‘Think Like A Monk’ Takeaway #2: Digging a grave for your negativity
Jay Shetty’s ‘Think Like a Monk’ has got me thinking about a lot of things I didn’t care about earlier. Last month’s takeaway helped me broaden my understanding of human values while I was writing the article. There is just so much to process and think about.
This time, it’s about whom Jay considers being the Evil King of all human emotions — negativity. Heard that a lot before and always found it as a gimmick to promote self-help books. However, this book has got me thinking deeper about the roots of negativity than the term itself. It’s More about its inception and its link with our values that we self-navigate from or towards during our lifetime. Let’s break it down just as simply as Jay did in the book:
Where does negativity come from?
Judging. Most of the negativity in the modern value comes from one person judging the other. It’s basic human nature. However, the analysis and results we develop from this activity are super harmful. It brings out another uncalled emotion — envy. If someone hurts you, it means they are hurt. Try to help them but do not harm them. Letting go gives us freedom and freedom is the only condition for happiness
.When you start envying others, it doesn’t mean we are moving forward but rather we are stuck. Unchecked desires always lead to undesired ends. Even the smallest of actions have consequences or if you know the term — it’s the butterfly effect.
What could one do about it?
Gossiping and the associated negativity shrinks the hippocampus — the region of the brain associated with reasoning and logic. That doesn’t seem to be the desired result.
Jay reminds us that judging or being envious of someone only leads us to the darkness within ourselves. We could help ourselves by simply auditing our thoughts and comments. Try this over a week or month — keep a tally of all negative comments you have passed about something or someone. Try reducing this number every week. The ultimate goal would be to reach 0.
Is eradicating negativity even possible?
I suppose yes. Have you ever felt guilty after judging someone or passing a rude/negative comment about them? According to Jay, when we feel guilty for hurting others, it’s because our values have changed and we do not relate with the choices made by our former self and that is a step in the right direction. By actively being reminded of our past actions, we audit our negative comments even more harshly next time.
Yes, it’s difficult to throw away negativity right away. But not impossible. It’s only as difficult as you want it to be. Breaking a habit can take often take longer than making a new one but knowing that all it takes is to think about your own happiness and building it yourself instead of on someone else’s unhappiness, is rather easy.
In a world with a finite number of seats in a college/university, finite jobs titles, and finite luck and wealth, the monks believe that there is a seat entitled for everyone when it comes to happiness and joy.