17 September 2010 4 Comments

What IS Positive Energy? Part 2: The Shadows of Words

Our use of words and the associations they stimulate within us bias the way we experience life.

Sept 07 Alberta 5 076I’ve been searching for words that describe positive, finding the exercise surprisingly difficult. What I find challenging is that I want to bring forth positive without accidentally supporting the kind of value judgments that cause us to suppress or deny parts of ourselves by calling them negative. The “positive” I am pointing to is not the opposite of negative, but a way of Being that embraces life fully, discovering benefit even through difficult experience.

Let’s look at some of the bias on the word “positive.”

English does not distinguish “positive” as a polarity/energy charge from “positive” as a value judgment of something we judge as “good.” Both uses of the word exist in relation to their opposites; it is difficult to think or say the word positive without automatically pitting it against negative.

I say “pitting it” because the automatic habit that brings up the opposite is rarely countered by considering other options.

Is the south pole of a magnet or the negative pole of a battery any less useful, necessary, clean, constructive, powerful, optimistic or salutary than the north or positive pole? Of course not. Polarities exist ONLY in relationship to one another–as equals. They cannot be separated. When we hear the word “positive” both opposites spring to mind; usually a polarity in which one is good and the other is bad.

A third definition of positive is “certain.” “I am positive it will be done.” I’ll follow this through later in this post sequence.

Opposites show up as if we have an either/or choice between them. “Good” carries the shadow of “bad,” just as “positive” carries the shadow of “negative.” Like a reflex, judging follows, however subtly.

A third possibility is neutrality—although we tend to pit this against positive or negative. So when we consider neutrality in this context our associations may run to indifference, apathy, flatness, or absence of feeling.

Sept 07 Alberta 5 033Neutrality can be beneficial. When separated from the idea of positive and negative, neutrality is more likely to indicate openness, balance, clarity, and objectivity. Neutrality about whether things might be positive or negative allows us to see those people, behaviors and events without prejudice. Now we can observe those people, behavior and events in the moment and make open-minded choices regarding them instead of making assumptions.

Conflict, for example, can be handled as a positive, as discussed in prior posts. If we assume that conflict—or anything else for that matter–is negative we are not likely to put it to constructive use. This is one of the many reasons that polarizing experience into good and bad is so limiting. Either/or grossly limits optimization of experience.

Praise and blame, gain and loss, pleasure and sorrow come and go like the wind. To be happy, rest like a giant tree in the midst of them all.       -Buddha

Know any words that imply ultimate “positive” without the burden of polarity? Please share.

How do YOU perceive or describe the difference between “positive” as an opposite and “positive” as all-embracing Life?

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4 Responses to “What IS Positive Energy? Part 2: The Shadows of Words”

  1. Greg 17 September 2010 at 8:15 am #

    This for me can be a difficult question. My bias has always run tword making a judgement, causing a bias. Thinking this was the best way to look at what was going on. It really is short sighted on my part not allowing a true vision of the whole picture, it really stopped my growth and interaction with all of what has to be offered in living a full life.
    Not allowing myself to live and see all that is. allowing energy to be and not judging it. To be the tree and observe all that is, may be the most challenging part of life that I am living right now.
    True beauty and reverence is what I see and feel when I do not judge a situation or define it. Life has that to offer me when I do not judge it, and try to view it just as it is.
    The words are what really cause the cofussion of the truth and my history on how I judge something to be positve or negative. Everything just is and I have the choice to embrace it or not.


    • Teresa Dietze 17 September 2010 at 6:26 pm #

      Excellent observations Greg.
      Thanks sincerely for your sincere and useful comments.

  2. Therese 17 September 2010 at 1:50 pm #

    Sorry, my last post got cut off by my cat. As I was saying ..

    I do not have any “positive” words that do not also reflect “negative.” I have changed the way I think about “negative.” Just as there is a sliver lining to every cloud, there is a loss in every win. So, I look at personal “negative” characteristics and I find the positive within them. I sometimes exhibit a controlling nature. The positive within is that I do not get “walked on,” I am able to stand up and be heard in a room that does not want to hear my opinion because it differs, and I am able to live without getting too caught up in what other people think of me. I have found the blessings in my “negative” traits.

    I’ve come to believe there really is no “negative.” It exists only in our perceptions. I believe this because as my perceptions change so does my feeling of what is negative or positive. Things that use to affect me “negatively” no longer have any effect upon me. Of course, there are new levels of learning but I see the changes within me. From these changes in my perception, I realize there will be a time when there is nothing I view as “negative.” All things will simply be as they are.

    This is a view I find very difficult to explain to others. It involves complete acceptance of my reality and my responsibility for how I view my reality. It also involves complete acceptance that other’s reality is different than my own and, while I can share my thoughts on the subject, I have no ability to change someone else’s reality; only they can change their perceptions. This understanding gives me complete freedom and peace; while I can maintain it. It may change in the future as I learn more. However, it feels like a “truth” to me.

    So, I am saying look for the gift within the experience of the negative and things will no longer be negative.

    • Teresa Dietze 17 September 2010 at 6:41 pm #

      Therese –Thanks for contributing!
      Your comments on responsibility and acceptance are terrific.

      I know what you mean about finding words and trying to connect with people who have not considered the topic. It has taken me years to be able to say this, considering it often. So I’m very glad for your recognition of topics and support for other readers!

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