Thursday, June 16, 2011

Which Type Are You?

Rather than continually blaming outer circumstances for my bad moods, I need to face the truth. I am what Jack Kornfied refers to as an aversion type. Knowing this comes as a relief. I am what I am, and there is no need to resist or add even more aversion to the fact that this is how my psyche works. 

From one of Jack's interview on the topic:

I've talked on some nights about Buddhist personality typology, which is based on our responses that come out of the sense of separateness itself; and the three roots in Buddhist psychology are the greed type, the aversion type, and the deluded type. Just to remind you in a simple way, we all have all of it in us. I'm a great example of the greedy type. The general response of the greedy type is to go into a new situation and see what we like about it, and see how we might get more of it, what's lovely about it or what we appreciate. Forget the rest. Now, the aversion type -- my wife is more in that category -- is somebody who goes into a situation and sees what's wrong with it, which is a very different response, painted wrong, the colors are wrong, and people are behaving wrong, and so forth. And then the deluded type whose tendency is to go into a new situation and not know what to make of it, not know what their place is. Does this make sense to you? Do you understand these types of either wanting or being critical or not knowing your place in it?

Of course aversion and greed are two sides of the same coin. Not far behind aversion is the greed for the opposite of the disliked experience. Today, is not liking being jet lagged after a long trip from San Francisco to Paris. And the wish for a rested state when body and mind could fully engage.  

I can see where I got to be so hooked on aversion. Both my father and mother were negative people who always saw the wrong in people and situations. Growing up, I remember hating the overall climate in our family, and swearing to myself that one day, I would apprehend life differently. Of course, I was underestimating the conditioning power of childhood family dynamics . . . 

The freedom comes from recognizing the hold of one personality over the self, and not letting it take over. Today, not liking the tiredness, and being with the not liking, and also appreciating the many blessings from this moment. Birds, many of them, taking turn to delight the ears. The wind, softly caressing the back of the neck, the hands. Flowers galore,  to  please the eyes. Joy of sitting next to my daughter, while enjoying it all. Gratitude . . .

Now, I want to know, which type are you? :)

12 comments:

  1. Without me, there is no label no type.

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  2. Definitely the aversion type, except when I'm being the greedy type. I tend (sometimes) to catch myself being critical or negative at the time it happens, and being aware of it, let my criticizing thoughts fall more into perspective, or fall away, period. Being the greedy type seems to happen more without my awareness, and I only notice it happened after the fact. Thanks for posting this and the encouragement to be more comfortable with who we are at this moment.

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  3. David A. yes, same with me. Aversion always feels like the dominant attitude, and one that is easier to catch. The greed is more subtle, more pernicious, like a light shadow behind the aversion.

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  4. aversive, yes. my Zen teacher used to talk about greed, hate (aversion) and delusion as the "doorway in". These are the things that bring us to practice, so that is the up side of them. In fact I had an incident with a neighbour that brought me to serious practice. It became crystal clear to me how anger was suffering and how I wanted to learn how to work with it. It has been, still is a wonderful journey.

    I think we all have a dominant type but are still visit the other "doorways" as well.

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  5. I used to think I was all three equally but then I looked closer. Aversion, aversion, aversion! I'm always critiquing my current situation, looking for what's not quite right, what needs to be gotten rid of or fixed. Nothing to get upset about, just good to notice those characteristics and use them as opportunities to be mindful.

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  6. Aversive. I once even found myself wishing away my aversiveness. I had to laugh. :)

    Love,
    Stacy

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  7. Carole (zendotstudio), I find delusion to be the most pernicious of all three. Deluded mind can masquerade so easily as confident mind :)

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  8. Chris, you and I both :) The experience of suffering attached with the aversive attitude is the most convincing factor for letting go . . .

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  9. Stacy, yes, the mind can get really twisted!

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  10. Aversion - delusions of control - the simplest "upset" to my expectations/illusions of what I think should be and I'm consumed with fixing everything - in my mind. Very disconcerting and distracting but it does bring me back to practice and opens the way to True Mind...

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  11. Yes, seeing reality of mind is very humbling indeed . . . particularly at the beginning of the path when hindrances are so strong. I had just such an experience last night. One upsetting phone call, and anxiety came marching in, keeping me up late. Still there this morning, but not as overpowering. Curious, investigative mind has more space for wise investigation.

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