Is negativity really negative? via Tsem Rinpoche
We all go through some form of negativity throughout our lives, and that’s just how life in our world is. During such periods in our lives, we get so caught up in the negativity itself that we forget the fact that we actually control our own minds. In most religious traditions and philosophies we are taught that to lead a happier life, this negativity needs to be “overcome.” But what if there was another way, a more transformative way? A way in which negativity is not to be “overcome” but somehow simply “known”, a way in which negativity itself helps us to transform our mind into something greater than we could ever imagine.
In the article ‘Working with Negativity’ produced in a collection of works entitled The Myth of Freedom and the Way of Meditation, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche outlines this alternative, yet profoundly transformative, method of dealing with negativity. Long-time Western nun and student of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, the Venerable Pema Chodron cites this article as the work that set her on the Buddhist path, after her troublesome married life ended.
In the article, Chogyam Trungpa outlines two forms of negativity: negative negativity (which most of us go through in our lives, and that leads to pain and suffering), and basic negativity (the experience of negativity without an overlay of concepts, or thought processes). The first keeps us bound to the suffering we have faced in our lives previously, while the later provides us with energies that we can use to strengthen our lives.
This astounding article delves deep into the human mind, and provides us with a new way of looking at things. But the amazing thing is, all that he explains is contained within the Buddhist teachings, especially those that deal with the transformation of the mind. In fact, he even links this way of understanding our emotional and mental states to the sacred form of Four-armed Mahakala, and the four activities of the enlightened beings. Do take a read, and change the way you understand those experiences in everyday life that we usually view as negative. Use them to transform your mind for the better instead.
We all experience negativity – the basic aggression of wanting things to be different than they are. We cling, we defend, we attack, and throughout there is a sense of one’s own wretchedness, and so we blame the world for our pain. This is negativity. We experience it as a terribly unpleasant, foul-smelling, something we want to get rid of. But if we look into it more deeply, it has a very juicy smell and is very alive. Negativity is not bad per se, but something living and precise, connected with reality. Continue reading at tsemrinpoche.com