Articles about Spirituality
Most of us have that unsettling sensing that no matter how happy we may feel at any moment, a negative state is never too far away. It is always lurking somewhere in the background, just waiting to take us over. And when it does, it threatens our jobs, our relationships, and our spiritual efforts. Is it inevitable to live like this? Or are there positive steps we can take to drop negative spirits? The encouraging news is that there are definite steps to take, and all of them are based on our increased understanding of what negativity really is, and the unseen harm it does to us.
We've been taught that we have to tolerate negativity. We tiptoe around others when they're in the throes of a negative state, and we accept our own torments, hoping only to be able to cope. Parents desperately look for ways to deal with the negativity in their children. We coddle these wrong, self-harming states for two reasons. The first involves self-love and self-protection: because we don't know better, we embrace the negativity as our own and therefore feel it should be defended. The second reason is secret fear: we're afraid of negativity, which means we resist it, and that resistance gives it our life force. The solution is to understand the essence of negativity and then to learn how it operates in the dark.
Our new understanding begins by volunteering to get a lot tougher on ourselves -- and on what's been so hard on us. Meekly submitting to any negative emotion in the hopes it will run its course and leave us alone just invites it to subjugate us again... and again. We can learn to do much better than to just automatically become angry or depressed every time events run counter to our expectations, and we can begin by gathering a few freeing facts:
Fact 1: Negativity is opposition.
When we're negative, we're opposed to life as it presents itself. We've labeled a particular outcome as bad, but in reality, life is not divided up into good and bad any more than the ocean is for or against its own waves.
Fact 2: Life is whole and it's all good.
The events of life are reflections of broader patterns that are beyond our ability to see. All of them are in the interest of growth and development, and all of them, perceived correctly, serve to help us realize just how much the universe really is on our side. When bad things seem to happen, it is not that the event is bad of itself. It is that we do not see the wholeness, and instead judge the event from our own limited and divided point of view. The negativity produced by our own judgment hurts us and keeps us from experiencing the good.
Fact 3: Every time we accept a negative state we compromise ourselves and increase the level of conflict for ourselves and everyone we meet.
Strangely, we accept the negativity because it gives us a powerful sense of who we are. We feel falsely energized by our sense of a separate self, apart from the wholeness. We even value our negativity because it makes the boundaries of our selves seem so strong and real. "I may be unhappy," we think, "but at least I know who I am and I know what my life is all about." But what we "know" is a false self-image, and what we think our lives are about is only an endless battle to protect something that was never real in the first place.
The evidence is all around us! Almost everywhere you see unhappy faces reflecting anger, self-pity, defeat, and other dark states. How much effort do we go to in order to make ourselves look good to others? Do we ever think about what the expression on our face says about us? Or how any negative spirit within us can undo all the good effects of everything we do to make ourselves physically healthy? One of the tricks of the intimate enemy is to make us believe that something that is destroying us is good for us. See negativity for the monster it is, and you'll want to be free of it forever. And you will be!
(Excerpted from The Intimate Enemy by Guy Finley)
Guy Finley is the best-selling author of The Secret of Letting Go, The Essential Laws of Fearless Living, and more than 40 books and audio albums on self-realization, including his brand new book The Secret of Your Immortal Self. Guy is the founder and director of Life of Learning Foundation, a nonprofit center for self-study located in southern Oregon where he gives talks four times each week. Guy is a faculty member at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York and is a regular expert contributor to Beliefnet and the Huffington Post. Click here to visit the Life of Learning Foundation website and sign up for free to receive Guy’s 6-hour eCourse The Illusion of Limitation on 7 MP3 downloads.