Aversion covers a wide variety of mind states and emotions that include: Frustration, annoyance, anger, ill will, rage, fear, irritation, fury, resentment, disappointment, dissatisfaction, and more.
Aversion includes all the mind states and emotions where the mind is saying “NO” to whatever is happening. It is a form of reactivity and therefore, the opposite of equanimity. Of course, when there is aversion in the heart/mind, there is suffering, which is why we want to know when it’s present. This way, we have a chance to let go and stop suffering.
One good thing about aversion, especially in its stronger forms such as anger, fear and rage, is that it is very easy to know that it’s present. It’s not going to slip under our conscious mind like desire and doubt can do.
The first and most important thing to do with aversion, as with all the other hindrances, is to name it clearly once we become mindful of its presence. After naming it, feel it in the body. Where does the particular form of aversion that is present manifest in the body? Tight stomach? Tense neck? Clenched jaw? Tight Shoulders?
This process of putting the attention in the body gets one out of the head and into the body where aversion or any other difficult mind state or emotion can be best worked with. That is, be mindful of the physical sensations, watch them change, and watch them pass away.
There are many more nuanced points about working with aversion, such as cultural conditioning, family of origin conditioning, and others that we will explore when we’re together this Saturday May 12. Hope you will be able to join us.
Until then, remember: Aversion is OK. You’re not “bad” because it is present in your heart/mind. Acting it out can bring some unwelcome consequences, but just having it present in the mind is not a problem, so don’t make it one!