Converting Negative into Positive
By Brian Germain
We are in a very interesting phase of the human experience. We have reached a point in which our technology has made life very easy for us in some ways, yet that very same technology has also increased the pace of life far beyond the capacity of our coping mechanisms for handling stress. It is now up to us, the modern humans, to find ways to deal with our emotional experience so that we may live long, productive and healthy lives.
Our ability to utilize our new tools is not the problem. We are skilled at operating PDA's, I-Pods and DVR's, but we still have trouble handling the edgy side of our human brains. Our emotions are what empower us to act based on our deepest convictions, but instead we find ourselves avoiding emotion altogether in order to remain mentally stable. I believe that this approach is robbing us of the one thing that makes us truly human.
Without emotion, we are unempowered. Yes, feelings are sticky and can get us into some pretty big trouble if we let them run wild. However, it is my firm belief that a next-generation human is one that integrates this aspect of processing into our logical thinking processes.
Fear, anger and sadness are one branch of the emotional tree. When we allow these emotions to win over our actions and our thinking process, they tend to lead us to go places that we don't want to go, and to do things we wish we hadn't done. These feelings can, on the other hand, offer us guidance about how we really feel. They tell us what we are not, and what we do not want to do.
It is the good feelings like joy, creativity and love that we desire to increase in frequency and magnitude. These kinds of emotions guide us to who we really are and what it is that we would like to do because they tell us that what we are thinking and doing is in harmony with our inner nature. Nevertheless, sometimes we have to work with the darker emotions in order to uncover hidden truths, and deal with the things that need to be handled. We must solve these things so they can leave, so that we can get back to the job of having a good time.
Negative emotion is not productive in and of itself. This much is true. But if we avoid negative emotions, we loose access to the wisdom that it can offer us. We must learn how to convert it into productive thought. We must use the spirit of that which it is wanting us to do, but channel it toward a positive set of actions.
The journey from negative experience into positive is the hardest of all human journeys. The inertia of emotion is powerful, so our feelings resist change. This is why it is so important to utilize meditation so that we may let go of negative feelings in favor of inner silence. Once this is done, however, we still have work to do. We must conjure a good feeling from wherever we can get it so that we may look at the situation with new eyes.
The problem with the human mind is that we often think that we must derive all of our resources from the present moment. Fortunately, due to the power of abstract thought, we have the ability to bring into our attention anything we want. It is through this capacity that we are able to step out of a negative mood and into a positive one. This is the process called "Transcendence".
There are many ways to do this. You may have a list of things in your life that make you feel good: the image of your child, or someone that you love. Perhaps it is the feeling of paddling a canoe or hiking in the forest. No matter what it is, you need to remember that this image, this feeling, is available to you at all times. It is fully appropriate for you to indulge yourself in this experience, even when things in your life seem to be going badly. The truth is, the change of perspective that this kind of shift in focus can provide is all that is necessary to transform your feeling, and your situation.
Life is all about mood. If you cannot or choose not to manage your emotional experience, life with throw you around like a rag doll. It will lead you into places that you do not want to go. If, on the other hand, you defend your inner good feeling with everything that you've got, you can see the solutions that make things better. If you maintain your perspective and transcend negative experience and transform it into an opportunity to make your life circumstances better, life is what you make it. Life is, after all, entirely up to us.
Enjoy your day.