Each week the people at the monastery add a mindfulness task to their already crowded schedule. Its purpose is to bring attention to how mind and body respond to routine activities that fill the day. Feel free to try this at home, at work, or wherever your life takes you. Kyoku writes:
Shakyamuni Buddha found that the origin of suffering is attachment to craving. Aversion is one side of craving, wanting to get rid of or get away from what’s arising in the moment. Shakyamuni found that aversion itself is not the origin of suffering: it is getting stuck on aversion that creates suffering. So we can simply observe aversion (stuck in traffic, say) without making it personal, or judging it. But usually we go immediately from aversion to attachment -– it becomes personal and we suffer. So we’re not just stopped in traffic with the engine running. We’re complaining: “Now I’ll be late! Just what I didn’t need. I’m so tired. Why does this have to happen to me? HONK! HONK!”
With this task we begin by simply noting aversion arise in its many forms –- no judgment just noting. Aversion might be obvious or subtle: an unwelcome cold breeze on the back of the neck, food stuck in between our teeth, or a quick cringe when we make a “mistake.” We might not notice aversion until it has come and gone. We will probably not like noticing aversion.
We can notice what happens in the body and mind when aversion arises. Where in the body are we sensing aversion? What feelings and thoughts arise with aversion? What habit patterns do we see in our responses? Where does aversion come from … and where does it go to (in the body)?
When we bring aversion into our consciousness we give ourselves the chance to choose our response. This is advanced practice. Can we spot the exact moment where we attach to aversion? We can note how our experience changes depending on our response. When we are able to note aversion and simply let it be, this is exactly the path of non-suffering.