The Difference Between Belief and Positive Thinking
One of the great challenges in decision making is what to really trust. So many of the new age thinking gurus point in the direction of having positive thoughts, even mantras almost . The idea is that if you can replace negative thoughts with positive ones, then eventually these positive ideas will manifest. None of this is to be discounted. But there are some hitches…
It is the belief in something along with intention that really creates the right alchemy. So what is the difference between belief and positive thinking? You can have a positive thought about what you want, such as the right job, or the right relationship or any of a number of desires. Yet at the same time you might be harboring reservations about whether you deserve them, or can achieve them, This is particularly true of anything with a “big stretch” attached to it. A state of belief occurs when you have arrived at a sense of self-knowing or acceptance even though you may not know by what mechanisms it works. It becomes so ingrained in you that it is true for you. it may be backed up by proof or it may not.
So if you hold a positive thought for something and at the same time hold a belief that it is not true for you, at least not yet, the doubting belief is going to be the trump card. At least it seems to work that way.
I just finished reading a book by Chris Hedges called Empire of Illusion. Hedges is a Pulitzer winning writer. The thrust of this book as he states it is that, “A culture that cannot distinguish between reality and illusion dies. And we are dying now. We will either wake from our state of induced childishness, one where trivia and gossip pass for news and information, one where our goal is not justice but an elusive and unattainable happiness, to confront the stark limitations before us, or we will continue our headlong retreat into fantasy.”
Hedges suggests in one chapter that the positive thinking movement falls into this same context, promising the illusion of positive thinking as a panacea, and thereby masking in many cases the hard cold world of stark reality. He suggests that it is artfully used by the power elite to become a tool of the corporate world. It would be easy to agree if one remained confused about positivity and belief. And while the vast majority of us may be caught up the greater sweep of these dire events it does not mean that we do not have capabilities within ourselves to find not only a safe haven but a healthy and prosperous one.
So how do you get from positive ideas to positive beliefs? I maintain that you take baby steps. You start with small things that can happen every day such as wanting and knowing there will be a parking place, or meeting a person, or finding something for which you have been looking. As this begins to happen you can connect the dots between wanting something to happen and it happening. This conscious process will slowly build a belief system. The bar can be incrementally raised until the feedback is strong enough to give you more and more confidence on even larger unknowns.
One way you become involved in this exercise is to “fake it until you make it.” Just begin wanting small things and take credit for them as they happen even though you still are suspect. Little by little, like working out in the gym you will begin to see the results.
If you want something others want or that have dire, moral and ethical consequences simply know that other forces may be in play that have a bearing on the outcome. After all, if 5,000,000 people image winning the lottery and there can only be one winner then your strong desires have to be put into perspective. However if what you desire is a feeling state, such as being happy, then in time that feeling state should begin to emerge, as nobody is standing in the way of how you feel about yourself.
As you gain more confidence in the process then your over all decision making paradigm and process will change. This is a practice. As Malcolm Gladwell in his book, “Outliers” cites, it seems that mastery requires 10,000 hours of dedicated effort. Yet learning a more useful belief system that works with positive images, intuition, self-empowerment models and the like seems to be a rewarding journey. As time speeds up in the technologically driven Western world it is a decision making journey we will all have to embrace to remain healthy and balanced.