From Negativity Towards Intelligence
"Most of us are skilled at accessing unpleasant memory lowlights with ease. Memories of disappointment, betrayal, regret, and unrequited love arise regularly, not only in meditation, but in daily life. Neuroscientists have assured us that we are not alone in this, that it's universal, a byproduct of evolution. They have named it the negativity bias.
We are wired for both survival and happiness, but survival takes precedence in the evolutionary hierarchy of needs. When we are not mindful, which is most of the time, the mind looks for trouble, both in the past and in the imagined future. This relatively primitive troubleshooting is the reason the wandering mind is correlated with unhappiness. It may have served an evolutionary purpose, but the universal side effect is neurotic obsession and worry.
'Distraction is the only thing that consoles us for our miseries,
and yet it is itself the greatest of our miseries.' Blaise Pascal
When balanced mindfulness is present, however, the negativity bias is disengaged, and this is when we have the capacity to develop new neural pathways, more conscious and less self-defeating mental patterns. In order to do this, we need the aid of a supportive inner milieu."
Bill Morgan. "The Meditator's Dilemma: An Innovative Approach to Overcoming Obstacles and Revitalizing Your Practice." Shambhala, 2016.
“Psychologists reckon that 94% of us, most of the time, are driven by the negative motivations of fear, greed/craving, anger, and self-assertion; such negative motivations lead to negative and destructive behavior.
It is the role of spiritual intelligence to raise our motivations to the higher ones of exploration, cooperation, self- and situational-mastery, creativity, and service.”
Danah Zohar. "Exploring Spiritual Capital: An Interview with Danah Zohar." Spirituality in Higher Education Newsletter 2010; 5(5): 1-8.