To transform our own negativity may be among the most important spiritual tasks of our lives. We do not truly learn to live until we learn how to transform our negativity, for negativity is a weight on our soul, although we may not realize it sufficiently. Transforming our negativity takes weight off our soul. The more we transform negativity, the freer and lighter we feel.
Every single one of us is prone to negativity until we learn to recognize how it works in us, often insidiously, and through many layers and dimensions of the self. The self, here, is the ego, and the personality.
This “self” (the ego and the personality) is not intrinsically bad. It is, however limited, limiting us, that is, until we learn how to expand the self into dimensions of the Soul. This may sound abstract, but it is the method I practice and teach on The Golden Path. And it works!
All of us have had experiences that would fall under the category “negative”, meaning, experiences that brought us down, made us feel worthless, of lesser value. And we may also include experiences that have been painful to undergo, such as, abuse and neglect.
Negativity is not the experience in itself. It is, instead, the attitude and the mental content we formulate, and cultivate, around our experiences. Negativity must be discerned as something separate from negative experiences. We could be having a wonderful experience, like being pampered at a spa, but could be dwelling on negativity.
We are speaking specifically of negative experiences that have already happened in out lives. The negative effect of such experiences can be released much easier when we are free from negativity. Furthermore, when we learn to transform our negativity, our responses to current experiences that might fall in the negative category are quite different. We learn to interpret such experiences in positive ways and our responses are constructive.
Negative experiences, like our being subjected to racial prejudice, are, in many instances, not our choice. They do lessen considerably, however, once we begin to awaken spiritually. This is because we are now directed by our soul’s compass in contrast to being pushed and pulled by our ego and into the drama of other people’s personalities.
Nevertheless, even while being directed by our soul’s compass, we may still continue to have certain types of experiences that could bring us down, or feel like abuse, except, now that we have learned to transform our negativity, we have additional inner resources to change how we interpret such experiences. Our inner resources enable us to undergo negative experiences differently while they are happening. Transforming our negativity, therefore, has far reaching positive effects in our lives, our consciousness.
Negativity, we must differentiate, is not about having negative experiences in the present, or having had negative experiences in the past. Negativity is about our current, in-the-moment interpretation of any experience, either past or present, falling in either, positive and negative categories. Negativity is cultivated around the story we tell ourselves, and the story we tell others, about our experiences. Negativity is also created in the way we tell the story, the energy and vibrational field that is generated as we tell it. We could even tell negative stories and create negativity about experiences that are, for the most part, positive. Our negativity may be legitimate, for there may be some part of a specific experience that is negative, but negativity causes us to contaminate the whole, like a rotten apple.
Consider how our negativity, or that of someone else, causes one to zoom in on just the negative area of an experience and make the whole interpretation of that experience negative. All of the positive aspects of the same experience goes unappreciated as a result. Or we take one aspect of a person to create a story that makes the whole person bad. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, it is said. And so, when we view our experiences through the lens of negativity, the whole experience is colored by that lens. Our rotten apple attitude has contaminated the whole batch.
KEEP THESE POINTS IN MIND
Negativity is about perceptions and opinions created out of lower states of consciousness, states that are governed by the ego and its self-righteous positions. Negativity is born out of vantage points of perception that are not from the deep places of the soul, where our perceptions come closer to divine perception.
Negativity is a psychological condition that is transformed through spiritual awareness, our own spiritual awakening. It is discerned through the lens of the enlightened state, through vision perceived from the deepest level of our awareness, a state known as the atman.
Transforming negativity requires razor sharp discernment along with unbiased spiritual awareness to keep rediscovering its many shapes, forms, patterns and expressions, many of which are masked or cloaked in what might seem normal, natural, even healthy. Transforming negativity takes skill, tenacity, and a ruthless honesty combined with radical humility.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION
- How often do you catch yourself being negative? This may be speaking negatively of others. Or even being negative about yourself. Can you commit to catching yourself being negative 24 by 7?
- What do you do when you catch yourself being negative? Can you detect the subtle ways your body responds to your own negativity? There are a good many clues, especially around the mouth.
- How do you feel overall about your life? Does your consciousness dwell mostly on the areas that are not working well, areas that are deficient? How does this make you feel most of the time?
- What would your consciousness be like if you transformed your negativity? Do you know the difference in what this feels like, even incrementally? Have you tasted this with some continuity, like a few days to a few weeks at a stretch?
3 STEPS TO TRANSFORM NEGATIVITY
To transfrom negativity, we must, first of all, change our vantage point of perception. Using the word “must” may bring up resistance; however, there is no way around this first step. To change our vantage point of perception is not to change our point of view. It is to change our viewing point, the place from which we perceive, entirely. Unless we can actually “see” how we are “seeing”, which is also to “know how we are knowing”, it is almost next to impossible to accept that there may be what Jesus called the log in our eye. Once we gain a new vantage point of perception, one that is located in a depth of soul, we are able to see and know how we are prone to negativity in ways that are free from all the biases of our own egocentricity.
Seeing and accepting might seem like the same thing but there is a subtle difference. We can “see” but continue to insist on our point of view. We can dig in to defend ourselves, our position. We can rationalize to avoid accepting that there is something we need to relinquish, let go of, in order to transform, become free, change, modify or refine some previous perception, specifically one that is holding us back, preventing our growth, impeding our evolutionary progress, stagnating us in old holding patterns. Without such acceptance, there is no humilty, and action will stem from the ego rather than the soul. With unbiased perception (pramāna), and heartfelt acceptance, the actions we employ are authentically transforming.
Change and new behavior can be constructed out of ego states or refashioned from the perpective of the soul through means by which the ego and its resistances are integrated. It is the latter that contributes to our spiritual growth. Action is the final and most important step to transform negativity. Without action, there is no embodiment. We might perceive what we need to see, and feel what we need to accept, but the process is not concretized, incarnated, expressed in form. Action involves creating of new attitudes, new behaviors, new ways of interpretation, establishing new associations, that is, associating positive thoughts and feelings with experiences that challenge us to remain centered.
In my experience of teaching and practicing mantra and spirituality for 30 consecutive years on the world stage, with an additional five years of monastic training in India, I have found that the practice of mantra can be a powerful way of working with negativity when it is coupled with cultivating the soul’s voice. However, mantra can also be a way of spiritual bypass, that is, sustaining our negativity. This happens when mantra practice is contaminated by the voice of the ego. This is that rotten apple effect that takes skill to notice.
If you are interested in spending a whole weekend learning how mantras can help with the transformation of negativity through developing the voice of soul, attend this live retreat …
THE GOLDEN PATH
Healing From Adversity
Using Mantra to Mend Your Life
Samadhi Healing Arts Center
in Johnson City, TN
May 3 to 5, 2019
Designed for healers, therapists, yoga practitioners, mantra lovers and meditators, this weekend offers deep insights into persisting negative conditions of the soul. Participants will learn powerful methods of identifying and transforming negative conditions of the soul through mantras and through exercising their Soul’s Voice.
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