Two sides of the same coin.
We desire people, things, experiences. We are averse to pain, to suffering, and yes, some people make this list too.
Have you ever thought about your efforts to attain freedom from desire as just another form of desire? Have you ever thought of your efforts to attain freedom from aversion as just another form of aversion?
Desire is normal. I would say good even. I believe it can be a wholly holy experience when it’s approached from a place of reverence and authenticity. Desire can be a lot of wonderful things, wishes, hopes, dreams, goals, you name it. It can also be lust, greed, selfishness.
Aversion is normal. It too can be a holy experience. We have all felt our gut telling us not to do something, or not to go somewhere, or not to trust that person and it turned out to be right. Aversion can be intuition, authenticity, ethics. It can also be fear, avoidance, anger.
It’s when we try to live permanently in either state that things get a little dicey.
“When I run after what I think I want,
my days are a furnace of distress and anxiety.
If I sit in my own place of patience, what I need flows to me, and without any pain.
From this I understand that what I want also wants me, is looking for me and attracting me.
When it cannot attract me any more to go to it, it has to come to me.”
Desire and aversion in this one poem. First Rumi speaks of running after. (been there, done that.) Taken too literally as an image of Rumi sitting around on his duff, one could mistakenly think he is advocating paralysis or giving-up as the antidote to desire. (been there, done that too!) What I notice however is that he does not say that he is now averse to the thing he was after and no longer wants it, but rather that it can no longer attract him. He is sitting in his “place of patience.” He is not sitting in his place of apathy or disdain or miffedoffedness. (totally a word.)
What is the space between desire and aversion?
I decided that, for me, the most balanced state between these two extremes is allowing.
Allowing crazy things to happen? No. Allowing anything and everything to come into my world? No. Allowing toxic people to harsh my vibe? Definitely not that. (i will cut you.) (not really.)
Allowing is not complacency.
Allowing clears the fog. We are no longer focused on what we are trying to grasp or what we are trying to reject. Allowing offers respite from the burning energy of chasing and the fiery energy of anger. Allowing creates a space for the right action, the right words, the right opportunity to reveal itself to us.
Allowing is making choices that are in line with our inner knowing and Self. (big S) It is seeing what comes. It is choosing actions and goals based on what comes. As I allow, I accept. That includes allowing desire and aversion to come. If I accept that these too will come, then I am less likely to react without intention. Instead I can observe and respond which enables me to assess whether this really is something it would serve me to chase or from which it’s best to turn away.
I’m recognizing the pendulum that these two forces, desire and aversion, create in our lives and choosing to navigate the arc from a place of being open and receptive. Allowing is neither beckoning nor pushing. I can allow, without being yanked around.
I can even be grateful for the adventure. That said, gratitude is not about putting up with things we don’t like or want. It’s recognizing and honoring what works and letting the rest fall away. It’s recognizing and honoring that with the unpleasant comes a gift…clarity.
When I allow, I draw to me that which feels best to me, especially information that enables me to choose what action to take, what dream to chase, which time of day to avoid the interstate. We sometimes forget when we’re in the middle of a dilemma that what we most need is information. I get more and better information when I’m allowing than when I try to be a detective.
Allowing lets synchronicity and serendipity work for us. We observe what comes. We feel the gravity of it. We notice the direction in which it is pulling. Then we act.
I decided this time instead of Rumi, I would allow (see what I did there?) another genius, Hafiz, to sew this all up.
“Ever since happiness heard your name, it has been running through the streets trying to find you.”
It will come to you.
Allow it to find you.
Love and light,
Photo Credit: Shutterstock/Bastiaan Schuit