«We in the West are so obsessed by our negative emotions that even scientific research has focused exclusively on them. Of the five basic emotions — disgust, fear, anger, sorrow and happiness — only one is positive, and that is rather insipid. Negative emotions are useful. Fear and anger stop us in our tracks and focus our attention on self-defence. ‘Put yourself first!’ they seem to shout.
On the other hand, when we’re exposed to the great generosity of someone we admire, a well-kept garden or an impressive landscape, the opposite reaction occurs. Being truly inspired also stops us in our tracks, and takes us out of our dreary habitual trains of thought. But instead of shutting us down, it opens our hearts and minds to new ways of being and receiving what the world has to offer us, and what we have to offer.
Oxytocin, the hormone that creates bonds of affection, is created by the brain reacting to emotions that make our heart beat faster. It is produced during breastfeeding, and during orgasm in relationships based on love, not just sex. It is also produced when we are touched by the example of someone we admire. Doubtless this love hormone reminds us that it is through our bonds with other people that we get in touch with everything that’s good in us.»