Like Aversion

July 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

I had two articles in the most recent BodyMindLife newsletter, quite exciting really. This one was all about the weirdness that is aversion.

 

Like Aversion

by Craig New, Jasper’s Village Resort

Art mirrors life mirrors art. Heather asked me a while back to write something “practical and/or fun” on the concept of aversion and I, of course, said “yes”. In hindsight, it would have been funnier if I had said “no, I don’t know if I should do that”.

Fast-track a couple of weeks later and I’m yet to create a page I’m happy with. Everything I write, I need to erase. I seem to have an aversion to writing about aversion.

I started off with the idea of compiling a list of all the times I’ve personally succumbed to aversion in my life and missed out on what could have been something special. But I couldn’t think of anything. It seems that most of my life I’ve taken opportunities as they arise. Well…I thought of one…a time when I had declined meeting a super-hot girl in a bar after a show I was working. But I didn’t want that incident to be the only thing on the list in case my girlfriend thought I’d been obsessing over that memory and got upset.

Then I started writing a long diatribe about the little voice inside, that seductive con artist who wheedles and coerces you to run away from anything that challenges its sensitive and fragile ego. But I realised I could have been talking about desire just as much as aversion and the whole thing unravelled in my hands.

I even resorted to quoting Seinfeld episodes (specifically the one called The Opposite where George Costanza makes every decision counter to his intuition and finds life suddenly getting better). In the end, I decided I didn’t want to be that person who relies on sitcoms for his article inspiration (yeah, too late).

So here I sit, trying to write a meaningful (yet practical and/or fun) article on aversion, and it’s all I can do to refrain from flicking back and forth from Twitter and Facebook, writing a blog entry, watching Jason Statham or Muppets movie trailers and sending emails. What is it about aversion that is so devious, so malicious, that to even speak its name causes a fog to creep around the senses and all rational thought to dissolve? Aversion is the Adjustment Bureau of kleshas. It sneaks in while you’re busy thinking about something else, freezes time for an indeterminate period, resets your thinking, then vanishes. When you come to, you’re on a different path with only the vaguest memory of what it was you were originally going to do.

The reason we allow ourselves to get away with it time and time again is because, ultimately, not much tends to happen when we avoid things. Lightning doesn’t shoot down to smite a kitten; the world doesn’t stop spinning on its axis. We generally don’t even feel much of anything – guilt, despair, sadness, contrition; none of that wells up. Aversion is a victimless crime; it does to what-could-have-been what Magna Doodle does to terrible sketches.

So, why on earth should anyone care? If it doesn’t make us feel bad, it doesn’t hurt anybody else and nine times out of ten we probably won’t even remember feeling it mere minutes later, why don’t we tolerate aversion with the same magnanimity we display toward those people who stand on the street offering coupons?

The only thing stopping us is imagination. Sure, we could happily get by in life walking hand in hand with our aversions, but it’s also possible to live out our lives sitting in a big room with a toilet, a bed, a monster screen television set, and a well-stocked fridge. To defy our aversions is to give ourselves a chance to discover something new or to grow personally in some way we never thought possible. Aversion is the bouncer at the door to our dreams. We can bow our heads and slink off when he tells us we’re not wearing the right shoes, or we can smile politely at him, leave the queue and sneak in through the back entrance.

Clearly, aversion has its role. It reminds us there is something of value on the other side, something worthy enough of having its own security force to keep out the unworthy. In this way, aversion can be seen as the measure of our potential, an ‘X marks the spot’ on our psychological map of hidden treasure.

As Madonna nearly sang, “Like aversion”. It is a reminder that something magical may be waiting around the corner, if you have the imagination and temerity to push past it and look.

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