The other day on Facebook I read a post that said New England is now experiencing a new season called Sprinter. Ugh, as I write this on April 19th there is snow and freezing rain falling outside my window. Sprinter is not about running a short but fast race, it is winter conditions even though the calendar says we are technically in springtime.
Sprinter, makes my mind start to churn, and churn, and churn. Last month in my yoga class we talked about cultivating the opposite to calm your churning mind. Students asked why and how do they cultivate the opposite. Sprinter gives us the opportunity to practice cultivating the opposite.
Before you can cultivate the opposite you must identify what you are feeling in the first place. So how does hearing the word sprinter or looking out the window on April 19th and seeing snow make YOU feel? Not your spouse, kids, friends or coworkers but you what are you feeling right now? Sit with that for a moment, experience and identify the feeling and emotion that arises.
If you are a skier you might be joyful, ski season is extended for you! Your mind is not churning. If you are like me and want to work in your garden or get outside for walks and to enjoy sunshine and warm weather the feeling might not be so joyful. Your mind might be churning. Now sit with the churning, feel it, recognize the emotion and name it. Until you name it you can not cultivate the opposite. Once you name it and recognize it you can begin to cultivate or contemplate the opposite.
That opposite is also very individualized. Lets look at some examples, sprinter might make you feel sad, angry, frustrated or worried just to name a few. Now you have to decide what is the opposite for YOU. The opposite of sad could be happy, blissful, joy, contentment so many choices, that you must identify for yourself.
Once you have identified the opposite can you cultivate it? How my students ask? To start to cultivate the opposite you can begin by contemplating the opposite. How do you feel when you are happy or joyful? Focus on that feeling, bring that opposite emotion to the forefront of your thoughts and choose to feel that instead of letting your negative emotions set your mind a churning. You may even have to fake it till you make it a few times, but each time you choose to cultivate the opposite you are training your mind so that it is not always churning and leading you into negative thoughts and emotions. You are training your mind to let yourself choose how you want to feel! Don’t let sprinter get you down, after all spring temperatures will eventually arrive, now how does that make you feel?