Thursday, September 22, 2011

Don't talk to me, I need to keep a positive attitude...

In her book, Sacred Demise, Carolyn Baker frequently receives emails that say something like, "I'm unsubscribing from your email list because your website is filled with negativity and I need to stay positive." Carolyn describes this perspective as "righteous," or a false sense of doing the right thing. The problem with a (self) righteous attitude is that it leads to detachment from reality. It's a "new agey" way of keeping a positive attitude so we never have to feel badly about what's actually happening. They're actually saying that it's someone else's problem (reality), not theirs.

I know just what she means, because I see it all the time and from people that I'd least suspect it from. I've been shocked and disappointed that it comes from people who are awake on so many other levels.  The addiction to a "positive attitude" in the face of the end of the world as we know it is beyond irrational. It is a uniquely human-centric obsession. I mean, what delusional person would argue that we're not killing the planet?

This disconnect and closed thinking often shows up for me with the words, "please don't share this with me...I don't want to hear it. I believe we create our own reality." For me, this is like ignoring abuse in a dysfunctional family and we and the planet are the family. We humans have been ungracious guests on this planet the moment we disowned our indigenous roots, and from that moment on, "civilization" has been trying to rid itself of the indigenous heart inherent in all of us.

As a culture, we're in extreme denial. We don't believe, it's not a problem, someone will fix it, or it's useless and we've given up..

Carolyn Baker points out that what "all forms of positive thinking about collapse come down to is our own fear of death." I've got bad news for some of you: We're all going to die. This doesn't mean that we can't plan for a good outcome, or that we can't sometimes effect the outcome, but the truth is, we can't always, and how we react to what is happening is really the only thing we have control over. The phrase "I believe we create our own reality" is the ultimate conceit and narcissism.

Not too long ago in meeting I was in, we were hashing out some issues around sustainability and possible collapse and one person was very uncomfortable talking about the whole subject and he uttered the words ""I believe we create our own reality, and what we think, we create."  Seeing how disturbed he was, I asked him, "then why are you at this meeting? Did you create this reality with your negative thinking?" This is, unfortunately, all related to magical thinking much like the movie The Secret. Sometimes shit happens. We desperately need to come to terms with and accept the limits of our general powerlessness. Once we can accept this emerging reality, we are empowered and no longer need to resist.

It's not my intention to make others wrong. They are entitled to believe what they want. But when people hold rigid beliefs in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, it truly becomes a pattern of denial. It's essential that we stay present with what's going on in the world and stay available emotionally, spiritually, physically, and mentally. Our survival may depend on it. Anything else is just checking out, and that is not being conscious.

Get the book Sacred Demise. It is a gift to us all.


GreenMan said...

Great points and I agree with most of what you've said. The level of denial in this country and the world is truly overwhelming. So when someone says something like, "we create our own reality by what we think," needs to understand that we are all creating out of our shadow. And it is our shadow that we see in this "collapse." In other words, it's not, "the ultimate conceit and narcissism," as you put it. It is simply more denial of our shadow self.
In response to your statement, "what delusional person would argue that we're not killing the planet?" I guess I would be one, b/c we will kill ourselves long before we kill the planet. Truth is, the planet will be just is our ability to survive on this planet that is at risk. Mother Earth has ways to cleanse herself, which may involve eliminating us.
On another note, I maintain a positive attitude no matter how much negative stuff I read, b/c it only means it's all coming down and we will have the opportunity to create something new and better. I believe most people want to maintain a positive attitude in an effort to stabilize the current status quo without changing the fundamentals of all the unsustainable systems. This simply will not work. The "positive attitude" needs to be focused on the upcoming opportunity for fundamental change and creating what comes next!

Gary Stamper said...

Great points, GreenMan, and I agree. Especially about creating our reality out of shadow, the planet, and creating something new....oh, hell, I agree with it all. Thank you for your great comments.

Anonymous said...

i am of the opinion that spiritual bypass or what i will term 'altered positivity' (since it looks altered and acts altered but is a choice) just isn't very humane.

until we get that part right we're in big doo-doo.