What is Negativity?
The mind does not always get attracted to negativity! Let us understand what negativity is. When would you call something “negative”?
- When it does not give you pleasure
- When it gives you a lot of pain
- When it appears to give you pleasure, but in fact it gives you pain
Let us take, for example, smoking. Smoking appears to give you pleasure, but it does not really give you pleasure. Look at the face of all those people who smoke. Are they in bliss and serenity? Are they happy and content? No! There is stress and anger. Now, why is it that they are unable to give up smoking? It is because it promises you pleasure but gives you pain – that is negativity.
So, what is the definition of negativity? It is that which appears to give you pleasure, but in fact gives you pain and suffering.
I will tell you a small story to illustrate this.
A gentleman went to a magic fare that had many magical things. There were magical flowers, a magical pond, and so on. Among the different items, there was this magical conch, which was priced very highly. The other items had low prices, but the attractive conch had a price tag of $50,000. You know, when things cost a lot of money, then people think – there must be something to it, otherwise why would someone pay $50,000 for a shell.
So, this gentleman went and asked, “What is this?”
The shopkeeper said, “This is a magical speaking conch. If you ask this conch for something, it will double it for you. That is why it is for $50,000.”
Very greedy people go for such offers. And so, this man bought the conch and took it home.
At home, this man said to the conch, “Give me one million dollars”.
The conch said, “Why ask for one million? Ask for two million dollars.”
Then the man said, “Oh, okay, two million.”
The conch said, “Why two million, ask for four million.”
The man said, “Okay, give me four million.”
The conch said, “Why four million, ask for eight million.”
At this point, the man got frustrated and said, “Fine, give me eight million.”
The conch said, “Why ask for eight million, ask for 16 million.”
The man said, “Okay, give me 16 million.”
The conch simply kept multiplying but did not give him anything.
So, negativity is like this – empty promises of giving some joy at some future point in time, but it simply does not give you anything.
How Does Complaining Make You Feel?
You sit and gossip about somebody – it appears to give you some pleasure, but what does it leave you with? Have you noticed? Your body feels odd, and your mind feels awkward.
When you sit and just complain and complain, sometimes you find that it gives you some sort of pleasure, but in fact, it leads you to a state where you get so disgusted with yourself and your own mind. You feel like running away from your own mind. Running away is not going to help, because wherever you go, your mind is going to go along with you. It is like trying to run away from your shadow.
Why Does The Mind Tend to Cling to Negativity?
The mind clings to negativity because it has moved away from its own true nature. A child does not do that – so it is not our innate nature to cling to negativity. It has become our second nature.
If you hear 10 positive compliments and 1 negative criticism, the mind clings on to the criticism. So, it is wrong to say that negativity is our innate nature, no! It appears as though it is our nature, but it has become our second nature because of stress.
The mind craves for some things and is averse to other things – that’s alright. But at least for some time, the pendulum of the mind can stop. When it stops, it feels so nice, and that is why the practice of Yoga, Pranayama, and Meditation is important. These practices change the tendency of the mind from clinging on to negativity.
The mind swings between craving and aversions, and it needs some rest sometimes, and doing these spiritual practices will bring that calmness to the mind.
Also, wisdom gradually helps one get rid of all the cravings and aversions of the mind.
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How to Rise Above Negativity
""When your intellect becomes sharper and more soaked in knowledge, you will immediately be able to rise above negativity."
Negativity is such that without being conscious you get
sucked into it. In this article,
Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
shares some insightful tips to overcome negativity.