Acharya Prashant: Nancy has asked: “How to get rid of negative thoughts?” She wants to keep all the positive thoughts and just get rid of the negative ones: “Let me please, please, have all the positive ones and throw away all the negative ones.”
Positive and negative are two ends of duality; where there is one, there would always be the other. You want to get rid of the negative thoughts, you will have to get rid of all the thoughts!
But I understand what you want. You want only positivity. Such things that are floating these days: “Let there be a lot of positive energy.”
Now, any student of science should ask, “What is this thing called positive energy?” Ever read of anything like positive energy in your science books? But everyone is talking of it: “Too much of negative energy, let’s only have positive energy. Let’s be very positive!”
Negative thoughts and positive thoughts . . . what do you mean by negative thought?
(Pointing towards the audience) This side and that side are competing. This side is about to win. It is a positive thought for the winning team, and the same fact that these people are winning, is a negative thought for the other team. What is positive, and what is negative, except a position that you have taken?
What is positive in one religion is very negative in another religion; what is positive for the boy is negative for the girl; what is positive for one country is negative for another country; what is positive for you right now will be negative for you tomorrow; what is alright in one instance is not alright in another instance.
Then what do you mean by a positive thought; and what do you mean by a negative thought?
Your negative thoughts exist only because you want to sustain the positive ones. Negative thoughts cannot have a life of their own unless you stop giving energy to the so-called positive thoughts.
That is where we are losing it!
People have told us about the power of positive thinking and those idiots do not understand that wherever there is positive thinking, negative thought will come as a shadow.
But they will say, “Be positive, think positive.” You cannot think positive without simultaneously bringing in its dual opposite. That is the law of the mind – inviolable law. You cannot have hope – which you call as a positive thought, don’t you? – you cannot hope without at the same time being afraid of the hope not being fulfilled. Whenever you wish for something to happen, simultaneously there is a fear that it may not happen. So, along with hope comes fear; but these wise people have been telling you the virtues of hope, without telling you that hope is the greatest misery.
The moment you are hoping, you are opening yourself to suffering.
After all, what do you hope? Give me an example of hope. And all of you are very hopeful. Right? About the future, obviously. All hope is about the future. Give me a hope statement. Quickly.
Listener: “I hope that I will get a good job.”
AP: The moment you say, “I will be employed,” aren’t you also thinking of unemployment? And if you are not thinking of unemployment, can the thought of employment come to your mind? You cannot think of having a getting a good job without first thinking of not being employed. Hope is fear. As imaginary as fear. Because there is neither employment nor unemployment right now. First there is the fear of unemployment, and then to counter that fear you have the hope of employment.
You hope that your favorite team wins the match. Now, could there be this hope without the fear that your team might lose it. Could there be this hope? There has to be a lurking fear, a hidden fear that the team may lose; and to counter that fear, you start hoping.
When you are not sure, when you don’t really know, when you are dealing with imaginations, when you are dealing with the future, only then there is fear, only then there is hope.
Is two plus two four, or do you hope it to be four? When you really ‘know’ then there is no reason to hope.
Is two plus two four right now or will it be four in the future? Yes, Nancy?
“A bright day will come when justice will be done and on that day two plus two will be four. Right now it’s an evil world, so two plus two is only three. There is so much of corruption; one is being lost in bribery, so two plus two is only three.”
Yes? Is that so?
Two plus two is four right now, so there is no hope and there is no fear. What is, is! Just is! Simple. Flat. Finished. No hope; no fear.
You are hoping that someday something great will happen. Why? Because you are afraid that right now everything is rotten.
Behind every thought of greatness lies a fear of rottenness. The one who does not have that fear, the one who does not live in imaginations, the one who is really sure, one who is living in this moment, has no reasons for anything of this kind.
Understand! Don’t have positive thoughts and there is no reason for negative thoughts – just understand what is happening and that is sufficient.
I am talking to you (pointing towards one section of the audience), and if you do not understand me, you may have a lot of negative thoughts. This other side again may not understand me and they may have a lot of positive thoughts. These are negative thinkers, those are positive thinkers. So, what are the negative thinkers thinking? “Whatever he is saying is bad for us,” or “He is saying that we are idiots.” And what are all the positive thinkers thinking? “Oh, he is talking beautifully, whatever he is saying is beneficial for us.”
When neither of them understand what I am saying, what is the use of this negative and positive thinking? Is it not better to be just here and just understand simply by paying attention?
Why imagine? Just understand!
But to understand, you have to really come close to reality. If you are afraid, if you shy away, you maintain a distance, then you will not know the reality. Then you will have to think positively or negatively depending upon your condition.
Somebody casts a glance at you – looks over his shoulder, and looks at you.
“Oh surely, he is in love with me, that’s why he is looking at me this way” – positive thinker; negative thinker – “You know I only saw scorn in his eyes, he hates me.”
Go close! Talk to him and know the reality. But instead of that, for one week, you will keep thinking that why did he look like this? The positive thinker will celebrate for a week; the negative thinker will mourn for a week.
For one week, she has not eaten, why? “He looked at me this way.”
(The audience bursts into laughter.)
Go, talk, speak, ask, and know the reality. Come in touch. But to do that you will have to be free from fear.
You will not do that. Why will you not do that? The negative thinker is afraid that if he comes close then something worse may happen. The positive thinker is afraid that if he comes close, then all his hopes may be proven false.
He thinks, “Right now, I am alright. At least I have an illusion that he loves me.” And the negative thinker: “It is already proven that he hates me. How can I go close to him? So, both will not come in touch with reality . . . positive thinker, negative thinker.
Don’t think so much. Neither positive, nor negative. Just know, understand, and attend. Don’t keep away from life; come in contact, then there will be no space for any kind of thought.
Right now, are you thinking positively? Thinking negatively?
L1: No Sir.
AP: (Smilingly) Thank God!
-Excerpts from a Samvaad session. Edited for clarity.
View the session at : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xydtdBk2O88