Duality, Opposites, Equanimity

To live in this world our bodies and minds learn to think in terms of opposites: good, bad; high, low; heavy, light; angry, calm; happy, sad; fearful, fearless, and so on. When we are younger and the ego is still developing things can look very black and white, but with maturity we discover there are many shades in between. Our evolving journey of consciousness takes us to the place where we realise that everything is the same, all part of the dynamic ground of nature, and that there is no separation.

Opposites are complementary polarities arising within a unified field of awareness. Naturally we prefer “positive” experiences, we don’t want feelings and thoughts such as anger or fear, so these are repressed, and stored in the unconscious, where they give rise to mental and physical unrest.

In the practice of Yoga Nidra we work with opposites, allowing the perception of so-called negative and positive feelings and thoughts, so that we can learn to open to all our experiences, refusing nothing. Richard Miller says that when we welcome opposites of feeling they dissolve back into their home ground, and we realise that our natural ground of equanimity is always present, no matter what temporary feelings or thoughts are arising.

“When you are open to feeling whatever is present, attachment and aversion no longer control your life, and you live in ease of Being, which evokes profound relaxation and clarity in both body and mind. Judgement loses its grip, and compassionate love of self and other blossoms” (from Yoga Nidra: The Meditative Heart of Yoga by Richard Miller)

Recently I had a rather unpleasant experience, and it kept coming back to me as vivid flashbacks with a strong uncomfortable feeling. Using all the ways I knew to reduce this anxiety and aversion, I finally found the answer after talking about it … welcome the feeling, the memory, let my body feel it. While walking on the beach, while meditating, and in yoga nidra I continued to revisit the triggering experience, I continued to feel the discomfort, and somewhere inside it became clearer, it was triggering the rejection I felt as a child when I lived away from my family for years of my childhood. Now almost a week has passed without a flashback, and it seems the strong unpleasant feeling has dissolved back into its home ground of equanimity.

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