The traditional concept of a hierarchy of needs follows that if you fill the basic needs of a person you will attain a degree of satisfaction and emotional contentment. It is a bottom up approach-you get food, clothing, shelter, and move on up the ranks to significance and as you attain each level you will be emotionally more ‘happy’. A bit oversimplified but it will do. This makes emotion determined by environment.
What if it was the other way around, that emotion determined environment? That if you can hold a state of positive emotion through the thought patterns you permit you are more likely to create the environment around you that you desire. If you can visualise something with a strong emotion you are more likely to cause it to happen.
The problem with a bottom up pyramid approach is that you put more effort into the bottom levels to get a minimal top result. What if by putting a minimal effort into the top you got the bottom levels anyway. Ascetic belief structures (personally not a favourite of mine) tend to show that it is possible to achieve a positive emotional state without what we call ‘necessity’ by focusing on the thought patterns and emotions first, then the rest of the pyramid.