We can only really understand something fully when we look at and reference its opposite.

We know grief when happy shows up.
We understand life more under the banner of death.
We appreciate wellness, following a bout of sickness.
We appreciate love and hate with each other as a backdrop.

The thinking brain.

It is not possible for the thinking brain to hold opposites. It can toggle quite quickly between two contrasting things but it’s not able to hold opposites simultaneously. In order to hold opposites concurrently, it requires that you have departed the thinking brain and be operating from awareness.


Awareness is a word that is thrown around often. It’s described as a skill, a destination and an outcome. For the sake of simplicity, let’s work with the following:

Observing something with a spacer between you and it.

Importantly awareness can’t live in the thinking mind so to be able to experience and reference opposites we need to find a way to get out of the thinking mind, if only for a little while.

Understanding messengers via their opposite.

If we understand, via this practice, that all sensations, emotions, thoughts, beliefs and experiences are messengers then we can’t fully understand these messengers without knowledge of the opposite. If anger is present, we need to reference an opposite of anger to understand it more deeply.

The first reason for including opposite work is that it allows us the scope to understand what’s contained in our layers, our messengers more fully. The second reason is that it shows us that opposing things can exist concurrently in our layers.

It is common for people to make absolute statements and judgements about themselves.

I am an anxious person.
I am not smart enough for that career.
I am so shy.
I am always late.
I have never recovered.
I am not strong.
I can’t trust anybody.
I’m a terrible sleeper.

These absolute statements become obliterated when we can feel its opposite, even in a small way, simultaneously present in the body.

Even it there is anger present, it will be somewhere in the body, not everywhere.

Even if there is anxiety present somewhere, it won’t be everywhere.

More on opposites.

When asked to observe the opposite of something we tend to go as far to the other extreme as possible.

Hot – Cold
Heavy – Light
Nice – Horrible
Desirable – Undesirable

When we let go of the thinking mind, as the practice prompts us to do, the opposite that may arise may be completely illogical. The opposite may be the slightest shift to the right or left.

Hot – Warm
Heavy – Able to be lifted
Nice – Not quite so nice
Desirable – Tolerable

Don’t look for logic. Even a slight difference is considered the opposite.

[s3mvp id='14']