Are faith and positive thinking synonymous..? Or is faith the basis of positive thinking..?
Some people suggest that either faith is positive thinking or faith is the basis of positive thinking.
According to our scriptures, Positive Thinking is of passionate or Rajas nature and not the correct method to be followed. We need Saatvik Faith, which is balanced thinking and not Positive Thinking.
"Positive thinking," as described by Peale could be broken down into a three step process of practicing repeated self-hypnosis, attaining "divine" or Gods power to use for oneself, and eliminating and avoiding all negativity in life.
The first step in positive thinking is focused on the use of repeated "techniques." Peale describes positive thinking as first and foremost as "simply a series of practical and workable techniques for living a successful life."
The reader was instructed through constant repetition of affirmations to bypass his conscious mind and implant suggestions into his unconscious mind where they would operate automatically, without the interference of conscious will. "Let them sink into your unconscious and they can help you overcome any difficulty. Say them over and over again. Say them until your mind accepts them, until you believe them faith power works wonders."
Peale's readers were instructed to "pray ceaselessly," to use his techniques repetitively and permanently.
Peale promised the reader that if they followed and practiced his techniques, they could attain success over almost any adversity. "It is a power that can blast out all defeat and lift a person above all difficult situations."
Peale insisted that the only way to acquire these attitudes was through the unconscious and through his techniques. Peale repeatedly instructed his readers that their conscious will, their self knowledge, self determination, courage and intelligence were not be enough to live a successful life. He described these conscious acts of will as unreliable, untrustworthy and not sufficient to meet the demands of life. The conscious, self-determining self was to be rejected, disempowered and "surrendered," so that Peales techniques and the unconscious were now the determining and motivating factors in the individuals life.
Peale also promised his readers that if they followed his techniques that they could always think positively and remove all negativity from their lives. Negative attitudes were not to be tolerated but avoided at all costs according to Peale. Negative thoughts were to be repressed, cancelled out and destroyed through his techniques. "It is important to eliminate from conversations all negative ideas, for they tend to produce annoyance and tension inwardly."
Peales readers were instructed to never doubt or question a statement Peale made or this would cut off the "power flow." Any negative doubting of Peale or whether his techniques worked were to be immediately canceled, and the reader was instructed to immediately repeat the Peale phrases.
The Peale statements, and the words that made them up were actual "things" according to Peale. "Thoughts are things," and the repetition of his phrases were more important than actions. Repeating positive only statements would cause only positive things to happen. But according to Peale, the reverse is also true.
Thinking negatively causes negative things to happen. Thus the fear of negativity, of avoiding all negative, fearful "thoughts" and realities is part and parcel of positive thinking. There can be no positive thinking without this avoidance of negative thinking, according to Peale. "Never think of the worst. Drop it out of your thought, relegate it. Let there be no thought in your mind that the worst will happen. Avoid entertaining the concept of the worst, for whatever you take into your mind can grow there."
Religions use faith as a tool to promote belief in some particular way of life. Humans use faith as a mechanism to reinforce belief systems between themselves for variety of relationships.
There is only a thin line between belief and blind belief. Most people who use faith try to harp on the blind belief to reinforce their own comfortable living.
There is no limit to faith, when it is blind. I can believe that I am god. Or someone else is god. I can believe your house belonged to me in my previous birth and hence on account of my faith, it belongs to me.
Faith has been made synonymous to blind belief by so many people and has lost its real meaning. It has been stretched to blind limits loosing its relevance totally.
But what is faith in our custom..? Is it blind belief..?
The closest Bhagavad Gita comes to faith is with a word called 'Shradda'. While 'Shradda' is definitely faith, it is faith in whatever we are doing. It is not blind belief.
Chapter 17, Verse 2:
tri-vidha bhavati sraddha
dehinam sa svabhava-ja
sattviki rajasi caiva
tamasi ceti tam srnu
All these point towards the fact that, while our scripture would promote faith or belief, they are against blind-belief, which is of rajas nature. They are also against no belief, which is of tamasic nature.
The right approach is to have belief in one's self and seek, but be ready to understand, analyze and accept what we get and proceed from then on for trying again or exiting.
Thus, we need to have balanced thinking. The correct faith is the faith of the Saatvik type. Saativk Type promotes balanced thinking.
Hence we need to keep our senses totally open and not close it by hypnotizing ourselves.
More posts by this author:
- Rsis of the Vedas – Part 2
- zrAddha – A new perspective..
- The Mantra-Tantras of Sandhya Vandanam – Punar Marjanam
- The Mantra Tantras of Sandhya Vandanam – Gayatri Nyasam, Japam, Upasthanam
- Avidya – A vAkyapadiya analysis