Is there really a benefit to positive thinking? Sadhguru explains why trying to “think positive” is bound to crash eventually.
Q: Sadhguru, there is a lot of teaching out there about positive thinking and how it can transform your life. Yet, there is something about people who are always repeating positive affirmations that seem shallow. Is it that simple? Can positive thinking help you get rid of karma, or at least keep you from creating more karma?
Sadhguru: The reason these people have lost depth to their life is that they have become frivolous by focusing their attention only on what is convenient for them, which they call positive. They want everything quick, quick, quick. There is no dedication to anything. Suppose someone has to become a scientist. He has to study for years. Maybe he will forget his wife, his children, he forgets everything and gives himself. Only then something opens up for him, even on the physical plane.
Such steady focus is mostly missing in the modern world, because there is too much of this kind of teaching: “Don’t worry, be happy. Everything is fine. Just enjoy yourself!” This kind of happiness will inevitably crash and people will get into mentally sick situations. One particularly popular statement I hear in the West, and it is starting to catch up in India as well, is “Be happy, live in the moment.” Please live somewhere else and show me. Anyway you are in the moment, where else can you be? Everyone quotes this because books have been written and programs have been conducted by people who have no experience or understanding.
If you watch those people who always talk about “Be happy,” depending on their lifestyles, within a few years they end up depressed. It will invariably hit you very deep because your energies are apportioned for different possibilities according to your karmic structure. There is something for your pain, for your grief, your joy, your love. This is called prarabdha karma. It is not just in your mind. Karma is data. You energy is functioning according to this data. The prarabdha is like a coiled spring. It has to find its release. If those things do not find expression, if you deny them, they will take root in a completely different way.
It is important that you simply see everything the way it is. You do not deny anything. If grief comes, grief. Sadness comes, sadness. Joy comes, joy. Ecstasy comes, ecstasy. When you do this, you are not denying or trying to stop anything. At the same time, everything is happening, but you are free from it.