How to deal with negativity without resisting it.
Some people view their own thoughts as a source of negativity.
They fear them and find them intrusive or unsettling. Others may view peer comments or gestures as a source of negativity. Often, we feel the need to resist negativity and to avoid negative people at all costs. In other words, a person may value positivity so much that he or she might deeply feel offended when negativity arises, regardless of the form it takes.
This reaction is deeply anchored to our human conditioning. We are taught to resist negativity by our wiser elders, our religious texts, thousands of best selling books celebrating positive thought, the power of setting good intentions and so on. This view is even supported by many psychology experts.
Let’s pause and examine this internal struggle to resist negativity. What is really at stake here—who loses? The one who absolutely believes they are fighting in defense of positivity. A lot of energy is spent by the body and mind to fuel this resistance. The potential victim of negativity may feel the need to try everything they can to strengthen themselves. For if they are not strong, there is no hope in winning against the “all too powerful” enemy: negativity. As with all struggles, a lot of suffering is manifested. This battle for positivity can gradually feel draining and frustrating, especially in a world immersed in negativity—according to the all pervasive, non-stop media.
As soon as this popular coping mechanism is seen more clearly for what it is, the notion that a potential victim identity may be at play no longer appears far fetched. This sincere realization is usually accompanied by a few changes. A new identity now arises and gradually becomes mature enough to see the hidden operations of the collapsing victim identity. Almost immediately, the mind, which is now seeing from a different place, finds that these inner thoughts or external voices are less disturbing, and doubts may appear unnecessary, questions may appear answered, conflicts may appear resolved and the craving for positivity may appear weakened.
This release from the obsession with positivity feels like an inner opening or flowering.
Suffering dissipates as internal freedom grows. Surprisingly, negativity is overcome, but only as a side effect that does not even require celebration. The negativity was overcome merely through pure seeing, without any resistance, without any energy expended and without any clever plans drawn.
Exercise the only one choice you have: see through the clouds of resistance.
How? Note when resistance has started, if possible, recall when it has last stopped and pay attention to the clarity of the seeing without judging—nothing more, nothing less. These observations may reveal that the shapes that resistance can take are unbounded. Resistance may take the form of a trustworthy friend, it may appear as a religious leader, a guru, the victim of an injustice, an invincible enemy, a solution, a process, but every time it comes sharply into view, the identity that is at its core and functions as its central nervous system, disintegrates. This unraveling process, when genuine and not forced, often feels pleasurable. Inner freedom is experienced and life proceeds in the “zone” for a while, until seeing is clouded again. Suffering will arise, and so will the opportunity to sit and to see.
Rameshsharma Ramloll is the Founder, CEO, CTO of DeepSemaphore LLC, an innovative E-learning company that focuses on collaborative immersive virtual reality technologies. He holds degrees in Computer Science and Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India (BTech in Computer Science & Engineering) and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Lancaster, UK. His research interests include user interface design, computer supported cooperative work, tele-medicine applications, computer based assistive technology applications, distance learning and simulation technologies. He worked on related projects at the University of Lancaster (U.K.), University of Glasgow (U.K.), the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington D.C. and the Institute of Rural Health, Idaho Sate University (U.S.). He enjoys learning about and practicing yoga. He is currently on a self study journey exploring the depth of advaita vedanta.
Editor: Maja Despot
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