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Working Mindfully with Craving and Aversion

by Vajradevi (2019)

Vajradevi explores the poisons of craving and aversion which fuel emotions, quoting American teacher Steve Armstrong who says 'Your mind is a dangerous neighbourhood - don't go there alone, take mindfulness with you.'. These kleshas (poisons) distort the mind and prevent us seeing clearly. Neither suppressing or indulging these poisons, we need to learn to stay with them until what fuels them runs out. Vajradevi highlights some less familiar manifestations of aversion (dosa), including boredom, fear, sadness, disappointment and impatience. Craving (lobha) arises 'in the absence of an inner aim', which we can understand as 'right view' and it can appear in the form of 'over-eagerness' or striving, expectations, hankering and a desire for results, as well as in more obvious ways. Vajradevi shared some of her personal experiences of working with aversion and craving.

Quoting Bhante Sangharakshita in 'Living with Awareness', Vajradevi highlights that meditation works on the bedrock of the mind. Meditation is 'a courageous undertaking' which we need to approach with gentleness. She shares the story of David Attenborough meeting the gorillas in Africa as an example of how to meet potentially scary, overwhelming mind states with a simple awareness, in touch with whatever feelings there are and a willingness to meet and connect with that. She explores what happens when one is able to observe the mind with 'right view' rather than allowing aversion and judgement to create conflict in the mind. And ways of working in meditation when aversion or craving have taken a hold.

This talk is part of the series Pathways to the Beautiful Mind: Bristol Rains Retreat 2019.

Total running time: 1:26:46