Quick Tip 17: Opposites Matter

A man boarded an aircraft and found his seat at 1 A. The booking agent had told him that this was the premier seat on the aircraft and after jostling on his seat for sometime he stood up and called out for the air hostess.

Is this the best seat on the flight? he asked, sounding mildly agitated.

Yes Sir… it is, she replied.

Once again he sat back in his seat, disbelief written large on his face. Next he stretched his leg out and withdrew it after some mental calculations measuring the leg space ahead of his seat. With a sideways nod of his head and a deepening of his brows, he chewed his lip. Whatever he was calculating, he was not impressed.

Almost on impulse he jumped up from his seat and walked down the aisle, inspecting all the other rows of seating behind. He stopped for a moment at the emergency exit and then continued the inspection right up to the rear of the aircraft, bumping into passengers who were busy trying to fit their baggage into the overhead lockers.

Soon he returned to his seat, adjusted his seat belt, and took out a book to keep his attention engaged.  In the conversation that followed, I discovered that this was the first time he was travelling on a discounted flight.

Despite having the best and most comfortable seat on the aircraft, he was unappreciative of it and was unable to enjoy the pleasure. Perhaps if he had earlier experienced sitting on one of the other knock kneed rows behind, he would have cherished this experience almost exclusively.

No wonder God created everything in pairs of opposites. He knew that humans would be unable to distinguish the blessing from the curse if they did not taste the opposites. We know love heals because fear erodes. We know that pleasure makes us happy because pain hurts. We know the day brings us light because darkness blinds us.

1. Identify what it is that bothers you today

2. Shift your perception from it being negative, to it being your teacher, sent to train you to appreciate the opposite, when it arrives in your life

3. Soak in the experience of this opposite with acceptance and grace, knowing that without it you would lack the value of the other

4. If you practice this daily, you will in time, find yourself remaining calm and centered through the various pairs of opposites that life will bring you

5. This is the middle path that Gautama Buddha spoke about. The painless path, free from the effects of the opposites.


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