The Positive Side of Negative Thinking

This is an article by Ken Ward that appeared in an ezine, Cultivating Life. I find it very interesting.  His findings suggest that positive thinking suppresses our process of being mindful with negative thinking and allowing it to transform into balance.   Read on….

By Ken Ward

It is regarded by some almost as a truism, that we should avoid the negative and embrace the positive. However, the process of self-development is not that simple, and positive thinking is helpful to some, but not others, and depends on the context. Sometimes positive thinking makes us worse.

Affirmations Can Make You Feel Worse
Joanne Wood of the University of Waterloo found that positive affirmations make some people feel worse. In 2009 she surveyed how often the students said positive things about themselves and discovered that more than half of them used them quite frequently, especially before stressful and challenging events. Most thought they were helpful. But to test this, she carried out a second study.

She examined whether affirmations made the students feel better. She asked 68 students repeat to themselves every 15 seconds, “I am a lovable person.” She found that those with high self esteem felt better, those with low self esteem felt worse. She suggested that those with low self esteem felt worse because they did not believe the statements and also they could not resist negative ideas. Therefore they felt bad because they had not responded to the affirmations, as they thought they should, and they had negative thoughts. More

Who is Watching Whom?

“You look at this magnificent tree and you wonder who is watching whom and presently there is no watcher at all.  Everything is so intensely alive and there is only life, and the watcher is as dead as that leaf……Utterly still,…..listening without a moment of reaction, without recording, without experiencing, only seeing and listening….Really the outside is the inside and the inside is the outside, and it is difficult, almost impossible to separate them.”    Quote from Krishnamurti.

I live in the trees.   I have been watching them every day…..as they bend in the wind, how the sunlight filters through them, the shadows that are cast on each other and the land, the myriad of birds, squirrels, and raccoons who come to climb and jump and search for daily delights.

My perspective has been from my eyes to other.  And now I have opened to the other watching me as I go about my days and nights.  We share the awareness.  As I just sit in ‘it’……perception…….the concept of “I” and “other” melts away.  There is no me and there is no tree…..there is just the awareness that vibrates….first in form, now freely.  There is no inside……there is no outside.  It is as it is.  Words don’t help….they only lock it in and it can’t be limited.   It is a shift in energy that defies words.

And then I am back in my body but not in the same way.  Something has changed.

copyright 2010 Andrea Avari Stevens, Ph.D.

Spiritual Bypass

“One of the great dangers of transformational work is that the ego attempts to sidestep deep psychological work by leaping into the transcendent too soon. This is because the ego always fancies itself much more ‘advanced’ than it actually is.”

— Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson

I took a seminar on awakening not too long ago.  One concept that the leader shared was that it was not necessary to learn to love oneself before awakening. The definitions of the words ‘love oneself’ and ‘awakening’ are dependent upon each person’s perception.  Who knows exactly what that phrase means to someone else? However, this leader seemed to think that awakening was all that was needed.

I do know the intent of that thought runs counter to how I have been experiencing my lessons.  The more transformative work that I do with my inner process, the more clear I am about the love of who I truly am.  It just seems to me that removing the blockages produced by the ego’s energy of fear would lend itself to opening up the awakening process more clearly.

“We have no need to teach pure motives to the mind. All that is necessary to make the mind pure is to undo the negative conditioning to which it has been subjected; then we will be left with pure, unconditioned awareness.”

— Eknath Easwaran

It seems sometimes that there is a tendency to skip over psychological work in the search for a spiritual identity. This new identity, some with a different name change, is old cake with new frosting.  The same old beliefs about self, others, and the world are there chugging along.  But now the focus is on the new ‘spiritual’ self as the old self just bubbles along underneath.

If you have listened to one of these ‘teachers’ very carefully, at times you may hear the judgment and defensiveness creep into their voices when they are challenged.  Awakening by itself without the ‘soulwork’ of dealing with negative conditioning from our lives, seems to be a shaky house of cards.  It is tempting to believe that ignoring our stinky old baggage is as easy as a cat covering its poop in the box…but it just doesn’t seem to work that way.

Stinky is as stinky does.  We are all called to clear old conditioning that no longer serves us.  It means feeling the feelings, holding them in the compassionate light of the unconditional love that burns incessantly in our hearts…….that spark of the Divine that is always with us.  And some of us just don’t want to do the work.  We want to believe that we can leap-frog it over into the land of Enlightenment and forever wear the Buddha smile.  I just don’t buy it.

My experience shows me that my life is my path.  Everything I need to clear is within me.  I don’t need to go anywhere to find it.  No one else has the answer.  I am my path.  I just need to work it.  I am both the teacher and the student.

©2010 Andrea Avari Stevens, Ph.D.

On The Path To Self-Acceptance or Who is your very best friend in the whole wide world that will never ever leave you?

When we realize that we are more than our human selves, we recognize a part of us that feels “in the zone” at times in our lives.  It is a moment when we feel connected to something beyond ourselves.  This moment may occur when we are out walking in nature, hearing the waves crashing on the beach, when we look in another’s eyes, and a thousand other moments that fill us with wonder and awe at the miracle of life.  We become ‘in sync’ with an energy that expands us, opens our hearts in a joyful feeling, creates an intuitive knowing within us that the material world is not all there is.

There is something more to us….we can sense it……not with our usual five senses of tasting, smelling, seeing with our eyes, hearing with our ears, touching with our bodies……all these senses transform beyond themselves.  We all know this place in our being at some times in our lives.  It is when we are awake to the truth of who we are.

And then we fall back into our regular human mind.  We experience judgment of ourselves.  And we know the feeling of judgment of others.  We know the place of fear in all its many disguises.  We see this fear woven into our many belief systems about ourselves and our lives. More

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