Non-Expression of Negativity (#70)
One of the hardest "assignments" I give to the students in my class is to try to not say anything negative for a period of two hours on one day of a week, or for a whole day, or if they feel strong and brave, for a whole week. Invariably, this exercise is a tremendous learning experience for everyone who tries it. Reports of astonishment at how often the urge to comment negatively happens habitually are common, as is the feeling of embarrassment at one's own behavior and frustration at being unable to stop it. It's always alot of fun when the class reports their experiences. Some common themes occur, such as verbalizing negatively every time you talk to a teenage son or daughter, the impulse to mutter behind their back at a co-worker (especially the boss), and the compulsive snotty retort to a criticizing parent or in-law.
Please try this wonderful educational meditation. You will witness yourself acting in ways that will amaze you. Just by seeing your habitual reactivity, you will be on the road to changing for the better. You've spent huge amounts of time and squandered enormous amounts of energy in negativity. As you will learn from observation and objective analysis, it is very rare to have improved any situation by injecting negativity into it. It is much more commonly a stimulus for making things worse.
By doing this exercise, you will be ready to appreciate the wisdom of the concept that before every negative action, there are negative words, and before the negative words, there are negative thoughts. The meditator can interrupt this process by witnessing every action, every word, and every thought. If you can witness the thought, if it arises and you recognize it as negative, you can simply not allow uncontrolled negative words to occur. If you can't stop it on the level of stopping the negative words to come out, at least you should recognize when you are verbalizing negatively and be able to stop yourself from actually acting out negatively.
Be gentle with yourself when you witness yourself being negative. Don't be negative about your negativity. Just observe the behavior, say "Oh, well", and go back to witnessing. Don't allow further inner commentary, comparisons, analyzations, or judgements; just witness. Begin to let "Oh, well", become a sort of shorthand for forgiving and reprimanding yourself and know nothing else is necessary and will needlessly drain you of energy and peace.
Just by doing the witnessing, you will be doing many positive things. Most importantly, you will be at one with your Real Self, because that is what, within you, does the witnessing. Any time you are at one with your Real Self, you can be at one with all your Real Self is at one with and that is All Reality, for your Real Self is really at one with everyone and everything. Ultimately, there is only one Real Self and it is within all, everyone, and everything. Secondly, the more you witness your negativity, the less you will be negative. It's sort of like you've been unconsciously stepping on your own spiritual toes and once you realize it, you cease to do it and ever after cease having pain in your foot and tripping and falling on your face spiritually. Anyway, you'll definitely have a few good laughs at how silly your behavior is, when uncontrolled, and start to be less and less negative and more and more at peace. Eventually, you will live happily ever after.