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Vitarka badahne pratipaksa bhavanam Sutra 2.33
"When disturbed by negative thoughts, opposite ones should be thought of." SriSwami Satchidananada
My mother in law always finds a way to see the positive in every situation. She has this very lovely way of CREATING a silver lining in ever cloud.
I'll never forget one day at a family party, somebody's dog peed on her foot. Before I tell the rest, you must know that she is afraid of dogs, never had one or let her kids have one growing up. We all held our breath to see her reaction.....then she laughed and said, "OH, it's good luck when a dog pees on you!" I'm not sure if this is true BUT she managed to create this thought so that she wouldn't react in a negative way to something that she really had no control over anyway.
If my mother in law were a yogi, she would be practicing pratipaksa bhavana. Cultivating the opposite. Yoga Sutra 2.33 says, "when disturbed by negative thoughts, opposite ones should be thought of."
This is not easy to do when we are in the midst of a very difficult time, but with practice, even the most challenging and emotionally turbulent moments can become a bit more peaceful.
When we "cultivate" an opposite thought, it causes us to first observe the fact that we are thinking a negative thought in the first place. This requires that we take a step back and see ourselves being pulled in a bad direction by our minds. When we do this, we have created a space between ourselves and our minds which can help us to look more clearly and objectively at the situation. Maybe then we ask ourselves, "Am I overreacting?" " Am I projecting my own biased opinions on someone else." " Is this really as bad as it seems?", and finally "Do I need to step away from this situation all together in order to keep myself from reacting in a way that is unrepairable."
When we do this, we have controlled the mind so as not to be in a reactive mode but in a creative mode. Since our thoughts create what is real to us, living this way can help us to live a happier life.
Pratipaksa bhavana might also include being grateful for those situations and people that challenge us because they can show us how NOT to be or what we DON'T want. Now our most difficult relationships and circumstances become a practice in opening our hearts and minds to gratitude for all of life. The good and the bad.
Cultivating the opposite is ultimately about changing our attitude rather than attempting to change the person or situation that make us unhappy. So next time you find yourself being sucked into a negative state of mind, take a deep breath, a step back, and see if you might cultivate the opposite.
All Abhyasa Ahimsa Aparigraha Asmita-Ego Attachment Baron Baptiste Beginner's Mind Bramacharya Carl Jung Clear Seeing Colorless Comfortable Discomfort Creating Spaciousness In Mind And Body Cultivate The Opposite Deepak Chopra Dharma Empty Your Cup Enthusiasm Equanimity Family Fight Or Flight Great Vows Inner-awareness Inner Critic John Kabbatzinnb2faff332d Listening Mirrors To Ourselves Monkey Hunting Non Stealing Patanjali Pause Pillar Pleasure And Pain Posseses Us Practice Pratipaksa Bhavana Pratyahara Present Moment Present Moment Awareness Respond Instead Of React Samadhi Samskara Santosha Satya Sauca Sensual Pleasures Shadow Side Spirituality Steadiness And Ease Sthira And Sukha Strength Sustained Attention Svadhyaya There You Are Thich Nat Hahn This Too Shall Pass True Self Uncertainty Universal Truth What We Possess Wherever You Go Wisdom Yoga Philosophy Yoga Sutra 1. 14 Yoga Sutra 1.33 Yoga Sutra 2.33 Yoga Sutra 2 37cfe9965fa2 Yoga Sutra 2. 46 Yoga Sutras