The following quote was published yesterday on Dr Rick Hanson’s Budda’s Brain page on FaceBook:
“When negative material arises, bring to mind the positive emotions and perspectives that will be it’s antidote.” -Dr. Rick Hanson
By negative material I guess are meant difficult thoughts and emotions like anger or jealousy but I could not be sure. I was somewhat surprised by the comment as I saw it as an encouragement to replace the negative states with the positive ones. But is this not like changing the black shades for the pink ones when none of them show us what reality is like?
This is a very interesting thread, and really gets at the not-always-easy balance between Wise Mindfulness on the one hand, and Wise Effort on the other. Libby is right, the single sentence from my book that started this thread… needs to be understood in context.
I think there are three basic phases in personal growth, psychological healing, and spiritual practice: mindful presence with what arises, working with what arises, and replacing what arises. Or in six words: let be, let go, let in.
Often the first phase alone is enough. But sometimes it’s not, and the Buddha himself – a great proponent of the power of mindfulness! – encouraged people to be active in the mind to reduce the negative and increase the positive. The trick is to be active in these ways without falling into the pitfalls noted in several of your posts of aversion to “negative” states of mind or craving “positive ones.” That’s where insight, equanimity, and practice come in.