Aversion, the opposite of desire, is the second hindrance encountered in meditation as well as daily life. Anger, fear, boredom and judgment are facets of aversion. Anger is outflowing, expressive, energized; and fear is held in, frozen, imploding—both striking-out against what is happening, wanting to declare it not-to-be-so, separating from it, pushing it away.
We work with aversion as with all the hindrances, meeting it with mindfulness, experiencing it fully, allowing it to teach instead of overwhelming and oppressing us. Rather than fearing, hating or judging its arising, or trying to get rid of it, we investigate—how does it feel and where is it felt in the body? What is its temperature? What is its story—how is it affecting the mind? What is my attitude towards it? Do I hate that it’s arisen, adding more fuel to the aversion? In this way, we see how our previous strategy of hating it has pulled us further down into its vortex. By investigating, we see where we are stuck, our limits, where we are attached, cling to beliefs and fears, our places of hurt and identification. Changing our relationship to these energies, not feeling victimized, we can bring compassion and forgiveness to still the maelstrom that they have previously brought, cooling their fire.
Sometimes it may feel quite scary to touch our grief, rage and sorrow directly. This is a practice—it will take developing skill and patience, as it may arise many times before we establish a rhythm of balance, compassion and mindfulness. Take good care.