We are all touched by Aversion, which includes: Anger, Ill-will and Fear. Aversion is wanting a situation or feeling to be different than it is and expending energy to push away. Ill-will can be directing unwholesome thoughts toward another or oneself. Ill-will can be subtle, such as those critical thoughts about another or oneself that run in the back of the mind. Ill-will is a form of aversion because those unwholesome thoughts are a way of pushing away and creating separation. Fear is the aversion of something that has not occurred, but is imagined might occur.
How does aversion interfere with practice? Aversion creates energy that fuels itself. We shift into habitual patterns and act without mindfulness or presence, which often creates more aversion. When acting out of habit energy, it becomes very difficult to sit and meditate. Should aversion arise while meditating, it can be difficult to keep the mind and body from responding and becoming hooked by whatever form of aversion may be arising.
How do we stop aversion from taking us over and keeping us from practicing? We come back to our breath! By re-connecting to the breath, we have the opportunity to step out of the habit energy pattern and stay present. In presence, we have access to wisdom and are able to actually know what is happening right that moment. This allows us to make better choices and cut the self-perpetuating cycle of aversion.
One way to address aversion is to practice the STOP Technique. A useful and effective way to bring you back to your breath and into presence. It can be utilized anywhere and only takes a minute or two to practice. You can read about how to put this into practice to help with aversion by reading the blog post: STOP Technique.
A blog by Ven. Do'an Prajna and Lotus Heart Zen sangha members.
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