Tag Archives: negative thoughts

Does positive thinking work? || Acharya Prashant (2018)


Does positive thinking work

Question: What is ‘thought’? Why is thought dualistic? What is ‘positive thinking’? Does positive thinking work? Why is positive thinking, a hype?

Acharya Prashant: Positive thought is never fully positive, negative thought is never fully negative. That is the meaning of the uncertainty, that always tags any thought.

What is ‘uncertainty’? ‘Uncertainty’ means, that when you are positive, you cannot be certainly positive. The doubt, that positivity is flanked by negativity, always remains. What do you call as a ‘positive thought’? Thought that makes you happy. A thought about your well-being, a thought that – you would be alright or better-off. A thought of hope.

But hope is not ever certain. Hope is always accompanied by fear. You hope that you might win, but somewhere you are also afraid that you might not. So, uncertainty is there. Similarly when there is a negative thought, yet you keep hoping that the negative might be averted. Even in matters of despair, you are not fully certain. You keep clinging to some hope, howsoever unreasonable. This is what is meant, when it said that – thought is dualistic.

Total certainty is non-dual. Non-duality is possible, only when the other side, any kind of otherness, totally ceases to exist. When there is no ‘other’, there is no duality. But where there is thought, there would always be the other side of the coin.

When you are being positive, then you are looking at one side of the coin, but deep within you know that the other side also exists, and is just waiting to show-up. A little flip, and everything would change, right?

So, thought never gives you total assurance. You remain a bit iffy. Everything remains dicey. You cannot fully relax. You cannot just go to sleep. It always remains important, therefore, to carry your defenses.

With thought, therefore, fear always is there. First of all, fear is there. And second, a continuation of thought is there. When something has not been concluded, it would continue. And with thought, there is never any conclusion, and therefore, an indefinite continuation is there.

You keep thinking. It is like an infinite snakes and ladders game. Just when you think that you are about to reach the conclusion, you land in the mouth of a giant snake, and you are back to square one. And now again you continue with your long, arduous journey. And back again, to the same old point, and then again, a resumption, and then again despair. But all this helps you to while away life.

Thought serves a great purpose, it eats away your time. Otherwise, time will become such a burden.

Thinking, thinking, you continuously think, and you comfortably let days, months, years, decades, slip away.  And then you are so thankful when the death arrives. Otherwise, living eighty years, and that too in awareness, would have been such a pain.

You will have, had to go through the rigors of right action.

Thoughts facilitate an avoidance of right action.

Thought is helpful. Someone comes to you and demands, “Now is the time to climb up the hill, are you ready with your trekking gear?” And you say, “No, I am still thinking.” So, all the effort and the pain, that would have come with climbing the hill, has been successfully avoided. You are still thinking.

Thinking is nice, scaling the heights is arduous.

Have you ever asked yourself – if positive thought is really ‘positive’, then why are there ever any negative thoughts, after a positive thought?

If positive thought is really ‘positive’, it should have ended even the possibility of any future negativity. But that possibility remains, and vice versa.

Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session: Does positive thinking work? || Acharya Prashant (2018)

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Acharya Prashant, with students: Is the ego a gift from God?


Acharya Prashant: Himadari’s question is, “Does ego have a negative impact on one’s life?”

Himadri, we found out that ego is a disease. What effect can ego have upon you, except a negative impact? There is no positive impact that the ego can have.

We have been saying all along that ego is slavery, ego is lifelessness. Are these not clearly negative? Do you know what ego means? Ego means that you will be always afraid. Those of you who have experienced fear. Fear of any kind they must know. That all forms of fear come only from the ego.

Don’t you see directly that ego is such a terrible thing? It makes life hell. Because ego comes from the outside and you start internalizing it. You also realize that it can also go back to the outside. So, you are always afraid. You always think that someone can take it away from you. Your sense of self is given to you by a group of people. So, those group of people will become your master. You will remain always afraid because they can take back their acceptance. You are at their mercy.

When you come over to speak on a podium. Don’t you see why you are so terribly nervous? Many of you? Would you be nervous had you been told to speak in a vacant room, just in front of the mirror? You won’t be nervous. Right? But you are nervous in front of the audience. Why? Because your self-image comes from that audience. If the audience tells you, “You are wonderful.” You start believing that you are. And you are afraid that now the audience may say that I am a coward. So you start shivering. All forms of fear come from the ego. From a borrowed sense of the self. There is no other cause of fear.

Now you tell me, “Whether it is positive or negative?” Yes, what is it?

Listener 1: Sir, if it is always responsible for fear and other things. So, should one be egoistic?

AP: You tell me.

L1: I am asking you.

Continue reading

One does not control dreams, one wakes up

Don’t say, “How to control thoughts?” Don’t say, “How to control dreams?” One does not control dreams. One wakes up.

But we’re not interested in waking up. We’re interested in changing the dreams. Now if you have one dream and then you have another dream, has your position changed for better? I am asking you, you’re dreaming of fire and you’re afraid, now you’re dreaming of fountains and waterfalls and you’re happy, has anything really changed?

Don’t say, “How to control thoughts?” Because even the controller is fast asleep. Ask me, “How do I understand thoughts?” That is waking up. When there are so many thoughts going on in the mind, don’t hold onto them. This much you realize that I’m thinking, right? When you’re thinking you know that you’re thinking. If you can know this much that you’re thinking, you can also remember that every thought is just an external influence, not really important.

Alright, it is there. It is the natural tendency of mind to think. Let the mind be involved in its own preoccupations. Can I stand a the little distance from the mind and look at the mind. That will happen only when you don’t take your thoughts too seriously. Don’t become attached or identified with them.

Read the complete article: How to control my thoughts?

How to control my thoughts?

gen 1

L: Sir, you always say to live with the thoughts. But at any second there are so many thoughts in mind so how to control it sir? How to control mind?

AP: Who will control them? If one is in a dream and the dream is very confused dream, then who will control the dream.

Don’t say, “How to control thoughts?” Don’t say, “How to control dreams?” One doesn’t control dreams. One wakes up.

But we’re not interested in waking up. We’re interested in changing the dreams. Now if you have one dream and then you have another dream, has your position changed for better? I am asking you, you’re dreaming of fire and you’re afraid, now you’re dreaming of fountains and waterfalls and you’re happy, has anything really changed? Continue reading

Don’t suppress. Just understand



Question: Sir, there is something negative in our mind. And the more I suppress it, it keeps on increasing. So, what’s the way out?

Acharya Prashant: The only reason, why negative feelings keep on increasing, is because you want to suppress them. There is a great pleasure in suppression of negative feelings. You see, whether you enhance the feeling or suppress it, ultimately you get a sense of power. The ego says, “I am suppressing”, or “I am being entertained”.

A far better thing is to just see, what that feeling is all about. You have a healthy mind. Look at that feeling. Why do you repeatedly keep getting this feeling? What does this feeling say? Ask the feeling, “What do you want? What really is your demand? Why do you keep coming again and again? And you are welcome, it is not that I want to expel you from my house. I Am not suppressing you. But I want to know that why are you a recurrent visitor to my home?” Ask it. And to ask that, you will have to be friends with that feeling. Not thinking that, that feeling is your enemy.

Because, a thousand feelings will come to you – envy, jealousy, fear, hatred, competition, ambition. You cannot fight them all, and there is no need to fight them. What to do with them?

Listeners: Forget about that, ignore, you can say to yourself that it is not compulsory to think about them.

AP: All these things that you said, in all those cases, are you really friends with the feelings? If you are friends with somebody, do you ignore them? Do you forget them? Do you say that, You are not compulsory?

All these three responses that you gave, they came from fear. You are afraid of that feeling and that is why that feeling keeps on coming again and again.
Have guts, be courageous. When that feeling comes, say, “Ah! the feeling has come again, right. Let us sit down like friends and talk. Miss feeling, what do you want?”

Why ignore it? And can you ignore it? Are you actually ever able to ignore it? It destroys your mood. And if something is able to destroy your mood, are you actually ignoring it, or becoming a victim? You are saying, “Forget it.” Are you able to forget it? There is no way you can forget it.

L: Just like killing our enemy, we ourselves become an enemy. We should change that enemy.

AP: And that thought is you. At that moment, that is what your real identity is. It is like trying to defeat one hand with another hand, which hand will win? Using one thought you are trying to conquer one thought with another thought. And both the thoughts are in your mind. Which hand will win? No hand will win, you will be defeated. You will be exhausted.

So, first thing, accept yourself.

Drop this approach that something needs to be controlled. Nothing needs to be controlled; it is all fine, good, alright. Nothing needs to be controlled. You only need to understand, not control.

Understand, not control.

The urge to control comes from a moralistic mind. It comes from a violent mind. It comes from a mind that has already been tutored that something is good and something is bad, something needs to be controlled. Nothing needs to be controlled. Everything is alright. There is nothing in existence which needs to be controlled.

Everything just needs to be? Understood.

And to understand something, you need to be friends with it.

L: Sir, please explain with an example, like Anger?

AP: So, how can you control Anger? You look at people, are you able to find them able to control Anger? People flare up at the flimsiest of reasons. Sometimes, there is no reason to get angry and people are so angry. And you are looking at them and wondering, what is wrong with him? And after two hours, you are in the same shoes – Getting angry for nothing. (Smiling)

Who can control anger? When anger comes, tell yourself, “I am getting angry again and this anger is because I wanted something, I did not get it.” The expectations are being hurt, so anger is normal.

But to do this, you will have to have two things. One, honesty. Second, courage. Why honesty? Because you know, we get a certain pleasure in anger, have you experienced that? You are frustrated. And then when you are able to shout at somebody, a certain pleasure. It is because of this pleasure that you want to be angry. And then you ask me, “How to control anger?” Isn’t it so that you want to be angry? And that is the reason why, after you have been angry, you sometimes feel peaceful, nice, good. The ego has had a massage. I was able to shout at him. So, I am feeling good. Because there is a pleasure in anger.

So, be honest that I am the one who is nurturing anger all the time. That is the part about honesty. The second part is about courage. When anger comes, I am repeating, be friends with it, not enemies. Anger is there, alright anger is there. What is the big deal? It is there with everyone. Why get all worked up about it, “I am angry, I am angry.” Changing your Facebook status, “Angry”, why? It is alright. Anger is not something alien.

L: Sir, do you get angry?

AP: Anger comes, there is no doubt about it. Now, whether I get angry or not, that is another matter.

L: Sir, how to understand it, through questions?

AP: By being aware that it is coming. Let it not enter like a thief. You don’t even know and it has made some kind of a backdoor entry. Anger has come, you stand upon the door, and say, “Welcome Sir, again you have come. All the time you want to come.” It comes. Till the time, there are situations, there is a body, there will be reasons for anger to come, but there is no reason, for you to be dominated. Let it come and when it comes, don’t feel small. Don’t feel as if something very bad has happened.

Breath goes in and goes out. Hunger comes, fatigue comes, tears come, anger too can come. What is the big deal?

-Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity

Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: Don’t Suppress.Just understand

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What are high thoughts and low thoughts?


Question: What are high thoughts and low thoughts?

Shri Prashant: Let’s see. Think that you are speaking in the Russian language or in the Spanish language. Is it possible to think so?

L1: No.

SP: It is not; because to think, there must be some relation of the thought with your past.

Now write down a law: All thoughts come from the past. Continue reading