Osho Quotes on Positive Thinking
- I do not believe in any philosophy of positive thinking; nor do I believe in the opposite, in the philosophy of negative thinking — because both are there. The positive and the negative make one whole. My philosophy is holistic — neither positivist, nor negativist, but holistic, realistic. You 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. There is no need to project any philosophy on it.
- Life is both thorns and flowers. It is better to choose the flowers. But this should not be done artificially. That is what is known in the West as positive thinking: those kind of people teach ‘Think positively, affirmatively; go on denying the thorns and go on searching for the flowers. If they are not there, invent them.’ That is going to be shallow and superficial, because your mind is not yet meditative, and mind’s basic quality is being negative. So you have certain cultivated habits. You can teach the dog a few tricks, but the dog does not become a genius. Even if he knows a few tricks he will do something foolish, he is bound to do it. A few people were playing cards and a man was standing watching. He was amazed because three were men and the fourth partner was a dog, he could not believe his eyes — the dog was doing perfectly well. So he asked ‘To whom does this dog belong?’ The owner was also playing, he was one of the players; he said ‘He belongs to me.’ The enquirer said ‘This dog is really a genius.’ The owner said ‘Nothing like that. He is still a fool, because whenever he gets good cards he wags his tail (much laughter) and he exposes everything.’ That’s what happens to positive thinkers!
- A meditator is not a positive thinker, a meditator simply drops the mind. And the moment the mind is gone there is positivity without any effort — an effortless positivity, a effortless affirmation of life. Then suddenly it is all spring, then suddenly it is all a festival of lights, and one for the first time experiences blissfulness, blessedness, benediction; and out of that arises a gratitude towards existence.
- Dale Carnegie started this whole school of positive philosophy, positive thinking: Don’t see the negative part, don’t see the darker side. But by your not seeing it, do you think it disappears? You are just befooling yourself. You cannot change reality. The night will still be there; you can think that it is daytime for twenty-four hours, but by your thinking it, it is not going to be light twenty-four hours a day. The negative is as much part of life as the positive. They balance each other.
- After Dale Carnegie, the great name in the tradition of this positive thinking is Napoleon Hill. THINK AND GROW RICH is his greatest contribution to the world — a beautifully written book, but all crap. Think and grow rich… you don’t have to do anything, you only have to think in absolutely positive terms and riches will start flowing towards you. If they don’t come, that simply means that you have not been thinking absolutely positively. So these are beautiful games in which you cannot defeat the man who is proposing the game. He has the key in his hands. If you succeed by chance, then he succeeds because his philosophy — think and grow rich — has succeeded. You have been thinking and thinking and thinking and positively thinking that dollars are showering on you — these are not snowflakes but dollars showering on you — and suddenly your uncle dies and leaves you a big inheritance. Naturally, positive thinking works! But if you don’t succeed… and ninety-nine percent of the time you are not going to succeed — you know perfectly well that your positive thinking is not absolutely positive; you know that there is doubt. Once is a while you open your eyes to see whether they are dollars or just snowflakes. You see they are just snowflakes, and you again close your eyes and start thinking that dollars are showering. But the doubt is there, that these really are snowflakes. Whom are you trying to befool? All these thoughts are going on: “This is just nonsense, I shouldn’t waste my time, I could be earning some dollars; this way I am losing rather than gaining.”
- But Napoleon Hill writes beautifully and gives examples of how people have succeeded by positive thinking. And you can find people — this world is big enough. For everything you can find an example. Why one? — you can find hundreds of examples if you just look around and try to find them. And all these people have been doing just that: they find examples, and they place the examples in beautiful poetic prose. And of course you want to be rich, so they exploit your ambition, your desire. They give you such a simple method — and they don’t ask anything of you in return. About Napoleon Hill I remember… he himself was a poor man. That would have been enough proof to disprove his whole philosophy. He became rich by selling the book, THINK AND GROW RICH. But it was not positive thinking that was making him rich — it was fools around the world who were purchasing the book, it was his work, his labor, his effort. But in the very beginning days, when his book came out, he used to stand in bookstores to persuade people to purchase the book.
- Positive thinking is just deceiving people.
- You may be a firm believer in the philosophy of positive thinking, but I don’t think you understand what the philosophy of positive thinking means. First, 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. Positive thinking is the only bullshit philosophy that America has contributed to human thought — nothing else. Dale Carnegie, Napoleon Hill, and the Christian priest, Vincent Peale — all these people have filled the whole American mind with this absolutely absurd idea of a positive philosophy. And it appeals particularly to mediocre minds.
- A sannyasin has to go beyond both — neither hope nor hopelessness. No need to count days, no need to count nights. Be a watcher! No need to count thorns, no need to count roses. Be a watcher…. I don’t teach you optimism. In the West it is very fashionable nowadays; it is called “positive thinking.” That is a new name for optimism; the old name has become a little too out of fashion, out-of-date. The new name is positive thinking. I don’t teach you positive thinking, because positive thinking carries the negative in its wake. I teach you transcendence — neither positive nor negative. Be a watcher: witness both. When there is day, witness the day, and when there is night, witness the night — and don’t get identified with either. You are neither the day nor the night; you are the transcendental consciousness. Become more and more centered there in that transcendence. True religion is not positive, nor is it negative. It is neither via negativa nor via positiva; it is via transcendence.
- I am not teaching you the positive way of living, I am not teaching you the negative way of living: I am teaching you the way of transcendence. All dualities have to be dropped: the duality of mind and heart, the duality of matter and mind, the duality of thinking and emotion, the duality of the positive and the negative, the duality of male and female, yin and yang, the duality of day and night, summer and winter, life and death… all dualities. Duality as such has to be dropped, because you are beyond duality. The moment you start moving away from both yes and no, you will have your first glimpses of the ultimate. Hence the ultimate remains absolutely inexpressible; you cannot say no, you cannot say yes.
- I mean the energy of an enlightened person is never negative. the energy of an unenlightened person is always negative. The unenlightened knows nothing of positive energy. He only reads books on positive thinking and this and that. Idiots like Norman Vincent Peale go on writing books on positive thinking, and millions of people read those books thinking that perhaps by positive thinking they can become millionaires, by positive thinking they can produce palaces. And they don’t bother about how many palaces Norman Vincent Peale has created. They don’t bother at all that Rockefeller has never read Peale, that Henry Ford has no idea of Peale. It is not a question of positive thinking. Positive thinking is appealing only to negative people, because they know their negativity continuously. But without enlightenment, you cannot have positive energy. So I saw throw away all those books on positive thinking. They are deluding you. They are giving you a sense as if without being enlightened you can be positive. That is impossible. Positivity is beyond the door of enlightenment. Negativity is on this side. The night is on this side — the black hole — and the day is on the other side where the sun never sets.
- You ask me: Am I against positive philosophy? Yes, because I am also against negative philosophy. I have to be against both because both choose only half the fact, and both try to ignore the other half. And remember: a half-truth is far more dangerous than a whole lie, because the whole lie will be discovered by you sooner or later. How long can it remain undiscovered by you? A lie, of course, is a lie; it is just a palace made of playing cards — a little breeze and the whole palace disappears. But the half-truth is dangerous. You may never discover it, you may continue to think it is the whole truth. So the real problem is not the whole lie, the real problem is the half-truth pretending to be the whole truth; and that is what these people are doing. The philosophy of positive thinking says: “Take everything positively. The negative should not have any space in your approach, there should be no negative part.” This is making a part, the positive part, almost the whole. The same is true about negative people, although there are none who preach the philosophy of negative thinking, because who is going to listen to them? They will say, “If somebody is smiling, look out — there must be something he is hiding behind the smile. In fact, he must want to cry or weep. Look out — don’t be deceived by his smiling; find out the negative. If he is looking very happy, that means certainly there is something that he is trying to hide behind his happiness.”
- Money does not shower from the sky just by your thinking. But this kind of philosophy is very prevalent in America; this is the only kind of philosophy they have produced. I am not a positive thinker. I am not saying to you, “Look only to the positive side of things.” And I am not saying that the negative side does not exist. I am saying that existence consists of the positive and the negative, in equal quantities — and the negative is as beautiful as the positive. The positive has its own utility, and the negative has its own utility.
- Try to find the positive, the beautiful, and you will be surrounded with the positive, the beautiful, and the blissful. I am not saying that there are not wrong things in the world; I am not saying that there are not thorns in the rosebush. It is a question of your emphasis. If you look at the roses you will be so ecstatic that who cares about the thorns. But if you look only at the thorns — and not only look, but count them — you are going to have bloody fingers, and in that pain you will forget all about roses. Life is absolutely balanced between the positive and the negative. Now it is your choice which side you want to be — in heaven or in hell. Wherever you want to be, try to find it in your life every moment. And whenever you have found something positive, pour all your attention and all your love on it. That will make it grow; that will make it more and more important in your life, more and more taking the space of your being. Remain absolutely indifferent about the negative. I am not saying it is not there; it is there because a few people need it. A few people are so much in love with the negative that if there is no negative they will die out of sheer agony: now there are roses and no thorns, what am I going to do? Everybody looks so beautiful, nothing ugly, everything seems to be so right, nothing is wrong…. They will lose all interest in existence. Their only interest was in the negative. But they are both there. There are positivist thinkers in the world — particularly in America — who say, “Go on thinking about the positive, because the negative does not exist. It is always the positive; the negative is your imagination.” I don’t agree with them. The negative is not your imagination, neither is the positive your imagination. They both are there absolutely balanced. It is up to you to choose.
- It all depends whether you are paying too much attention and allowing your consciousness to go to the negative. All your saints are negative; condemning everything is their whole profession. There are millions of people who are not sensitive, but continuously negative. They cannot see anything good anywhere. If by chance they come across something good they pass it by with absolute indifference. They don’t count the roses, they only count the thorns. They are so accustomed to viewing things negatively that it is almost impossible for them to see any beauty anywhere. All is wrong. Naturally, a person who thinks all is wrong is going to live in a world which is all wrong, in suffering, in misery, in pain, in agony. A sannyasin has to change his gestalt.
- You have to grow towards positivity. But remember, again, that I am not teaching a positive thinking or something like that, because any positive thinking carries the negative by the side. In america there are many thinkers who teach positive thinking — all nonsense! because every positive statement carries the shadow of the negative.
- The technique of positive thinking is not a technique that transforms you. It is simply repressing the negative aspects of your personality. It is a method of choice. It cannot help awareness; it goes against awareness. Awareness is always choiceless. Positive thinking simply means forcing the negative into the unconscious and conditioning the conscious mind with positive thoughts. But the trouble is that the unconscious is far more powerful, nine times more powerful, than the conscious mind. So once a thing becomes unconscious, it becomes nine times more powerful than it was before. It may not show in the old fashion, but it will find new ways of expression. So positive thinking is a very poor method, without any deep understanding, and it goes on giving you wrong ideas about yourself. Positive thinking was born out of a certain Christian sect in America which was called Christian Science. To avoid the word `Christian’, so others can also be allured to it, they slowly dropped that old label and simply started talking about the philosophy of positive thinking. Christian Science — which is the original source — proposed that anything that happens in your life is nothing but a thought projection. If you want to be rich, think and grow rich. It is by thinking positively that you are rich, that you are getting richer, that dollars will start coming towards you.
- Positive thinking came out of Christian Science. It talks now more philosophically, but the base remains the same — that if you think negatively, that is going to happen to you; if you think positively, that is going to happen to you. And in America that kind of literature is widely read. Nowhere else in the world has positive thinking made any impact — because it is childish. “Think and grow rich” — everybody knows this is simply foolish. And it is harmful, and dangerous too. The negative ideas of your mind have to be released, not repressed by positive ideas. You have to create a consciousness which is neither positive nor negative. That will be the pure consciousness. In that pure consciousness you will live the most natural and blissful life. If you repress some negative idea because it is hurting you…. For example: if you are angry, and you repress it and try to make an effort to change the energy into something positive — to feel loving towards the person you were feeling angry with, to feel compassionate — you know you are deceiving yourself. Deep down it is still anger; it is just that you are whitewashing it. On the surface you may smile, but your smile will be limited only to your lips. It will be an exercise of the lips; it won’t be connected with you, with your heart, with your being. Between your smile and your heart, you yourself have put a great block — the negative feeling that you have repressed. And it is not one feeling; 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. He can deceive others, and if he goes on deceiving long enough, he can deceive himself too. But it won’t be a change. It is simply wasting life — which is immensely valuable because you cannot get it back.
- Positive thinking is simply the philosophy of hypocrisy — to give it the right name. When you are feeling 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. And the song that you were singing was absolutely meaningless; you were not feeling it, it was not born out of your heart. It was just because the philosophy says to always choose the positive. 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 both 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 if tears are there, they will have a beauty; they themselves will have a song. You need not impose any song on them, they themselves will be out of joy, out of fulfillment — not out of sadness, failure. And if the song bursts forth, it is not against tears, despair; it is simply the expression of your joy… not against anything, not for anything. It is simply the flowering of your own being; hence I call it existential.
- Positive thinking has led America into a very wrong path; it had made people hypocrites. It is the most influential philosophy in America, and in fact, it is not even a philosophy, it is just rubbish. It does not understand the psychology of man, it is not grounded in the findings of psychology; it is not grounded in the deeper findings of meditation. It is simply giving people hope — people who are losing all hope. It is giving people ambition. The poor man thinks that if he goes on thinking, then suddenly out of the blue, a Cadillac will appear in his porch — although right now he has no porch. First he has to think of a porch! Positive thinking will create a porch, then positive thinking will bring a Cadillac. And even if it happens, please don’t sit in such a car; it is dangerous. There is no car, and there is no porch — that man is hallucinating. He is not in his senses.
- Positive thinking starts with belief: ‘Believe first.’ Positive thinking’s essential formula is: ‘Believing is seeing. If you believe you will see.’ If you believe totally you will certainly see. You can believe in anything, and it will start happening to you. But that will be just a dream enhanced by your belief, created by your belief, projected by you.
- To me, life consists of now and here. So there is no space and time enough to struggle. There is only enough time to celebrate. There is only enough time to live and love and dance and sing. There is not enough time to prepare. There is not enough time to have rehearsals. The actual drama is already happening. It is not going to wait for you. The world is in a celebration. You can stand by the side… you can remain just a spectator. My invitation is to become a participant. And this is the whole game of desire. Desire says, ‘Tomorrow,’ understanding says, ‘Now.’ These so-called spiritual people you are talking about who say to struggle, make effort, will power and all sorts of dale carnegie-type nonsense, and positive thinking, are just playing upon your greed, playing upon your ego. They are persuading you into ego trips in the name of spirituality, religion, god. They are not going to make you other-worldly. Their other world is no-thing but an extension of this world. And I am ready to allow you to be other-worldly this very moment. And I don’t talk about the other world because this is the only world there is — but there are two ways to live in it. One way is that of desire, imagination, dreams of tomorrow, of the future. Another is that of reality, of this moment, responding to this moment. There are not two worlds, there are only two types of people. One type — greedy, full of desire — create a future, and they go on wasting the present. Non-greedy, without any desire for the future, the other type enjoy tremendously. They are not at a loss. Look at me… try to penetrate into my eyes. I am not giving any metaphysics. I’m just trying to point out facts, simple facts.
- I don’t teach willpower here. Willpower is a bogus thing. All these people — Dale Carnegies and Napoleon Hills and these American philosophers who go on talking about how to grow rich through willpower, positive thinking, and how to win friends and influence people… are all talking nonsense. The only thing that man needs is awareness. I teach awareness. So here your whole work is to be more aware of all that is within you, that’s all. As you become aware changes will happen automatically, naturally, spontaneously. And whenever a change happens spontaneously it has a beauty of its own.
- Napoleon Hill’s books are there; one book is entitled THINK AND GROW RICH, and there are positive thinkers who go on telling people that you can achieve everything just by the magic of positive thinking by affirmative thinking. You just have to project that you have become the President of America. Go on projecting it, go on thinking ‘I have become the President of America.’ And if you absolutely affirm it, it will happen, because this will create a certain magic around you, a certain vibration around you. And there are foolish people who go on reading these books and go on trying and they never ask ‘Is Napoleon Hill rich? How many friends has Dale Carnegie got? He has not even been able to win me and influence me… But they go on spreading these things and the whole idea is that everybody has to be a great achiever. This creates ego. My approach is just the opposite: the ego has to be totally dropped. You are not to be achievers. Whatsoever you need is already given, it is already the case; all that you need is to let it grow. Your potential is there; you have to remove hindrances. You can call my thinking negative thinking, against the positive thinking. The positive thinking says project your idea of who you want to be; I say god has already made you what you are, only negate hindrances. That has been the most ancient teaching of the great mystics, of all the Buddhas. We call the method neti-neti. Go on saying ‘This is not me, this is not me’ And go on removing everything till nothing is left to be removed. When absolute nothingness has happened, in that nothingness the lotus opens up. For the first time, when you are not, you are. And to experience this paradox is the greatest experience in life.
- I DO NOT CONSIDER THOUGHTFUL MEDITATION, the idea of meditation upon something by thinking about it, as true meditation. True meditation is thoughtless, because thoughtlessness itself is what meditation is. Where there is neither thought nor deliberation there is meditation. There are no thoughts in deep sleep either, so to say that meditation is only the absence of thoughts is not quite accurate. This is a negative approach, and meditation is not the negative aspect of anything. On the contrary, meditation is a positive presence. It is the positive presence of sensitivity, of awareness, of understanding. Only complete wakefulness, only total consciousness is meditation. And perfect, consciousness is only possible when one is completely free of thoughts.
- If you use the mind positively, then you will only create more and more projections. So whatever is known as “positive thinking” is absolutely anti-meditative.
- Meditation is not thinking about something. It is not thinking at all. But one thing has to be remembered: it does not mean falling asleep. That’s what happens; if you are not thinking then the mind says, “What are you doing? Go to sleep.” Mind is at ease with thinking or with sleep, and just between the two is meditation: no thinking, no sleep. Thinking has been dropped and sleep has not been taken up. You are fully awake. It is awareness without thoughts. The road of your mind is completely empty of the continuous traffic of thoughts. In that state of no-mind is hidden the ultimate secret — the secret of your being and the secret of the whole universe… because at the point of your being all points meet together. Your point is also the center of the whole universe. The further you go into thought, the further you move away from your center and also from the universe.
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