What if I get sick
What if I lose my job
What if …. What if ….
Much of our time is spent in running myriads of such scenarios through our mind that could seem to have significant impact on our daily life. We also find ourselves dwelling on the negative events and experiences throughout our day more than the positive ones. For example, we tend to focus more on unpleasant remarks or comments made by someone, rather than compliments received. Researchers have concluded that the negative experiences and events tend to have stronger impact on our brain than positive ones. In other words, our view of the world tends to be largely negative. They have called it the “Negativity Bias.”1 Additionally, the more time we spend thinking about the negative events and experiences, the more likely we are to commit them to memory, which explains why they tend to linger in our memory longer than positive experiences. Not only does this rob us of the opportunity to enjoy (and live) in the present but also sends us spiraling down into the abyss of negativity from where it becomes difficult to extract ourselves. This may even lead to physiological and pathological manifestations, affecting our overall physical and mental well-being.
So, if we are naturally wired toward negativity, thinking positively evidently seems like an uphill task. The good news is we can train our mind and brain to think and act positively. Although there are an infinite number of things around us to be fearful, anxious, and sad about, the truth is that there are also an infinite number of things to feel joyful, excited, and grateful about. It's up to us to decide where we want to focus our attention. Hazur Maharaj Ji often said that it is just as easy to think positively as it is to think negatively. It all depends on our attitude. So:
What if…. I think positive
What if…. I become a better human being
What if…. I realize my inherent true potential and realize who I truly am.
Imagine the possibilities!
And these possibilities can become reality by developing the most powerful force in the universe… Love. How would developing love within ourselves make them a reality? Hazur says:
When you are in love, when you are happy within yourself, you’ll find happiness everywhere, even in a little pebble. You’re just dancing – when you’re dancing inside, you’re dancing outside. Everybody you come across looks lovely to you. Everybody looks like a very fine person to you because you are very fine within yourself, you are very lovely, very devotional within yourself. When we develop that love, that power within ourselves, then wherever we look, wherever we go, we find the same Lord, the same power within every one of us. Then the illusion of this world doesn’t bother us at all. Being in the world, we’re not of the world. We’re in our own love, we’re in our own devotion for the Lord. Then this world doesn’t affect us at all. But to develop that detachment, we have to know that this world is an illusion and not be tempted by it.2
However, he also makes it very clear that the dawn of realizing that this world is an illusion doesn’t mean that we withdraw from it as if it doesn’t matter anymore. In fact, he encourages us to adopt an even more kind and compassionate attitude towards it.
If you have a kind heart, a loving heart, you are kind to everybody, you are loving to everybody, you are helpful to everybody. When you are kind and loving and helpful to everybody, you are not attached to any particular person – this has become your nature. We have to develop that. It happens automatically if we are filled with love and devotion for the Father. Then all such qualities come like cream on milk. You don’t have to strive for them; they become part and parcel of you, because then you see the Lord in everyone. You are humble before everyone, loving to everyone, because then what you see is the Lord – not a particular person, but the Lord who is residing in everyone.3
Saints have been encouraging us to know that the divine power that is accessible to all of us within is eager to help us succeed on this path of Love and potentially transform our attitude from negative to positive, with resolve and determination. From “what if….” to:
- Wikipedia.org “Negativity Bias”
- Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. III # 490
- Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. III # 500