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Are You Free of Positive Thinking
There is no such thing as ‘positive’ thinking? Thoughts are created in consciousness and in consciousness there is no duality. There is no positive or negative. So what does positive thinking really mean?
There is duality all around you in the material world ‘out there’. Up and down, left and right, hot and cold, here and there. There is a positive pole and a negative pole in the material universe. But duality disappears where thoughts originate – in consciousness.
Thoughts arise in the mind and the mind is a faculty of your consciousness, which is you. They arise from the inside out, mostly shaped by memory. They only ‘seem’ to sometimes come from outside in. When you listen to and consume the thoughts of others you are creating your own ‘thought versions’ of the words that re-present their thoughts/ideas etc. What appears to be ‘outside in’ is still ‘inside out’. You are still the creator.
Why is a positive thought to one person a negative thought to another? ‘Manchester United will probably beat Liverpool’ is a positive thought to the supporter of Manchester United but a negative thought to the Liverpool supporter. “I am a great dictator”, is a positive thought to the dictator but a negative idea to those being dictated to.
You could smile and laugh as you think and say, “I hate you”, or you could frown and growl as you think and say, “I love you”. You are feeling and sending a lower vibration of energy while thinking and saying something apparently positive. And vice versa. Now what’s positive and what’s negative? Neither is either! They are just thoughts and feelings.
“I am positive I cannot do that” – positive or negative? Neither!
Life in Black and White
But it’s hard to escape this dualistic trap. The world ‘out there’ is dualistic by nature. We see and describe the world in terms of opposites. Our language then becomes polarising as we couch everything and almost everyone in oppositional descriptions. That then becomes a habit that we transfer into our descriptions of events within our consciousness. Our own thoughts ‘seem’ to become dualistic. Our conversations become black and white, ‘either or’ in their structure. Freedom from this habit begins only when we start to consider the ‘quality’ of our thoughts as opposed to the polarity of our thinking. This takes us into slightly deeper territory.
Prior to your thinking is your state of being. Your thoughts are shaped and arise according to your state of being. There is a generally recognized true and natural state of being within us all. Usually described by words like ‘peaceful, loving, and joyful’.
But just ‘believing’ this doesn’t make it so. We each need to see, feel and know this for ourselves. You can only do that when you cultivate a deeper self-awareness through the practice of some kind of meditation and/or contemplation. But let’s assume you have done that and you have realized the true underlying nature of consciousness, of you, is peaceful, loving, and joyful.
These are not positive aspects of your nature. They ‘are’ your nature. Within the reality of your consciousness, they have no opposites. Only varying degrees of quality. These words (peaceful, loving, and joyful) are words that describe the vibration of your consciousness AND what you will feel when you are in those states of being. They ‘describe’ the underlying and ever-present nature of the self! We simply lose our awareness of them i.e. our capacity to ‘be them’.
But remember, as soon as you think either ‘I believe that’ or ‘I don’t believe that’ you are back in the ‘dualistic trap’. When you decide to neither believe nor not believe, you are then ‘open’ and able to see for yourself, know for yourself, if this is ‘true’ for me or not.
When your thinking arises from, and is shaped by, these states of being you could say your thoughts are true, they are accurate. They are ‘aligned’ to the core of you. When you are ‘in’ your true state of being you will notice that your thoughts follow your feelings. They are shaped by your feelings. They crystalize out of what you are feeling. Albeit quite fast! In a peaceful state of being, you feel calm and your thinking is then naturally peaceful and calm in its quality.
When you are in a loving state of being you will first ‘feel’ that lovefulness, which will shape your intention as you act. Your thoughts will then be shaped and arise out of that state.
The thoughts that arise will be ‘accurately aligned’ with the true nature, the ‘trueness’, of you. Not positive or negative, just aligned i.e. shaped by your true, core state of being. But if you are not ‘in’ that core state your thinking will be ‘misaligned’ to some ‘degree’ or other.
When your state of being is distorted, then the thoughts that arise are misaligned, they are not as accurate. What distorts your state of being? Any form of attachment or dependency. Attachment takes place within consciousness. It can be an attachment to things, in which case it’s your idea/image of the object to which you are attached. Or it could be people, in which case it’s the idea/image of a person. Or it could be you are attached to your beliefs. The main sign that this is happening is you will think first and then feel. What you will feel is an ’emotional’ state. You will feel emotional as a result of your thinking.
It happens fast. When someone says something you don’t agree with you immediately think either ‘that’s not right’ or ‘I disagree’. That’s because you are attached to your belief. Then follows the emotion such as irritation or anxiety. This is not negative. It just means your thoughts are no longer aligned with your true nature, your trueness, and the price you pay is an emotional disturbance of some kind.
This is all quite subtle and our emotional reaction seems so instant and overpowering that it’s hard to see it is triggered by our thoughts. It won’t bother you for most of your life until the emotion becomes just too frequent, too intense or it leads to some kind of violent action. That’s because all emotion is a form of suffering. Love and joy are not emotions. Again that is not easy to see after a lifetime of being taught to ‘believe’ they are.
Here is a simple example. Imagine you meet someone for the first time who is struggling with a problem with which you have some experience. You have no preconceived beliefs about that person. So you feel quite open and warm towards them, which is coming from your true loving nature. From that ‘feeling’ comes the ‘thought’ that you would like to offer them help. So you say, “How can I help you”. You went from state to feeling to thought to words to action.
Now let’s say you are still carrying, within your consciousness, two of the most commonly held beliefs that a) other people are responsible for your happiness and b) it’s good manners to say thank you. But they don’t say thank you after you help. They mumble something, look away and then walk away.
In a millisecond those beliefs kick into your consciousness and you generate the thought (judgment), “How dare they almost ignore me and not appreciate my gesture”. This is followed fast by the emotion of anger in the form of upsetness. You are emotionally upset. That was not a negative thought, just an ‘inaccurate’ thought that is not arising from your true peaceful and loving nature. You lost the plot because you were attached to those two beliefs. You went from state to belief (attachment) to thought to emotion.
The signal of this inaccurate and unaligned thinking is the emotional state that follows.
But it happens so quickly. You have lost awareness of the truth, that no one is responsible for your feelings (including the emotions that you create and feel) and that manners are just ‘personal’ standards to which we each become attached, or not, as the case may be. Everyone has different standards/manners. In some cultures, they never say thank you for anything, but no one is ever offended.
Now, if those beliefs (around responsibility and manners) had not kicked in, you would still be in your true peaceful and loving nature. You would still be ‘feeling’ warmth and acceptance towards the other. Your thoughts would probably sound something like, “Oops, I didn’t quite understand what you just said”. And you probably would have said something like, “Sorry I didn’t quite catch that, could you say that again, thanks”. In other words, you would be ‘feeling’ acceptance first then the ‘thought’ to seek understanding follows.
You can test this every day if you take a few moments to reflect after any encounter with another person. You will see it’s not a question of positive or negative thinking. It’s a question of did you remain within your true nature or did an old belief, habit, or perception kick in and knock you out of the center, out of your natural state. And, as a consequence, you made yourself suffer emotionally.
Are You Forcing It?
We have all heard, perhaps a thousand times, that most popular cliché, “But you have to be positive”. So it becomes a belief that it’s not only possible but necessary. But here’s another simpler reason to get out of the habit of believing this belief. See if this is true for you.
Do you ever feel as if you are stuck in the tension of opposites? It’s when you believe you are thinking something negative ‘like this’, and you believe you ‘should be’ thinking something more positive ‘like that’. Simply because you have absorbed the belief that you SHOULD always ‘be positive’. But you have probably decided that you have a habit of thinking ‘I am always a bit negative’. Now you are caught in what is known as the ‘tension of opposites’. I’m here but I ‘should’ be there! I am being negative but I believe I should be more positive. But it’s an illusion.
It’s false because it’s all happening in your consciousness where there is no positive or negative. In the meantime, you beat yourself up for having what you believe is a negative thought. If you have ever been on a positive thinking seminar you are probably now thinking (believing) that because you have just had a negative thought you are a failure, and you are going to attract some awful people, and something equally awful is going to happen to you as punishment for being so negative.
All because you ‘believe’ it’s possible to think negative and positive. This can then keep you stuck in this kind of ‘continuous mental tension’ of opposites almost your entire life. You will probably do far too much thinking. Including thinking about thinking!
You may even start to try to force yourself to think positively, thereby resisting what you perceive as your negative thinking. Resistance and force then become internal habits within the energy of your consciousness. Suppression must follow, which also becomes a habit. So it’s no wonder anxiety builds up inside. It’s no wonder that ‘resistance and force’ start to emerge in words and behaviors within the context of your relationships. It’s no wonder we then can’t understand why some people just ‘back off’. Crazy, isn’t it.
All the while there is a way out or, more accurately, a way back. And that’s returning to the underlying core nature of your being. At the core, you are pure peacefulness, pure lovefulness, pure joyfulness. But you’ve been sabotaging that with your beliefs and belief systems – the ones you have learned and the ones you have created. It doesn’t matter what the beliefs are. Any and all beliefs will be a form of sabotage, pulling you out of your trueness.
When you are in your true and natural state of being, you don’t need to believe anything. On the way back to that state, you may see for yourself that there are no right or wrong beliefs! (duality again). It’s the attachment to any belief that pulls you out of your true state of being. But that’s another seminar.
From Theory to Reality
If you can see this in theory now, perhaps it’s time to realize it in the reality of your own being. Perhaps it’s time to allow yourself to become fully aware of your core. Fully aware of your true underlying nature. To invoke it. Be it. Experiment with it. Re-learn to trust it. Not just believe in it, but to ‘know’ it for yourself.
Only then can you, will you, unlearn the beliefs that perhaps you are now starting to see are in the way of you being …you! Sometimes this is called the spiritual journey. It’s just that you don’t go anywhere. Others call it awakening. It’s just that you are not asleep, just unaware. Some call it self-transformation. It’s not that you were not yourself, it’s just that you are in the habit of ‘losing yourself’ in your beliefs, memories, images, ideas, etc. but had no idea you were doing so.
All you need to do is notice that it’s the ‘belief’ in positive and negative thinking that is at the root of so much of your thinking. Then challenge the belief with the question – is that true? When you realize it’s not and when you realize you don’t need that belief you will naturally let it go.
You will stop using the belief to support or define yourself. You will step off the ledge of belief and find yourself flying freely and joyously in the air of your own being. Metaphorically speaking!
Question: Why do you sometimes decide someone you know is negative?
Reflection: How does that decision affect your ability to be proactive/compassionate in that relationship? Action: Ask three friends to give you an example of a positive thought and a negative thought – then explain why there neither is a negative nor positive. This allows you to see how clearly you understand for yourself.
Action: Ask three friends to give you an example of a positive thought and a negative thought – then explain why there neither is a negative or positive one. This allows you to see how clearly you understand yourself.
Written by our professor Mike George.