When you say positive thinking, in a way you are trying to escape the reality. You only want to look at one side of life while missing out the other. You may ignore the other but the other will not ignore you.
Do you recommend positive thinking?
Sadhguru: Why should you be positive always? The whole existence is always happening between two dualities. Stupid minds are trying to eliminate one. What you are referring to as positive and negative is: masculine and feminine, light and darkness, day and night. Without this, how will life happen? Stupid minds in the world are always talking about ‘positive thinking.’ People who made positive thinking very popular in the world, all of them went insane. They went neurotic or they committed suicide.
Positive-negative are always together, it is just your ability to harness both and produce what you can. Your very existence, your very body is positive-negative. It is just like saying, you don’t want death, you want only life – there is no such thing. Only because there is death, there is life. Only because there is darkness there is light. Let both of them be there and see how to make both of them productive. If you do not think about the negative things in the world then you will be living in a fool’s paradise and life will get you for it.
It is just that, you don’t allow the negative to overwhelm you. If you look at life just the way it is, it is positive and negative in equal terms, always. If you look at it as it is, neither can the negative nor the positive overwhelm you. Only because they are equal, everything is happening the way it is happening. It is just that you want positive results from both of these.
Now a light turns on because there is positive and negative in electricity. The positive result is happening so we don’t mind the negative, isn’t it? There is a man and a woman; if joy is coming out of them, then we don’t mind the woman or the man. But now they got into a marriage and they started creating a lot of negative result. Now we think they are a problem. So it is not the positive and negative which is the problem, it is the end result that you are producing.
When you say positive thinking, in a way you are trying to escape the reality. You only want to look at one side of life while missing out the other. You may ignore the other but the other will not ignore you. Right now suppose black clouds are hanging in the sky, you can ignore them, but they are not going to ignore you. When it rains it rains. When you get drenched, you get drenched.
You can ignore it and just think everything is going to be ok. It has some psychological and social relevance but no existential relevance. All this is only for solace because you do not know how to keep your systems in balance; so you are trying to solace it by moving from reality to unreality because somewhere you believe that you can’t handle reality. And you can’t probably so you succumb to positive thinking; you want to skip the negative and just think positive. Or in other words, try to avoid the negative. Whatever you try to avoid, that becomes the very basis of your consciousness. What you pursue will not be the strongest point in you. What you try to avoid will always be the strongest point in you.
Just experiment and see. For the next half an hour, you should not think about monkeys. Only monkey will happen! See all this nonsense has come without understanding the nature of your mind. So you must understand what is true and what is not true. You must go to the basics and the fundamentals of life and work from that and not settle for patch-up jobs. With this positive thinking you are just trying to find surface solutions. You are sitting thinking that the monkeys in your life should not come. How will they not come? That which you don’t want will definitely come in your mind. Nobody can escape from this. The very quality of your mind is like that.
Anybody, who tries to eliminate one aspect of life and try to live with the other, will only bring misery upon himself. There is life and death, light and darkness, good and bad, each complementing the other. If there wasn’t bad in the world, would you even know what is good? No. Your ability to perceive what’s good has come only because there is bad in the world. So you don’t have to resist it, it is just that you have to make a positive result out of this positive and negative that is happening, which is just your capability. So, is acceptance the solution? If you say, ‘acceptance is the solution,’ people will become passive. The moment you talk acceptance, already it is there. People tend to think, ‘This is how life is; we cannot do anything about it. It is all God who does everything’. That is not it. This is not about accepting the situation as it is. Why should you accept the situation? This is just looking at it the way it is. It is not accepting; acceptance is a conclusion. We are not accepting it the way it is, we are just seeing it the way it is and seeing what best we can do out of it.
If we are concerned about this life, it’s very important that we are truthful about where we really are. Only then can we make a journey. This positive thinking has destroyed many possibilities for people. If you are not willing to see life the way it is, there is no way to take a step about it. If you are unwilling to look at life just the way it is, you can’t do anything about it. You can only mentally go on doing funny things which can keep you entertained but never take you anywhere. You must understand this: mind can only pave the way, it’s never the journey.
-Sadhguru, Isha Foundation
Ranked amongst the fifty most influential people in India, Sadhguru is a yogi, mystic, visionary and a New York Times bestselling author Sadhguru has been conferred the Padma Vibhushan by the Government of India in 2017, the highest annual civilian award, accorded for exceptional and distinguished service