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Chapter 15: Flowers, Not Thorns

Because of this negative habit a small thing becomes so big that it prevents your energy from flowing towards the positive. I want you to pay all your attention to the positive and ignore what is negative. That’s what Gautam Buddha’s advice has been.

Buddha’s word for ignoring the negative was upeksha. It is a very beautiful word. Ignoring is a literal translation of upeksha, but it misses something immensely valuable which I will have to explain to you. Upeksha is ignoring, plus. When you ignore something, there is a possibility that even in ignoring you are paying attention. Even though you are ignoring, you are paying attention. You may not look at somebody, but you are holding yourself back from looking. You may not be speaking to somebody, but you are holding back. It is the same - whether you are speaking or you are holding it back.

Upeksha means: as if the negative does not exist, as if it is just a shadow which will disappear on its own.no attention at all. You don’t pay attention to your shadow, or do you? The whole day it follows you and you don’t take any note of it. That is upeksha.

Ebenezer MacTavish was known to be the grumpiest farmer in the neighborhood. One year when MacTavish’s apple crop was exceptionally good, a neighbor was confident that he would not complain.

“I’ll bet you are happy with your apple crop,” said the neighbor, “just about every one of them is a perfect apple.”

“I suppose they are all right,” replied MacTavish grudgingly, “but what am I going to do? I have got no rotten ones to feed to my pigs.”

That is the tendency of the negative mind. Even in paradise you will find so many things wrong that paradise will not be a paradise with the negative mind; it will become a hell. Psychologically speaking, the negative mind is hell and the positive mind is heaven.

I have told you the story of Edmund Burke, one of the great English philosophers. He was very friendly with the Archbishop of Canterbury, the archbishop of England. They had graduated together and they loved each other very much. And the archbishop was waiting, that some day Edmund Burke would come to listen to him. But he never came, although the archbishop was always going to any meetings that were addressed by Edmund Burke. This was very strange.

Finally, he invited him specially: “This Sunday you have to come. You have not heard me even once and I have heard you each time you speak.”

Very reluctantly, Edmund Burke said, “If you invite me, I will come.”

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