Journey to Optimism 

Optimism is a state of consciousness.  We cultivate optimism when we see things in the most positive light. Even when life seems grim, we do our best to find the silver lining.  We look beyond appearances to see the wisdom and the truth that can be found in each experience. We keep hope alive even when things appear to be hopeless.  If the glass is empty we know it will soon be filled up.  Highs always follow lows.  We just have to be patient. Without optimism, we see through a glass darkly, adding our own darkness and despair to the collective fear that is rising.   Optimism helps us to keep our own consciousness free of judgment and fear and contributes to the health and well being of our people and our planet.

Opposite States of Consciousness:  Pessimism, Negative thinking, Apocalypticism, Conspiracy theories, Hopelessness, Despair.  When we realize that we are being negative and seeing life through a glass darkly, we need to realize that we may be making things worse and take the dark glasses off.  Pessimism can poison our own consciousness and lead to depression and despair.  Awareness of our negativity is essential if we are going to cultivate a spiritual vision for life.

The Teaching

Some feel the optimist is naïve, but this is not necessarily so. S/he does not have to be in denial of what is happening in order to see it in the most positive light.  Plus, s/he knows that things are not always as they appear to be.   Not only does the wolf appear in sheep’s clothing, but sometimes the sheep can be mistaken for a wolf.   It works both ways.
     While the pessimist is running around spouting conspiracy theories and predicting the end of the world, the optimist knows that time often brings understanding and healing and even those who act with cruelty can make amends and find the way back to their hearts.
     The optimist refuses to write people off or give up on them.  S/he holds the space for healing and awakening.   S/he does not deny that people make serious mistakes and fall from grace, but s/he believes in the power of forgiveness and holds the space for redemption.
     While the pessimist says “things are bad and will only get worse,” the optimist says “Well, we will see about that….the jury is still out and their verdict may surprise you.”  While the pessimist is always waiting for “the shoe to drop,” the optimist is working happily without shoes.   The pessimist focuses on what is lacking and complains endlessly about that, while the optimist focuses on what is already there and works to grow it and build on it. 
     When Jesus was told by his disciples “We have only two fishes.  How can we feed all these people?”  Jesus demonstrated that what we have can be multiplied many times over if accept it with gratitude and are willing to share.
    If you tell me that I don’t love you enough, you devalue the love that I give and it will not grow.  But if you tell me you appreciate my love, especially when I am being difficult, my love will grow and become stronger.    
     I have said many times over. Tell me what you like, not what you do not like.  Tell me what you want, not what you don’t want.  Focus on what is present, not on what is absent.
     The optimist focuses on the love that is already there and so it grows and thrives.  The pessimist says that love is not enough and his search for more love always comes up empty.
     Optimism leads to gratitude for what we have and increases it.  There is always more of a good thing.  That is the key to abundance.
     Pessimism leads to finding fault with what we have and gradually undermines it.   That is the key to scarcity.
    If you know that you have enough you do not worry about the future.  You learn to trust and to surrender.  You grease the wheel and it moves easier and faster. Knowing that you have enough inevitably leads to prosperity.
     On the other hand, if you believe that you do not have enough, then you compromise what you have and eventually you have less of it. When you believe you don’t have enough, you create having less.  Lack inevitably creates more lack.
    Knowing this you can begin to understand the price you are paying for being pessimistic.   It not only decreases your joy and your capacity to love; it also decreases your bank account. 
     Many people talk about seeing the glass as half full.  That might be helpful in the beginning to change the way you perceive things.  But the deeper meaning will still elude you.  What is the meaning and purpose of a glass after all?  A glass is meant to help us drink.   That is why it was created.  It was not created to be empty. 
     Of course, after you drink the water or the wine, the glass will be empty.  But that is just a temporary state.  When the glass is low or empty it can be filled up again and continue to serve its purpose.
     Like that glass, you were not created without a purpose.  You were not created to be empty.  You were created to be filled up by the power of love and to share that love with others.   You were created to be an expression of love in this world.  
     Yes, there may be times when you feel empty, depressed, and without a purpose in your life.  But that is just a temporary state.  It tells you that it’s time to re-align with the presence of love in your heart and fill your cup again.  
     To do that you have to change the way that you talk to yourself and others.  You cannot afford to be negative.  You can’t continue to wear dark glasses and be pessimistic about yourself, other people or the world.  You have to change the way you think and talk to yourself and others.
       You have to learn to give up despair and to embrace hope.  If you do, you may be amazed at the results.  A hopeful person creates a life of joy and abundance --  not overnight perhaps, but little by little.  Each day the power of light increases until it consumes the darkness.  
     Your optimism is a lifeline back into the divine flow.  It helps you move out of  your dark, dreary cave into sunlight and blue skies.  Instead of feeling sorry for yourself and remaining a victim, you begin to fulfill your purpose, sharing your joy, giving and receiving love.  And all this happens because you change the way that you talk to yourself and to others.

The Practice

Today be aware of your negativity and pessimism.  Understand that they have the power to degrade the quality of your life and do not identify with your negative thoughts about yourself, others and about the world you live in.   Today, take off your dark glasses and see your experience in a positive light.  Look for the silver lining.  No matter how bad it seems, don’t despair.  Find hope and embrace it.  
    Much of what occurs in life is influenced by how we see things.   Seeing in a negative way just makes things worse.   And you don’t want to do that.  You want to make the situation better, not worse.  So you must learn to bring light to the darkness.  You must learn to bring love to your fear.  You must bring hope to your despair.
     You are the bringer of love to your own experience.  You are the one who decides what everything means to you.  Interpret events in a negative way and you reinforce that negativity.  Interpret them in a positive way, and you awaken to their true purpose.
     Today, focus on the meaning you give to everything that happens.  Do you make it good or bad, positive or negative?   Do you see it as a punishment or a blessing?  What is your interpretation? 
     If you interpret in a negative way, take a pause, and see if you can see it differently.   How can you be more hopeful and optimistic?  
     Do this throughout the day, one thought and feeling at a time.  Be the witness to your state of consciousness.  You are the judge and the jury.  What is the verdict you give?
     It may not be easy to learn to be optimistic if you have been a pessimist all your life, but you have to start somewhere.  You have to change your self-talk, moment to moment. 
     As you do this practice throughout the day, be gentle with yourself.  You are not going to do it perfectly.  You will forget and fall into old patterns.  That’s okay. Just catch it as soon as you can and come back to your heart. 
     Changing only one out of ten of your negative interpretations can have significant results.  And the more you practice, the more effective you will become.       

Journaling Questions

What negative attitudes or interpretations of life do you need to transform? Today were you able to be aware of your judgments and interpretations and just be present as a witness to what happened?

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