12 August 2022

by Maria Porsfelt, Yoga & Tantra Teacher

“The bad stuff is easier to believe. You ever notice that?” – Pretty Woman (1990)

Have you ever noticed how the ‘bad stuff’ is easier to believe? And how when you are ‘too happy’ you start to look for what might go wrong? Have you noticed how we often think we are being realistic if we look at something in a negative way? It is said that a pessimist always calls himself a realist. This actually expresses a psychological truth – that the ‘bad stuff’ IS easier to believe, and even attracts our attention more than good feelings and experiences do. This is called negative bias.

Studies have shown that negative news is more likely to be perceived as truthful. And as negative information draws greater attention, it can also be seen as having greater validity. This might be why bad news seems to garner more attention, and we only need to look at news headlines over any given week to know that the latter is true. Drama and scandal make the most delicious gossip.

Focusing on the whereabouts of local predators or enemies was much more important for staying safe than looking at the beauty of the flowers or a rainbow.

We all want to be happy, so why do we seem to look for the negative, and for reasons to feel bad? The explanation has a lot to do with evolution – or lack thereof, depending on the perspective! Keeping an eye out for possible dangers and threats was very useful for our cave dwelling ancestors, and was most likely a condition for survival. Focusing on the whereabouts of local predators or enemies was much more important for staying safe than looking at the beauty of the flowers or a rainbow.

Like the pain response, dwelling on negativity is a way of keeping us safe. And while we no longer need to be on constant high alert as our early ancestors needed to be to survive, negativity bias still has a starring role in the way our brains operate. Research has shown that negative bias can have a wide variety of effects on how people think, respond, and feel.

The amygdala uses about two-thirds of its neurons to look for bad news.

Negative emotions rouse the amygdala, the almond-shaped brain structure that psychologist Rick Hansen calls, “the alarm bell of your brain.” The amygdala uses about two-thirds of its neurons to look for bad news. Once it sounds the alarm, negative events and experiences are stored in the memory very quickly, in contrast to positive events and experiences, which usually need to be held in the awareness for twelve seconds or more before they are transferred from short-term memory buffers to long-term storage.

Not only do negative experiences imprint on our memory more easily, they also linger longer than positive ones. Generally, we are more likely to dwell on a negative comment or event than we are to take in a compliment or remember the details of a happy event. This negative bias can mean that you focus entirely on a negative aspect, even if the positive is equally or even predominantly present. You might spend a beautiful day with your family or your beloved, but in the end you remember the day mostly because of that one comment they made that bothered you.

To a large extent, emotions make up our life experience.

Research also suggests that negative bias influences the motivation to complete a task. People have less motivation if the incentive is framed as a means to gain something, than when the same incentive will help them avoid losing something. This can play a role in our motivation to pursue a goal. You are more likely to dwell on what you might have to give up to achieve that goal, or simply feel pushed by a threat of loss in your daily activities, than focus on what you will gain if you keep working towards something, or be inspired by the positive effects that achieving that goal will bring.

To a large extent, emotions make up our life experience. Imagine your life without emotions – seeing a beautiful view or having interactions with the most important people in your life with no emotional response. Emotions transform our world from a series of objective conceptual facts into a living, breathing experience, bringing us joy, sadness, longing, anger, laughter, and love. Emotions bring meaning to our life experiences, and are an important part of what it is to be human. But emotions can of course also be difficult and tormenting, making life very challenging.

…it is very important to become aware of negative bias and to counteract its effects.

With the meaning and depth the emotions you experience bring to your life, they also shape the way you relate to different people and events. Negative bias influences your relationships and your decision making. In relationships, for instance, you will expect the worst of the other, and you will focus on their flaws and mistakes. When making decisions that are influenced by negativity bias we will tend to focus excessively on potential risks, even if the chances for a positive outcome is greater, and then we can lose many great opportunities for filling life with more happiness and abundance.

Considering the huge impact it can have on our quality of life, on our experiences and the choices we make, it is very important to become aware of negative bias and to counteract its effects. And the good news is we can do something to counteract this tendency, that otherwise gains extra power because of its unconscious nature. Thankfully, any habit can be broken, even if it implies a negative attitude or perspective.

How to counter negative bias

  • Bring awareness to the ways in which you allow negative bias to impact your life
  • Learn to let your attention linger on the positive aspects for longer, so that they transfer to ‘long-term storage’. This requires patience and repetition, as the physiological part of the rewiring takes about 45 days, so consistency is key.
  • Remember you have a choice. It’s important to realise how much agency you have in letting bad comments stick with you or not. Eleanor Roosevelt famously said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Refuse to consent to feeling inferior!
  • Be attentive to how you talk to yourself. Our inner dialogue is often very negative. Speak to yourself with the same kindness you would afford a friend.
  • In your love relationships make an effort to notice and acknowledge the positive qualities and actions of your beloved, and really savour the beautiful moments.
  • In your daily activities focus on and empower positive reasons that inspire you in your actions.
  • Make an effort to be at least as interested in success stories and positive news as you are in negative ones.

In time, cultivating these attitudes will create a huge shift in how you perceive life and yourself. From a certain perspective it can be said that emotions are about evolution – biologically and spiritually. Emotions bring our attention to different situations or attitudes. But also profound emotions are said to connect us to our soul, being an expression of our soul, and thus they allow us to discover who we are on a deeper level. But we need to be more aware of our emotions to shift from biological bias to the deep free expression of our soul, to connect to a more authentic way of being.

08 May 2022


Last Saturday (30th of April) saw the inaugural Pilgrimage of the Tara outdoor spirituality group. An initiative formed as part of the aspiration to grow and nurture our spiritual community, the outdoor spiritual group aims to merge the great outdoors with meaningful spiritual experiences. Saturday was the first event and he we have a review of the day from Alberto, a Tantra and Shaivism student who was also one of the organisers.

27 hearts on fire departed from Chartham at 10am, each heart carrying their own longing, their own intimate intention, their challenges and their offerings. We were led by our captain Andrew, who set the tone and shared the wisdom accumulated over years as an ardent pilgrim himself.


The sky was overcast but vigilant. As soon as the sky saw us consecrating the pilgrimage, He started to clear the clouds away. The group walked in mauna, silently tuning into the secret space of our hearts and the egregor of all those pilgrims who had walked the North Downs Way before us.


After our first stop, some maintained the inner and outer silence, while others used the opportunity to get to know one another.


The Sun was now shining in all its glory, and he stayed with us for the rest of the pilgrimage, warming our hearts and granting us the privilege of a tan by the end of the day!

Captain Andrew


Equipped with a compass and map, our Captain Andrew and his loyal Lalla walked at the front of the group, setting the pace and guiding us on our way to Canterbury. Kieran and Eabha walked in the middle of the group, and I was at the back, like a shepherd whose task is to make sure no sheep goes astray. But orchestrating a group of 27 people is not easy! Some enjoy walking fast and some slow.

And some like stopping and admiring every little thing along the way, even if that means separating from the group. They stop to worship every flower, independently of their size and colour, most of the trees, and even seemingly ordinary things that stop being ordinary in such a state of wonder. This special group of transfiguring wanderers was composed of Lia, Howard, Francesca, Jonathan and Cintia, and I was at the back.


As it was supposed to be, we found ourselves separated from the bulk of the group. I was told not to let that happen, but what could I do? How to tell someone to stop admiring a flower and keep up with the others?


Eventually, the group reunited and never split up again. It was time to have some lunch, restore some energies and enjoy the sun.


In a glorious speech, Kieran reminded us of the importance of the spiritual community, or Sangha, as one of the three main pillars of the spiritual path. Yoga practice goes beyond practising on the yoga mat. We are mirrors of one another and each one of us is an example of a unique spiritual practitioner. Sangha helps us overcome the challenges of the spiritual path and keeps the fire of our aspiration high.

We restarted our journey along the picturesque countryside of the Pilgrims Way that links Winchester to Canterbury.

It’s part of the pilgrims tradition to pause at every church encountered in the path, to connect inside again, withdraw in prayer and to remember the purpose of the walk, and so we did in St. Dunstan’s Church, who welcomed us as we entered Canterbury. The city of Canterbury was alive. We resisted the temptation to jump on a boat cruise around the city or to buy anything along the pedestrian shopping street, and made our way straight to the gothic Cathedral before 16:00.

Following the customs, we walked clockwise around the magnificent Cathedral before gathering again to meditate and crystallise the gifts that this pilgrimage offered to us.

The day ended with the evensong, an evening service of prayer and praise, sung by the Cathedral Choir, using the traditional language of the Book of Common Prayer.

“It is only a tiny rosebud,
A flower of God’s design;
But I cannot unfold the petals
With these clumsy hands of mine.

The secret of unfolding flowers
is not known to such as I.
GOD opens this flower so sweetly,
When in my hands they fade and die.

If I cannot unfold a rosebud,
This flower of God’s design,
Then how can I think I have wisdom
To unfold this life of mine?

So I’ll trust in Him for His leading
Each moment of every day.
I will look to Him for His guidance
Each step of the pilgrim way.

The pathway that lies before me,
Only my Heavenly Father knows.
I’ll trust Him to unfold the moments,
Just as He unfolds the rose. 🌹”

Amazing day and experience. Lots of gratitude for organizing and holding the space for this spiritual journey! Have a great week ahead everyone’

Huge gratitude to organisers for such an amazing day

John

Fantastic day! Beautiful souls!
Amazing experience! ❤️
Thank you Andrew for organisation and thank you everyone for your presence!

Ion

Thank you all, it was a great day!

Frank
01 June 2019

Let go of that bag you have been carrying with you for a while and let your heart fly.

Just like we understand there is the energy of love, the energy of beauty, or of wonder, so too is there an energy of forgiveness. We can connect to this energy through the process of occult resonance. Just as love attracts love, and beauty attracts beauty etc, so does forgiveness attract forgiveness. To bring forgiveness inside of us we need to become an attractor or a receiver of this energy.

It is a gift to yourself to let your heart fly from being attached to that action that hurt you in the first place. This does not mean to forget what has happened to you or pretend nothing happened, but to look at the situation clearly for what it is, examining the suffering, therefore naturally healing yourself by the energy of forgiveness and allowing this energy to manifest deeper inside your being down to the level of your soul.

Enjoy this video on the energy of forgiveness to understand how it can set your heart free.

05 May 2019

Many people are under a misguided belief that to be truly spiritual one must completely renounce modern life and live a life of a monk, be unaffected by drama and chaos and usher in good vibes.The truth is, spiritual living is accessible to all of us, because we all are spirit. And the power to know your spiritual nature exists in the actions of your everyday life.

Part of becoming spiritual is about taking control of your own inner chatter and making it healthier. It’s about trusting in the path of your life, and whilst sometimes that path seems very hard, or people are put there to cross you, it’s your job to think positively, and when relevant, to release any negativity or foul thoughts you may have.

Spirituality is recognising that we are all connected to each other by a power greater than all of us, and that our connection to that power and to one another is grounded in love and compassion. The spiritual value of compassion has been shown to extend to mind and body as well. It’s in our nature to be sympathetic and kind to others, while doing great good to ourselves at the same time.

Countless scientific studies indicate that compassion doesn’t merely help those who receive the compassion. Practising compassion makes us happier and healthier. It strengthens relationships, creates communities and fosters world peace.

New research at UCLA and the University of North Carolina evaluated the levels of cellular inflammation in people who describe themselves as very happy. Inflammation is suspected to be at the root of cancer and other diseases, and is generally high in people who live under a lot of stress. We might expect that inflammation would be lower in people with higher levels of happiness. But the study shows an important distinction. People who were happy because they lived a life of pleasure (also known as hedonic happiness) had high inflammation levels, while people who were happy because they lived a life of purpose or meaning (also known as eudaimonic happiness) had low inflammation levels. A life of meaning and purpose is one focused less on satisfying oneself and more on others. It is often a life rich in compassion and altruism.

In other words, as human beings evolved, we became more aware of the good that results from empathy and kindness. We developed an alternative to selfishness. Studies have suggested that compassion is indeed an evolved part of human nature, vital to good health and even to the survival of our species.

Learn more about about living a compassionate life

15 January 2019

What is divine art and what is the meaning of the initiated art or divine artist?

Hello Beautiful Loves and welcome to this month’s inspirational page on Sacred Divine Art. Stated by different divinely inspired artists in more or less the same words, “the role of divine art is to reveal the beauties of the seen and unseen world”.

Divine art is always a conscious act and the divine artist is always aware of what he or she aims to transmit through their art and is also very familiar with the divine laws of the universe; especially the law of resonance. Therefore, one is very much aware of the quality of the impact that his or her work has on the audience, spectators or admirers. So, by definition, divine art is always a beneficial one and always has a positive, uplifting, cathartic, purifying or even healing effect on the audience.

George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff calls it ‘Objective Art’ because in genuine art nothing is accidental, everything is precisely intended in perfect awareness and accordance with the message that the work of art aims to transmits. Therefore it cannot generate a certain impression to one person and a completely different one to another. This is valid, of course, to the people that are on the same level of consciousness and understanding.

Initiated art is based on the universal principals (such as Harmony, Truth, Divine Good, Beauty) and becomes in this way an enigmatic channel and generator of these elevated energies, resonances and realities that provoke all the time positive effects in the ones contemplating it. It is never driven by the chaotic, uncontrolled, unconscious or even pathological and disharmonious tendencies of the ego. In the world today, where the mainstream focus is predominantly towards the material part of life and when the aspiration for genuine spiritual knowledge is extremely weak or almost absent, art has lost its own meaning along the way and the general view on it has become a distorted manifestation, an expression of the ego, the false part of our beings that keeps us away from experiencing our true divine nature; our nature that is always pure, unwavering, conscious, truthful, loving and in tune with the Universal Consciousness – the Absolute.

Being aware even just on an intuitive level of the Universal Law of Resonance and the Universal Law of Cause and Effect (Law of Karma – that makes it so that everything that we do is influencing not just us but also others. In other words, what we ripen is what we’ll sow and that everything we intend, think or act is affects in the same manner both the artist and the art’s receiver), we can easily understand the big responsibility implied in performing the artistic act and in the nature of its quality. The receiver of the art is by definition receptive to the message, energies and the message of the art work, so it is a simple and very common sense of deduction that everything we transmit through it will be directly influencing the audience. If we give them joy and happiness they will be filled and elevated by joy and happiness; if we bring fear, anger or despair, without offering a solution to get out of it, or if we don’t sublimate it, then we’ll throw our audience exactly in those terrible states, and this contradicts the very meaning of the existence of art, which is to elevate, to purify, to harmonise, to reveal the beauties of the world, to awaken the soul and offer solutions, key or exemplary states for rediscovering our way back home – to our God-given happiness, health and well-being.

Initiated artists always aim to perfect, improve, purify, transform and elevate themselves because they know that one can create divine art only in the measure that they can reflect, mirror, channel and transmit those sublime realities. In this way art becomes a very privileged spiritual and insightful path in which the tools of perfecting the quality of one’s art are the same tools of transformation of a yogi. For example, because his goal is to be tuned deeper and deeper, higher and higher to the superior realms and realities, both in his inner universe and in the macrocosm, he also knows that due to the Universal Law of Correspondence, all the macrocosm is reflected in his inner universe. Therefore, by knowing himself deeply and by experiencing the reality of the respective specific elevated energies or aspects in his own inner universe, he can become in this way a more and more aware and transparent channel, mirror all those wonderful realities and reflect them precisely in his art.

Therefore, alongside the spiritual maturity and inner elevation and deep transformation comes also the fidelity and transparency, the precision and the proper “skills” and success in creating genuine divine art. The wonderful magic of divinely inspired art is that it has the quality of transforming and elevating others, so, from this perspective, the creation act is, and should be, one of generosity, of altruism. When the artist forgets that he is in fact a mysterious and privileged instrument in God’s hand, and on the contrary he assumes a very egoistic and irresponsible state for the others’ attitude, he fails the chance of fulfilling his true meaning as artist and his art will reflect his attitude in a more or less obvious way.

The initiated artist always aims to maintain and amplify in his or her being the state of divine channelling and humbleness that allows her to be in a constant teaching process through what the divine, the Absolute is manifesting through her in the inspiration and creative process.

The moment we let go of the ego, we allow the inner spiritual evolution process to flow, taking off our masks and removing our shells, allowing us to be pure and sublime channels for the Divine realities.

So, sitting in a comfortable position with the spine straight, you can meditate on this piece of music that will allow you to resonate more deeply with the inspiration of the divine. Allow whatever you feel to manifest through you, and try to represent this feeling through your own practise of sacred and divine art.

Enjoy the music by Michel Pepe – Titled “Le Berceau de la Vie” meaning “The Cradle of Life”