The day 124 meditation introduces the fourth affliction: aversion. When I think of aversion as it applies to my Bikram practice, Locust immediately comes to mind. And today was a good example. The early afternoon practice is not sitting well with my stomach. I could tell there might be some problems with the first forward bend. When I feel like I might have some digestion problems, then I get a real aversion to Locust, or rather to the spitting up that is likely to accompany it.
A few days ago, a commenter noted that one definition of insanity is continuing to do the same thing and expecting different results. That pretty much sums up my approach to lunch. Today, I had a slice of pizza with sausage just after noon. It wasn't alot, but I knew it was the wrong thing. And then I paid for it. My practice is definitely telling me to eat other things at lunch, to eat good things and not spicy, acid crap. And for some reason, I sometimes refuse to listen.
Other than the struggle with spitting up (which I mostly won today), class was very nice. It was hot, but not a killer. Danielle led at a brisk pace, but not too fast.
I got a little bit distracted by a couple of women near me who simply refused to listen. I know it shouldn't bother me, but sometimes it does. I had the impulse today to stop what I was doing and to go over and help one of these women. Instead of doing the poses, she was inventing her own routine, which bore, at best, a passing resemblance. I refrained, of course. (And with one of these women, I know that they have been corrected before. I've been next to them when teachers have corrected them. But the corrections simply refuse to take root.)
Aversion is the flip side of desire. Instead of getting too attached to what we want, aversion stems from becoming preoccupied with things that cause pain. In nature, the "fight or flight" response is perfectly natural. Aversion comes, I think, when we make either a fetish or a principle out of this response.
I was a bit surprised by Gates' description of aversion. He concentrates on things that provoke us to fight. Given his military background, I suppose this makes sense. I'm much more in line with Bravely Good Sir Robin. I prefer to run away:
Or as Boris puts it in Love and Death: "I'm suggesting active fleeing." So, for me, when I think of having an aversion to something, it means that I avoid it, not that I fight it. Either way, I think the problem is the same: the object aversion gets stuck in the mind. It becomes magnified out of all proportion. It becomes the enemy regardless of whatever other circumstances surround it.
It's easy to develop aversions in the Bikram studio. One that I'm encountering recently is an aversion to practicing near newbies or people with really weak practices. I talked a bit about it above. And Gates is absolutely right about this. On days when I simply let it go, when I refuse to even notice it, I feel much better and more energized. When the dislike creeps into my head, even though I'm not doing anything actively either to fight it or to flee, it still sucks away at my energy. The same goes to aversions to sweat poring in the eyes, aversion to excess heat, aversion to wrinkles in my towel under the feet. And I could go on and on. Bikram practice is designed to make us uncomfortable, to poke us in areas where we are likely to develop aversions. And in turn, we are supposed to get over it, to not let the uncomfortable afflict us.
(I realize I skipped day 123 meditation, inadvertently at first, and will get to it later tonight).