Positive Thinking is the “Philosophy for Phonies,” Spiritual Teacher Says

November 8, 2017 at 4:33 pm

The philosophy of positive thinking means being untruthful; it means being dishonest. It means seeing a certain thing and yet denying what you have seen; it means deceiving yourself and others.” ~ Osho


I’ve always felt there was something inauthentic and almost creepy about the New Age obsession with positive thinking.

I remember a manager at one of my first jobs (sorting medical records in the basement of a hospital) used to pin up posters urging her employees to “be positive” and “keep smiling.”

But no matter how hard she tried to “turn that frown up-side-down” she herself seemed miserable. She was a closet alcoholic and would breakdown at least once a month into a fit of rage and tears.

According to one of my favorite gurus, Osho, this is because you can’t avoid negative experiences and feelings in life no matter how neurotically you try to pretend they don’t exist. And by denying and repressing them, you only create more suffering in the long run.

Not only does forced positive thinking/positive focus create your own internal hell, it allows hell to remain on Earth, simply by denying its existence.

It encourages people to “see no evil, hear no evil” and therefore do nothing to stop “evil” from occurring.

It renders people incapable of acknowledging unpleasant or uncomfortable truths and therefore perpetuates them.

Osho says this is not true and is actually dangerous to believe

“The negative is as much part of life as the positive,” Osho says. “They balance each other.”

“In fact, all these believers in positive philosophy are basically negative,” he says. “To hide that negativity they believe firmly in the positive philosophy.”

“The technique of positive thinking is not a technique that transforms you. It is simply repressing the negative aspects of your personality … It cannot help awareness; it goes against awareness.”

Osho encourages people see “the whole in its totality, whatever it is. Good and bad, day and night, life and death, they both are there. My approach is to see exactly what is the case.”

Negative thoughts and feelings must be released, he says, not repressed by positive thoughts and feelings.

For example, if you are angry at someone and try to force yourself to feel loving and compassionate toward them, you’re only prolonging the anger by repressing, suppressing and denying it.

“Deep down it is still anger; it is just that you are whitewashing it.” Osho says.

“In life you have thousands of negative feelings. You don’t like a person, you don’t like many things; you don’t like yourself, you don’t like the situation you are in. All this garbage goes on collecting in the unconscious, and on the surface a hypocrite is born, who says, ‘I love everybody, love is the key to blissfulness.’ But you don’t see any bliss in that person’s life. He is holding the whole of hell within himself.”

“Positive thinking is simply the philosophy of hypocrisy,” he says. “When you feel like crying, it teaches you to sing. You can manage if you try, but those repressed tears will come out at some point, in some situation. There is a limitation to repression.”

“I am absolutely against positive thinking. You will be surprised that if you don’t choose, if you remain in a choiceless awareness, your life will start expressing something which is beyond positive and negative, which is higher than both. So you are not going to be a loser. It is not going to be negative, it is not going to be positive, it is going to be existential.”

So there you have it — be negative when you feel like it!