Jeff sent me a passage from a text he’s reading, Aversion is not the enemy; it is just the normal reaction of the mind and body to pain. Whatever the hurt we feel – whether of mind, body or emotion – our biological survival mechanism tries to get rid of it. The problem is that we don’t actually have the ability to escape from all of the painful experiences in life. It can’t be done. The good news is that by greeting those painful moments and feelings with compassion, we decrease our personal suffering and bring about an experience of well being.
My reaction: Facing a situation that is uncomfortable or painful is difficult. This can be as simple as having to clean the house or exercise, where I can think of ten things to do first like checking email or calling someone on the phone before I start. In this way, I avert facing what is unpleasant and substitute distractions that give me pleasure. Aversion can also be complicated and lead to huge trouble like drugs. Jeff tells me that drugs help in the same way, “Instead of facing painful situations, drugs allowed me to deaden my senses and go under.” Some people might use food or shopping, others might use pornography or drugs.
Today’s Promise to consider: When life becomes painful, I can find many ways to avoid or avert it – from the small tasks to the big problems. Today, I will face my problems without anger or disdain. I’ll see clearly the difficulty, call it out by name and face it with compassion for myself and others.