The Ritualist: Aversion Conversions

Let it GO! (Photo by Emily Tepper)

Have you ever noticed how when you try to move past something, that the more you tell yourself to “drop it” and “let it go,” the louder and more demanding that very thing becomes? We try to shut out, chop off and not acknowledge something, but the pushing away actually makes that very thing scream for your attention like a crying baby.

The problems this creates are innumerable. So much ammunition to beat yourself up gets created. So many reasons now to be angry both with yourself and with others involved in the situation. “Damn, I can’t seem to get over this thing and stop thinking about it. Shame on me for not having better mind control! Shame on you for ‘making me’ feel this way, act this way.” Now, not only does the original pain point still exist, but you are also aiming arrows at both yourself and at others around you.

Do you experience aversion in your life constantly? If you are a human being (if you are reading this, you are at least half human), then the answer is most likely yes. From a Buddhist perspective, our life fluctuates wildly between craving and aversion. All of your suffering is caused by bouncing back and forth between what you crave and what you are averse to experiencing.

In straight up Buddhism, you learn to be non-reactive to cravings and aversions, and I have to say, the eightfold path is the shizzle. Recently, I went on a 10 day Vipassana meditation sit. In Vipassana meditation, you learn to be friends with reality not as you would like it to be, but rather with “what is.” The key is to experience everything in your life merely as a physical sensation that rises up in your experience and then after some time passes away, sort of like bubbles coming from carbonated water – rising and passing away, rising and passing away.

From a ritualistic perspective, I find moments of aversion to be massive opportunities. The next time you really do or do not want to do something, feel something or say something, reframe your aversion as an opportunity. For example, I really do not want to do my taxes. However, it is a profound opportunity to get a clear bird’s-eye view of the life I created last year. It is a beautiful opportunity to create a time capsule of 2012. As my customized ritual for January, I am now artfully designing an entire time capsule of my 2012 experience. It’s the aversion conversion. The next time you are completely averse to a situation, pretend your life is a basketball game and convert the point with this ritual.

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