The Union of Opposites

Life is full of polarities. Everyone and everything holds both good and bad. Yoga is about finding union, even within polar opposites.

Often, when something negative arises, we resist it. But the more we resist, the more it is going to persist. It needs to be heard. And whatever that emotion is, no matter how much you may not enjoy it, it is a part of you, and it deserves to be heard. So, you must meet it. You must welcome it, and feel it.

But that does not mean you serve it tea and ask it to stay. Don’t allow it to be a house guest that overstays their welcome. Don’t allow that emotion to be in control. Allow it to enter, and let it go.

Try take it one step further. Lately, for me, the practice has been about the place polarities meet, the union of polar opposites. That does not mean taking a negative emotion and making it seem positive, but it means holding both simultaneously so that you can allow them to release.

Feel what you feel. Honor it. But don’t get stuck in it. The way we react and feel about what arises within us are trained experiences, and we have the power to transform these tendencies. In holding contradictory emotions simultaneously, you can re-train the association of that emotion. You can meet the seemingly bad, with something that is seemingly good.

When you meet what is uncomfortable with what is comfortable, what can happen? In a moment of pain, you can carry a moment of compassion. You can retrain your brain on the memory of plank as painful by taking a moment to know and love your strength.

There is a lot of negativity in the world we face today. There are a lot of situations that hold challenging emotions, and they cannot be ignored. So how will you meet it? How will you handle the good and bad that is within all of us? Notice the good and the bad that we all hold. Find union in it all.

Re-train your brain, starting on the mat:

  1. Feel
    • Be with whatever arises. You are not responsible for what arises within you, but you are responsible for how you deal with that. So, allow whatever is there, to be there. Try bringing attention to where you feel the emotion in your body. Notice the physical sensation of that emotion. Be with it and breath through it.
    • Notice what your tendencies or typical reaction is: Are you someone who likes to work hard, power through and push yourself through everything? Or are you someone who tends to give in?
  2. Unite
    • Once you have felt that emotion, try meeting it with an opposite emotion to redirect it. If you feel angry, once you have felt it, try to meet it with compassion. You can do this in a number of ways, you can feel that emotion and go on a run, or paint, or do an activity that you have a positive association with. If you are on the mat in a strenuous posture, you can take a moment to meet it with compassion. Hold compassion for that emotion. Hold compassion for that part of yourself. How does that emotion feel when you meet it with compassion? What does it feel like to hold both simultaneously?
    • If you are someone who tends to push through, try taking a step back. And if you are someone who tends to give in, keep going. Try meeting yourself in the opposite way of your inclination
    • If you want to try a meditation, you can approach it this way as well. Take a moment to connect with the breath. Feel that emotion in your body. Inhale, and exhale. Envision a white light meeting that place of your body, meeting that emotion. Envision that two swirling around, mixing together. Allow that swirling of light and emotion move through your entire body and to your heart. Inhale, and exhale.
  3. Release
    • Feel the polarities merging. Inhale and exhale open your mouth and release it all as you envision that swirling leaving the body. Notice the space and openness you have created physically and mentally and breath into it.

 

This is post is one reflection and interpretation of Sutra 1.12 : Abyhasa Vairagybyam Tanninordhihah. Practice, unite, and let go of the restraints of the mind. If you control your mind, you control your world.

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