5 Kleshas – 4. Dvesa – Aversion

This session we are focusing our practice on the 4th Klesha which is Dvesa: Avoidance of previously experienced pain and suffering experienced. Just like last session focusing on Raga, we saw that not all desire is bad; desire to quench your thirst, to feed your hunger, the desire to get our fundamental needs met to feel safe, to be loved, to belong and connected to as well as the desire for a more meaningful and purposeful life, to celebrate the pleasures that the world offers us; beauty, love, joy, creativity! It is also natural to avoid things that are scary that may cause harm. However this Klesha Dvesa, draws our attention to what we are resisting to experience and is usually linked to a past experience of discomfort, dis-ease, pain and suffering.

Think of something you don’t like to eat, smell, feel, listen to and see? These are not based in the present time, they are past conditionings or impressions that we have a fear base reaction to and not interested in experiencing them again. There is a slogan that says “if it is a hysterical reaction, it normally is a historical one.” This insight into how our brains and body save then store memories of fear based information. This is a useful design to keep us safe and protected for future experiences. As we mature though, some of these memories and our aversion to them, limit us in our lives and our relationships, it give us the illusion that we are free from that painful experience if we keep running away from it. There is another slogan, “what we resist, persists.” This resistance is felts as tension in the body and we contract reinforcing the other Kleshas to get involved; RagaAsmitaAvidya. They form aversions, resentments, grudges, dislikes, hatred, hostility, harmful judgement and more negativity.

The solution is to start looking at the stories we tell ourselves that keep us stuck in the core false beliefs and if we can start to investigate and to look at the story in a different way. This technique is called Pratipaksha Bhavana, YS 2.33, seeing the value of what we resist as a teacher and learning how to view our reaction of aversion as a useful opportunity to practice. This builds trust in ourselves to love and care for our past and present self, opening the possibility for healing, finding lasting fulfilment and freeing ourself from Dvesa.

In this back bend practice, try to delay reacting in avoidance. Respond by leaning in with the tools of practice shared. Be open, intimate and honest with what we are resisting, why we react this way and how can we lean into it to deepen our learning. 

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Published on August 4, 2023