I've read a lot of things over the years about the power of positive thinking, and how to do it, and I've come to the conclusion that most of it is bullshit. I'm not saying positive thinking never works, it's just... it's not something you can really teach people, I think. It either happens or it doesn't. I know, because I've had experiences in my life where it worked, and I've had experiences where it didn't. And when it didn't, it wasn't because I was doing it wrong. It's one of those things that the harder you try to do it, the more you fail at it. You just have to let it happen, subconsciously.
Which isn't to say there's not a conscious aspect, because there is. I bring this subject up, in fact, for a reason connected to the conscious aspect of positive thinking.
See, my roommate has had a rather nasty flu for the last several weeks. She's mostly recovered now, just has a lingering cough, but when it was new to her, it put her in so much pain that she went to the hospital, could barely function enough to answer the questions, and ended up getting a tiny dose of something four times stronger than morphine for the pain, which left her on cloud 9 for the rest of the day.
Those first few days, I was getting worrying sympathetic symptoms, and I was worried I would come down with it, too. But then one day in the midst of a bout of these sympathetic symptoms, I thought, "No. There's enough wrong with me already, what with IBS and depression, headaches, backaches, sleep apnea, and so on, that I don't need anything else. I'm not getting this flu." And that was that. I decided I wasn't getting the flu, and after several weeks of being in the same apartment as someone very ill and coughing on everything, I'm still doing good. Granted, I also took some vitamin C and echinacea that day, and more vitamin c every day for the next week or two, but I know that my decision was the majority of it, because I've had instances where copious vitamin C never did any good in preventing illness or healing illness, so the different factor here was my decision to not get ill.
Now here, in the wording of that decision, I was violating advice from Conversations With God by Neale Donald Walsch, a series that makes a big point of going on about how positive thoughts should never contain negative words like "no," "never," etc. But it worked, so fuck all that New-Agey bullshit.
Now, I've posted criticisms of new age philosophy before
, and really I'm surprised the 'new age' tag doesn't have more than one (now two) posts in it, because I've been critical of new age philosophy for a long time, even though I clung to it for many years before wising up. I hope to make it clear that there is some accurate stuff in new age philosophy, as those works still influence me, and I still agree with a lot of the CWG material, but as I've said here, positive thinking doesn't work the way Neale Donald Walsch (and a lot of other new age authors) seems to think it does. Or maybe it works for him, I dunno. But people are highly unique, and nothing is going to work the same for everyone. Reading the CWG series back in the day, I had a lot of awesome experiences with positive thinking's power, but then again, I was living at home and going to school at the time, so while I had stress from high school, it was stress I knew how to handle. When I went out into the job market after school, still living at home, those practices helped me a lot. I had some majorly profound experiences, like the time the whole world was an orchestra for about 30 minutes. But then shit happened, as shit is wont to do, and stress happened, and no amount of CWG/new age type positive thinking can really fight stress. At least, it didn't help me.
help me was Shao'Kehn, with Her practical voice in my head helping me out, with useful advice about how to let the stress wash over me and just continue plowing on. Her philosophy of strength and accepting that shit happens helped me. Still, it took me years and years to purge myself of the victim-blamey aspects of new age philosophy. Because new age philosophy seems to assume you're able bodied, without depression. I say this because speaking as someone with depression - even though that depression was life long and yet the philosophy did
work for a time, the new age type of positive thinking only goes so far, and can't really stand up to depression and the various pitfalls that can make depression work. At least, not the way it's taught.
I'd be tempted to write my own book about how to do positive thinking, except that - as I said - I don't think it can actually be
taught. Oh sure, it can if you're able bodied, not depressed, and not under much stress. But otherwise, it's just one of those things - in my experience - that you either figure out how to do, or you don't. Kinda like lucid dreaming; some people can learn to do it easily and frequently, but others only experience it once in a while by accident. Back in the day, I was learning how to do it (positive thinking) somewhat reliably, but then shit happened and now I only seem to have fits and spurts of it, like this most recent case.
You know, this makes me think... maybe I should actually, you know, work on trying to find my own way of trying to master positive thinking. I've been neglecting my spirituality so much lately. And this being something that involves a lot of thought and experimentation, I might be able to do it, since I like to think about stuff.
Anyway, enough rambling for now.