In America, many people – from meditators to managers – are using a technique called “positive thinking.” They are trying to change destructive thoughts and conditionings about themselves, others, and existence, into positive ones, and in this way hope to be more successful on the level of their lives that they are concerned with. Picturing their minds as a cage, I wonder whether this technique is just like painting the cage golden.
Osho, is the technique of positive thinking helpful for awakening? Or does it dull the awareness of being imprisoned and the desire to become free?
The technique of positive thinking is not a technique that transforms you. It is simply repressing the negative aspects of your personality. It is a method of choice. It cannot help awareness; it goes against awareness.
Awareness is always choiceless.
Positive thinking simply means forcing the negative into the unconscious and conditioning the conscious mind with positive thoughts. But the trouble is that the unconscious is far more powerful, nine times more powerful, than the conscious mind. So once a thing becomes unconscious, it becomes nine times more powerful than it was before. It may not show in the old fashion, but it will find new ways of expression.
So positive thinking is a very poor method, without any deep understanding, and it goes on giving you wrong ideas about yourself.
Positive thinking was born out of a certain Christian sect in America which was called Christian Science. To avoid the word Christian, so others can also be allured to it, they slowly dropped that old label and simply started talking about the philosophy of positive thinking.
Christian Science – which is the original source – proposed that anything that happens in your life is nothing but a thought projection. If you want to be rich, think and grow rich. It is by thinking positively that you are rich, that you are getting richer, that dollars will start coming towards you.
I am reminded of an anecdote. A young man met an old lady on the road. The old lady asked, “What happened to your father? He is not coming to our weekly meetings of Christian Scientists – and he is our oldest member, almost the founder of our society.”
The young man said, “He is sick and feeling very weak.”
The woman laughed. She said, “It is just his thought and nothing else. He is thinking he is sick – he is not sick. And he is thinking he is weak – he is not weak. Life is made of thoughts; the way you think, you become. Just tell him to remember his own ideology that he has been preaching to us. Tell him to think healthy; tell him to think full of vigor.”
The young man said, “I will give the message.”
After eight or ten days the young man met the woman again, and she asked, “What happened? Didn’t you give the message? – because he is still not coming to the weekly meeting.”
The boy said, “I gave the message, madam, but now he thinks he is dead. And not only does he think he is dead, my whole neighborhood, my family, even I myself think he is dead. And he is no longer living with us; he has gone to the graveyard!”