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How to Keep Peace of Mind when the Mind is disturbed

One of my favourite yoga sutras to which I was first introduced when attending a Jivamukti yoga class back in 2008 is:

"Vitrka Badhane Pratpaksa Bhavanam" which translates more or less into “when disturbed by negative thinking, think the opposite” [Yoga Sutra II:33]

It is such a powerful sutra. When I heard it for the first time accompanied with some personal thoughts of the teacher, it really did stick with me, I felt a deep connection and wanted to learn cultivating my mind so that I become the observer of my thoughts. Once you are the observer you bring awareness to the thoughts and when it is of negative quality you can choose to transform it to the opposite. I know it sounds weird and it might sound easier as it is. It takes practice, is easier some times and impossible other times.

Truth is we all have disturbing or negative feelings coming up every now and then, jealousy, anger, impatience, pessimism, stress, dullness, doubt, worry, anxiety and especially stress. Next time you observe them and find yourself in a situation where you feel stuck or helpless or overwhelmed - think the opposite. Whenever you feel you cannot reach your goal, think of gratitude for being where you already are. When you feel jealous of that friend that goes on a 3 month adventure, be happy for your friend and think of the life you have. If you are being judgmental towards someone's behaviour, try to shift it into compassion as you don't know the full story of that person. If you feel sad, accept sadness and don't judge it but see the beauty in it, fully embrace it.

Our mind wants to be busy and it is challenging at times to control our thoughts and stay in the present moment. Try to be gentle, observe and notice that there are days when you feel blissful and light and days when it feels more like a battle to stay present and to think the opposite.

Always remember: If you can change your thoughts you can change anything.


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