Craving and aversion always start with contact with the body’s five physical senses– Contact of the eye with sensation of vision, the nose with sense of smell, tongue with sense of taste, body with touch, the mind with any sense of thought, emotion, idea, imagination or memory – these sensations in body and mind develop into cravings or aversions, that in turn are responsible for our life’s conduct.
Craving is caused by pleasant sensation. We repeat the contact of sensations we like. Thinking, reasoning, proof, is not always involved.
- Example: we might insist on eating candy, ignoring that we can suffer tooth decay or physical illness through our sugar craving. This is how we suffer when we get what we want. We suffer again when we can’t get it. We suffer again when we have enough of it, thinking it may become rare, be stolen or vanish. We suffer ignorance, baffled by how this craving runs our life. What about the opposite of craving?
Aversion is caused by unpleasant sensation. We repel (avert) or withdraw from contact with sensations of we don’t like, even if a secondary contact is pleasurable.
- Example: by avoiding aircraft travel, we suffer missed travel to an exotic destination that we have always dreamed of. We suffer when contact from any source (even stories of other people) causes more fear of flying, which repeated mental thoughts loops into a phobia, keeping us immobile and suffering for a lifetime. We suffer again, angry about what we are missing. We suffer ignorance, not knowing how this all came to be.
These are samples of “reaction” – where a base sensation of like/dislike intensifies into life changing carvings or aversions. Reactions can form into debilitating mental loops played endlessly through the mind, crowding out new information based on truth.
Blinded by ignorance, we generate reactions of crave it or repel it based on one set of sensation- even into new situations that are innocent of these reactions. Then we pre-judge, becoming prejudiced, stubbornly ignoring new information. Reactions then multiply in wrong directions, shaping our future, perpetuated by ignorance.
Ignorance, craving and aversion are the roots of all suffering. Dealing with all three on any level reduces suffering and unhappiness. Thus begins our journey to enlightenment, with a stillness of accepting the truth, which will enable action.