Have you experienced the power of a positive mindset? Miracle, synchronicity, happy accident– these are some of the names we call it when life works out in our favor.
Can you think of a time when your own ability to generate positive feelings, perspectives, or even just your sunny vibe helped you out?
What about the power of a negative mindset? Can you think of a time when no matter what someone said to cheer you up, you felt weighted down by thoughts and feelings of darkness and gloom? Can you think of an incident in your life where your own mindset negatively impacted how events unfolded?
My guess is that no matter how cynical or heartbroken you sometimes feel, you have experienced beautiful, heavenly magic in your life some of the time. My guess is also that no matter how positive you may be, you have also experienced the discouragement, even devastation, of things not working out the way you would have preferred. I say that confidently because you’re a human, and it’s the same for all of us.
The truth is that we humans are in a curious quandary. We do not have absolute power over our own lives – at least, we do not experience it that way. However, we are also not powerless – what we do, what we think, how we behave, and the energy we put out into the world has a huge impact on how life goes for us.
So what do we do? Do we accept the bitterness of life, and stop dreaming, as many have urged us to? Or do we keep wishing, and as a result of letting our hopes rise with those wishes, also sometimes slam up against hard walls in the preexisting reality we are in?
Are we mad to keep hoping for goodness to appear when life has shown us how much evil there is, or are we mad to stop dreaming of better, when life has shown us how much goodness there could be, if only we would nurture it?
I believe that this is a choice each of us makes, and that we each live with the consequences. Whatever world we want to live in, we help create it or we help thwart it, by the thoughts we choose to power up and animate with our life energy. At the same time, we all have shadows, and spiritual bypassing – trying to skip over the dark side – only causes shadow to amplify and gain strength.
So how on earth do we harness the power of a positive mindset, in a world that has as many demons as it does, where denial does nobody any good, but demoralization is a deadly killer, too?
What is especially tender to me about the choice to have a positive mindset in spite of it all, is that it means we are willing to be in our vulnerability. There is no ultimately protected path through this life, no version of the human journey where we are not familiarized with pain. We will be wounded.
At the same time, through our wounds we deepen more fully into our love and our grief for others and our own selves, as we experience the preciousness of what human life is.
There is a saying that a teapot shattered and pieced back together is a truer, better teapot than the unbroken one, and it sure seems that many of us need to go through this same process before we can fully understand our own value and love ourselves as much as we truly merit.
So what is a positive mindset in such a world?
I cannot speak for you, but to me a positive mindset is one in which we say all things are possible. Yes, things are what they are, right now.
And at the same time I know that there are positive forces at play in this world – forces that made the big, wild ocean. Forces that designed hummingbirds, that grew fresh soft sage in the springtime, that dreamed up capybaras and babies’ perfect little toes.
That creative energy, that loving, exquisite, and generous presence, can be called upon to help us at any time. I trust that this energy, being as supreme as it is, is quite capable of giving a solution, a medicine, an antidote, an evolutionary response, to any problem I could possibly face.
I also know – I choose to recall from my own experiences – that there is always a gift in not getting what I want, and that in austerities of all kinds, and deprivations, there is the gift of discovering something even better grown from inside myself, that far surpasses the pleasure I imagined I’d get from an external situation I was longing for.
Ultimately, all things, positive or negative, lead me back to the fact that I have choice and responsibility in this world, that I can choose to be a force of good in the face of that which has harmed me without limit, or I can see what it’s like to give into the sadness. In that landscape of choice, I choose a positive mindset, one that feels authentic to me.
Dear reader, what about you? What is your reason for trying, in your beautiful, fragile, human way, to have your own positive mindset, in a world like ours?