VITARKA BADHANE PRATI PAKSHA BHAVANAM
When disturbed by disturbing thoughts , think of the opposite. – Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras 2.33
[Vitarka: bad thought. Badhane: repel, suspend. Pratipaksha: opposite, contrary. Bhavanam: meditate, reflect]
So how can we put this Sutra into action?
Might seem easier said than done, but try something along those lines:
The guy in traffic cuts in front of you and gives you the finger while smirking at the same time. You feel instant rage and a deep secret wish for murder to be legal in certain instances comes bubbling to the surface. In this moment you can think of one thing only: How to get the guy. Your ego is shamelessly displaying the nastiest thoughts in bright neon light and you are deafened by their sound. Familiar scenario hot blooded people out there?
Obviously, you are flustered and angry and about to go into epileptic seizure. Time to turn your thoughts around and summon Pratipaksha to the rescue because the anger you feel is not about to make the finger go away.
This is Pratipaksha in action:
This guy was maybe having a worse day than yours, he works three jobs to make ends meet, his mother has just been admitted at the hospital following a cardiac arrest and he recently lost his house to a fire. This almost gives him license to give anyone the finger you are starting to think. You suddenly feel very fortunate, notice that anger has subsided and you are taken by some sort of desire to inspire another with your own politeness. You stop and courteously invite someone to pass in front of you while beaming a giant smile their way.
If you want to plant karmic seeds to stop getting fingers in the future, you must provide and rejoice in others receiving smiles.
It’s all up to us how much of a bitch Karma is.