What is optimism? Where does optimism come from? Furthermore, if we have it how do we lose it? How do we get it back?
A dictionary defines optimism as
These are acceptable definitions of optimism. However, one thing that striking about both of them is that both definitions are specifically related to human beings. It is clear that animals are neither optimistic or pessimistic. They are simply animals, following their instincts, with no right or no wrong. Clearly they are aware of their surroundings, but they are not aware in the same way that human beings are aware. Animals have no conscience. Human beings have an inborn conscience.
With this in mind, what is the difference between an animal and a human being? A human being has an extra awareness, a "soul" as it were -- human beings have an innate awareness of right and wrong. Optimism is related to right, and pessimism is related to wrong.
Where does optimism come from? Optimism is a state of mind that comes from being in harmony with our conscience. Pessimism is therefore the state in which we find ourselves when we are at odds with our conscience.
Optimism is not something that we can will ourselves to have or posses, therefore it is a gift. Optimism cannot come from a drug or chemicals.
The most important question of all is how do we lose our optimism? If we can figure out how we lose our optimism, then there's hope of getting it back.
We lose our optimism by going against and/or being at odds with our inborn conscience, being at odds with our innate knowing of the difference between right and wrong.
There's a deadly emotion known as "resentment" (hate) that when harbored can quickly destroy our sense of well being and ultimately destroy us. The world is full of people, places and things that are trying to upset us -- in other words, the world is full of temptation. Resentment is like a little electrical charge of hate in the mind, the sort split-second of "all powerful" feeling one gets when we judge something wrong. It occurs when we wish someone dead in our thoughts because they have wronged us, as if we could hurl mental thunderbolts at them and strike them dead with a mere thought as if we were God.
We come into the world prone to hating anything and everything -- we are born in sin. Resentment is a deadly sin. We use resentment to give ourselves the illusion that we are God.
When we resent -- get frustrated, angry, upset, pissed-off, jealous, greedy, etc., etc. we are literally missing the mark -- we are sinning. When we sin, our conscience is there to instantly remind us that we are wrong -- we feel it as guilt. We usually end up getting more and more upset in a desperate attempt to forget the guilt of being upset.
The first people we are upset by when we are children are always our own parents. First we hate our parents, then we start hating anything and everything as our lives progress along the conveyor belt of age.
The secret to living a positive life is to learn not to resent, and therefore by extension not to go around upset all the time. If we are not at odds with our conscience, our outlook brightens and life becomes positive.
It's obvious to me I've made my share of mistakes in life. There's only been one human being that was perfect, and they killed him. The rest of us, including me, are a mess.
How do we sort through all of the mess of our lives? I recommend a special meditation by Roy Masters and The Foundation of Human Understanding as the best thing I've found personally to work through all of these issues. This meditation has done wonders in my life and it can in yours too if you will give it a chance.
You can listen to the meditation in Real Audio directly by clicking on http://www.fhu.com/sounds/meditation02.ram and it can be purchased at http://www.fhu.com/meditation.html. I am putting these links up strictly as a service to those who are interested and have no financial interest in providing these links. My only interest is to help spread the word that life CAN be better.