Thinking positive thoughts, feeling positive emotions – is the holy grail in the modern world so filled with fear and negativity. How do I always have a positive self-image? How do I avoid negative thoughts leading to negative emotions? So many books written, so many words said on the subject, and yet, we still love the drama a bit too much…
In reality, it is not so difficult to learn to recognise the patterns of negative thinking, just need some skills in meditation and self-observation. But as we go further in understanding the self and the world, it becomes clear – thoughts are just thoughts, positive or negative, they are biased reflections of events based on our previous conditioning and existing view of the world.
Emotions (whatever sort) are just the same – fleeting, unsubstantial and easily provoked by the most trivial situations and habitual thought pattern. By their nature, they just experienced in a more powerful way than thoughts, they kind of make us “feel alive” but this still doesn’t make them any more true.
Self-image is just a self-image, an empty and narrow picture that our mind creates, which has nothing to do with the reality of ourselves – an unlimited potentiality, the full spectrum of expression. We create an image of ourselves in a way like putting a certain coloured glasses on – if predominantly negative – glasses are dark, but trying to change it into something more positive is like changing a dark glasses for a pink-coloured one. Neither reflects the full picture accurately.
You might say “It is still better to deal with positive people and feel positive about the world”, well, yes, and I prefer it too. There is no arguing, it is just nicer to live in a society where people are civil and not spilling their darkness onto the others. Would be nice, but if we want real, deep understanding of ourselves, we need to look at what it is actually going on, instead of indulging in “woulds”.
Let’s check the reality. Who would listen to the news when nobody died in a horribly violent way, when nobody accusing, blaming, fighting someone else when everything is just fine and there is no any kind of conflict whatsoever? What to talk about with our friends and relatives when nothing “negative” ever happens? And the movies… why we love so much all that condensed violence if we only want positive in our lives?
Our conditioning is so deeply fake and conflicted, we lie to ourselves on every step, and the lies are so pervasive and constant so we take them for the common truth. No wonder we are so conflicted as individuals and as a society. We scare ourselves brainless with fake fears and then try to pull some kind of blanket of positivity (which is just as fake) over the fake darkness.
We just love grand and nonsensical assumptions, love feeling those powerful emotions, love the drama. If we don’t have enough, we create some or go somewhere for the emotional fix of fear, grand indignation about “unfairness of the world”, self-pity, self-aggrandizement or whatever “makes us tick”.
Does it mean we are all rotten human beings? Shall we feel ashamed of ourselves? That would be another meaningless emotion-provoking thing that I have no intention of imposing on anyone. We are where we are, at a certain stage of our global development, born and raised in a dreamland, that we love and hate at the same time. Somewhere deep inside we feel its fakeness, and almost subconsciously feel the pull to the words in some way pointing to the true reality, like teachings of Buddha and others, more modern, but still based on the same vision, same experience of existing in real world, like teachings of Eckart Tolle, Adyashanti, Gangaji and others.
Trying to feel better employing the whole arsenal of short-lived methods like positive thinking, is like trying endlessly treat the symptoms, never thinking about the disease, the root of our constant dissatisfaction that creates that emotional void, the need for strong feelings. We “should be more positive”, and yet, the positive just doesn’t give the same power to our emotions, so secretly, we indulge in negativity, we scared of it and we love it, we love the dark colours in our spectrum just as much as we love the light ones, if not more. Not because there is something wrong with it, simply because we are the full spectrum of existence.
Maybe the question we should be asking is not “how I could feel more positive”, but “why do I need all that negativity”? How it makes me feel more alive? And why do I need to feel more? What makes me crave for the feelings? And what are those feeling, do they have any substance, any truth? What is it that I am really afraid of?
We come to this world to experience it all, to mature, to understand the suffering, the fear, the compassion… We want to build the world with less unnecessary suffering, but it will never be the world without death. So maybe we need a more realistic reflection of what is actually going on, what our fears are based on, what is fake and what is true. We are the full spectrum, capable of many things (given the right motivation), this needs to be acknowledged. And from there we can move on into something deeper than never-ending adjustment of our illusory self-concept, or as my favourite teacher Adyashanti said “straightening deck chairs on the Titanic”.
“Sprouting colors” – original image, prints available here