Aversion, Greed or Delusion?
What's your main schtick?
Are you predominantly
• Trying to avoid incompatible, unpleasant or toxic things, situations, people?
• Craving for nice, pleasant stuff, experiences, people?
• Foggy, dazed & confused by complexity, constant change & paradox?
Even though we mainly fit one of the above personality types, we still tend to have some of the other two - lucky us!
Powerful obstacles to the evolution of our personal & species-wide consciousness are craving for pleasant experiences, particularly of the "short-term gain, long-term pain" variety; avoiding challenging, liminal situations that promote maturation; and being content to be confused, giving up when our common personal symbolic consciousness can't understand life's profundity, depth & meaning.
Fortunately, we also become fed up with & thus try to avoid boredom, meaninglessness, shallowness & cynicism. We gradually come to crave meaning, values, depth, peace & stillness. And with meditation practice, our foggy confusion gradually lifts as we shift into & stabilize in post-symbolic transpersonal consciousness.
Another way of looking at this is the approach-avoid dichotomy:
"We tend to approach pleasurable opportunities to promote well-being and survival, and conversely avoid or withdraw from painful experiences as protection from harm. This biological approach-avoid dichotomy underlies all motivational tendencies, forms the basis of emotion and promotes adaptation.
We're biologically and culturally programmed to seek pleasure and avoid discomfort."
But life includes not only pleasure, but also pain, as well as uncomfortable periods of growth that take "place beyond one’s comfort zone - in liminality *** - a state of in-between-ness & ambiguity. Avoidance of liminality is the basic obstacle to engagement. Mindfulness practice cultivates acceptance of, and the ability to work within, liminality, and should therefore improve engagement." Lovas J, Gold E, Neish N, Whitehorn D, Holexa D. "Cultivating Engagement through Mindfulness Practice." Poster Presentation, American Dental Education Association annual meeting, March 19, 2012, Orlando, FL.