Dear Donagh,

I don’t know if this makes sense, maybe you can make sense of it.  I have a lot of negativity in me due to trouble in the family going back a long way….  I went for a few sessions of counselling and I can see that I need to get rid of this negativity, it’s eating me up.  I would love to be a positive person, but how do I get rid of this negativity? Are there any methods for getting rid of it?  I'm willing to try anything at this stage.  Thanks Donagh. Maureen

Dear Maureen,

Don’t we wish it were as easy as changing a minus to a plus sign in maths?  Everything is easy in theory, at the level of ideas; the hard part – but the most real – is on the ground, in flesh and blood. 

As you know from experience, negativity seems to cling to us, refusing to let go; or if we manage to shake it off for a while it soon comes back with even stronger claws. It appears to have an existence of its own and to be able to act beyond our will.  But to describe it in this way is to ‘objectify’ it – to turn it into an object.  It would be better to change, even to reverse, that way of thinking.  It is not clinging to you; you are clinging to it.  Try to see this (we are all with you because we all know what it is like).  Then go a step further: there is no ‘it’.  There is just you thinking and feeling and remembering in a particular way, and clinging to that way.  

For as long as I think of an ‘it’ out there, shadowing me and causing me to be miserable, there is no remedy.  I have to bring it home, like every problem, right into the workshop of the soul where transformation happens.

How do we objectify something, turning it into an ‘it’?  We do it by pushing it away, by resisting it, separating oneself from it.  If we never stop doing this, that object will seem as solid as any rock.  But stop resisting and it comes home to the one place where it can be dissolved. 

What does this mean in practice?  I would suggest that you make times for yourself when you sit quietly and look directly at the negative feelings that you have.  Do this without going over the stories again.  Going over the stories only solidifies the feelings.  Look only at the feelings, nothing else.  You will see that they are your feelings.  They are you.  They are not objects threatening you from the outside.  They are wounds and they need your tender care.  Look at them with tenderness, not with self-pity (self-pity is a story).  You have spent years pushing them away and it hasn’t helped at all.  Do the opposite now: include them, embrace them, treat them as you would a crying baby. 

This is not a trick; it is a different way of looking.  You can very quickly develop a habit of looking at your negative feelings in this way.  This habit is positive.  This is positive looking – even though you are looking at negativity.  You have the ability to look at everything in a positive way, even at negativity.  This is how negativity is ‘cast out’.  This is how you ‘get rid’ of it: by not trying to get rid of it – by including it instead, by embracing it.

I hope this, or something along these lines, will be helpful to you, Maureen.


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