We are now on the verge of entering a new year. Since childhood, I think, many of us, fix a goal or take a resolution for New Year in order to experience happiness and fulfilment in our life. With this perspective, I am sharing a satsang of Swami Satyananda Saraswati which may help us.
Yoga Nidra and Negativity
Negative thoughts are nothing unnatural to the mind. In fact, when negative thoughts come to you, it is a very positive sign. Where do negative thoughts come from? They come from within you. This means that in your consciousness, there is some negative stuff. If you feel like vomiting sometimes, what does it mean? It only means that there is fermented acidity within your system. Should it come out or should it not? From a health point of view, I would say that it should. Toxins should be eliminated whether they are in the body, mind or emotions.
Therefore, during the practice of Yoga Nidra, if negative thoughts come, don’t let them disturb you. Give them a free passage. If you allow them free expression, at first your Yoga Nidra practice may not appear to be successful, but after some time, the negative thoughts and all turbulence will automatically cease and tranquillity will prevail.
The greatest tragedy of man is that he doesn’t know how to deal with his negative thoughts. In fact, the mistake is with religions. They have not dealt with man’s problem in a scientific manner. Instead, they have said, ‘Don’t think like that. Don’t do this. Don’t agree with that.’ This is dictatorial ordinance. Man and the society cannot be rectified by dictatorship; there must be a very systematic and scientific approach.
If in your country there are 40,000 criminals and you spot them out and kill them all, do you think that would eliminate criminality? No, criminality is an ever growing process. Likewise, negativity is also an ever growing process. Therefore, you have to develop understanding and a very positive attitude.
Who think negative thoughts? And who makes a sankalpa (resolution)? The same mind, the same you. One minute you make a positive sankalpa, then your mind thinks something negative and you try to eliminate that thought. So you are fighting with yourself; you are creating animosity between yourself and yourself. This means you are causing a split in your personality. There should be no friction or conflict, and there should not be any animosity or dissension in your personality. There must be harmony. If you have two sons and one is a good boy and the other is bad, what do you do? You love both. You feel both and you consider both as your children. You don’t shoot the bad boy. So, like this the mind has two vrittis.
Now, in his Raja Yoga sutras, Pantanjali says the vrittis of the mind should be controlled. How can you do this? By having a break system, just like you have in a car. You don’t use the break all the time. It is only necessary when the car is about to collide. Likewise, you must check your thoughts when they are going to create an accident in life. Often the thoughts are merely fantasies or imaginations. They are called innocent negative thoughts. Now, why do you fight with these innocent and harmless thoughts? If your car is travelling smoothly and there is no red light and there is no chance of collision, why do you apply the break? If you keep using the break indiscriminately when you’re travelling at a fast speed, you’re bound to overturn car one day.
Therefore, in Yoga Nidra, or in any spiritual practice, or even in your day to day life, you have to discriminate between the harmless negative thoughts and the potentially dangerous thoughts. If the thoughts are harmless, let them come, because you are only eliminating your emotional toxins and unburdening the subconscious mind. Even if you don’t want to do it, nature will enforce it. The process of dream is a natural means of elimination. If our dreams were suppressed we would go mad. Dreams are very important and healthy channels for elimination and expression of the subconscious. And so are fantasies.
Do you know what fantasy is? It is the mind in dreams. You are able to fly and you visit the Moon, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. You become a multimillionaire or billionaire, a president or prime minister, an eminent ballerina or Miss Universe. Such fantasies are very important for the growth of human mind, and they should not be checked, even during meditation. You must remember this point. You might get fed up with your thoughts and fantasies and say, ‘I can’t meditate. Every time I try, my mind flies.’ However, all the wise men have said that fantasy is very important for the growth of human consciousness.
Now, there are negative fantasies like killing someone, committing a sexual assault, cheating or stealing, taking revenge on someone or trying to kill oneself. Such thoughts come to everybody some time or other. Sometimes they come gradually and steadily, and at other time they come suddenly. In some people they come early in life, whereas in others they come with maturity. If you supress them, they will come during middle age. Often, people over the age of 45 have a sudden explosion of these negative thoughts.
However, I have come to a conclusion about negative thoughts. It is best not to interfere with nature’s process. Completely forget what religions have said. If you are practising Yoga Nidra and suddenly there is an upsurge of negative thoughts, don’t be disturbed. Continue, day after day, week after week and month after month. Surely they will come to an end, and finally you will succeed in your practice.
Swami Satyananda Saraswati