Have you noticed a buildup of negative energy and want to release it?
The great Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu once said that “trouble is easily overcome before it starts.” When applied to your situation, it means that sometimes it’s easier to prevent a buildup of negativity than trying to release it later.
I’ve recently came across a penetrating perspective on this issue in the book The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. In it, he compares negativity with resistance and considers the two words almost synonymous. Eckhart Tolle writes:
All inner resistance is experienced as negativity in one form or another. All negativity is resistance. In this context, the two words are almost synonymous. Negativity ranges from irritation or impatience to fierce anger, from a depressed mood or sullen resentment to suicidal despair. Sometimes, the resistance triggers the emotional pain-body, in which case even a minor situation may produce intense negativity, such as anger, depression, or deep grief.
Then he adds that this unconscious tendency feeds the ego, enabling it to keep you stuck in negative spirals:
The ego believes that through negativity it can manipulate reality and get what it wants. It believes that through it, it can attract a desirable condition or dissolve an undesirable one. A Course in Miracles rightly points out that, whenever you are unhappy, there is the unconscious belief that the unhappiness “buys” you what you want. If “you” — the mind — did not believe that unhappiness works, why would you create it? The fact is, of course, that negativity does not work. Instead of attracting a desirable condition, it stops it from arising. … Its only “useful” function is that it strengthens the ego, and that is why the ego loves it.
So how do you prevent the buildup of negative energy in your mind and body? What follows is Eckhart Tolle guided meditation technique that will help you do just that. It starts with this question:
How do we stop negativity from arising, and how do we get rid of it once it is there?
As I said, you stop it from arising by being fully present. But don’t become discouraged. There are as yet few people on the planet who can sustain a state of continuous presence, although some are getting close to it. Soon, I believe, there will be many more.
As an alternative to dropping a negative reaction, you can make it disappear by imagining yourself becoming transparent to the external cause of the reaction. I recommend that you practice it with little, even trivial, things first. Let’s say that you are sitting quietly at home. Suddenly, there is the penetrating sound of a car alarm from across the street. Irritation arises.
What is the purpose of the irritation? None whatsoever. Why did you create it? You didn’t. The mind did. It was totally automatic, totally unconscious. Why did the mind create it? Because it holds the unconscious belief that its resistance, which you experience as negativity or unhappiness in some form, will somehow dissolve the undesirable condition. This, of course, is a delusion. The resistance that it creates, the irritation or anger in this case, is far more disturbing than the original cause that it is attempting to dissolve.
All this can be transformed into spiritual practice. Feel yourself becoming transparent, as it were, without the solidity of a material body. Now allow the noise, or whatever causes a negative reaction, to pass right through you. It is no longer hitting a solid “wall” inside you. As I said, practice with little things first. The car alarm, the dog barking, the children screaming, the traffic jam. Instead of having a wall of resistance inside you that gets constantly and painfully hit by things that “should not be happening,” let everything pass through you.
Somebody says something to you that is rude or designed to hurt. Instead of going into unconscious reaction and negativity, such as attack, defense, or withdrawal, you let it pass right through you. Offer no resistance. It is as if there is nobody there to get hurt anymore. That is forgiveness. In this way, you become invulnerable. You can still tell that person that his or her behavior is unacceptable, if that is what you choose to do. But that person no longer has the power to control your inner state. You are then in your power — not in someone else’s, nor are you run by your mind. Whether it is a car alarm, a rude person, a flood, an earthquake, or the loss of all your possessions, the resistance mechanism is the same.
Complement this Eckhart Tolle guided meditation technique from The Power of Now with our articles on 3 dysfunctional mental habits that make you unhappy and then revisit our guided meditation on accessing the power of now.
Hi, I’m Gavril, the guy behind this blog. What you see here is the combination of my three favorite things: reading, writing, and mindfulness. While you’re here, subscribe to my blog updates and gain access to free mindfulness resources for stress relief.