Aversion The second of the five hindrances noted by the Buddha is aversion. The Pali word patigha means striking against, indicating a sense of friction or tension. If the first hindrance, desire, means, in essence, “ I want it. I want to have more of it. I want to keep it,” then this second term means, “ I don’t want it. I want none of it. I want it to go away.” The word can sometimes be translated as hatred or anger, which are the most noticeable examples of patigha. But the meaning of the term is broad. It may be anger in the form of its lesser cousins, including minor irritation, frustration, or vague annoyance. These are more difficult to notice, but for that reason perhaps even more important to notice. When we hold aversion in mindful awareness, allowing space for these unpleasant feeling to be with us for a time and run their course, a zone of freedom opens up in us. Knowing that we are in the grip of anger, we learn to refrain from doing or saying anything for a time, since almost everything we will think of doing or saying will only make the situation worse. Holding our irritation or frustration with the kind, accepting awareness of mindfulness will likely help it to depart, while our culturally learned reaction of trying to repress will cause it to linger, and actually give more energy to it. One could beneficially take each of these hindrances, and practice especially noting their presence for a day, a week, or a month. Becoming familiar with how they manifest in our own bodies, minds, and situations, frees us gradually from their sway. Breathing and smiling, I know there is anger/irritation/ frustration in me. Breathing and smiling, I hold the anger/irritation/frustration in open awareness.

July 13, 2019

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