, because it doesn't feel right.

Discover the Source

Erase the Block

Proclaim Your Truth

Experience Your Bliss

--visualize, in the sense of fully experience, with all your senses
--something you can do in the threshold state, like no other

HeartMath: 17 seconds of total visualization is as powerful as 200 hours of action

Manifest Your Destiny




Lucid Dreaming



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