One of the main purposes of meditation is to allow you to steady the mind, bringing it to such a state of equilibrium that it is not swayed by either attraction (Raga) or aversion (Dvesha). This is a process of consistent practice that allows you to see that in truth and in fact, there is no difference to the things, thoughts, feelings, etc. that we draw towards ourselves, or push away from ourselves, and that both our attachment and our aversion invariably cause us to suffer.
The following is a very effective Buddhist story that illustrates both the sameness of Raga and Dvesha, as well as equilibrium of mind at work:
Once upon a time Gautama Buddha was traveling through a village. It was not long before word of his presence reached the villagers and they all rushed to greet him and seek his blessings. Before going to see the Buddha however, the villagers decided that it was only appropriate that if they were to visit the Buddha, they should bring him gifts.
When the villagers finally found Gautama, he was sitting under a tree with some of his followers. The villagers crowded the place, all jostling for their chance to meet him. Each of them began to offer their gifts of fruits, rich cloth, gold coins, ornaments, precious stones and the like. One by one Gautama Buddha politely refused to accept any of these gifts. “I do not need any of these things” was his simple answer. The villagers however tried to convince him to accept the gifts by saying that they had much respect for him and were offering the gifts from the depths of their hearts. But the Buddha was firm on his decision.
After some time the villagers began to become angry. “What does he think of himself?” they asked. “We are offering him such precious gifts and he is so rudely rejecting them.” they said. After some time their anger turned to hatred. And they began to curse the Buddha.
Hearing their foul language one of Gautama’s followers asked, “Master, do you not feel angry? They are using such cruel and unjust words against you!” The Buddha simply replied with a smile, “They offered me precious gifts that I refused to accept. They are now offering me harsh words and I refuse to accept them also.”
Kavita Maharaj is the owner of Red Door Yoga® and the director of The Red Door Yoga School® in Lantzville. She can be reached at 250-390-9367 or through www.reddooryoga.ca for questions.