Oakville Zen Meditation

#125: Dealing with a negative mind.21AUG16

                                                                   Dealing with a negative mind

All news networks executives know very well that, in order to attract viewers and income from commercials, the content of the news must be at least 70% “bad news” such as natural disasters, wars, crime, terrorism, accidents, etc. This is exactly what we are getting even more. TV networks and guru marketers have discovered zillion years ago and before any scientific data that human minds are far more sensitive and attracted to negative stuff than positive one.

Another example: If someone is asking you: “How are you?” we usually answer “Not bad” instead of using “good or OK”

Why that? Our wired dominant negative mind is, in fact, expressing a subconscious, instinctive, innate and spontaneous self defense reflex against danger and other negative entities. This instinctive negativity and innate resistance is, therefore, part of our self-identification. For this reason we are probably more sensitive and attracted to negative stuff than positive one.

All mental resistance is experienced as negativity that is negative thoughts in one form or another. In our mind, the two words – negativity and resistance - are almost synonymous and are used very often to express our self-identity.

“ I am complaining = I resist = I don’t want = I disagree =I am opposed = I don’t like ......... therefore I am”.

Expressing negativity as a self-identification tool is extremely frequent affecting a growing number of people from all age with the exemption of elderly people. In fact, negativity seems to dissolve when death is approaching. It is often replaced by a peaceful state that one can sense in the eyes of the dying person. I felt this during my 32 years in medical and surgical intensive care units.

The manifestations of mind-generated negativity caused by outside triggers ranges from irritation, impatience and disappointment to fierce anger, severe anxiety, depressed mood, suicide, or hostile resentment, deep grief, agressivity, anti social behavior.

Our negative emotions as well as our positive ones are all ego-driven. We are at the origin of negativity since its external triggers are neither negative or positive or neutral. Situations and people are what they are not what we want them to be.

If, deep inside ourselves, we do not believe that negativity, unhappiness and dissatisfaction work, then why would we create them and be their victims years after years? The fact is, of course, that none of our negative feelings work. Is our ego be the main culprit of our negativity? And, if so, why is it acting in a such counter-productive way? Can a very powerful and out of control ego become masochistic?

The answer is yes and here are the reasons:

Instead of trying to dissolve an undesirable negative feeling and looking for a more positive attitude, our ego prefers to stick with the negative one like a magnet.

The ego believes that, by complaining through negativity and resistance the “I, me and myself “ will get stronger more powerful, enhancing its own self image and our identity! Accepting negativity will be perceived as a defeat and lost of identity. Our “I, me, myself” is on a pure masochistic ego trip!

Once we have identified ourselves with a chronic “negativeness” state, we cannot or don’t want, at our subconscious level, let it go towards positive change. Such switch may or would affect our personality.

Looking for more positive outcome would threaten this negative  identity defined as a worried, anxious, depressed, angry, obnoxious, pessimistic or fatalist person who always looks at the glass half-empty.

At this stage, switching from an identity defined by negativity to a positive one  is almost automatically denied or ignored.

This phenomenon is, unfortunately,  very frequent.

How to deal with it?

The task is complex and difficult since the goal is to switch from negativity-based self-identification to a more neutral or even positive one. Dealing with this negative attitude follows the same process used for any other negative emotions:

  • Learning to be aware of your negative thoughts and emotions rather than being their victim is the first step. Write them down every time one is popping out. It is a great way to practice awareness.
  • then, the next step is to accept them as they are and not resist against regardless of their rationality.
  • Finally, one should try to let them go and see if life is bearable without them.

Serenity is impossible to achieve if one is stuck in perpetual negative mood and negative self-identification and yet, many of us cannot survive without them.