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Diane Dreher's Tao of Inner Peace Blog

The Good, the True, and the Beautiful

We all have a negativity bias. Psychologists tell us that our brains are hard wired to focus on problems, on things that can go wrong.[1] This reaction can save our lives in an emergency when we avoid a rattlesnake when walking in the woods or jump out of the way of a car speeding through the crosswalk. But in these uncertain times, our negativity bias can leave us worried, anxious, and on edge.


To counteract the negativity bias and restore our peace of mind, we can consciously cultivate happiness like plants in a garden. This means mindfully focusing our attention on the moments of joy and beauty in our lives. Research at the HeartMath Institute reveals that breathing feelings of appreciation into our hearts can return us to a state of coherence and peace and their scientists have measured this change empirically. [2] But Plato discovered this transformation thousands of years ago during classical times, describing the divine ideals as the Good, the True and the Beautiful and encouraging people to connect with them in greater awareness and appreciation.


To bring the light of greater coherence into our lives, we can focus on what is Good, True, and Beautiful in our lives and the world around us. The beauty of a sunny morning after a winter storm, the goodness of a caring friend, the truth of keeping our promises and living our deepest values. These moments of appreciation can light up our lives and bring us greater peace.


If you'd like to try this right now, take a slow, deep breath, focusing on your heart.

Then slowly breathe out. You can put your hand on your heart to focus your attention there if you wish.

Again, slowly breathe in and breathe out.

As you breathe into your heart, feel your shoulders relax, your mind becoming more peaceful.


Now as you continue this slow heart-focused breathing, think of a time when you felt connected to goodness, beauty or truth.

Was it appreciating the kindness of a friend? The beauty of a radiant sunset?  Acting on the truth of your highest values? Or something else?


Focus on that experience, breathing into your heart, feeling the sense of connection to the Good, the True, and the Beautiful in your life.


And when you are ready, return to your regular activities, feeling more relaxed, renewed, and peaceful.



[1] Rozin, P., & Royzman, E. B. (2001). Negativity bias, negativity dominance, and contagion. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 5, 296-320; Vaish, A., Grossman, T., & Woodward, A. (2008). Not all emotions are created equal: The negativity bias in social-emotional development. Psychological Bulletin, 134: 383-403.

[2] Childre, D., Martin, H., Rozman, D. & McCraty, R. (2016). Heart Intelligence. Waterfront Press, p. 62.

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