Posted 25 March 2017 by Sal
The Positive Way vs. The Negative Way
There are two ways people engage with self-inquiry work—the negative way and the positive way.
Psychological therapy is the negative way. The focus is on “going in there” and analyzing, dealing with, sorting out, fixing, correcting, etc. All of these methods assume there is a problem, or that something is wrong with a “me.” This “me” however, is not substantial. To a person truly seeking freedom, all of that has to be seen for what it is—a myth. Once we get on the carousel of mind, there is no end. Round and round we go, forever. Of course, not everyone is ready or willing to be free and some need a therapeutic means for healing deep trauma and other suffering. There are many such therapies, and I support them.
The negative approach is also used on most of the so-called spiritual paths where there is still the belief that there is a problem or something wrong with a “me.” Here, it is labeled as vasanas (tendencies), which have to be released or destroyed, or the mind has to be purified of all thoughts, or behaviors have to be corrected to avoid doing certain things that are against “spirituality” or “enlightenment.” By doing this, we again wind up on the carousel of mind—fixing, purifying and correcting. As with all paths, it is an endless ride. Again, not everyone is ready or willing to get off of that ride, and for them, there are many paths to pursue.
But these avenues, while serving their own purposes, never get down to the essential truth of your being. The reason for this is that there is no “path” to knowing your essential being; you will not come to know it progressively. You either know or you don’t. The negative way is both endless and ultimately never “arrives” at truth.
The way of freedom is the positive way. With this way, we are not trying to correct, fix, analyze, or purify anything. We don’t even set one little toe on that carousel of mind. We stay off the carousel completely. Why? Because we have come to know our essential being, and that is what we value. Of course, a person first has to come to know their essential being in a clear and doubtless way, otherwise, it doesn’t work. You can’t pretend or fool yourself; you need to know.
The good news about the positive way is that you know freedom immediately. No path and no more endless rides on the mental carousels. You simply know and be free, now. The other good news is that most of those things you spent a lifetime trying to resolve with the negative way, get resolved automatically, on their own, without you doing anything at all. By continually remaining true to your essential being, things resolve on their own over time (some quicker perhaps than others), and you begin to know more and more peace and freedom.
Why would that be? Because you have turned off the power switch. What is the power switch? Belief. As long as you believe in vasanas, there they are. As long as you believe in afflictions from the past, there they are. As long as you believe there is a self/ego, there it is.
Some people will complain that this approach is too radical and does not properly respect or address past afflictions. Perhaps they do have real trauma that needs to be addressed through therapeutic means, and so, this work may not be for them. I do not think this work is for everyone. If someone feels they need a more therapeutic approach, then I encourage that. But, for someone who hears this message, resonates with it and feels that they are ready to be free, it is essential to first come to know who you are—free of afflictions. It is the beginning of living the way of freedom.
In coming to know there is no past, no future, and no self/ego, it is seen that you are essentially free of it all, here and now, and that you always have been. Continuing to know this and continuing to stay off the carousel of mind means that you continue to abide as truth, as freedom, and as peace. I call this having holidays. This is the positive way—being who you are, being free, now.
Come to know who you are and continually be that knowing. You have spent your whole life trying to fix and get rid of the afflictions in your mind, but it is endless and ultimately fruitless if you want to know freedom. Be free. Be who you are. See that everything is already resolved, here and now. That is the way of freedom.