Oakville Zen Meditation

#135 Positive thinking: an introduction Part 1 (out of 4) Nov. 7th 16

Do you see the glass as half empty or half full?

In the Buddhist Scriptures: The first Noble Truth: life is suffering. In the second one the causes of suffering are desire, hate and ignorance of realities. The third talks about end of suffering and the forth about how to achieve serenity.

Your answer about the half glass relates directly to the concept of positive or negative thinking and whether you have a positive or negative outlook of you and on life. Positive thinking plays now an important role in positive psychology, a sub field of psychotherapy. Positive psychotherapy looks at what makes people happier and fulfilled and how to use this attribute as therapy.

Positive thinking is not always expecting the best to happen in every hour of the day but accepting that whatever happens now to you and others ......is not that bad and could be worse. 🙂

What Is Positive Thinking? "Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be." –A. Lincoln.

You might be tempted to assume that it implies seeing the world through rosy lenses by ignoring the negative aspects of life. This is not so black and white.

Positive thinking means approaching life's challenges as an opportunity and possible positive outlook rather than curse and bad luck.

It does not mean avoiding or ignoring the bad things in life since they will always pop out.

Instead, it involves:

1) Looking at the most positive sides and consequences from bad situations as they come and not the reverse.

2) Trying to see the best in other people rather than judging them too fast and too negatively.

3) Viewing your self-image and your abilities in a more positive light. Most of us do the opposite.

Most researchers define positive thinking in terms of how do we explain good and bad things when they happen.

So called "Positive thinkers" display the followinMost researchers define positive thinking in terms of how do we cope and explain good and bad things when they happen or may happen in the future.

1-  Look at the positive side when facing negative things, events and people.

2-  Find an opportunity to learn from negative things, events and people with an open mind.

3-  Be receptive and not fearless about uncertainty of the future, ongoing change and its

consequence. In Life, change is permanent and unavoidable.

4- More precisely:  Express positive expectations in the future and see current negative events as temporary and atypical

5- Have a positive self-image and self-esteem without being narcissist.

6- Tend to give themselves some credit when good things happen, and typically accept and learn from b things when they happen. Of course, it does not mean being on an ego trip.

If positive thinkers are more apt to use an optimistic explanatory style, they may use also explanation such as “ It is my fault” while dealing with challenging events or people


 On the other hand, individuals with a negative thinking display the following:

  • Look at negative sides/ elements even when facing positive things, events and people.
  • Don’t try to learn from negative things/ events and people.
  • Are fearful about the uncertainty of the future and ongoing change.
  • Express negative expectations in the future and see current negative events as expected, that they will last and come back as curse or bad luck.
  • Have a negative self-image
  • Tend to blame themselves when bad things happen and typically do not take credit or little when good

things happen.

As you can imagine, blaming yourself for events outside of your control or viewing these events as a persistent curses of your life can have a very detrimental impact on your state of mind.

In the next talk Part 2 we will look at the beneficial effects of positive thinking especially on our health.

Stay tuned for next talk on psitive thinking