“Think Neutral”- 30 September 2018.
Think neutral is not too contrary to the philosophical advice of ‘think positive’ but is a step forward in consciousness. Negative thinking and positive thinking are two extremes in the thought process that can block out so many aspects of perception. If we need clarity in perception of things, we need to do neutral thinking. Some friends even call it ‘zero thinking’. We must understand that thinking does not take place in a vacuum but is always associated with an object, experience or an emotion. The moment an object or an experience occurs, we are quick to jump to some conclusions about it habitually. By habit we mean the conditioning of the mind through your education, cultural training by parents and past experiences, which is unique to each person as well collective in nature in many conditions. We habitually jump to a conclusion without much conscious or neutral thought given to the situation. We either think negative about it or think positive about it and close the matter. But the matter remains unattended and unresolved at a higher level. At a lower momentary level it seems to be resolved as we go about our routine. But this thinking gives us neither the awareness nor the clarity of the situation. It keeps us running around in circles without elevating our thoughts. We do not grow in stature.
There was a client in distress who came to me more than two decades ago but whom I still remember for he was unique in his thought process. He was traumatised by his wife’s infidelity but he would not judge her. He was fully focused on his own mind and not on her at all. He loved her and that was that. On asking him a number of questions, all he would say would be ‘maybe’ or ‘I don’t know’. He wanted to know what I would think of the situation and how he should come out of it! That was unusual for most people are prone to making very quick judgements against the perpetrators and the world in general.
That reminds me of an ancient story of a farmer whose horse ran away one day from his farm. His neighbours came sympathising with him with reactions like ‘that is so bad, what will you do now’ and so on. His only reaction was ‘maybe or I don’t know’. After a few days the horse came back with four wild horses with him. Again the neighbours were quick to respond with positive comments such as ‘that is wonderful, how lovely to hear that’. The farmer’s response was only ‘maybe’. One day his son fell off the horse and broke his leg. The neighbours poured in with their sympathy and negative responses! The farmer only said again ‘maybe’. A few months later the state went into war and all able bodied youth was called to register for the war. The farmer’s son was disqualified due to his broken leg! The farmer still said ‘maybe’ to his friends!
I am sure you have understood what I am trying to highlight- a process of neutral thinking that does not jump to stereotyped responses which may not mean anything at all in the journey of life. Life continues with a series of events and experiences and a neutral mindset just consciously watches it go by without emotional judgements. I have seen this mindset in philosophers, sages, psychologists and even seasoned journalists. They do not react with statements that are ‘positive and good’ or ‘negative and bad’. They just shrug their shoulders and get down to writing and reporting the event. They watch society and life like a film running on a large canvas in front and try to report the events as factually as they can. What they do not do and never do as a matter of principle is ‘judge’. Do not judge an event for that affects the reporting and robs it of objectivity and makes it a subjective judgement.
In psychology we practice non-judgemental listening and generally avoid giving opinions. It is for the client to interpret and re-interpret the meanings of the experience. The subject undergoing the experience must define the impact after interpreting the event in their own way. A psychologist acts as a mirror to reflect it and help offer different perspectives to it which may be healthier. Actually an event can be seen from numerous angles if we keep an open mind by being neutral in thinking. You would be surprised if you tried the experiment in non-judgemental thinking. It will help you in observing things in an objective manner, in contrast to making subjective stereotyped judgements, and help you expand and enhance your perceptions. It will enlighten your mind and elevate it to a level of higher consciousness. It will teach you to perceive things from as many aspects as possible. Play it as a game one day and see the effects.
A wise man once said, ‘there is nothing that is good or bad, thinking makes it so’. Your interpretations give meaning to the experience and doing so you, either, harm yourself, fool yourself or enhance your perceptions about life. It helps removes ignorance and enlightens you and makes you wise. Only then you are in a position to enter spiritual thinking and spiritual life.