Author Topic: craving and aversion  (Read 2890 times)

rmj

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craving and aversion
« on: September 25, 2009, 07:12:54 AM »
Hi, i'm new to this forum so firstly wanted to say hello.  I'm considering doing a Vipassana course in Hong Kong in the near future due to some general unrest that i have in my life.

I came out of a 10 year relationship around 2 years ago.  It was the only relationship i've ever been in and for the last 2 years have found myself awash in the sea struggling to work my life out.  I was always quite introverted as a child so i find social situations and the thought of sex or relationships with new partners quite intimidating.  I've developed moderate anxiety about social situations, relationships, sex that have been affecting me during this time. I think this is mainly because I've put a LOT of pressure on myself to "get better" - self help books, courses, social events etc, constantly pushing, forcing myself to change. 

I've come to realise that a lot of my problems revolve around craving and aversion.  I'm craving this new life - one where i'm totally confident, sexually active, great around people, and one that i've seen at times in myself in the past already, and that i see other people all around me enjoying.  I want it so much.  But at the same time part of me keeps pulling me back.  Part of me doesn't want it, it wan't to stay safe, alone, protected, away from the world.  I feel like my life is a constant battle against myself that is slowly destroying me from the inside.

Then i came across Vipassana and when i read about how craving and aversion creates most of the suffering in our lives, it really rang true.  It made a lot of sense to me and i want to see if it can help me.  But the big question i don't understand in all of this is....

If we are to let go of the craving, how do we ever evolve?  I feel like if i really let go of the cravings, i would sink back into being this lonely, shy person, taking a back-seat in life, not experiencing so many things, not pushing myself to meet people so that i might one day find somebody to spend my life with, in a way i feel i am really capable of and that i deserve.  How can we become better people if it's not for the craving of the mind driving us towards new experiences and better lives?  And how can i let go of the aversion that is holding me back, that is trying so hard to protect me and keep me safe from emotional pain?

I'd love to hear what you think about this, especially if you've had similar thoughts and experiences and how you feel that Vipassana has changed your life in this respect.

Renze

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Re: craving and aversion
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2009, 09:13:13 AM »
Welcome to these forums, rmj.

I understand your story because Im also introverted and I can be quite intimidated by social situations too. I guess you could say I'm a bit of an einzelgänger too. I was diagnosed with ADD and what the psychiatrist described as a 'schizoid personality' a few years ago. This is characterized by a solitary lifestyle and indifference towards social relationships.
After the diagnosis I decided to change my life around and get a good job, spend more time with friends etc. My job actually forces me to be more sociable, which has helped me incredibly so far. That kind of pressure can be a good thing in my opinion.

Vipassana meditation is no immediate cure to the causes of suffering, it's a (very) slow process. One of the immediate effects for me though, is that I don't suffer from longer periods of depression and anxiety anymore. I hope this is what you'll find too if you start. Currently, the craving towards a better life, how you put it, is exactly what drives me to meditate. I still have all the cravings and aversions from before but they don't control how I feel as much as they did before I started meditating.

mettajoey

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Re: craving and aversion
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2009, 12:43:32 PM »
Hi rmj,

Your story sounds like the blueprint to so many peoples lives.  Welcome to being human.

Socially, you being in China, is far different than things here for me in the US but the human condition is the same.  I'm not surprised that you feel bodily like you are pulling back because your body senses what is not itself.  A fish cannot become an un-fish.  You cannot look outside to change who you are inside.  It's not possible or real.  Look inside yourself with whatever technique helps you to identify with your body and who you actually are and then become more of that.  You evolve by becoming more of yourself.  You are already complete.  The work we do through meditating, being still and entering our body dissolves the layers of social conditioning where society tries to tell us who we are so you can discover your true nature.  Not someone else's nature or their created ideas (based on what?; I ask.  Certainly not your god-nature).

So to evolve, you need to grow your own.    :)

The craving and aversions are opportunities to better understand yourself.  Go into them and learn.  This is where the work is - don't run away.  Stand, sit and face them.  They are only yourself.

With love,
-Joe
« Last Edit: September 25, 2009, 12:48:36 PM by mettajoey »
The best type of meditation is the one that you'll do

rmj

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Re: craving and aversion
« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2009, 03:52:54 PM »
thanks for the feedback guys.  more than anything i'm glad that i'm not alone in how i'm feeling!  not that i'd wish my problems on anybody else, but you know what i mean :)

Renze, i like what you said about taking the job to push you socially. i think that's a great move and it sounds like you are getting a lot from it.  i guess that the meditation can underlie everything else you do and gives you more confidence to stay centred in those situations?

mettajoey, what you said about removing the layers of social conditioning really rings true for me - i feel like it's exactly that that has created all this aversion for me over my life, so i hope it will help me.  i am already starting to enjoy the process of learning, of overcoming, so hopefully vipassana will be another step along that path.

can i ask - when you finished the course did you immediately feel like continuing the practice, and do you still stay with it every day?  was it something that you wanted to do afterwards - a bit like if i did 10 days of physical exercise, i think i'd feel unhealthy if i just sat and watched the tv for for several days afterwards! 

i'm booked in on a course soon so i guess i'll find out fristhand what benefits i'll see in my life...

upekkha

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Re: craving and aversion
« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2009, 09:38:34 PM »
Well,

My own story,
I also suffer from some of the symptoms you've described, though obviously each of us takes this differently and at different rates,

I have been practicing Vipassana for about 3 / 4 years now, have done about 4 retreats of 10 days, and some more shorter ones, and I practice daily. Looking back at the beginning of my practice, I have progressed very nicely, and it has also given very good benefit for my life - which is everything, social, love life, etc.

Don't expect miracles, though if you really dedicate yourself to the practice, you will slowly start to sense you are suffering less, less, less.