Tuesday, May 5, 2009

88/125 - Aversion

4:30 pm with Danielle

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: 

Brave Sir Robin ran away.
Bravely ran away, away!
When danger reared its ugly head, 
He bravely turned his tail and fled.
Yes, brave Sir Robin turned about
And gallantly he chickened out.
Bravely taking to his feet
He beat a very brave retreat,
Bravest of the brave, Sir Robin! Sir 
Robin ran 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).


thedancingj said...

Duffy!! You need to just run away from the pizza with sausage on it!! ;-)

Duffy Pratt said...

I don't see myself developing an aversion to pizza anytime soon.

Bosco said...

But Duffy, you really should stop eating that crap! Would you honor the intelligence of your body and stay away from it? I would suggest developing a great love for almonds and figs, which are both very satisfying to eat, good for you, and which you can eat a lot of and not suffer as a result?

Duffy Pratt said...

You might feel a little bit differently about that if a place as good as Little Nicks (In Penn Station), or Little Vincents (In Huntington Village) or Pizzahouseahowestreet had just opened up a block away from you in SLC. Two places almost that good have just opened up nearby, and one is literally 2 blocks away.

And besides, I'm perfectly willing to admit that you are way ahead of me on the food thing right now. I have, from time to time, given a thought to trying the cleanse though. Mostly, I'm happy with my weight now but I think losing some more off the middle might help me in a number of the postures, mostly forward bends.

Bosco said...

I just know that after almost a year now of consistently adhering to a radically modified diet, that my insides feel so much better. On those increasingly rare occasions when I do eat "bad" food my body rebels in a pretty serious way - headache, clogged digestion, impaired breathing, less energy. But in order to appreciate the difference you really have to get off bad food for a sustained period. And then it really starts to look like poison, not food. You'll know when it's time to try it.