It seems to be a common misperception when we start searching in spiritual directions, that we should be more positive in order to be spiritual. But there is a difference between changing our way of thinking in a way of stepping out of our identification with thoughts or on the other side trying to be positive, think positive or feel positive emotions.
Through consciousness we can take a step away from our tendency to criticism and negative thinking through becoming more aware, but if we try to apply this to our emotions in a way of trying to feel positive or think positive when uncomfortable emotions emerge, this can lead to suppression of our natural emotions. Emotions are natural and a part of being human, and when we try to feel something different then what we actually do, it will only lead to suppression and a stronger tendency to be critical towards our selves.
In meditation I would treat my thoughts and emotions differently.
Thoughts can go on forever in a negative direction if we hook into them and allow our consciousness to get occupied with negative thinking about our selves and others, which again will just create more negative thinking. This is a tendency in which meditation is a great tool to step out of this negative thinking, we learn to observe the thoughts and let the thoughts just go through our awareness without thinking them and identifying with them. When we learn to observe and to stay aware, we can rather use the thinking level of the mind in a more constructive way. For instance the mind can be used as a tool to help us with new creative ideas and solutions to problems. These new ideas and solutions to our challenges, tends to come directly from the conscious place of our mind, when we allow our minds to settle into silence. Then we don’t have to think to get to the solution, the solution will come to us.
When it comes to our emotions, they act in a different way. Since most of us are taught since childhood that some emotions are good and some are bad, we have throughout our lives bottled them up inside of our body and they now reside in our subconscious. This creates both stress and tension in our bodies and minds. When we learn meditation and then start going within to become more conscious, a necessary part of going inward is to allow our emotions to emerge and be felt through our body. This process allows our body to release both the emotion and the stress related to the emotion from our bodies. If we at this point believe that painful emotions are bad and we should think more positive, this will work against the process of letting go and stop us from bringing more consciousness in where we have suppressed parts of our selves. This positive thinking can lead to further suppression of the emotions about to emerge, and we have missed the opportunity to allow these emotions to transform. If we rather allow the emotions to fully come up, they will at some point dissolve into nothingness, and we create more space within to experience more presence, peace, more energy and more love within.
Through a well-intended upbringing by our parents and society we are taught from a young age that certain emotions are acceptable and others not so accepted. All in a way of trying to make us adjusted to a society where pretty much everyone suppress our emotions to fit in. This suppression both causes a tension in our body and nervous system and it also creates a society that are based on outer values. In this society we are also more prone to addictions, if it is smart phones or alcohol depends on the individuals choices and how far we have gone in our destructive tendencies. We can use our addictions as a way of distracting us from our emotions where we don’t have to feel what is really going on inside of our selves.
If we then decide to find a way out of this and search for a solution through becoming more conscious, we can get into the idea that we need to be more positive. Some scriptures in yoga for instance talk about bliss and that our natural state is happiness. Which maybe ultimately is true, but we also have this life as humans that we live. If we think we need to be constantly blissful this could drive us further away from our path inwards, when we turn inwards we will most likely meet both suppressed anger, sadness, joy and love.
It is through accepting every parts of our selves, both emotions we see as good and bad, that we have a chance of becoming more conscious. As a side-effect of this inner allowing, we might naturally become more positive, because there is no longer any resistance within us, this can happen naturally and without any effort.
Through this inner allowing in each of us, I believe we also create a healthier society with values based on acceptance and love for our selves and others. It is only through accepting and allowing our emotions to emerge we can be free of them and allow more love to again emerge from our subconscious.