2020-04-24 Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation Part 2 (4 of 8): The Hindrance of Aversion
5:38AM Apr 30, 2020
So Greetings and welcome back. And we have about five minutes before we're starting. And so if we could start informally if you have any questions you'd like to ask about this topic we're doing this week. The hindrances or yesterday's topic of desire? You're welcome to maybe one or two I can have time to, to answer or respond to.
"I am hindered by reading about meditation instead of meditating." Yes, that's certainly true. Sometimes too much Dharma is bad dharma. So it is important to have the right balance between reading and learning and actually doing the practice. And there are many guidelines for this but one would be don't read and study the Dharma more than you meditate. And if you don't meditate much, maybe don't read a lot. Maybe.
"How could I be patient with a hindrances?" What a great question. There's a number of ways to be patient with the hindrances. One is to not take them personally. And not take them as being something which you define yourself by or casts any kind of judgments or ideas about who you are as a person. They're just almost like they're impersonal phenomena that are happening within you. Another way to be patient with them is to study what is the need for patience? What's the particular flavor of distress or impatience or discomfort that's coming into play when you think you need to be patient with them? Because it might not be the hindrances are the problem, but rather our relationship to them, our attitude towards them, our judgments about them. That really what's triggering us and making us kind of impatient. And one of the great tasks of meditation is in fact to become comfortable with discomfort. Life will always have discomfort as part of it. And if we could have a certain degree of equanimity or peace with being uncomfortable, that's a huge step to overcome the hindrances because hindrances are often a strategy or reaction to discomfort or some different forms. And in that reaction won't happen if you've learned how to be comfortable with them. And then the other way to be patient with them, is to really reframe them with the hindrances are about and to really see the hindrances as an opportunity to get deep into our minds, into our hearts. To really see the underlying structure, the underlying motivations, underlying beliefs and attitudes and ideas of self that are operating there. And so, kind of be welcoming of them because the stronger the hindrances are the more they represent something very important to address inside of ourselves. And so, you can even be happy that they arise because not to indulge in them, but these are very valuable ways of self study, of self understanding, for the purposes of liberation and freedom.
"Where does constant self criticism fit in with the hindrances?" Well, that maybe the topic for today, aversion or ill will. Self criticism generally is a kind of self aversion. Even in extreme form, it's kind of a hostility towards oneself. So it may be the topic of today, the second hindrance will address this somehow.
And I might say for now that one of the challenges around developing mindfulness is that mindfulness can be confused with being self conscious. And the idea of self consciousness is kind of, you know, except for some philosophical or great religious ideal. In ordinary language, becoming self conscious, is a kind of awkwardness around oneself and maybe criticism of oneself. And mindfulness is not that. Mindfulness is just very simple awareness of what it is without the added layer of being self conscious on top of it or self critical on top of it. And also what's true with mindfulness practice is that as we get to know ourselves better, see ourselves better, will inevitably sooner or later have more material, understand ourselves in new ways, that can lend itself to such self criticism. Not all self knowledge is good news. And so we learn things about ourselves which maybe are not so, you know, so wonderful. And so it's particularly important then to learn the art of mindfulness, this beautiful art, of just holding things in awareness without any kind of reactivity or judgment. It's all Okay. Once you sit down to do mindfulness meditation, it's useful to kind of have an attitude, it's all okay. If it can be held in the soft palm of awareness. That you just kind of okay. And holding it in the soft palm of awareness is very different than grabbing it, pushing it away, or clinging to it, or being afraid of it. It's just, it's okay. It's okay. Because it's such a radically different way of being that it's so radical. It kind of changes the whole ecology of our inner life. Just hold it in the soft palm of awareness. Trust that and that can help. And then if there is self criticism, but that soft palm of awareness, the self criticism gets held in the soft palm of awareness. Okay.
So thank you for the rest of you who asked questions and I think it's time to actually start. And for those of you who are just joining us now, I'm enjoying coming a few minutes early to be able to answer questions people have and maybe I'll try to do that for the next days of this series. And next Monday to Thursday. And so if you want to log on a few minutes early, 5-10 minutes early, that maybe I can be available and you can hear some of the questions and answer sessions as well. And then maybe next week, I think I have maybe a little more time after our time together that I could also take questions then as well. I really value the back and forth and hearing from you.
So, welcome back. Now we're here at the the fourth day of our Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation, Part Two, where we look at the challenges of meditation through the perspective of the five hindrances, desire, sensual desire, aversion or ill will, sloth and torpor, restlessness and worry, and doubt.
So today I'm going to look talk a little bit about aversion. And it's often called in English, this Vyāpāda is the Pāli word, it's often called aversion. And it's really means more like ill will. A certain kind of hostility which can go from the mildest form of hostility to the most intense. And the reason that, a little bit, I keep saying the word aversion, but I'm very aware that the English word aversion literally means to turn away from and that there are healthy turnings away from. The fact that we don't want something to be there and we want it to be different and want to turn away from it doesn't necessarily mean there's ill will. There might be wisdom. And if you want to pull out a thorn from your foot, that getting rid of the thorn, it is a kind of aversion, wanting it different. But it doesn't have to be ill will, it doesn't have to be anger or anything like that. So the classic meaning of it is ill will and all the wide ranges of it. And I've had the ill will towards meditation cushion, because some meditation cushions start feeling like cement bricks after sitting them long enough. And the feeling, that intense hardness and sometimes pain, I've had an inner growl of annoyance with the cushion itself. So there was operating ill will towards something that's as simple as a cushion.
So ill will. And before we get into this ill will more I want to say that in Buddhist psychology, they say that sometimes they're people whose primary disposition, where they tend to be kind of to be disposed or response to the world or what they carry with them, is a kind of ill will or kind of criticalness to what's going on. And they look and when they go into a room with a group of people, their disposition is to look and see where are the problems, who I'm not going to go sit with, what's wrong here. There are also people whose disposition is primarily one of desire, wanting comfort and pleasure. And they come into the same room and they're looking for what's nice. They're looking for where it's comfortable, what are the most comfortable seats, where's the nicest experience? And that's their disposition. It's fine. Either disposition is, you know, just you're allowed to have. It's very important not to feel critical or feel bad about how one is that way. And in that regard, it's very interesting. Not in technical Buddhist psychology, more the lore of Buddhism, is that it said that it's worse ... how does it go? That for the purposes of Dharma practice, it's better to have an aversive disposition than it is to have a desire disposition. However, an aversive disposition can cause a lot more harm in the world than the desire disposition. So it's more dangerous that one. And the way that the areverse personality or disposition is beneficial for Dharma is sometimes there's a very wise form of saying no. No. I've been thinking the same thought 500 times. It has not done me any good. I'm reviewing the same story, what happened before, my resentment. He said, she said. It goes on and on. And it just like draining me. And maybe then what's needed sometimes is a very grown up kind of No. No more of this. And so maybe the mind is very settled and peaceful. And you see those kind of thoughts come up, there can be a very gentle No, not that. So there is a kind of aversion, turning away from, or letting it go, not being involved. And it can actually be from a form of wisdom and self care. Even a kind of love. Because we know it's a kind of harm to keep having those thoughts, or those dispositions.
And desires sometimes there can be kind of this nice pull towards pleasure and delight and that's kind of seductive. And sometimes it's harder to say no, because of this tendency towards pleasure sometimes. That's part of the lore. And ill will can be more harmful because we can do harm from that more much more likely and dramatically. You can certainly do harm from sensual desire, but it's not as usually not as dramatic and that's as strong as punching someone out or yelling at someone in very painful ways, hostile ways.
So I'm trying to say that so you are a little bit relaxed around how you are and if you're aversive disposition, you realize there are some benefits to it. And maybe if you can use the benefits in a way that's why and healthy, you can feel better about the disposition you have, and learn how to use it in your favor and wisely and for the purposes of becoming a better person.
So, Ill will, there's many, many forms of it. And it might be kind of helpful just to kind of read the list from my book on the hindrances, called Unhindered. Ill will includes anger, fury, rage, resentment, indignation, irritation, vexation, discontent, loathing, abhorrence grudge, spite, certain kinds of resistance, certain kinds of avoidance, denial, boredom, criticalness. Even fearfulness in a certain kind of way can come from ill will. And then the final one, the one that maybe is, I don't know if it's what people are most addicted to, but one that is very common and it can be pervasive in our lives. And the last form is complaining. Complaining is a is a kind of a hindrance if it comes, you know, complaining is a kind of ill will, kind of adversive, criticalness to what's going on.
So in mindfulness practice we want to become wise about how this ill will functions in us. A big reason is that ill will can be very captivating. It can really have a lot of gravitational force, magnetic force that pulls us into its orbit and it's very hard to pull out of it. It can be very compelling. It can even have a certain kind of pleasure to it, or vitality to it, that people get addicted to and find valuable. There can be a strong sense of self, self empowerment, self praise, self valuing, and self kind of bonding with other people who have the same criticalness. And creating an other that we hate or don't like and we're the special ones because we're the ones who have the great understanding that they're worse than us. And so there's kind of a vitality and aliveness and even a kind of pleasure and identity that gets formed from ill will and certain kind of ways, that makes it very seductive and we get pulled into it.
Ill will is often a response to something that we're uncomfortable with. Some way that we feel uncomfortable. And one of the great movements in mindfulness meditation is, what I talked about yesterday, you should take that 180 degree turn of attention away from what it is we're adversive towards, the object, and consider what it feels like to have ill will. How does ill will live in us? And if ill will is a response to discomfort of some kind of other, can we go kind of look past the ill will and look at that discomfort? And just learn how to feel discomfort. It's very, very powerful to learn to be comfortable with discomfort, equanimous with discomfort, because then we don't have to react to it so much and spin out in aversion or spin out in fantasies of desire. Or any of the other hindrances. And feel, oh this is a very uncomfortable situation. This is unpleasant. And there's a certain kind of pleasure or ease or well being that comes from simply holding discomfort in the soft palm of awareness. To recognize, oh that's what's happening. In fact, sometimes people find it to make it really simple, to simply see a situation as an uncomfortable situation, is so freeing, makes it so simple. There can be a very complicated social situation that is difficult to be in, very difficult, very uncomfortable. And if we're trying to analyze it, figure out what to do, and try to understand all the complexities of it, we might be doing it for a long time and be caught up in the the preoccupation with it. And there are times when it's appropriate just to recognize it very simply. This is an uncomfortable situation. This is unpleasant. And that simplicity of just recognizing that can cut through the complexity of it all. And so the reactive responsive mind says, oh, this is an unpleasant, uncomfortable situation. And let me just relax into that. Let me just hold that, be aware of that. And then go from there and figure out what to do from there.
Certainly in daily life, there are things we have ill will for, aversion towards, or feel uncomfortable about. And certainly in that kind of circumstances the first line of response is to have enough mindfulness to know what is the wise thing I need to do right now? Is it dangerous? Do I need to leave? Does this need to be addressed directly? Is there enough time, maybe even two or three seconds, to pause and take a really look inside of me? Is there even more time and can I do the three breath journey? And just kind of settle and be present and make a kind of extended pause for five, six seconds to really let things settle and to see more clearly what's here. So that there can be more wisdom in the response. More care in the response. More self awareness in the response.
So Ill will is something to respect in all its different forms and I think meditation practice is a phenomenal opportunity to allow these things, these forces inside of us, to exist in their simplicity. What I mean by that is that it can be even murderous rage, strong anger, which is socially unacceptable in some situations, other people might not care to hear it, or be critical of you being angry, you might have your own ideas about expressing anger to other people or other situations, that it's inappropriate or embarrassed or ideas it's wrong. But in the privacy of your own meditation with your eyes closed and sitting still, this is a very unusual circumstance where it might be safe to let strong energies of anger, aversion, ill will, to arise and be there and just let it move through us without the reactivity. Without any need to dampen it down, or be critical, or be ashamed of it, or embarrassed for it. And let it kind of become free to move through us. I'm really fond of the idea that the English word emotion comes from the Latin for motion. And E means out, the prefix E out. So this out. The moving out. All emotions want to move, and evolve, and to flow, and resolve themselves. And if we could get out of there away and in the body there is so much understanding that can come. And so much natural healing that can happen, that is hard for our thinking mind to figure out for itself.
And so to allow ill will, if it arises, anger arises, to just let it be. The first practice of BELLA. Let it be. Or be still with it. Just kind of be still in awareness, be aware of it. And the soft palm of awareness, with this still quiet awareness. Just hold the anger. It's kind of like you're helping the anger feel safe. Helping the anger finally have time where it's not being condemned. And also not being believed, not being automatically reinforced. You're not adding gasoline to the fire by getting involved and thinking the same thoughts over and over again, that fuel that can keep it going. Let there be a kind of a quiet, still, stillness, in awareness that allows it to be there and feels it.
Then we can explore it. We can get to know it better. And we can explore lots of things about anger. We can explore. This is a turning around, 180 degrees. And really feeling what's happening inside of us. It might be that we discover how uncomfortable it is to be angry. I know some people have given up their ill will when they realized how much they were harming themselves. Sometimes the outward direction of the energy and the strong empowering energy of anger can be so seductive. And it's so concerned about the story, the event out there, the person out there, that we become blind to the cost in hear, what's sacrificed. And it turns out if you really turn around and look and see, there's a kind of alienation from oneself that happens with too much anger. We're more living on the surface of who we are. There's a lot of pain and suffering and tension that comes from it. And then there's a whole different reflection about what's going on. Some people have decided to give up their anger and were motivated to do so when they saw the personal cost that it had. It doesn't mean that the situation you're in doesn't need to be addressed. But maybe it doesn't have to be addressed with anger. One of the very, kind of maybe, important moments for me, sad moments for me in being a parent was we at some point, I have two sons and when they were young my older son, he was pretty young maybe he was five years old or something. Very occasionally he would behave in ways that were a little bit difficult for me. And I felt like you know, his behavior needed to stop. And sometimes I used what I called my strong voice,. Once I told him, if you continue doing that, I'm going to get angry. And he looked at me. I just thought by just telling him that I would get his attention. And I told him that and he looked at me and kind of tipped his head and looked at me and said, "Dad, you're already angry." And then my anger went away. But there are times I've used my strong voice to say, No, you can't do that. And it was successful, he would stop doing it. Then one day, I saw that he used the same voice that I used on him. He used it on his little baby brother. And I was horrified. What have I done? What have I reinforced? What have I showed him is acceptable and appropriate to do? And so this idea that sometimes expressions of anger are justified because of what they can do. They actually can be reinforcing all kinds of unhealthy ways in which human beings learn think this is appropriate. This is how you're supposed to be without learning healthy alternatives to it.
So we can ask ourselves to explore. Very interesting question to ask with aversion, ill will is a regular part of life. What purpose is our ill will meeting? Why are we doing it? What is the impact we want to have on the world? What's it doing for us? Sometimes there's a lot of feeling good that comes from being angry or self identity that comes from it. Sometimes it's a expression of power and some people are addicted to power, to get their way. And to really take a honest look. What purpose does this serve? And then sit with that. Go deeper and deeper, get quieter and quieter, less and less thinking and more more feeling into what purpose? What's going on here? What's going on deep inside? What's this anger connected to?
And then with anger, with ill will, like with BELLA, it's useful to lessen it. Lessen the intensity on it. Go for walks, talk to friends, take a nap, just pause, meditate. And the great value of meditation is not only can you sometimes relax in meditation, it's possible to see more deeply what's really going on here. And before we do a meditation session, this exploring, lessening and exploring, and what we can discover. It was a really important moment for me when many many years ago, I lived in a place where I'd drive home at night in the dark and regularly enough someone would have their high beam lights drove towards me from the other, you know, against me in the other lane, and I noticed that I would get angry at them. And it happened regularly enough that after a while, I got more and more curious about this anger. So I started looking at the anger and trying to remember every time this happened to really take a good look at what happened. Especially I got curious about what happened the split second before I got angry. So I would kind of be attentive and see the anger come and what just happened? And lo and behold, one day I saw it. Just before the anger, there was a flash of fear. That I was afraid. And the anger was a response to the fear. It wasn't a primary emotion, fear was. And after that day, when the high beams came towards me at night, then I could stay with the fear and not have a trigger anger. And the fear was enough. It would be kind of a primal fear. And I didn't see it as a problem, but I did use it as an encouragement, to drive safely. To be more safe, to be more attentive, with a blinding light coming towards me.
So this investigation. Turning in and really seeing what's here.
So with all that, we'll do a meditation together. So. To take a posture that is the best posture that you can use at this time for meditation. Sometimes the bodies have a lot of discomfort and might be sick or have injuries and maybe you'll never get to a completely comfortable posture. But do the best you can. The best posture for you. And if it's possible to have a posture that also expresses some alertness. Posture that allows for our vitality to flow freely. Some people find it helpful if the chest is a little bit more open.
Some people find it helpful to tip the head down and back a little bit. The chin comes down. Or the space between the last vertebrae of the spine and the skull, you open that up little bit so that the head gets kind of tipped down. The ack of the head gets lifted up, and the chin gets comes down a little bit.
And then to softly close your eyes. Begin by taking a few long, slow, gentle breaths. Filling your lungs with oxygen so that the ribcage stretches. Even the lungs feel like they're stretched a little bit. So there's a real physical contact to the sensations of the body. And that the exhale is kind of relaxing, extended relaxation, letting go. Letting go of the concerns of the day.
And then letting your breathing return to normal. Taking a few moments just to scan through your body to see if there's any obvious ways that you can relax your body. You can soften maybe the muscles of your face. Maybe as you exhale, softening, relaxing the shoulders.
Perhaps there can be a softening or tenderizing, relaxing of the chest. The area around the heart. And perhaps a softening in the belly, relaxing the belly.
And then within your body as part of your bodily experience, to notice, be aware of how the body experiences breathing.
And if it's helpful for you, you can do the three Breath journey. Counting 1, 2, 3 orer three breaths, Maybe counting on the exhale.
The three breath journey can be done a few times if it's helpful in settling the mind, helping you a little bit disconnect from your preoccupations. So you're more here in your direct experience.
Each time you exhale, perhaps letting go of your thoughts. Or if you can't let go of them, maybe you could simply quiet your thinking. If you think in words, maybe you can think in softer ways, calmer ways. Or if you think a lot in images, maybe you can slow the images down or have them become more diffuse or more distant. So there's not as much intensity. Every time you exhale, letting go or quieting the thinking mind.
When the mind wanders off in thought, you might take a moment to see if that wandering off is provoked by wanting something, desire, wanting something not to be, aversion or ill will. Is you're wondering thinking mind more an expression of leaning towards something or pulling away, being for or against?
And if it's easy enough to notice that, great. Then you can maybe relax that, relax the thinking mind, the mind that's for and against. And begin again with your breathing.
And then as we continue this sitting, take a few moments now to find something that's happening for you in your direct experience, maybe with your body, maybe with your heart, your emotions, maybe with your mind. Is anything happening for you that is unpleasant or uncomfortable? Could be very mildly so, but notice some discomfort or unpleasantness that's actually happening. You're feeling or sensing right now.
And then for a few moments, let the mindfulness take that as the object of mindfulness. Hold the discomfort in the palm of your awareness, or in the space of your recognition. If it's helpful, you can have a little mental note. Discomfort, discomfort, unpleasant, unpleasant. Just feel it there. And if it goes away, go find another thing that's unpleasant. If it stays then great. That's good for this exercise.
And then as you're aware of it, is there a particular place in your body where it is most expressed, or it gets most energized by it. And maybe feel more carefully the place in your body, the various things happening in that location.
And then notice the attitude you have towards the discomfort. Is there any reactivity? Is there any ill will or aversion to it? Any criticalness?
Or does the discomfort trigger desire thoughts, ideas, fantasies, wishing for, looking for something pleasant, wishing for, fantasizing?
And then bring your awareness to really acknowledge the attitude that you have, the feelings you have towards the discomfort. Not so much the discomfort itself, but the impatience, the aversion, the desire, the wanting. And allow yourself to have that attitude. For a few moments here complete permission to have this attitude, even to be angry. But don't be involved in it. Don't keep telling stories or commenting on it in ways that perpetuates the anger. Let the thinking mind become little bit quieter, if you can, so you can hold the ill will or the desire in the palm of awareness. The open hand of awareness.
Notice that attitude where that tends to live in your body. What gets activated, what sensations, energies are most alive in the body in relationship to this attitude of ill will, aversion, or desire, wanting.
What's it like, the aversion physically for you? It might be subtle pressure in the mind, tension, tightness. It might be tightness or pressure in the muscles. Muscles around the eyes or the forehand and jaw.
And then let there be a fuller recognition of the aversion or the desire by naming it, using a mental note. Aversion. Ill will. Hostility. Sometimes impatience is a kind of an aversion, ill will, or desire, or wanting. But see if you can use a mental note in such a way, it's like taking a step back and really observing it without being entangled. with it.
Give yourself permission to have whatever ill will, aversion there might be. So that you can better get out of its way. Allow it to be there without acting on it, thinking stories about it, justifying it, condemning it. Just allow it to be.
And as you do, what happens to it? Or what has happened? Has it got stronger or weaker? Does it stay the same? Does it change into some thing else?
And if it goes away, what happens instead? What replaces it if anything?
And now let go of all that and begin again with your breathing. Begin again. Having your breathing come into your awareness. Stay riding on the waves of breathing. The experience of breathing. Letting go of your thoughts, letting go of your concerns the best you can.
And then as you breathe, if anything takes you away, if there's any aversion that might arise, any ill will, impatience. Let go of your breathing and spend a few moments being mindful of the aversion.
Going back to the breathing when you feel ready.
And then in the last couple of minutes of this sitting, meditate as you want. But if there is any challenges that are happening for you now, maybe impatience, maybe including discomfort or aversion to it. You might also try to have compassion or kindness to yourself, to the situation, to the very aversion itself. To meet it with kindness, with compassion. As if it's a form of suffering that's worthy of compassion, of empathy, of sympathy. Not justifying the aversion, but having compassion for the suffering that comes with it.
And then to end the sitting. You can take a few long slow deep breaths, connecting to your body more fully. Connecting to where your body touches a chair or cushion or the floor. And then when you're ready you can open your eyes.
So aversion, ill will, hostility in all its different intensities, from the weakest to the strongest. These are common elements of human life. And becoming wise about how it works for us is not only good for us, but it's actually a contribution to our society. There's a lot of people, a lot of the suffering that's caused in our world, out of hostility, irritation, ill will. And to really start understanding the dynamics of it, the ecology of it, all the different pieces in it. Rather than just kind of treating it as a unitary thing, a singular thing that you have to do, or you're justified to express, or something, or too embarrassed to look at, or too embarrassed to, you know, too ashamed to have. Really, this practice of mindfulness is very respectful of it all. That we're really trying to understand and become wise and become compassionate to what's here in a deep way.
These two first hindrances, desire and aversion, desire and Ill will, I call them the caffeine of the soul. And the reason I call them like caffeine, is that some people get energized by them, get alert by them. And some people depend on that energy to keep it going and keep it excited, or engaged, or have the energy to be and do things. Some people it's desire, like let's have another desire, desires are exciting, more desires. And this excitement, the energy and the vitality, of wanting in anticipation, planning, getting, adds a kind of vitality that some people lack. And so they feel good about themselves. For some people it's with aversion. The vitality, the energy of anger, aversion, hostility. And some people are addicted to this caffeine, this kind of way of being energized and being awake and present and engaged in life. And it's part of the reason why people love aversion or ill will, or love desires, this buzz they get from it. Because it kind of operates that way as a caffeine of the soul, of the mind, or the heart, if we start not giving into it and start living without the strong fuel of desire or ill will. Some people will have to go through a huge transition, maybe a three day transition. Same as we would do if we weren't drinking a lot of caffeine. And then we stopped. And some people stopping cold with caffeine, and maybe a three day transition of having a headache, of feeling tired. And you have to kind of be patient through those three days, knowing that that's a process. And then after three days, there's kind of a natural vitality appears again and the headaches go away. The same thing when we stop kind of living with aversion, living with desire. It can be disorienting for a little while. And who am I? And how am I supposed to be now? And this can't be interesting? This is boring or I can't get anything done or I won't do anything. I won't amount to anything and I won't be motivated to do anything. Just wait. Give yourself the three days. If you can really do a three day desire fast, certainly sensual desire or greed, this intensity of compulsive desire. And if you can do an ill will fast. Three days where you really try to not give into ill will. Maybe give the world the benefit of the doubt for those three days. And you're not going to be angry at anything. Imagine that. Or if nothing else, three days of no complaining, radical non-complaining. And maybe you go through this transition time. Maybe you'll start seeing how challenging that is. And in the challenges see how much you've depended on it unconsciously in a certain way for vitality, for purpose, for something. But see it through the three days to see what you come to on the other side. Maybe the other side is actually quite wonderful. But you have to go through the discomfort to get to it.
So, the second hindrance is ill will. And it can be a strategy to avoid something we think is unpleasant, discomfort. It can be a strategy to get some vitality. A strategy for some kind of identity that we are attached to. It can be very powerfully what distracts us and takes away from the present moment. An important part of mindfulness practice is to turn that attention 180 degrees around and really be with the subjective experience of being angry, subjective experience of ill will. If there's a lot of intensity, we want to learn how to lessen it. We can't necessarily get rid of it, but we can lessen it. So it's not so dangerous for us and for other people. With time, maybe we can let go of it. With time if the ill will disappears, appreciate that. Appreciate the goodness. Appreciate what comes instead. Maybe there's a different kind of vitality or joy or well being that comes. Take time to feel that and appreciate that and live with that. So that that gets reinforced. And so that helps you to notice the ill will earlier because you'll notice you lose the peacefulness or well being.
So we'll take a two day break over the weekend. And Monday I'll talk about sloth and torpor, which is kind of another strategy for avoiding discomfort. It's not just regular tiredness. It's more like resistance and lethargy. And so we'll talk about that tomorrow, Monday. And if we could take maybe five, six minutes or something, if any of you have any questions you want to ask now about any of this, I'll try to answer them and for those of you who are going to sign off now, thank you for being here. And I really appreciate it that you're interested in this topic. It's a very important one for living a wise life and a life that contributes to our society. And so thank you for being here. And, so I'll see, wait here for if there's any questions and I'll try to address them. And be patient with me. If there's a lot of questions or comments, they kind go up the screen in the chat group. And so it is a little hard to follow them in order in which they come.
Oh, here's one. "Is one's basic disposition, adversive or desirous, innate or fixed? Or does it evolve? Does cultivating wholesome qualities transform so much, transform the disposition itself?" It's a great question. You know, I don't really know all this stuff. But I think that it's [robably some of it is innate and some of it evolves or is learned. There's powerful ways in which people learn aversion from others. Learn that it's justified, learn that successful, learn it's a good thing to do, it's approved thing to do. And so becomes a habit, and that habit becomes a disposition. And then I think there's also some deep innate things. I've seen babies who, seemingly just soon after they're born, they already have a little bit the first instinct is to say no. I knew one baby who, early on couldn't speak and hardly do anything but the people who fed the baby, the first instinct of the baby was the spoon would come to the mouth. The baby would seemingly say no, shake its head back and forth, no. And the parents learned that you just wait. And a few seconds later, it would open its mouth. And its first instinct was no. So that's a kind of an aversion. No, not that. But just as aversion can be learned and cultivated through habit, even if some of it is innate, so the opposite can be cultivated too. We can learn to relax what's learned, we can relax what's conditioned and learned and let it go away. And we can condition ourselves or have the habbit or cultivate, make it strong, the opposite, love, generosity, goodwill can come up. And some of that goodwill might be innate. Some of it is learned and developed. It's a really great thing to develop it, to do that. And what we have the most control over is what we develop. The habits that we reinforce. So we want to be really careful with that. And we have some control, some power over what we choose to act on. If it's innate, then we might not have some choice that ill will comes up or impatience comes up. But we can learn to be wise about it. And be a choicefull about how much we participate in it. Okay.
"I had an aversion to sitting." Yes, I've had that. "I really wanted to do all the things I needed to do before my next appointment. How do I manage that?" Well, I think the first thing to do is to be wise about the situation. I don't know what you had to do. But maybe you're better off doing all that you needed to do and not sit. And to get up and take care of what needs to be done. For sure. Or maybe that's how you live your life generally. And so there's a habit to always doing. And needing to do. And have a long list to do. And that's the habit, the common element. Maybe sooner or later, it's really good to sit and really see deeply what's going on. Is that fear generated, the aversion? Is it hurt generated? I said earlier that when this headlight thing, I saw fear. The other underlying cause for, primary cause, for aversion and anger is hurt or feeling threatened, which is kind of connected to fear. But feeling hurt. And sometimes discovering where we feel hurt or feel wounded or feel kind of tender, is a really useful kind of, transformative way, of working with aversion. So how do I manage it, this aversion to sitting? I think that you really take this 180 degrees turn the best you can and discover what is it that most needs your attention now here? What needs your care, your love, your kindness? Is it the aversion? Is the fear about not getting things done? Is that strong drive to take care of things into the future and whatever that is? Or the thinking mind? Is it the heart and its feelings? What really needs the care given this kind of complicated situation of being aversive to sitting? And then sit with what needs care. And sit with that. Be mindful of that. And that might allow something to settle. So that you can take your time to get through the sitting.
"How do you get anything done if you let go of desire, or try to stop your frustration from people holding up projects?" Ah, yes. You can't get rid of all desire. As I said, I guess yesterday. Desire is part of human life. It's the compulsive desire, the attachment to desire, which is the problem. Frustration and aversion, wanting something to go differently than it is. It's the attempt attachment to it. And not only attachment, but acting from it. So there might be a strong attachment to desire and wanting something to happen. There might be a strong aversion to something, but attachment to the aversion. The attachment to something stopping. And some people that's all they know. They get around the world with that. I like to think of it as the hindrances are coming little bit from the surface of our life. If we relax that surface activity of thinking and addiction to wanting, or having aversion, and settle enough, then at some point, maybe takes three days or longer. What we discover is an upwelling of motivation, of aspiration, of clarity of purpose. This is the purpose. This is what I want to do. This is what's likely to accomplish. Given the situation I'm in, what's the wisest way to do that? If people are holding up the project, maybe they'll get it done more if you get angry with them, and aversive to them, and tell them they have to do it. But the long term consequences of this are not probably good. If instead, this purpose, sense of aspiration and this care, there might come a feeling, yes, I want this to be done. I need this change, how they are. But I think this person needs to be respected. This person needs to be appreciated. And maybe in the long term, they'll actually do their jobs better and quicker if they're appreciated and there's positive reinforcement for what they do. And rather than doing things out of kind of neurotic desire, or attached desire, there can be this beautiful quality of aspiration. Compassion is a kind of desire, but compassion has in the purity of it, has no addiction, no forcefulness, no aggressiveness around the desire. It's an aspiration of heart that's actually quite lovely. It's actually nourishing for the person who has it. So to learn a whole different way of being motivated. To have a motivation for what we do that's nourishing, enlivening, freeing, will get a lot done. And perhaps you can even be more motivated. Have more motivation for how we live our life from this deep aspiration because aspiration is not tiring. It's not exhausting. Addictive desire and addictive aversion is actually quite tiring to live in. So I hope that's a useful answer to you. And it's a very important question.
So I need to stop. And I very much appreciate the questions. I'm sorry I didn't get to all of them. And we'll continue to do questions these next days. And over this weekend, maybe, depending on which is up for you, maybe you'll spend a little more time being curious. Big curiousity for how aversion, desire works in this world. In yourself and maybe as you look around and see how it is for other people. Be curious. Take a deeper look. And hopefully without too much judgment and criticalness.
So I wish you well and I look forward to Monday.