Aversion, fear and dislike of unpleasant feelings like pain makes the pain grow. Instead if you train yourself mindfully accept and appreciate suffering, it slowly diminishes.
Ajahn Suchart Abhijato explains more on why we should not to run away from unpleasant feelings...
Ne soyez pas aversif
Ajaan Suchart Abhijāto: Dhamma for the Asking
August 9 at 8:00pm · “You have to accept your physical pain and suffering. Don’t be aversive to them.”
A contemplation of unpleasant sensations (dukkha-vedanā) can manifest in two ways. One is that the mind will become so focussed and enter into absorption or full concentration (appanā-samādhi). Your mind will not feel any bodily sensation; your body will completely become void. Your mind will become calm as if nothing happened. The other is that the mind is still fully aware of the five aggregates and sensations (vedanā), but it will be calm. Your mind will not be agitated, restless, distracted, or tormented. You have to keep practising—to find ways to reflect and see that these things are beyond your control.
You have to accept your physical pain and suffering. Don’t be aversive to them. The root cause of your mental suffering is your aversion, fear, and dislike of unpleasant sensations.
If you learn to appreciate these sensations, you then won’t be aversive to them. For instance, if you don’t like a certain food, just keep eating it for a while. You’ll grow accustomed to and learn to appreciate it. You’re easily averse to any unfamiliar food. When you live abroad, you’ll come across food that you’ve never seen or eaten before. You probably won’t eat it if you have a choice.
Many Thai people tend to cook and eat Thai food among themselves; they refuse to eat Western food. However, I was too lazy to cook for myself. I just ate Western food, which was quite plain. Living in their country, I might as well eat like they do. I just got used to it eventually and grew to appreciate it. When I returned to Thailand, I had to seek Western food since I came to like it. I didn’t appreciate it then, but I do now.
It is the same with sensations—we normally don’t like pain. If you train yourself, you’ll notice that something is missing when you don’t feel it. It is just like people who are used to spicy food, they won’t enjoy plain food. For those who aren’t used to eating chilli, just one chilli will make them suffer and unable to finish their food. But if you keep training yourself to eat chilli, it will eventually become a habit. Once your mind can accept suffering, it will not suffer.
You should, therefore, train yourself to appreciate suffering and hardship. Train yourself to fast. Don’t be afraid of it. You won’t die. The Buddha fasted for forty-nine days and managed to survive. You have enough energy stored in your body. You’ll be able to live without food, but not without water. Your body needs water and air. It is really not a big deal to fast for five or seven days.
By Ajaan Suchart Abhijāto
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