Yoga Sutra 2.33, Part 2

by Richard Parenti ©

“Words Don’t Teach, but the Application of Words in Everyday Life Does”

[Note: Yoga Sutra 2.33 Part 1 is here: http://www.ahymsin.org/docs2/News/1606/07.html) -Ed]

Yoga sutra 2.33 (vitarka badhane pratipaksha bhavanam)*

  • vitarka = uncertainty, doubt, questionable
  • badhane = opposing, removal, suspended, annulment
  • pratipaksha = opposition, opposite, adversary
  • bhavanam = thought, manifesting, producing, imagining

Yoga Sutra 2.33 says, “When negative thoughts present themselves cultivate and think the opposite thoughts with feeling;”1 “To obstruct thoughts which are inimical to Yoga contrary thoughts will be brought. 2 And, Swami Veda says, “When misratiocinations (When logic and reason have gone haywire [Editors’ definition of misratiocinations]) and deviant thoughts present themselves one should counter these by cultivating and impressing upon oneself the opposite principles in contemplation.”

Just how do we go about shifting our energy to move to the opposite thought so it registers in our minds and feelings that we have successfully applied the meaning of yoga sutra 2.33?

Let’s now look at the modalities that make this movement possible remembering the law of cause and effect is at play in every single movement of thought and feeling to your detriment or success.

Modality number one and most important: Embrace negativity.  Most people have the mistaken impression that it is wrong to feel negative. Quite the contrary negativity is your friend and teacher. The wise man makes peace with it and uses it to grow. So from wherever you stand in your negativity make peace with it simply by acknowledging it exists in you by saying something simply like, “This is how I feel in the moment and it’s alright. I am where I am as I cannot be any other place right now and I’m eager for what’s coming.

Or you can simply ask a question about negativity: What’s the positive benefit of this negative situation or this person? Or what’s good about this? This will also begin the shift of energy to the opposite thought and fulfill yoga sutra 2.33

Once you learn to feel the positive impact of negativity you will put away victimhood, martyr hood and self-pity and you will lay down the whip you beat yourself with as you are now building bridges to actualize yoga sutra 2.33.

You will eventually recognize that negativity is your teacher. It’s a gift showing you that your Inner Being is viewing the same subject, event or person as you but with love, whereas you are viewing it with disdain or contempt.

You cannot know good if you haven’t experienced bad. You cannot feel love if you haven’t experienced despair.

Negativity gives you the opportunity to turn your dial to something that is pleasing to you once you recognize it.

Modality number two: Reach for the next best thought. Since life teaches it is difficult to go from fear to joy in one jump, you can go from fear to rage, from rage to anger, from anger to overwhelmed, from overwhelmed to frustration, from frustration to disappointment, to content, until you feel good. It’s really that simple just by reaching for the next best thought available to you no matter how long it takes until you feel good. It may take a few minutes, a few hours, and a few weeks. Who cares, whose counting. Just be willing to do the work and the rest will fall into place.

You can in your negativity reach for the next best thought available to you in the moment and that’s good enough.

For example, the first time I had cancer in 2009 I was in a state of fear and the day I reached for rage I felt my energy shift for the better and I felt great being in a state of rage instead of fear. It wasn’t long after that I reached for anger, then to being overwhelmed, then to being content, to eventually making peace with the word cancer and all its ramifications. I did this just by reaching for the next thought until I felt better and it took me about 6 months to get to feeling really good. I realized I was building that bridge to feeling good from a place of feeling bad. I was implementing yoga sutra 2.33 by reaching for the next best thought available to me at the moment and I didn’t care how long it took, six months seemed at first like an eternity, but then I was aware I was applying the true meaning of yoga sutra 2.33 in practical ways that would in the end benefit my growth and the six months was forgotten.

Modality number three: Understanding contrast is subtle, but easy. What is contrast? To compare (two people or things) to show how they are different. Contrast means variety, more things to choose from. It shows you your preferences.

Examples: He’s tall and skinny and she’s short and skinny. He’s very judgmental and she’s even-minded.

I’m judgmental and even-minded sometimes as I observe people or situations.

When you find yourself being judgmental or making editorial comment note the contrast comes from within you.

Stop and appreciate your findings and then appreciate the contrasts between you and whatever you are looking at, be it a person or a situation. Do this without editorial comment. Just appreciate the contrasts.

Example: Kitty #1 is yellow. Kitty #2 is white. Appreciate this color contrast between the two without adding any additional information.

When you recognize the contrasts, you can simply note there is beauty in all situations, in all people of all ages, of all genders, of all nationalities, from all walks of life and all with very different mentalities.

Contrast serves to clarify what you do want and what you don’t want. Contrast is your teacher.

Whenever you find yourself standing somewhere you don’t want to be, remember you created the scenario for your expansion. So, embrace the contrast, where you are and where you want to be, and honor the contrast as it is serving you and has come to you by your invitation for growth through the law of cause and effect.

Remember, contrast leads you to making clear what you don’t want and what you do want.

Another More Subtle Example of how to use contrast to create a new positive vibration to match what you do want while implementing yoga 2.33.

What you don’t want: I’ve been given a terminal medical cancer diagnosis.

What I do want: I want to be healthy.

Current feeling of what I don’t want: “I feel disappointed, some fear and confusion. My current treatment feels like it‘s killing me.” These current feelings do not match what you want which block you from thinking the opposite thought, but there is a way to build this bridge as follows.

Deliberate intent to improve your vibrational (feelings) relationship with what you want:

“People have recovered from this condition”
“Many people graduate from Hospice and go home healthy”
“This diagnosis is not a death sentence”
“Even if I don’t know what to do my body does”
“I appreciate the health I have right now”
“There is no relationship between my parent’s health and mine”
“It’s refreshing to deliberately get outside every day”
“I like thinking thoughts that make me feel good”

These sentences are now vibrationally supportive of what you want: I want to be healthy. And you just actualized yoga sutra 2.33 in a most profound way.

You just shifted your energy using contrast to your benefit and growth.

Remember, out of contrast (what you don’t want and what you do want) is born clarity of desire.

Otherwise, you would have no growth and expansion and yoga sutra 2.33 would just be words without realization.

Modality number four: Remembering your favorite memories is simple and follows on the heels of modality number three. As you move from negative to positive and are now leaning more towards the positive this is a good time to remember your favorite memories.

What does it mean to remember your favorite memories? Take a moment and think of a favorite memory that makes you feel good no matter how far back in time you have to go. As soon as you feel the feelings of feeling good forget the memory and just enjoy the feelings of feeling good. Or think of another favorite memory until feeling good becomes more deep and keep repeating this until it feels really good, then just sit with the feelings of feeling good realizing that you just entered the zone of actualizing and stabilizing yourself in yoga sutra 2.33.

It’s that simple.

Modality number five: Learning to appreciate yourself as you are, life and others is one more key to stabilizing in good feeling thoughts as you move from negativity thinking to positive thought and feeling as you embrace yoga sutra 2.33.

What is appreciation? Appreciation means increasing the value of something. It’s the vibration of who you are.  It’s the feeling like when you see your newborn child and your heart is overwhelmed with joy and unconditional love that comes from within.  It’s the absence of doubt, fear, worry, judgment and everything that feels bad.

My personal experience tells me that appreciation in its purest form is pure joy pulsating through me as I am looking at or thinking about someone or something and it is bubbling up endlessly inside me without any outside stimuli.

Appreciation is being in sync with the whole of that which you are.  Appreciation is whatever you are looking at is through the eyes of God, Source Energy, your Inner Being.

Appreciation is a state of Godliness, of wholeness, of worthiness, of wellness, of peace of mind, of unconditional love. That’s real appreciation. And you’ll know it when you feel joy bubbling up within without any outside stimuli accompanied by a deep unexplainable peace.

And it is much more than words can explain. It’s an experience and that is all the explanation you really need.

Get out pen and paper and write down all that you appreciate about you, about life, about others.

For example: I appreciate I am open-minded. I appreciate I keep my word, I appreciate I do the work necessary to master yoga sutra 2.33. I appreciate life gives me the opportunity to grow and change, to experience many different things I want to experience, which gives me new insights and expansion. I appreciate I have food in the refrigerator. I appreciate I have a good car in excellent mechanical condition. I appreciate I have hot and cold running water year round. I appreciate the roads I drive on. I appreciate the farmers who grow our food and the truck drivers who deliver it to the stores and the stores for making this food available to all, etc. I appreciate all the variety of cultures on the planet. I appreciate people who think differently than me so I can expand my mind set and grow, etc.

You get the gist of this. It’s easy and fun once you start doing it. A good time to do it is upon awakening  while in a good feeling state, as you are leaning towards being on the positive end of thinking the opposite thought as you are building bridges to realize the positive impact of yoga sutra 2.33.

Modality number six: Writing in your book of positive aspects. This is a really fun way to change your behavior and view point towards others or situations.

The Book of Positive Aspects is thinking the opposite thought actualizing Yoga Sutra 2.33.

A book of positive aspects is simply writing down all the good qualities of people who you know, who you like or dislike. By their name you acknowledge their negative qualities then cross them off and write down what good qualities they exhibit and forget the rest.

And even though every time you are around them they may be mean and angry your focus before you meet them in the office, at home or on the street is to take time to focus on only their good qualities, even if it is only one good quality you can find…that’s your focus.

EXAMPLE: Think the opposite thought Yoga Sutra 2.33 … cross off the negative after writing them down and keep your focus on the positive; example:

Negative qualities John

Positive qualities John








Good with the kids








Loves bowling









Keep your focus on the good in others and forget the rest and watch what happens. All it takes is practice, practice and more practice as you retrain your mind to think the opposite you are mastering yoga sutra 2.33.

Summary: You have been exposed to 21st century thinking in actualizing yoga sutra 2.33 in your life in ways that are easy to understand and easy to implement.  Once you begin applying these tools on a daily basis they will become a habit, a new way of thinking and yoga sutra 2.33 will become alive in you.

All it takes is your willingness to review part 1 and practice the modalities in Part 2 until they become a natural part of your life. All it takes is practice, practice and more practice.

Have fun with all this and remember it’s all about your growth and expansion to higher states of awareness, which once achieved no one can take away from you.

In this two part article you have learned how to use your thoughts, how to direct the law of cause and effect to your benefit and how to actualize Yoga Sutra 2.33 in your daily life.

Remember, you get what you think and feel the most! You are a vibrational being living in a vibrational universe attracting like vibrations that form your experiences in life.

If you can desire it in this space-time reality, then this space-time reality can provide it!

All it takes is your willingness to contemplate and think in a new way to get what you want. So, relax and expect actualization of yoga sutra 2.33 to become a living reality in your life, because the tools presented produce desired results.

Have fun with all this and remember it’s all about your evolutionary vibrational expansion and actualization of yoga sutra 2.33.


*Swami Satchidananda
1 Richard Parenti
2 Swami Vivekananda

Note: Other people who have influenced me in this article are: Mark Wilson, Abraham-Hicks, Walt Baptiste and Swami Veda.

About Richard Parenti

Richard Parenti is initiated into the Himalayan Yoga Tradition by Swami Veda and has studied with such notables as Swami Brahmananda Sarasvati, Abraham-Hicks and Walt Baptiste. He is a registered Yoga Alliance teacher ERYT 500 and guest lecturer for graduate students at California State University on the subject of Emotional Mastery (Chitta Prasadanam). Richard is certified by the MS Society of Northern California to train yoga teachers how to teach yoga to people with multiple sclerosis. He is the author of Emotional Sobriety: Feel-Good Secrets for Everyone, Balboa Press 2013. After returning from a 40-day silent retreat in the Himalayan Mountains in India he authored Cancer, No Easy Choices; Naked Before God; Who Am I; and Your True Self all which appeared in Himalayan Path Magazine. Since 2000 he has been the spiritual director of the Yoga Health Institute in Modesto, California, USA.

Editor’s Note:

Swami Veda Bharati has written a book Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (vol 2): With the Exposition of Vyasa (A Translation and Commentary). (Sadhana-Pada)



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