Hindrances; Aversion

March 18, 2013

We’re continuing the conversation about aversion, (anger, fear, ill-will, resentment, boredom, pain, loss, etc.) and all of things that make us want to turn away and say “no, not this.” I am reminded over and over again that building the skill little by little to turn towards the pain, towards whatever the aversion, is ultimately the easier path. Putting up a wall of resistance seems to enhance the strength of the the source of the aversion. 

Some practice suggestions:


Take a breath, take another one. By focusing on the breath, even for a few breaths, the mind stops the story line of whatever it thinks is the problem. And even if it is for 30 seconds, or a minute, or five minutes, the experience of changing the focus, changing the channel can help to soften the resistance to the given aversion.


Recognizing “it’s not what I wanted, but it’s what I’ve got,” is a very effective instruction from Sylvia Boorstein. Again, this is a turning towards, not a turning away. By making space for what is, the mind can begin to accommodate what is present.


Metta practice. Try saying metta phrases for yourself. Metta is an antidote to aversion of all kinds. It brings out our innate compassion and is a tool for self-soothing.


Live in joy, in love, 

Even among those who hate. 

Live in joy, in health. 
Even among the afflicted. 

Live in joy, in peace, 
Even among the troubled.

Look within. Be still. 
Free from fear and attachment,
Know the sweet joy of the way. 

—The Buddha, from the Dhammapada, Thomas Byrom, translator