#yogasutrachallenge : When you’re harassed by negative thoughts, counteract these thoughts with positive ones – Patanjali Book II Sutra 33
This is a very beautiful and powerful sutra for cultivating mindfulness.
‘Vitarkas’ in Sanskrit are negative thoughts which challenge our ability to stick with the moral and behavioural observances (yamas and niyamas), which Patanjali recommends as part of the yogic method. He acknowledges that thought directed towards violence, lying, stealing, indulgence, accumulation, discontentment, uncleanliness, luxury, and lack of devotion to the divine are quite inevitable. They are the surfacing of our samskaras (latent behavioural tendencies) in our consciousness, sprouting like weeds.
The antidote, Patanjali says, is pratipaksa-bhavana – a form of mindful meditation, whereby the yogi actively counteracts one type of thought with another. For example, if you are feeling hatred and anger, counteract this with the thought of a moment when you felt pure love for someone else. Taking this a step further is thinking of the consequences of maintaining that negative thought versus the positive one, and how if everyone chose one type of thought over the other, how the world would be.
Incorporating this process into your daily thinking habits over a little time balances the mind. Like a well-tended garden, the weeds will sprout less and less frequently and even your whole personality can change.